1. THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS IS TOUCHING ME BEYOND WORDS AND HAS 100% RESTORED MY FAITH IN HUMANITY
I have not had to pay for accommodation in over a month and food has been provided for me along the way on several occasions. Whether it be friendly and generous Couchsurfing or Warmshowers hosts, friends met during or before the trip or people at private houses, police and gas stations or temples where I have clumsily asked permission to pitch my tent, the response has always been overwhelmingly positive. I am just blown away by the generosity of everyone that has crossed my path so far. Although I know this isn’t the reason why they are doing it, I cannot wait for the day I can pay it forward when I am in a situation to do so.
Last year, I wrote a vegan food guide to Malacca in light of a week spent in this charming UNESCO World Heritage city. Malaysia is one of the easiest places in South East Asia to find vegan and vegetarian food, and I was thrilled to be back in Malacca this year to see what I had missed the first time around. As it turns out, I missed a lot! Below is a new and revised, more complete guide including restaurants and self-catering options. There are still a few places I failed to visit, so who knows, maybe there will be a take-three next year!
I came to volunteer at a guesthouse in Malaysia as part of my rehabilitation into the single people club. I needed some time to pick up the pieces and to decide what my next move would be before starting to travel again. Things seemed like they were lining up for me without having to ask, so I took the opportunity that was presenting itself – all I had to do was to hit the reply button, say “I’m on my way”, pack my bags, and go start this brand new chapter of my adventure. Opportunities to volunteer at guesthouses like this are usually found through work exchange websites, but I was actually poached by a previous guesthouse owner where I had stayed a few months prior – so in my case it was just a matter of good timing. And as unable as I was to decide what was best for me – it was indeed the perfect timing.
“If there is no joy, ease, or lightness in what you are doing, it does not necessarily mean that you need to change what you are doing. It may be sufficient to change the how. “How” is always more important than “what”. See if you can give much more attention to the doing than to the result that you want to achieve through it.”
-Eckart Tolle, The Power of Now
It’s taken me realizing that the amount of money I have left in my bank account equals exactly what I owe on my credit card to ring the alarm. I am broke. The travel fund is empty.
Kuala Lumpur is one of those places where, in the midst of a meat-eating nation, you barely have to scratch the surface to unveil an exciting health-minded paradise ripe for exploration. This week is all about #CleanEatingKL! A few days ago, I was able to visit Simple Life, a little chain of vegetarian restaurants who has healthy eating as its core value and is making Kuala Lumpur all the more exciting for me to explore.
I’d been toying with the idea of swapping my backpacking life for bike touring since becoming single. Life had put so many cyclists on my path after the breakup that I took it as a sign for me to “convert” and begin a new journey, figuratively and literally. So when my friend Jochen asked if I’d like to tag along to cycle a few hundred kilometers with him in Laos, a country I absolutely love, I jumped on the opportunity to test the water under the safe wing of a well-seasoned cyclist and see for myself if this way of traveling was for me.
I always enjoy reading packing list posts when other travel bloggers do them. It gives me the same satisfaction as digging through my granny’s handbag as a kid or looking through the drug cabinet in a stranger’s bathroom. I’m a little bit of a nosy parker. I also enjoy the sight of neatly organized things, and I know that’s not just me.
I nearly quit everything to go home two months ago. And when I say nearly, I mean that I actually purchased a flight from Bangkok to Montreal and I was two days away from boarding the plane when I came to my senses and aborted this crazy plan. I was about to give up my current life I’ve worked so hard for, my dreams of becoming location independent and this blog I have put all this work into but has given me more than I could imagine in return. I just could not sit on my own with my pain in this crappy hotel room in the middle of Thailand any longer. I was lost. Becoming a solo traveler was not something I had ever anticipated or wished for… and obviously neither was letting go of my ten year relationship. Thus went my brutal return from a magical six weeks in India, leaving an empty shell of me.
I revisited Koh Tao with absolutely no intention to create a vegan food guide for the blog. I was there to wrap up and try to come to terms with the remainder of a ten year relationship. Hell in paradise you could say. How ironic. But as a result of a broken heart, I ended up stuffing my face with all of the food and then some (mind you though – I ate mostly Oreo’s). So I thought I might as well put my hard work to use and write about the food I ingested.
As a lot of you know, my boyfriend of the last ten years and I parted ways a few months ago. People seem surprised at how well I have bounced back, but, in all honesty, this was one of the hardest experiences of my life.
Admittedly, sharing my personal life with you here on the blog was a bit of a gamble. I wanted to show the world how happy we were and inspire other couples to travel, but now that everything has fallen apart I feel I owe an explanation. It’s weird for me to have a diary of our relationship in the form of this blog that I have to face every single day. It’s like an unwelcome reminder of what used to be and what could have been. Did the traveling break us up?