Friday, November 30, 2012


Regents Park, originally uploaded by veggy.

I am no longer fooled
Into giving my attention
To headlines full of news
and fear-filled distractions
Through focused concentration,
Forever in devotion,
Humility and compassion.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Everything is new

Spiced Lentil and Kale Soup, originally uploaded by veggy.
Coming back to London felt like I was coming back home, which is odd for me to say because I have always considered Vancouver to be my home but after living in London for 7 months it has become my home. When you live like a Camino pilgrim with two pairs of pants (ugly ones), a few tops, hiking boots and flip flops, no hair brush, minimal toiletries, that all easily fits into a 40 liter carry on bag coming back to some more things can be very rewarding. Everything is new. I even loved my Costa soy latte! Blow drying my hair.. what a luxury. I wore make up last night for the first time in months. I have been buying groceries, the first of course was hummus and spelt crackers (something that doesn't exist in spain even though they have a ton of garbanzo beans). I am wearing different clothes, and even taking some photos with my camera which makes me appreciate it so much more. What is even nicer is seeing my friends again. I have to thank Josie for her unending hospitality and dealing with my stupid mail (UK mail has managed to lose very expensive postal packages of mine, I don't trust them anymore). Lesley for storing my massive bag, Swati for storing my bicycle. I am hanging onto the idea of staying in London but I have some more traveling left as it seems cheaper to travel in Spain then live in London, I am heading to Andalusia and Morocco to avoid the western consumer holidays. After that I may head home home for a west coast visit, but I am very tempted to come back to London.
Oh and someone had wrote a book on how I live my life, it's called Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. People wonder how I do it, but it's pretty much documented in this book. Of course I will give you tips if you want them, but until them I am still for two weeks in London making organic soups and enjoying the unending amounts of free photography exhibits, markets, music, and friends.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Being a vegetarian in Spain

dead baby, originally uploaded by arimoore.
Yes, yes, you all warned me. I know Spain is the land of Jamon or Ham in Spanish. But was it really going to be as bad as the whole of South America, or Vietnam where I ate oreos out a desperation for days? Well yes it is much worse. It is so bad that they hang dead pig legs up everywhere. A proudness in their slaughtering that I have not really ever seen in any culture. Most people don't want to see or meet their meat, but here you really don't have a choice. I have kind of had to tune out to the point where I had strangers making me aware and apologizing for the grotestqueness of it, even though they aren't the ones hanging it up for all of us to enjoy, but really they should be saying thanks to an animal that has lived a really shitty life, confined, and treated extremely poorly so they can have a salty snack. We so often forget that animals actually feel something, like our pets that we love and adore, pigs are no different. Considered more intelligent then dogs, and cleaner then most animals as well, yet we treat them like slaves and slaughter them with the known fear that they are going to die.. which is probably better then living they way they had been living. Spain is horribly stuck on Jamon. As a European country it seems absurb that the only thing you can eat in a day is bread, cheese, eggs, and jam. But this is it! It can get exhausting in small towns where every single "bar" sells the exact same microwaved meal.. all show cased in the exact same picture menu all across Spain. 6 to 10 euros for a microwaved meal? You can walk for 100's of kilometres and see fresh fruits, and vegetables.. yet the Spanish don't eat it. Most of it gets exported out of Spain, and the Spanish stick with their white bread.
As the city filled with protesters against the banks .. yes the banks are scammers, I felt like yelling.. "You are all hyprocrits, you don't even care about life when you hang dead meat at your door and consume it all day". It's fucked, and it is not something I can relate to, or relate with, a culture of so much slaughter, and unecessary consumption.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lisbon, Portugal

F1000033, originally uploaded by veggy.

Portugal often gets forgotten by the people who travel to Europe.. but that seems to be happening less and less. Known for its natural coastal beauty, good food, artistic culture, and possibly the nicest people in all of Europe you really can not go wrong. After spending over a month in Northern Spain the niceness of the Portuguese is noticed right away when you need directions and someone will walk you all the way to where you want to go (something that happens in Brazil as well).
I have been mainly taking it easy, getting lost, catching up with friends, and eating amazing food. Terra vegetarian restaurant is a treat among the land of bread and queso. 12.50 euro gets you a feast of vegetarian amazingness, and fresh made iced tea. Desert included the best vegan mouse I have ever had. Taking tram 28 almost feels like being on roller coaster, squeezing through the old streets it provides a unique way of seeing the city. A 5 euro load up of a transit card will get you unlimited travel on the local metro and buses which are a blessing as the city is built among the steep hills of Lisbon. A visit to the city is not complete without a visit to a Fado night. Which is the locals eery and powerful type of vocal and acoustic music, usually performed in small, crowded club, full of smoke and locals drinking stiff cocktails. I am waiting to go with some locals to this night.. and also to Sintra a castle that recommended by all. So more updates soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Santiago de Compestela - Camino completed!

shot_1351427262286, originally uploaded by veggy.

Well I did it. I survived the snoring, the weird bug bites, the sandwiches with just cheese and nothing else on them, the lack of tiolet paper and soap, the pains which i was in denial of and now realize I have achilles tenditis.. but wow did I get lucky. I probably only suffered through a couple days of rain, a couple of beautiful frosty mornings but all in all, what a trip. To walk into Santiago to the sound of the bag pipes (the Galician, or Gaelic traditional pipes) on a sunny day, at the end of 28km (or 750km total) and say I did it. To be greeted on the walk to the cathedral by old friends from the path, and hugs is nothing short of beautiful. An experience that many people seem to get addicted too, but the one thing I do know is that there are many other paths to walk and I don´t necessarily have to walk this one again. Never in a millions years would I have ever thought or wanted to walk a month wearing the same outfit every day, no make up, no hair brush, carrying a sleeping bag and foot cream. But when I heard about this walk something intrigued me and I really wanted to do it and I am glad I did. After working on the biggest show on earth (The London Olympic Ceremonies) I was worried about burn out afterwards and going into my winter sloth state so this got me moving, and walking. As a fellow Vancouverite I met along the way told me on one of our ´´strolls´¨that it is the easiest thing you can ever do.. you just have to get up and walk. But there are times you really get tired of walking but you do it anyways. The one day I took off in Burgos, half way through the day I felt really restless and wanted to leave but I told myself I needed the rest. I don´t know if that is true though, walking is really simple, except when you add your 10 kilo (max weight) bag to the picture. But I loved my bag, and my sleeping bag. It has inspired me to take longer walks in the future, and now I really want to do some camping trips.
As I say goodbye to the trail and head south to Portugal, I feel good and excited to shop for some new clothes since my old ones are falling off, and I don´t know if I can take wearing the same thing in urban cities much longer. My pilgrim days are done but will live long in my heart. If you ever want to make a pilgrimage or a long walk feel free to message me and I will give you my tips. Buen camino amigos!