Eoin my global yoga teaching, surf-mad husband and I have been returning to Bali for the last thirteen years; and you might say that Bali is not unfamiliar to us. Yet, we are still surprised by the changes, development and increasing hipster-ness that continues to grow exponentially where we hang out in Canggu.
Why do we travel if not to seek the deeper meaning of life? And yet so often, when we embark on our spiritual journey, we realise that the answers to those big questions lie right here.
You could say that the paradox of modern travel is that while the soul travels at the pace of a camel, our bodies travel at the speed of a jet plane. Since March of this year, I have flown to Bali, Indonesia; from Bali to Sydney, then to Perth and Margaret River in Australia; to Singapore; back to Bali, then Hong Kong, then Vancouver and finally our coastal paradise of Ucluelet / Tofino; which is currently home.
I know I’m exhausted just writing this. But, the trip lasted 3 months and we traveled with our 3 year old son. And if you want your soul to linger longer in one spot, hang out with a child who demands your full presence.
My partner and I are going to travel down to San Francisco this weekend. Our plan is to stop by the Yoga Journal Conference, hang with our friends at lululemon, see a few good yoga peeps and get a little dose (hopefully) of California sunshine before we return back to Vancouver for the chaotic emergence of the 2010 Olympic Games.
Sounds easy enough in theory? Yet travel is always a good yogic test, of staying calm amidst all the movement and stress, especially these days. Also, a question that I usually find perplexing is where should we rest our heads? What hotel, or b+b or vacation rental offers just the right mix of un-stuffiness, coolness yet not cold-ness, modern hipsterness without attitude and at least some sort of an eco sensibility i.e. does it recycle? – (common); use organic cotton bedding (quite uncommon); how integrated is it into a neighbourhood? And how close is it to public transit?
This time, I used the well-edited list at Tablet Hotels and discovered the aptly named Good Hotel in San Fran’s SOMA district. Why so apt? As Tablet points out, “That’s “good” as a noun, not an adjective. San Francisco’s Good Hotel is less about being a good hotel—it certainly is that, in its unassuming way—and more about doing good.”
With a location that’s definitely off the beaten tourist track, yet close enough to bus and trams, rooms that look like super-eco, reclaimed / recycled versions of Dwell magazine’s FSC certified, modern pages; i-pod docking stations to broadcast your favourite playlists, eco-mod furniture, free wi-fi, and free parking for hybrid cars, the hotel; one of the local San Francisco based chain of Joie de Vivre Hotels, which has taken over various old, derelict properties and given them new life and style; seems like its crafted for hipster, urban nomads without large pocketbooks – rooms while being close enough to the city, do not cost an arm or a leg.
Add in the front desk’s “philantropy” concierge, who will help you find last minute volunteering opportunities in the Bay Area, free bicycles that get you around town using your eco-friendly pedal power and an emphasis on reuse, recyle and refashion, this hotel seems like it fits right in with Yogue’s sensibilities: style and eco-living without a sky-high price tag.
By next week, we’ll let you know if our Good Hotel experience is truly Good.
“If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”
For those of you who know me. I love tea. I just don’t have the lifestyle, that is conducive – always – to sipping tea slowly and savouring the ritual of it.
And like all of us eco-minded individuals out there, I’ve been searching for the ideal eco-tea mug out there… perfect to hold your warm cup of tea while walking outside on a crisp fall Vancouver day.
And have I found it?
Well, the verdict is still out, but new Canadian company Libre Tea’s Libre Loose Leaf tea glass is close. Available in two versions, one that is a practical glass ’n poly tea glass with a polycarbonate exterior and glass interior; and another that’s a more handle-with-care all glass (in the interior and exterior) design.
Both are BPA free, transparent, so yes, you can see the tea leaves soaking, usable with loose-leaf tea as they come with a removable and easy to clean stainless steel tea filter; and importantly, are beautifully designed, making an eco-chic addition to your fall wardrobe, office desk and possibly (since I have not to date tested this) even your bicycle basket.
I love that the lid screws on really tight so there is no spillage while commuting and that the 2 layers of glass and polycarbonate prevent the cup from getting too hot to hold it comfortably.
My only advice, you have to clean the Libre glasses and dry the insides out well (as you would wine-glasses) so there aren’t any streaks or marks left behind from your tea.
For more information on Libre Tea Glasses, how to use them and to purchase, visit: http://libretea.com/
The glass’n poly model holds approximately 9oz. or 260 mL.
Cost: $24.00 USD
The glass n glass model holds 10 oz. or approximately 290 mL.
Cost: $25.00 USD
Small town living is growing on me… sort of. Yesterday, we met the local postmaster or rather postmistress who knew all the goings on in this bubble of a world on the edge of the ocean. And I realized once again, how small this town really is. Haven’t felt the urge to leave for the city quite as yet… especially since the whales have been breaching in the ocean right in front of our house, a good excuse to interrupt some writing.
Also happy to report that there is much in the way of sustainable design happening here.
Local surfer, artist and designer (well she moved from the big city as well a few years ago) Angie, runs Pina Styles, a sweet little outpost of creativity, art and clothing right here in town. Her art is a witty reflection on everything from the depressing state of our environment, to how we treat animals and also how we live right in the midst of all this wildness, even in cities.
The limited edition, original prints are screened onto soft bamboo and organic cotton tees, there’s a great line of baby (and newborn) wear and lots of other treats.
Hope you enjoy Angie’s eye-catching art for some afternoon inspiration.
One of my goals during this journey to India was to visit an ayurvedic centre and experience a ten day long detoxification process called Panchkarma. Unfortunately, time has been flying by and ten days seemed a little dear to spend far away from my family, so instead, I got a short 3 day respite at an Ayurvedic Centre called KARE.
Blessed by Yoga Guru BKS Iyengar at its founding ten years ago, KARE is located between Bombay and Pune in the still idyllic setting of Mulshi Lake, a fresh water reservoir surrounded by hills, foliage and small villages. With no cell phone reception or internet there, you are totally cut off from the larger world and that was what I needed to really focus on some quiet, healing time.
Upon arriving, you have a consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor on site, who then works with you to determine an appropriate course of treatments for your stay, depending on your Ayurvedic dosha or mind-body proclivity. You proceed to your first treatment, a leisurely abhyangya (oil massage with herbs – very calming for the nervous system) and swedana, a steam where you sit up to your neck in a wooden box that is heated with steam from a pressure cooker – it was hot, wow, I think I lasted for a max of ten minutes.
Lunch, a beautiful and delicious presentation of all the tastes: sweet, bitter, salty, sour and astringent is offered next. You begin with a prayer, after which the only “sweet” of the day is eaten – now – when your digestive fire or agni is at its strongest – and usually consists of a small “katori” or bowl of some type of kheer. Our first day, it was a delicious saffron kheer – a carrot one was also quite memorable.
After hot rotis fashioned from a whole grain like millet or jowar, a filling lentil soup or dal, rice and a salad – made from a lightly steamed vegetable and delicious yoghurt dressing, you end your lunch with salty, spiced buttermilk or “chaas.” The chaas is served last as it is the astringent taste and according to ayurvedic principles it is the astringent taste that signals your body that it is now satiated. So, who knew, dessert first when your digestive fire is at its strongest – and then you get to slow down? Interesting.
Our afternoon consisted of a resorative Iyengar style yoga class, followed by a second ayurvedic treatment – eoin got a reflexology while I got a medicinal facial massage with herbal drops to clear my sinus passages, known as Nasya. There was a fruit snack and then an evening break to relax, read, hike, explore the area or play croquet – because KARE, for some reason has a croquet lawn.
Sitting by our balcony, taking in India’s chattering birds, the misty hills and even a sprinkling of rainshowers, was truly rejuvenating. After three days, we felt renewed and ready to take on the mad dance of India once more.
To learn more about KARE, visit: www.karehealth.com.
The best season to visit is between November through March.
Thanks for reading. Namaste!