What Makes Thailand So Unique

After only a week here, I have absorbed a few things about this country that I feel make it unique to anywhere else in the world. You can see it walking through the streets of both big cities and small towns, see it in the way the locals speak to one another, in the hospitality they show us, and even in the traffic.

The Thai people are kind and calm, in both mind and body. There is no annoyance, no sarcasm, no anger. They see anger as unnecessary and poisonous. We’ve been shown so much kindness in the past few days; I feel calm here even in the busiest parts of town. It’s even evident in the traffic – although the roads are kind of crazy and lawless, they remain calm all the time and have safety in mind.

Secondly, it’s a matriarchal society. Traditionally, the oldest woman in the family is the head, and all the property goes to her. The women here carry themselves so confidently, but humbly. Watching them do their thing from day to day is really inspiring.

The other day, we stayed in Chiang Dao where we met an older man from Wales, who had been living in Chiang Mai for twenty years. After speaking for a while about these points, he said to us ‘I believe they’re the most civilized people in the world’.

I think I’m starting to agree. 🌿

Southeast Asia Packing List

Hey everyone! If you’re reading this when it’s first publicized, you’re seeing it while Ian and I are on our flight to Bangkok – woohoo!

We decided to go with backpacks instead of checked luggage this time, after AirCanada lost our luggage on our last trip to Portugal. However, seeing as we’ll be away for over a month this time around, packing everything I needed into a 40L travel bag was quite a challenge. Let me tell you what I brought, to ease your time should it come around.

Southeast Asia – One Month Packing List

Clothing

You can’t bring your whole wardrobe in a backpack; but worry not! With a few compromises, your bag will have just the right amount of room for you. Assuming that you can do some laundry by hand in hostel rooms every once in a while, here’s what you should bring:

2 T-Shirts (shirts with sleeves are especially important if you’re visiting temples!)

4 Tank tops

2 Dresses

1 Skirt

2 pairs of shorts

1 pair of comfy shorts (for hiking, sleeping, etc)

1 rain jacket

7 pairs of socks and underwear (expect to wash these about once a week)

1 ball cap

2-3 bathing suits

2 light sweaters

1 pair of jeans

1 pair of comfy pants (yoga pants in my case)

A few headbands for when you’re feeling lazy with your hair

Health and Beauty

1 Lush Shampoo bar (these are said to last about 80 washes)

1 solid Lush face wash

1/2 naked Lush body gel

Your absolutely necessary makeup (remember that you’ll likely be sweating it off if you do bring it!)

1 30 SPF lip balm

1 60 SPF 100ml sun screen

Utilities

1 compact travel clothes line (we have one that takes up about 1square inch of space)

1 waterproof phone sack

1 collapsable water bottle (a lot of the water here is not drinkable, and you’ll likely have to buy a lot of bottled water – I’m sorry, environment )’:

1 mini flashlight

1 travel towel (about 2×4 inches pouch)

1 money belt

Extras

1 DSLR camera, if applicable

1 phone + charger

1 tablet, to upload photos from micro SD’s (I don’t think you can do this with IPads – I have an Android tablet)

Leaves room for your daily vitamins and medications, if necessary

Other tips

In terms of reading entertainment, I download a lot of books to read on my tablet to save space. Also, I found rolling up my clothes to pack them to be the most economical in terms of space.

And that’s it folks – these are my worldly possessions for the next month! What do you make of it?

Pho (ish) Soup 🍜

Hey all! What’s up? Just here to share one of my favourite recipes with you all. I like to make this particular dish when I’m feeling kind of lazy and in need of comfort food. It’s very filling, but also not too heavy! I’m not going to call it pho because it definitely doesn’t fit the traditional pho recipe mold, but it’s certainly derivative of it. Here goes.

Vegan Pho-ish Soup

Ingredients

1/2 cup brocoli

1-2 cups kale

1/2 cup chopped or quartered cremini mushrooms

1 small onion

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup shredded carrot (I like to take a potato peeler to a full carrot)

6-8 Cups pho broth, or vegetable broth (I used powdered veggie broth and it came out delicious!)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon  lemon juice

1/2 standard package of flat rice noodles

1/4 tablespoon pepper

Piri piri oil and/or spice

1/2 teaspoon thyme

Vegetable or Olive oil

1 Cinnamon stick

2 small ginger root pieces

  1. Chop all vegetables into desired sizes – I like to cut my onions into straight slices. Before frying vegetables, fill large pot with broth and turn on high heat.
  2. Toss all vegetables except for carrot into a large pan on high heat with oil of your preference. I used vegetable oil. Cook until the kale shrinks, then reduce to lowest heat. Season with pepper, piri piri, and thyme.
  3.  While the vegetables cook, add flavour to the broth. Add cinnamon stick, ginger roots, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Toss in the shredded carrot.
  4. In a separate pot, boil the rice noodles on high until soft – 3-4 minutes. They cook very quickly! Remove as soon as they’re cooked, and place into a separate bowl. This is optional – you can cook the noodles in the broth, but they may come out soggier.
  5. Once all the ingredients are cooked, combine and serve!

That’s it! Let me know what you think of this recipe and if you have any tweaks – it’s one of my favourites! 🙂

5 Ways to Start a Waste Free Life

As you all know, I believe strongly in a vegan lifestyle. This is for three big reasons:

  1. Ethical Reasons: I do it so animals can, one day, can live out of chains.
  2. Health Reasons: among many health benefits, did you know that a vegan lifestyle is a huge contributor to cancer prevention? There was even been cases of cancer recovery once the individual started a vegan diet. 
  3. The environment: did you know it takes 10-20x more land and resources to feed a carnivore than it does to feed a vegan? This affects forests, water consumption, carbon emissions, etc.

1for1 Pizza

Hey guys! I’m here today to talk to you about some of my favourite Ottawa comfort food.

One of the biggest hurdles to transitioning to a vegan diet is the shift in the kinds of dishes you can eat – sometimes, some of your favourite comfort foods disappear from most menus. Chicken fingers? Nope. Soup? Usually not. Pizza? Definitely not – well, most of the time, unless you want to eat it without cheese. But who does, really?

Charity Pot

Hey everyone! Just your favourite vegan here speaking some awesome vegan knowledge. Are you gearing up for St. Patty’s?

Today I’ll tell you all about one of my favourite Lush products, charity pot. There are so many things about this hand cream that make it great – it smells lovely (and neutral, for those of you who don’t particularly like scented products), but it makes your skin amazingly soft. You hardly even need to use any – it’s a treat.

Ottawa’s Best Independent Coffee

Hey guys! I’m here today to talk to you about coffee – I don’t know about you, but coffee is a treasured treat to me. Although I have heavily cut down on my consumption of it (side note: I did this because it reduced my anxiety very much. I sooo recommend this), I still love it, and have it every now and then. And since it’s so occasional, I like to get quality drinks.

My relationship with coffee started very young: coming from a Greek family, I remember my uncle giving me sips of coffee as early as age 5, and making me coffee of my own at 7. (I know this sounds completely irresponsible, but trust me, it was all done while considering my age). I don’t ever remember feeling like I actually needed it, but I loved the taste from very early. My love for it only intensified this part year, after I spent a year working at Starbucks and learning about the logistics of it.

Taking Toronto

Hey everyone! How’s the week been?

For this post I thought I’d finally get around to writing about our trip to Toronto last month.  My band (The Monotymes) recently was asked to play a festival in Toronto at Nocturne Bar. Between driving there, eating, and leaving early for classes and work tomorrow, we didn’t have all that much time to explore the city – but that didn’t stop us from having a great time!