Vegan or vegetarian? How to take your principles with you anywhere and everywhere

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Ushtobe, Kazakhstan

One of the most common topics of discussion with fellow travellers is food, though when I casually mention that I continue to uphold my meat-free lifestyle even when travelling, I get a mixed reaction. From time to time I cross paths with someone who disapproves, passive-aggressively inferring that I am rude for rejecting local food. There are of course also those that understand how important it is for me, or anyone else, to hold onto principles regardless of the culture in which we find yourselves. I would not eat meat at a stranger’s house in Mongolia, just as a I wouldn’t eat it when going to a carnivorous friend or colleague’s house in England. I have found people to be understanding wherever I find myself in the world, once I explain my reasons (that is, once I get past the language barrier). That said, there are some places where it is far more difficult to get by as a vegetarian or vegan–not because people are less open to the idea–but because the culture has historically not practiced agriculture and fewer vegetables are consumed.  Continue reading

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Journeys in a Land of Fire and Ice

I confess to being a relentless pursuer of (good) dreams. This came to take on quite a literal meaning during my recent trip to Patagonia.

I had always wanted to visit that unfathomable, sparsely populated region shared by Argentina and Chile, but not so much for the reasons that you might expect. Sure, while there I wanted to take in some of Patagonia’s rugged beauty, but there was something else drawing me in; I’ll come back to that later.

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Cosy porch view onto Escondido Lake

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Winter shadows in Buenos Aires

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After fifteen hours in a plane and a night spent in a room with blinds that create the illusion of night, it’s quite standard for me to feel heightened senses and consequentially sensory overload upon going out into the ‘real’ world.

Newly arrived in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires in winter, the first thing that struck me was the low hanging sun and the striking shadows of branches it projected against concrete, taking otherwise ordinary everyday scenes and transforming them into something kind of beautiful Continue reading

Onto the Silk Road

Uzbekistan is one of those countries which is opening up its borders to tourism, though most tourists don’t know about it yet. While inside the country there are still heavy restrictions on what you can and can’t do; Couchsurfing is almost impossible given the legal obligation to obtain registration slips in each hotel/hostel you visit, photographing state buildings/strategic locations such as bridges is prohibited, finding a double bed as an unmarried couple is difficult. Despite these limitations, the country still offers visitors some beautiful sights, which you might just have to yourself, a feat that is becoming increasingly difficult in our world afflicted with wanderlust. Continue reading

Global Cat-alogue entry #1: Katzakhstan

Here’s the first of what I intend to be a regular on this blog, a direct response to the requests for “more cute cat photos” from various friends:

I bring you the Global Cat-alogue, a place where you can read about felines from all around the world, their habits, food preferences, and occasionally their humans. These posts will continuously be updated, and I welcome input from readers who might be able to contribute a cat profile. Continue reading