Moonroots

Find your roots and grow, wherever you go. Travel-Yoga-Lifestyle


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How I (try to) travel light

As I prepare to jet off on another leg of the great journey the excitement of packing the trusty ol’ travelling backpack fills me with joy. The constant narrowing down of everything you think you ‘need’ until it all fits comfortably into your turtle-shell carry all is a task I am well acquainted with and as annoying it can be, it is always good practice, of travel and of non-attachment.

I told myself this time I was taking nothing. I want to be able to hop on and off of buses without the fear of breaking my spine or dreading trekking up any sort of hill with my oversized pack. I will wear the same outfit for months. I imagine my backpack as a lovely floating green companion with a few shirts and a toothbrush, until I realize that unless I’m on naked and afraid, there will be a lot more than that. I’m going for balance here. So here is what I’ve narrowed it down to, quite painlessly actually, the guts of my pack which will hopefully be more ‘I can evade dogs and run fast with this!’ than ‘holy shit my knees are broken.’

One outfit would be light but ultimately impractical and boring. Sitting in an airport freezing in tiny shorts is at least better when you have a light sweater. Obviously it’s easier to pack light when you’ll be in warm climates, but terrain and environment can vary drastically.photo (32)With clothes it’s best to stick to basics and things that are multipurpose. That scarf? Now it’s a vest..or blanket..or skirt. Scarves are where it’s at.

So here I have:

5 tanktops (they’re small)

1 dress

2 pairs of yoga shorts

1 pair of leggings

1 scarf

1 sarong (like scarves, can have many uses)

2 hats and 1 wool buff

2 pairs jean shorts

1 cardigan

1 rainjacket/windbreaker

a clump of bathing suits and unds

Not so bad. I can honestly say scarves and my rainjacket have saved me numerous times, pack them! Also in this photo is my travel hoop (need) and hammock. Hammock’s a little heavy but can come in very handy and oh so comfy.

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As for shoes, I typically end up with none or well worn flip flops, but there’s always a part of me that pictures myself hiking epic volcanoes and hoping for something a little more sturdy. The boots are a bit of an exception. These aren’t exactly something I would highly recommend bringing, but I love them.photo (33)

This part is where shit gets heavy. Previously I’ve travelled without a computer ( I didn’t actually own one at the time) but I just prefer to have it, especially if I plan to keep this ol’ thing pretty up to date. Then cameras, cords and chargers are added into the mix. As long as electronics are all kept compact and organized they’re really not bad to travel with. Also pictured here is the ESSENTIAL yoga mat and handy dandy journal. Not pictured here: Gopro and accessories.

 

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Also bringing the ukulele!!!

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This things been around the block.

At the end of it all, I feel like I did a pretty good job this time around. All comes down to weeding out what you really don’t need, which will become apparent when you hit the road. And don’t forget the little things, like passport copies and padlocks, just to be safe.

Hope this was a decent insight on the art of packing, happy travels and be safe!!!

Stay tuned for posts on my upcoming travels and to see where the wind is currently taking me!

Namaste!


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Foods to Fall in Love With in Central America

One of the most amazing parts of being in such a lush and fertile environment is the crazy abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, new and interesting plants foods to try, and learning the secrets of nourishing the body locally and harnessing mother nature’s gifts. These are some edibles that provide the body with a plethora of nutrients and antioxidants, and local and inexpensive!

1. Pejibaye or Peach Palmpifa

These round yellow, orange or red gems are the fruit of a species of palm tree, belonging to the drupe family like peaches and stone fruits, but with a texture and flavour similar to that of a squash. Delicious when boiled with a little bit of salt and then peeled and eaten, the rich orange meat of the Pejibaye is rich in vitamin C, calcium and phosphorous. At about 2 dollars a pound they are an amazing food to keep as healthy snacks, and sold at many farmers markets and larger grocery stores.

2. CoconutsimagesCAPT84EX

Yes ok, kind of a given, but you can’t go wrong with a fresh coconut, especially in the heat or when losing a lot of fluids. Find them on the beach or pick one up on the side of the road for instant happiness. The coconut water is high in potassium and other minerals such as zinc and selenium. Super hydrating! The meat can be scooped out of the young ones, or bust open an older, smaller coconut to get to the sweet and dense pulp. Although high in fat, the meat is full of nutrients and contains lauric acid found in the oil, which is said to be antifungal and antimicrobial, among other amazing benefits. Balance out all that healthy goodness with a shot of rum in a fresh coconut and you’ve got yourself one of the best cocktails of life.

3. MangoimagesCA1Y0LWB

It’s mango season right now and if you check the ground after a rainfall or get a long stick to fish up the tree, juicy mangoes a plenty will be yours. High in Vitamin C with that same rich orange colour, the sweet flesh of the fruit is like hitting a goldmine. If you get a green one the more firm flesh can be cut up and dipped in salt for a savory and tart snack.

4. Plantainsplantains

Also available in most grocery stores in North America, these resemble bananas but are actually part of the potato family. Addictive as patacones, where the green plantain is chopped into chunks, fried on the outsides, taken out and smashed into discs, then put back into the pan to crisp up. A great addition to vegetable dishes when you’re feeling like something a little bit more heavy. Also great when ripe and fries, these come on most ‘casados’, a traditional food plate of rice and beans, salad and some kind of meat.

5. Noninoni

These strange fruits produce one of those elixirs people like to call ‘superfoods’. To make your own elixir at home you can put a noni in a glass jar and sit it in the sun to ferment for a couple of weeks. Ensure that the jar is really clean to prevent contamination, and then wait as the vinegary and slightly sweet juice oozed from the noni. Yes, it smells like it shouldn’t be drank, but is considered miraculous stuff and has been used for a very long time. You can also buy it bottled at most grocery stores.

6. BeansIMG_6770

Amazing everywhere as a source of fibre and protein, beans are readily available almost anywhere and a vegetarians saving grace in terms of protein. Buy dried ones for cheap and soak them yourself, or get in on refried beans in a bag. At sodas and roadside restaurants, beans and rice is one of the cheapest dishes you can order, and also quite filling. Combine beans with corn tortillas, fresh veg and avocado and you’ve got yourself a locally sourced and delicious lunch or dinner!

Though there is tons more that could be added to this list, these are just some I have found to be staples or just particularly amazing and needed to be mentioned! Enjoy!

What other amazing foods do you enjoy in Central America? Any recipes you use these in?

 

 

 


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Jungle Livin’ in the Cloud Forest

The bus from Bocas del Toro to David roared up mountain roads until we finally arrived at our stop. What seemed to be the middle of nowhere, the path into the mountain would take us to the Lost and Found, a unique jungle lodge set on the side of a mountain in the cloud forest of the Chiriquí province. I lugged my monstrosity of a backpack up the trail that had encouraging signs along the way giving me hope that we would soon reach our sanctuary on the hill. The lodge slowly came into view. With triple bunk high dorms, a full use kitchen complete with a vegetable shelf and pantry in case you need more provisions and it’s own bar with a light machine. Not too bad for being out in ‘the middle of nowhere’. The Lost and Found is also home to an adorable honey bear named Rocky, make sure to give him some love. IMG_7044The cool climate was a huge change from being in Bocas, bringing out the tights and poncho in the evenings, although as soon as you go into the valley the heat is back, as we found on our trip to the Los Posoz de Caldera hot springs, located next to Rio Caldera. The 3 natural pools were teeming with geo-thermal energy and minerals. Not too crowded and so nourishing, and the river close by was a welcome relief from the heat coming at you at all angles.IMG_7108IMG_7103 As they too claim, Lost and Found is the perfect base to venture off into the jungle on hikes in search of amazing viewpoints, beautiful wildlife and river sanctuaries. The lodge’s “Treasure Hunt” sent us off for a day of riddle-breaking and running around prehistoric looking tree roots, across rivers and down jungle trails feeling like Indiana Jones. The satisfaction of solving riddles and finding the clues hidden in the wilderness were just lovely side aspects to an awesome hike through the enchanted forest.IMG_7056IMG_7094IMG_7066 The bar featured great drink prices and games, including giant jenga, so when you’re not on a night hike or enjoying the mountain breeze you can hang in the ambience, listen to some tunes and kick it with some cool people.IMG_7097IMG_7102 IMG_7117

At night when cicadas, music and happy voices are all you hear, you almost forget you’re on the side of a mountain, until you feel the wind, hear the rustling trees and feel oh so lucky to have wound up in the Lost and Found.

Going from David or from Bocas, just tell the bus driver to let you off at the Lost and Found. It sounds sketchy, but they will know what it is, there’s only one road. Email ahead to confirm a reservation!

What other ‘hidden gems’ have you been to? Any eco-lodges in the forest I should know about?


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Isla Bastimentos: A Magic Island Paradise

Upon the first arrival the little town on Isla Bastimentos of ‘Old Bank’ was almost creepy. Sure there is some trash, initially a feeling of where the hell am I and a few dogs that may make you feel a little uneasy, but all that quickly faded away as the hours went by here on the island. Raw jungle and shoreline, eating worm-filled guavas, making smoothies from jackfruit and indulging in a superfood green that grows on the island known as ‘chaya’, this place is ethereally beautiful, vibrant and colourful, sounds and tastes so pure. You can see it in the people here too, their way of life just so real and seeming to just give off this essence of ‘human’. IMG_6856IMG_6853IMG_6913Hostel Bastimentos is home for now, with comfortable and airy dorms set on top of a hill overlooking the water. If you take the back door and continue up the hill you will come to ‘Coffee up in the Hill’, a little organic coffee shop in a prime location that serves up delicious coffees, teas, fresh fruit juices and crazy good chocolate brownies. They also sell raw cacao, homemade coconut oil body products and lovely handmade jewelry. Try the chaya empanada, it’s worth it. The perfect place to spend a bit of time before heading over to Wizards Beach, a 20 or so minute walk from here, where swimming and surfing are both possible, just be careful of the strong rip currents.IMG_6933 IMG_6927IMG_6937The island has a couple of grocery stores but not too much so if you want anything special it’d be better to get it at nearby Isla Colon, or Bocas town, a short and fun 3 dollar boat trip. Although Wizards Beach in all it’s glory is kind of hard to escape, another amazing spot is Polo Beach. Straight out of an ‘Islands’ magazine for sure. This beach features the clearest water I have ever swam in hands down. So surreal and mythical, backed by the jungle and kissed by the sun, it’s rays dance off the glassy waters. We were so lucky to have a group of local jungle boys sweep us there by boat with their cute dogs, where they ripped out into the jungle to find us iguanas. They didn’t come back with iguanas, but their friendliness and willingness to help really resonates the feeling of this island.IMG_6953 IMG_6955If you don’t feel like making the trip to the big island for some restaurant eats, there are a couple little ones here that have been tried and tested by many. ‘Alvins’, just to the left of the town’s ‘park’ is right on the water and has decently priced casado like dishes, and of course fresh seafood. I have yet to check it out, but apparently there is a Thai restaurant up in the hill cooking up tasty concoctions. If I get tired of eating chaya and beans I will have to try it out. If you’re looking for ‘nightlife’, you won’t really find it here, yet a quick ride over to Caranero Island or Colon will satisfy the party craving. The other night we hit ‘Blue Bar’ a bar over the water with a huge deck where they just so happened to be featuring a live band. Live and extremely loud, and actually quite good. Locals filled this place, and it made for a fun night of sipping rum ‘n’ such under the bright moonlight and hanging with awesome people. There are no cars on this part of the island, so a quick hop down the footpath to the sanctuary of the hostel makes for a perfect evening. IMG_7029Bastimentos is truly magical. Being so close to the earth and surrounded in it’s loving embrace, time doesn’t like to make itself known here. And you just can’t beat making dinner to an amazing view, watching dolphins jump in the bay as your chaya boils.


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Beautiful Bocas del Toro, Panama

Hola amigos! I have been having internet issues/it doesn’t exist where I’m staying so this is my attempt at updating and sharing some beauty in a little slice of a technological flyer. What beautiful days these have been. Now in Bocas del Toro, Panama, on the big island of Isla Colon, or Bocas Town. Didn’t even plan to come here but glad I did! The islands of Bocas are made up of a bunch of beautiful lush swimming and surfing spots, busy and bustling like the hostels in town and muy tranquilo on the smaller islands when you need it.photo (102) Currently staying at Hostel Heike in Bocas Town, a very cool hostel with a super friendly staff, free coffee and pancakes in the morning with fresh grated cacao. The first day here we checked out Playa Estrellas or ‘Starfish Beach’ which was calm as can be and perfect for swimming. We only saw one starfish but it was indeed lovely. Yesterday we biked to Playa Bluff, such a magical place, not for swimming but the waves are fit for surfing. The sight of this beach and the waves really blew me away. A nice 30 or so minute ride unless your chain falls off multiple times.photo (99)

First delicious hostel meal in Panama.

First delicious hostel meal in Panama.

It is so beautiful here I can barely handle it. Looking at the glowing moon from our rooftop patio in such a heavenly light I feel like I can reach out and touch it. Breathe it all in. Drink it all in ever so slowly as this is now. Do it now, whatever it is that feels right. If it doesn’t, let it go, but wherever you are, really see it. Vibrant colours, smells, tastes and sounds. All of these combinations of senses that equal our human experience. Heart open and mind clear, feet free and arms reaching up we dive into the beautiful unknown of the present, every moment is purely magic. Allow it to flow through you. It is you.photo (103)photo (104)

Have you explored Bocas del Toro? What are your favorite places here?