By: Lady Bouley
At just over five weeks of travel, we've managed to visit seven beautiful and unique countries. We've swam in The Mediterranean Sea and witnessed The Northern Lights in Iceland. Some moments flow with ease and abundance, while others present challenges and temporary set backs. Whether blissful or challenging, each day presents opportunities for learning both about ourselves, and the culture around us. Somebody once said, if it's not a good time, it's a good story! With our first official blog post, we're excited to share some of things we've learned so far.
1. If you want a coffee in Amsterdam, don't expect to get one from a Coffeeshop.
Quite confusingly, Coffeeshops sell Santa Maria, and Smart Shops sell Niños. If you want an actual coffee, you'll have to stop by a hairdresser or a cafe. Needless to say, we visited them all.
2. The gluten in Italy didn't upset our gluten-sensitive tummies.
We were thrilled to be able to enjoy gluten-full Italian breads, pastas, and vegan pizza. "Is this what it's like to be a normal person?" We tried it all #wheninRome Although delicious, Italian wheat makes your pants tighter just the same as the GMO crop we get back home.
3. People in Iceland don't have surnames.
People in Iceland don't have last names in the same way that we do in North America. Instead, by using Norse tradition, they add the word "son" or "daughter" in combination with the first name of their father. For example, my name would be Lady Ráýdottir. Pretty cool! Better explained by the Nordic Wiki: https://www.nordicnames.de/wiki/Icelandic_Surnames
4. London is a crazy time
We needn't go into detail, but apparently having a crazy time is an unavoidable consequence of visiting this city.
5. We like living by the Spanish clock.
Breakfast at 9, Lunch at 2, Siesta until 5, and back to work until dinner around 9. It seems to be the perfect flow accompanied by late night chats and relaxation until midnight before a good night's rest. And of course, coffee throughout.
6. Don't bother mooning anyone in Amsterdam.
We're always down for a good laugh, which is why Molly and I seized the perfect opportunity atop the house boat to moon several canal boats full of people as they slowly floated by. Maybe it's because the city is home to the most famous Red Light District in the world, but our butts didn't get a rise out of anyone but ourselves.
7. Festivals take more work than you think.
Having been on the performer/organiser side of two music festivals this summer, we highly suggest quadrupling the amount of time and supplies you think you'll need. Consider giving yourself a little more than a month to prepare and always have a back up plan in case of rain. This has been made very clear to us.
8. Vegan gelato exists and it's amazing.
Staying vegan on the road is not always easy. We do the best we can by using apps like Happy Cow and shopping at organic grocery stores to cook in our Air B&B. Sometimes we knowingly order things that aren't vegan for the cultural experience, and sometimes things just get lost in translation. It's important for us to allow fluidity in our expectations, but we stick to it 90% of the time. When unexpected vegan options for cultural dishes like Italian gelato or pizza pop up, we find ourselves giddy with excitement and full of gratitude (and noms).
9. There are gnomes, elves, fairies, and ogres all over the world.
If you keep an eye out, you'll be able to spot ogres on the London Underground, elves in the Icelandic mountains, and fairies floating through Sicily. When you bring magic, you see magic.
By far the worst airline we've ever flown with, and to be avoided at all costs (especially when travelling with a harp, a guitar, and enough luggage to clothe an entire Sicilian village).
11. Embrace Your Baggage
Despite our best attempt to embody the "beings of light" we strive to be, we don't travel very "light". We have bathing suits for Portugal, winter gear for Iceland, crystals for altars, gear to film our documentary and record the podcast, a harp, a guitar, and some essential vegan cooking supplies. Add our eco-friendly glass water bottles and yoga mats/books/manuals, and you end up with quite a heavy load. Rather than fighting this reality, we've accepted that doing a lot of things requires us to carry a lot of things. C'est la vie.