Sunday, August 17, 2014

This post is for Maria in Liverpool - I will keep adding to this for you


I think you feel that going away is a huge gigantic step into the unknown and something about it is perhaps quite scary at this moment. So I will slowly compile a list of links and suggestions of women traveling alone or with family, people reporting from their unusual lives as well as a few practicalities that you could take note of.

I will add more links  to this list below whenever I remember more or stumble on more good connections. I will highlight the key ones in bold for you.

The travel insurance company whom I use, you can always ask me why I prefer them to STA travel or many others:

good resource of all kinds of information on travel in Asia (from vias, visa runs, routes and recommendations for short and longer term stays, both cover information for tourism and some for staying to live, work, volunteer or study) - always check the date of forum posts and be mindful that rules and regulations on visas for example change frequently.
specifically for Thailand and a lot of teaching information:
specifically about India:

A Variety of good Women Travel Writing:

I haven't fully explored this list but found a good blog in the line-up:

For Thailand:
actually this particular blog is for a whole range of countries but the link is to a post about Tiger Sanctuaries and everybody should take note and consider before going on elephant rides, snuggling with tigers, visiting human zoos... It is all ok, but be mindful that the place you visit REALLY is acting in the interest of it's inhabitants or else we perpetuate abuse.

Volunteering possibilities that benefit but don't require competing with native English speakers: (I think this is a fantastic program, haven't tried it myself, always search for reviews and have back-up plan ideas, too)  A friend used WorkAway for about 18 months of time spent in France.
I have not checked MOST of the links provided in this list but Workaway & Wwoof are both represented as are about 20 more:

one of the oldest blogs about visiting Mysore for Ashtanga Yoga (I include this because it is a little piece of history):
A more recent blog about Mysore and Yoga and how it all works, written by a woman, I refer to this from time to time. Keep an eye on her other recommendations, she might recommend links and blogs and resources.:

In fact here is a major long list of Mysore Ashtanga Blogs (I obviously have NOT checked them all out, so use your own judgement about what's worth spending time researching there, some VERY good blogs among this list):

links that I have NOT yet checked out, so I am not recommending them but sharing them for your own investigations:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bear with my inconsistent appearances...

I haven't been writing much on this blog and I don't know at this moment of writing how up to date the tabs at the top are or the countless links that you can see to the right of the text body.

Bear with me, I am overwhelmed with too many open-ended blog-projects (with this being the oldest one and I thought this would be the best place for the next post, which will be for Maria), too much life-uncertainty, too many life options even and not enough resources to grasp the options that lay in front of me. This leaves me very frustrated and almost tearful as I have to say 'No thank you' to so many good things that I might never have the opportunity again to touch, join, work with or learn from. Right now is perhaps the most uncertain time that I have ever experienced and the time in which I feel most powerless of any time in my life.

However I am not entirely despondent either, instead I sit and watch everything that passes me by and wonder how to actually see the silver lining to this situation, how to make something of it without missing it's possibilities entirely. Maybe we can't always have everything and have to find the treasure in a fraction of a thing. I have some ideas about this but this ultimately is material for another post of thoughts.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My American Workpermit came in the Post - I am ready to launch

So as you can see I am at last fully international, legally permitted to work anywhere in Europe, England and America. Perfect. The Green Card interview is scheduled for the coming Monday and we are looking forward to it. After that it will be a little longer before I get the full Green Card, but in the meantime I have both a work permit and a travel permit, which apparently is very unusual.

Normally travel permits come as part of the Green Card and it is less common for people to be allowed to travel while the Green card application process is still pending.

The photograph is of my friend Noungh in Cambodia, standing on top of the small boat that we took to spend a day together around the Floating village and Flooded Forest. We caught snails that day and Noungh's contacts cooked them for everybody. I as a vegetarian had a hard time with that and didn't eat these, but there were plenty of other tasty snacks available for us. We had a feast of Cambodian delicacies.

I post this photograph of Noungh here because she appears so celebratory and victorious as she stands atop the roof of our boat, at sunset on lake Tonle Sap. And while only knowing her for a short intensive time I think her victories are fragile and for that reason ought to be celebrated all the more.

My mind wanders to the dreams yet unrealized by myself and those whom I have met around the world. These days everybody is a traveler, or it appears that way when I open up the internet and open any of many endless blogs. What I valued on my journeys were the extended periods of stay in places where most people fly in and out of with only a few days sandwiched between. So I think of those dreams, and also wonder about their shelf life.. I am nearing 40, I am! And need to explore what the real dreams are, it is so easy to get tangled in attempting to fit into the more 'normal' realm of social norms. And there is actually no guarantee that this would yield in any way greater success..

Bear with me as I try and figure it out, as I try and map my way around too many life options as opposed to maybe to few as it might have been the case (in some cases I know it was) for some of my friends, whom I found along the way in Cambodia, Thailand and India in particular.

For now I am getting ready to take some fresh photographs of Jason doing Yoga & Tai Chi for his portfolio and of the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco at the end of the month. 

In fact let me be wild for a moment and share a possible plan with you: I found a 7 month long Massage Program in Hawaii / Kauai for approximately $7500; totaling 700 hours of training. I had never ever considered Kauai but now I think: why not? It sounds like the perfect healing and learning experience! The teacher and director of the program, Lee Joseph, has been teaching for 30 years and the way the courses are described they sounds positively grounding. The price is amazing, of course I don't know what being in Kauai would be like, at all... NO idea. 

Photographing and Massaging as a life practice.. Perhaps a reality?
Don't even ask how I think that I could fit Academic plans into this.. I just don't know.

Friday, June 13, 2014

We are house sitting in San Francisco

So it is official: since Tuesday we are house sitting and looking after one lovely dog and two super soft cats, right in San Francisco.

The animals need special attention and a certain amount of company which is why we have the opportunity to swap pet care (and basic home care) for a month of fe accommodation somewhere not far from Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge and even a glorious beach. It is quite a commitment that we took on, acting for animals can be a bit like caring for children, in as far as you really can't casually neglect them because you would like to go and follow some impromptu plans instead.

So our lives for the next four weeks will be planned very much around the animal needs. It's good practice for thinking about having pets again ourselves in the future ( or even small humans). So far the dog is the impersonification of well behaved and the cats, well we have a hard time stopping cuddling them, they are easily the most relaxed and welcome cats we have ever met.

Friday, May 16, 2014

I re-emerge from the wormhole

What happened there! I made no posts for 6 months. Well..

I am working on getting a new batch of business cards printed ready in time for what I hope will be the arrival of my American Green Card sometime soon. It's tricky knowing when to begin advertising but if I don't do it about 4-8 weeks before my work permit comes then I will lose time when it finally gets here. (if it ever will)

I use Moo Cards because I like them. There should be a 10% discount link to the right in my wide selection of favoured links.. Check them out. They are a bit pricy but I have found the quality really good (they print a little darker than your screen might show you) and the service so far (6 years and counting) very responsive. By all means carry on photocopying your cards though, in the end we all know that nobody, except your mum, ever looks at your card to look up your number or email address anyway..

So here I am: in California, Jason pays for everything, I can't get my wordpress website to look even remotely professional, my photo portfolio site is a mess and I do need all that to start coming together a bit more if I want to ever start selling. You would think a woman approaching 40 would have it figured out by now.. No, not so..

I really wouldn't mind returning to depressing England and getting some work so I can stand on my own feet a bit more but at the same time I am hatching these crazy ideas about re-inventing the wheel and make a living photographing on the road, making friends and connections, sharing massage treatments and small yoga classes, writing for food journals and photographing anything from yogis to raw vegan cakes, social documentary to special events in the lives of well earning humans..

So here is the not so perfect photo portfolio website that I am working on:

I appreciate any feedback you are happy to share. But bear in mind that the website is somewhat out of my control, I just appear to not have any say in spacing between sections for example and lots of design issues have a mind of their own.

If you like anything: please buy it.
Seriously: it would be a big help.

Especially if you are not in America. It is better for me if my customers are from anywhere else until my Green Card arrives. But what the hell, I can't stop you, can I?