Episode 60 – Wedding Wonders and Tough Travels
Listen to this episode here!
In this episode Rachel talks about her latest European adventures at her best friend’s wedding in the South of France. Feeling like she was taking an intermission from life for the past couple of weeks, Rachel moved around at a high pace and speaks of a deep feeling of being uprooted. She discusses the changes she has seen lately, not only in her group of friends since her wedding four years ago, but in herself as well. Wondering whether this is a transitional feeling or a true personality change, Rachel delves into the reasons she feels so ungrounded – partly due to the difficulties she faced as a vegan in the South of France. She talks about the importance of feeling your feet on the ground, moving the body and nourishing ourselves with good food. Diving further into the topic of veganism, Rachel shares her tips for vegans when travelling, how her own advice didn’t work at all on this particular trip, and the lessons she learned for next time.
[000:00] Hi, and welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl. I would like to start this week’s episode off by just taking a really deep breath. Maybe you would like to join me. Let’s go ahead and just take a full inhale in through the nose … and then open the mouth and let it out. Just the simple act of breathing in and out, it’s such a life-changer, moment changer, holy holy moly. Isn’t it interesting how as soon as we get stressed, when life starts to move really quickly, we can always see how that reflects in the breath, and the breath gets really short and really tight, and it becomes this sort of negative cycle of stress, then we forget to breathe, and then we forget to breathe and we feel more stressed, and round and round it goes. And it’s so easy to stop. It’s so easy to come back here and now. Just that one, full, big, conscious, mindful inhale, and the releasing of the exhale, it can just really change everything everything everything. Imagine if we could breathe that consciously, that mindfully all the time, every moment of the day. (laugh)
[001:17] So welcome to From The Heart. I kind of almost said welcome back to From The Heart, like we’ve had sort of an intermission. The feeling I have is as if I have had an intermission from my life for the past couple of weeks. The feeling I have is that I’ve been moving at a really high pace, and that I’ve been going from place to place, and I felt really the opposite of grounded. Yeah, I guess sort of … not stressed, it’s not the word stress. Stress for me is very related to accomplishing things, or maybe the feeling of not being able to keep up getting things done. For me stress is very, very work-related. But this feeling that I have is just the opposite of feeling grounded. I guess uprooted. Is that a good enough word? I don’t know. Uprooted, I think that’s the word that describes my past couple of weeks the most.
[002:15] We’ve had an amazing time, oh my god. We’ve had an amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing time the past few weeks. We’ve been traveling for a month now. The past couple of weeks we spent in France. Last week’s podcast I spoke about my crazy trip from south of France to L.A. over a weekend. So I did that, and then we were in France for two and a half, something like that, two and a half weeks for our best friends’ wedding. And it’s amazing to say “our best friends’” because it’s my best friend since childhood and Dennis’ best friend since childhood who found each other and got married. It was absolutely, unbelievably beautiful. So amazing.
[002:50] So I’m going to share a little bit about the wedding and what’s been going on in my life the past week. But this feeling of being uprooted, and as I speak it, I’m right now I’m looking at a tree that’s in my living room. So, I’m in Sweden, I’m back in our apartment. We haven’t been here since we were here in August. It’s been a long time, it’s been, yeah, half a year since we were here. Since we’ve been gone my mom has put out a whole bunch of plants, she … I don’t know, she did a lot of really beautiful things for this apartment. But I’m looking at a tree right now that’s standing in the corner, and the word “uprooted” this feeling of having a tree kind of yanked at by the trunk so the roots are pulled up out of the earth, that’s the feeling that I’m sort of sitting with right now, or that I’ve been sitting with right now. It’s been a really challenging thing. So in the midst of all of this amazing stuff that’s been going on, so this wedding, ho-ly moly. I can’t even … I don’t even know … I wanted Olivia to be on the podcast to share with me. Maybe in the coming weeks she’ll have time, but I mean she’s a newlywed, they’re still in France with the whole family.
[003:54] But this wedding, it was over three days, and 100 people came, and it was half of the guests, at least, I think more, half were from Aruba, so they flew across the whole world. The rest were mostly Swedish and French. People came in from other place. So, at mine and Dennis’ wedding, oh my god, the amount of wild craziness that took place there, the dancing, the drinking, the … holy moly, it was totally insane. And at that time, I mean, it was four years ago, let me not fork this up. I was 25, Dennis was 27, and we were the first out of our group of friends to get married. So, people had never really traveled before, it was a wedding overseas, we had people from 12 countries. We were all kind of young, it was that place … I don’t know, like now in our group of friends there’s definitely a baby wave happening and a wedding wave. We have so many weddings this year, there’s a lot of babies all over. At that time there was none. No one we knew really had kids, and people hadn’t gotten married yet. So there were two children, I think, only at the wedding. And the were older, so we didn’t really have any babies. And we also had a three-day wedding. It was outside of Stockholm, and the day before the main day we had planned, and Olivia and Patrick had sort of the same setup, so the day before the main day, this was the Friday, we had planned this kind of summer barbecue with grilled vegetables, and we were drinking strawberry caipirinhas. It was this super nice, really beautiful evening, and we had planned for everyone just to be in the courtyard of this place, this castle where we got married, and have a drink and toast and say welcome to everyone and just eat really amazing food, and we would all kind of be done around nine and go to bed and then be ready for the big day, which was the next day.
[005:32] That did not happen. I remember at like, I don’t know, 7 pm or 8 pm, the dancing that was happening outside was just so insane and out of this world that the castle people complained. Okay, so when I say castle it sounds super fancy, like we were like a prince and a princess getting married in a castle. There are castles all over Sweden. This is a monarchy, so it’s just everywhere. But most of them have been kind of transformed to spa centers or conference centers or hotels. So you can easily have a party or a wedding or anything at a castle without it being too insane. But yeah, it was also sort of insane.
[006:09] We got so rowdy on the first day outside, really early, that the castle people, the staff had to ask us to move everything inside because the neighbors were complaining. I mean, this was like a castle, so there wasn’t like there was a neighbor next door. The closest neighbor were miles away. We had to move the whole sound system inside because it was so crazy. Then inside it got even more insane. I think it was 2 or 3 in the morning, I mean, the morning, and this was the night before our wedding … there’s a picture of Dennis, he’s like on a pool table and his shirt is open and there’s like 3 or 4 of my best friends are standing over him on the pool table pouring champagne or something insane down his throat with a whole crowd of guys behind cheering him on. Like, I think he did a body shot off of my body at some point? Like, this was the day before, it wasn’t even the main party. This was supposed to be the mellow little barbeque. It was so crazy. We couldn’t get anybody to go to bed, and that party was so insane.
[007:03] So, the next day, which was supposed to be the main day, this sort of set the stage for that. So, for our wedding weekend everyone kind of talks about it like, “Wow. That was the craziest party of all-time. Holy shit.” And it lasted like a week. It was totally insane.
[007:21] And this one, now we’re all order, it’s been four years, but so much has happened since then. Then it was kind of the time where people were sort of getting together, maybe they just started dating the person that they’re now having kids with. There’s definitely been a lot of changes in the constellation within our group of friends. And there was so many babies at Olivia and Patrick’s wedding. I mean, it was so, so different. So the thought of the day before the wedding being rowdy and crazy and getting drunk, like, that wasn’t really a thing. People were really modest and kind of quiet, which was awesome. It was so so so so perfect for the vibe for this whole wedding. It was really everything we could have ever wished it to be. But it was interesting to see how everybody has kind of changed throughout this years, because at our wedding, I think the theme was sort of like, how crazy can we get and celebrate this union? And for this weekend it was more like, you know, how can we all just unite and kind of share with a glass of wine and hug and talk. And everybody is sharing advice and things about babies and marriage. It was definitely very, very, very different. I really appreciated it.
[008:29] So, the first night with Olivia and Patrick now, it was pretty quiet, and they had sort of like a standing dinner where people were at this really beautiful place outside where they were serving food. It was sort of like how you would serve appetizers or hors d’oevres, but it was dinner, so it was a standing dinner outside.
[008:43] Then the second day was … oh, I can’t wait. Actually, I can already now kind of show some photos, I think, through social media. But the way the wedding and the actual ceremony was setup and the place it was setup … It was a dream, it was a dream, it was a dream. I spent the entire ceremony crying so hard I had to close my mouth so I wouldn’t choke on my tears and make a scene, because I just couldn’t stop crying! It was so beautiful, it was so unbelievably beautiful. And Luni was there, Lea Luna was there with my mom, and she was running around, so they were kind of in the background a little bit. There was one point in the ceremony where she saw Dennis and she was like, “Papa? Papa?” She’s pointing at Dennis as she tries to run up to him to like hug him. But, you know, we were both in the wedding party, both me and Dennis on either sides of the couples. I was just … seeing her there while our best friends getting married, I mean, it was so beautiful, so absolutely amazing.
[009:40] And the vows they shared … Oh god! They should have been like … I don’t know, they should have been like … really some things are truly best kept just for ourselves, spoken from someone who shares absolutely everything, including there’s … my wedding video, pieces of it is on YouTube. (laugh) I’m the most public person of all-time. But this ceremony, it was just … it was OH MY GOD gorgeous. And they were holding little Hunter, their little baby boy. Ugh. I mean, I cried just thinking … I literally just got goose bumps just thinking about this union of love and how amazing it was.
[010:11] Then there was a big, of course, like a big reception and a dinner and everything at night. And I had a speech that I was agonizing over because it’s kind of a … yeah, I prepared kind of a big speech, and it was also really emotional and I didn’t want to, again, you know, break down and cry like I did at the ceremony, and I managed to keep it together pretty well.
[010:31] Somehow we didn’t stay that late. It wasn’t that crazy of a party. It was more just really beautiful and really sacred and perfect. I actually felt awesome the next day. I wasn’t even a little bit not sober the whole weekend, which is kind of crazy for me and weddings, because I really like to dance and party when I have the chance to. But it was so beautiful.
[010:50] But one of the things that have been really challenging throughout all of this is this feeling of being uprooted. I don’t know, I’ve been really sitting with where does this come from? I know I’m not alone when it comes to becoming a mother and kind of entering this new phase in life, because of course it’s totally different. And many people have written me and said, “Oh, you know, I used to love traveling, I used to love going from place to place, I would be a total world explorer and backpack, and then I had a baby, and NO, I don’t even feel like it anymore.” It’s sort of like there’s this little bit of a personality shift. I’ve been wondering, like, is this really true? Or is it just a transitional time where right now it is really challenging to travel with a child, and it will pass? Because it’s not just this, you know, yeah traveling with the baby sucks. Traveling with a baby who won’t sleep while she travels … sucks. But, aside from that getting from Point A to Point B, I feel totally different about not being home! I can’t even … I can’t even explain it, I don’t know. And I think that maybe this is more than just a transitional time where right now I don’t love going from place to place. But I actually feel like I have changed. I don’t know.
[012:03] And I’m a little bit reluctant about it, actually, because okay, looking at my husband, so we were in France. We stayed in five … I can’t remember if it’s five or six different places. So that’s also kind of crazy. We had this arrangement for different reasons. So, my mom was staying in one place with the baby and that place did not allow dogs, so Ringo couldn’t stay there. So it wasn’t like we didn’t prepare, it was all kind of crazy and last minute. And then my sisters came last minute, which also wasn’t part of the plan, so we had to kind of get a bigger place. But it still couldn’t hold us because Ringo couldn’t stay there. So then we were somewhere else, and then we were staying with Olivia and Patrick for a little while, and then we went somewhere else, and then when the wedding started there was a groomsmen house and a bridesmaids house. So, the first night Olivia and I shared a room in the bridesmaid’s house, and Dennis and Patrick shared a room in the groomsmen house. Then after the ceremony when they were married, they went off into a nice hotel for their wedding night, and then Dennis moved and he came to where I was staying. And then after that we had to find another place to stay, because we only had that house for two days. So we’ve been kind of hopping around from place to place, which normally I wouldn’t even think twice about. Normally I love exploring new places, and even if I’m in one city or in one place, you know, exploring different hotels or different AirBNBs, different places to stay, different parts of the city or parts of the place, I really like that! I like moving around. I normally get really bored if I’m in one place for too long, so I would never have complained about this, or even thought it was a challenge otherwise. Because the baby was with my mom it wasn’t even so much we had to move the baby around. The baby slept in the same place, pretty much. She had two places she slept throughout this whole trip in France. It wasn’t about that. It was really me. It was really me. I wasn’t feeling good, you know, sort of not having a space to unpack and settle in, I guess is the word. This feeling of like, “Okay, now I’m here,” and then the next day like, “Oh, we’re going somewhere else.”
[013:57] I think that’s where that feeling of uprootedness comes from. And I’m really wondering if it’s sort of, you know, part of maturing a little bit. I’m guessing it’s evolution and not a regression, I don’t know, and if it’s something I should really embrace and go with and melt into and just accept, like, “Yeah, this is the kind of person that I am right now.” Or is it just this transitional thing and it’s going to just pass, and actually I need to just get a little bit better at maybe letting go of control and just going with the flow of where I am, you know? I honestly can’t decide.
[014:33] So, I feel like I’ve been faced with this sort of personality change that I don’t know what to do with, because I also really love this version of Rachel that travels the world and is totally care free, that doesn’t really care about anything and can go from place to place. Like, I love that version of myself. Can I keep her a little while longer? Like, please please, can I? But I honestly think I’m kind of kidding myself, because this uprooted feeling, it’s sooo hard. It’s really really really so hard. And I find myself every time I’m repacking a bag, going someplace else, unpacking a bag or making a mess because I can’t really unpack so I’m just pulling things out of my suitcase, it has this feeling like I’m always catching up a little bit. My body is in one place, but my soul or my heart kind of stays behind for a second, like I have a hard time catching up. So the feeling is like I’m really split between all of these different places, and that feeling isn’t a nice feeling, at all. And it makes it much harder for me to be really present, to really be in my body. Thus this need to kind of sit down at the beginning of this podcast and just take a really deep breath. Because now I feel like I’ve arrived somewhere.
[015:45] I’m back in our apartment in Sweden, this is a place, it’s home away from home, I know my way around here. This is our place, I grew up here. The school I went to, not high school, what’s the school before high school? In Swedish we call it [Swedish] (laugh). I think it’s Junior High? Is that? That’s the word I’m looking for? … is literally across the street from where our little apartment is in Stockholm. This is really my part of town. So, the moment we came here I’m like, “Okay, I can just land here.” And also knowing that, yeah, I can just kind of unpack and roll my yoga mat out and leave it on the floor because I’m going to come back to it in the same place. I’m not going to roll it back up and then go somewhere else. That feeling is really, really good, and really really settling, I guess, is the feeling.
[016:35] So, I’m looking at this tree right now and I’m like I don’t want anyone to pick me up off the ground and uproot me again. And the strange part about this is that the one who was always sort of the homebody was Dennis, and the one who loved to travel everywhere was me. And now the roles have completely changed. Even in France, as we went from place to place, he’s just so so loving it, all the time! He’s like, “Let’s pack our stuff!” And, “Let’s unpack our stuff!” And he’s just so happy! And I’m like kind of grumpy, like, “Ugh, another place, let’s go, let’s move.” And he’s just so easy-going and he loves it so so so so much. He’s even saying, like, “Hey, I could go around Europe and backpack with the baby alone. You don’t have to come, it’s okay, you can stay in Sweden or you stay in Aruba, I’ll just go explore with her.” And I’m like, “Oh my god!” How did it get so reversed and so changed? Because he’s truly enjoyed all of this moving around and all of this going from place to place and I just … I’ve had quite a hard time with it. So it’s kind of interesting where this has put us right now.
[019:28] And I actually have, today, I’m recording this, it is Wednesday, and on Friday I have another bachelorette party. (laugh) This one is in north Sweden, it’s in … Oh crap, can I talk about this already? Hmmm. Actually, yes, I can because the podcast does not go live until 9 a.m. Sweden time. Okay, we’re all good.
[019:50] So, actually, Friday we have another bachelorette party. This one is in north of Sweden in … which is a ski town, but right now there’s no skiing. But with 20 girls and been planned for a really long time, and everything is ready and I paid for it and all of that, and I’m kind of like … not dreading it, but I’m feeling like, “AAggghhh. Can someone help me? Can someone help poor little me and all of the amazing super fun stuff I have to do right now?” This is also the thing, like, of course I could just say, “No, you know what? I’m feeling a little bit ungrounded or uprooted right now, I just want to stay in one place and relax.” Also, the baby is sick, she’s had a fever, this is day four of her fever. Of course I don’t have to go … But, we’ll see. I think how I feel on Friday, because part of me just wants to, like, I don’t know, I want to be like a tree. I want to just set my feet on earth and root through the soles of my feet and not go anywhere. (laugh) Is that allowed?
[020:50] We were walking … I mean, in Sweden right now it’s amazing. This weather here is absolutely unbelievable. It’s like 90 degrees Fahrenheit, no 85. It’s super hot, it’s summertime. It’s so gorgeous. It’s like Sweden in its best space ever. And we’re walking around Stockholm, everything is green and there’s flowers everywhere, and Dennis is like, “Oh my god, Sweden, this is so amazing. How can you … do you really miss home now that we’re here?” With home he means Aruba. I’m like, “Yeah! Actually, I love being here, it’s beautiful, but I still miss home!” He’s like, “When we’re in Aruba, you always miss that you don’t have cafes to go to everywhere, or theaters or museums and things to do.” And I’m like, “No I don’t! I never complain about that, what do you mean?” And he’s like, “Don’t you?” I’m like, “No, maybe like three years ago, but no, since we had the baby I have not had any complaints about Aruba at all.” You know? I am kind of homesick right now, which I think is just a fact that I’m just going to have to swallow and settle on.
[021:43] But another thing that has been kind of a topic of discussion within our family for a really long time, or at least over the past two weeks is food. I shared this on Instagram a couple days ago, the challenge that has been finding vegan food in this part of France where we have been. Ho-ly shit. It’s been … I don’t even know. I was vegan for many years, but a few years ago, and that was really during my traveling time, and I was all over the place. I never. Never, not once, had a hard time. I can’t remember being really anywhere … even when we went places like, I don’t know … I’m trying to think, like, U.S. Midwest. I don’t know! I can’t remember ever … We went to Montana, that was fine. Texas, totally fine. I guess it depends maybe where and what state you go. Of course a busier city you will have more options, as anywhere. You know, if I go to the countryside, somewhere for out in Sweden, yeah, it’s going to be more of a struggle there as well. But this part of France I have never had such a hard time staying vegan. I’ve never been so hungry! (laugh) In my entire life! And I got a lot of questions about that, like how does it work when we’re vegan and traveling, and kind of if I have any travel tips for people. And normally I would have really great travel tips, and I wanted to share the good ones here. But my conclusion of this past trip is like oh my god, none of it actually really worked. So I also have some learnings and some takeaways that I want to share.
[023:13] And I’m kind of thinking now that I’m putting two and two together, this feeling of uprootedness and also not being content, food-wide, I’m not saying like I was starving or anything like that, but you know the feeling of just craving some sort of food and not being able to fulfill that craving? That was sort of what was going on for the past two weeks. Not even not being able to fulfill that craving, but it was kind of whatever was available, no matter if it was kind of like not tasty or if it was a little big gross, or if it was not at all what I wanted, or if it was the same thing every day, I just had to settle for whatever was available, or I was going to starve, as would the baby have.
[023:52] The baby was a little bit easier because I packed a lot of stuff for her, and also we were eating a lot of smoothies, I went to Whole Foods, I packed a whole bag of baby food that I brought to France. I didn’t even think to buy anything for myself, just baby stuff. Like, little puffs and crackers and kind of, you know, those little organic, pre-packaged meals and stuff like that I got for her. So, in the end we were totally okay. But I think it was really a part of not feeling settled and grounded was this food thing.
[024:27] I had a few people that were writing me from France. Some of them said, “Oh yeah, of course you’re going to have a hard time in that part of France. It’s such a rural area, it’s really quiet and quaint. It’s really not caught on over there at all. It is what it is.” But some people got really upset and were like, “I can’t believe you’re making France look this way. That’s not at all the case. Of course, France is one of my favorite places. Maussane, which is where Olivia is from in France, we are going to go back for sure for sure for sure. We were making little dreams of like, “Oh, imagine we’re old and we’ll retire, we can life here, we’ll buy a house here. We’ll have houses next to each other and little olive gardens to tend.” That would be the biggest dream of all-time. I definitely love France, love south of France, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. Dennis thinks, actually, that it’s the most beautiful place of all time. He said he was trying to think of any other trip, any other travels we’ve done where he was more … because it was his first time, or he was more blown away by the beauty of a place, and he couldn’t think of anything. So, yeah, we love France, we’re going to go back.
[025:31] However, being vegan in this part of the country is horrible! (laugh) Not at all good. So, if you’re going there, if I’ve inspired a trip there, if we go again or when we go again I’m definitely going to prepare a little bit more. Part of the challenge here was, of course, going from place to place, not having one solid … you know, if we had a house with a big kitchen and we could cook every night it would be super different, of course. Because there’s markets, there’s beautiful little organic markets where you can get great fruits and vegetables. Really amazing asparagus and cauliflower and artichoke and things that they grow really close buy. And also figs. I just found out that figs are not vegan! Did you … am I blowing your mind right now? Anyone vegan listening? Figs, they’re not even vegetarian, apparently. I have to do more research before I put my name to this, but so apparently for a fig to … a fig flower to blossom? We’ll see if I’m getting this right. I think it is … for a fig flower to blossom and for this flower to become the fruit, I think that’s how it goes, or for the seed to become the fruit or however it works, there’s this very specific quite large insect, like a moth-like insect that crawls into the seed and then dies! (laugh) And it’s part of, of course, it’s part of the circle of life. It grows into the seed or into the fruit or into the flower, or whatever, clearly I’m no scientist here, but it crawls in there and then dies, and that’s what gives life for the fig to become a fig, I guess. So, in the flowers or the plants or the seeds, whatever it is, where the insect doesn’t die but it flies away, then there’s no fig, right? So, for the fig to happen this big bug has to die inside the fig, and the fig grows around this big moth. So the fig you’re eating, whether it’s fresh or dried or whatever, just a fig, there is always going to be the remnants of this big, dead bug in there. (laugh) Which is so insane!
[027:32] We had this big discussion over dinner because, yeah, we were googling it and apparently it’s all true. But, you know, it’s like the circle of life, yeah, everything that dies will fertilize the ground that grows, you know, everything. That’s just how it works. I’ve also been watching a lot of Lion King lately with Lea Luna. The beginning of the movie, you know the Circle of Life song, it’s like her favorite part. If you haven’t watched it in a while I suggest you go on YouTube and you just watch the song with the video. I mean, it’s so good. The whole movie, oh my god, it’s so good. The part where, like, the baboon, you know, the medicine man guy, he puts the juice of the fruit on top of baby Simba and then puts a little bit of I think sand or dust over his face, it’s such a beautiful ceremony, oh my god. Everything is so beautiful about this movie. And then there’s this moment where Simba sneezes. Every time we watch that, Luni takes her pacifier out of her mouth and she goes [baby sneeze sounds] (laugh). And she sneezes with Simba, it’s my favorite moment.
[028:36] In the beginning of the movie where Mufasa is telling Simba about the circle of life and he says, you know, they watch over all life, and Simba asks, “But we eat the antelope. How can we guard the antelope and take care of them when we also eat them?” And he says, “Well, it’s part of the Circle of Life. When the antelopes dies, or when we die, when the lions die, we will become the grass that the antelope eats.” And it’s such a beautiful, beautiful analogy, and there’s such truth to that. Of course. So, of course, that’s just how things go. But there’s something very specific about there being a dead animal inside of the fruit that you eat. It’s different than eating a potato where once other beings helped fertilize the earth but then grew a potato. But this was a big debate over dinner one night, by the way. But I would love to hear your thought, that’s super super fascinating. How did I start talking about this? Oh yeah, food.
[029:27] So, you can get all of these amazing fruits and vegetables in the markets. The markets are amazing. The have olives and amazing fresh-baked breads, all of these things. But, if you go to a restaurant, which of course if you don’t have a kitchen and you don’t have a house, you don’t have space to cook, we had a kitchen twice for two days each, so going and doing a big grocery store haul to cook for one night or two nights and then have to throw a lot of food away, it just felt like a big waste, so we just didn’t really do that. So we were relying on eating out a lot. Normally when we travel with the baby we rely on either having a really early-bird dinner so we can eat before the baby goes to bed. She sleeps at seven every night. Seven, seven-fifteen. We’ve been pushing it a lot when we travel, but that’s usually around the time that she wants to go to bed and gets cranky and tired. So, an early-bird dinner is perfect for us, and I get now why people, or families with kids have dinner early. It just all makes sense. So, we want to have dinner … if we have dinner at six, totally fine. We can eat, we can make it back to the hotel in time to put the baby to bed and she can sleep at 7:30, all good.
[030:29] The thing about France, like, a couple of things, is that everything closes. I mean, this is also the same for big parts of Spain and I think Italy as well, but like the siesta time of the day. So specifically where we were in France, restaurants would be, and also shops and kind of everything, everywhere we went. Everything would be open until sort of 2pm? Sometimes 1:30, sometimes 2:00, 2:15, and then everything would completely shut down. And like really, like people, everybody who works in the restaurant or in the shop are hurrying to close so that they can go and have a long break in the afternoon, which is a really nice way of living, I think. I mean, I kind of think maybe we should all live like that. It’s a really, really nice way of doing things.
[031:14] But when you’re new to a place and you’re used to living in a place where everything is open all day long, so if we wanted to have lunch because we woke up really late, if we wanted to have lunch at 2 or 2:30, everything was closed. So so many times we arrived to a place, and of course at the beginning we didn’t know, and then later we kind of forgot a few times, or the baby just woke up and she’s cranky, we’re like, “Oh my god, let’s go get food somewhere,” and then we’d get there with the stroller and the stuff, and then they wouldn’t seat us because we came too late. Then there’s this big gap of like 3, 4, 5 … Usually like two to seven, oh yeah, so five hours where everything is closed! Absolutely everything is closed. Everything, everything, everything. So, finding a place to eat for like an early-bird dinner proved really impossible. And we went to different cities, around, we really tried to see if there was any place where they would have an exception, and some places were like, “Maybe we’ll open at 6:30 tonight instead of 7,” but it was really super hard.
[032:11] So for that time that’s usually when the baby will eat like an afternoon thing, like a snack or whatever, and then we’ll have dinner. It just wasn’t possible for us to all have dinner together. So then we were relying on, okay, we need to go put the baby down first, and then one of us would have to go and get takeout. You know, can we grab a pizza, or could we grab whatever food is available anywhere and just eat at home when the baby sleeps, because we are with the baby. And these places, they don’t do takeaway food. At all! None of them! The one place we found that did that was this pizza place, but they didn’t want to make pizza without cheese! Everywhere we went it was kind of like we were playing a game of Clue, and it was kind of how can we find a vegan meal that works here, you know? And with the baby and traveling and not having a kitchen and time and everything, it was such a challenge. It was totally crazy.
[034:30] So all of these things combined, the fact that there was this siesta time, the fact that they don’t, it’s just, I don’t know why, if it’s just … I guess it’s part of culture, I’m going to say pretty sure about that, but this thing of like, “No we don’t allow food to go, because you come here and you sit down and you eat.” A takeaway restaurant in France would be like a pizza parlor, McDonald’s would be takeaway, but not a nicer restaurant. And we are so used to like everywhere you go you can just take the food home. It was kind of another little big of a shock. And that, combined with the fact that these restaurants, they did not want to modify a single thing on the menu. And I swear, and it wasn’t about the fact that, you know, anyone who was kind of … the waiter, like they weren’t nice and kind, because they really were. And there was a couple of restaurants where we went to literally all the time, and we were there for two and a half weeks, so we had a lot of time to meet these people and get to know them. There was this one place where we were, and they had one vegan lasagna on the menu, so of course that’s where we ended up going a lot. I think I had that lasagna seven times, or something. In the end, I mean, give me that lasagna one more time and I’m going to barf because I had it so much. It wasn’t like a great lasagna, it was just, you know … It was fine. It was food, and the baby really liked it too, so that was also okay.
[035:47] At this specific place we got to know the owner a little bit. We came enough that the waiter would stop me in the street and give me kisses on each cheek and say, “How are you?” And he also had a baby that was one year old, you know, so we kind of like … we know these people now. At the end of it the idea of modifying any dish was just absolutely out of the question. It’s just, I’m going to say it’s cultural, again. It’s just like, “No, that’s not what the menu is.” And I was explaining in the beginning, you know, we come here a lot because you have this vegan lasagna. It’s great! Would you ever envision putting something else vegan on the menu? Or maybe could we talk to the chef and just see if there is anyway that they could modify something or prepare something for me, and they’re like, “No. No no no. That’s not what the menu is.” So for instance, they had one salad that wasn’t full of meat and cheese, so it was a vegetarian salad. I mean, it was really basic. It was lettuce or greens with I think tomato, cucumber, and then aubergine, so eggplant. Very basic. Not a very filling … I’m not a salad person, I don’t know. I have friends who are like, “Oh, I’ll have a salad for dinner,” and then that’s their dinner. I cannot have salad for dinner. If I have salad for dinner it needs to come as like a side to my pizza or my fries. Or something else. I need a big, you know, warm meal to feel full. And even usually that, if I have a big meal at six or seven, I’m going to be hungry at nine or ten. Who are we kidding here? (laugh)
[037:08] But this salad, for instance, I was resigning to, okay, I cannot have this lasagna one more time. I’m going to die. I can’t eat this lasagna again, I just can’t. I’m going to have the salad, I’ll eat it with a lot of bread, because we ended up eating insane amounts of baguette. Really great, of course, French bread with really great local olive oil and a little big of local sea salt. You know, just those three things, good bread, olive oil, and sea salt together … It’s the best thing in the world! So, the first days I was like, “Oh my god, this is the dream! Bread and olive oil!” But after two weeks of bread and olive oil, you’re kind of sick of bread and olive oil. But that day I was like, “Okay, I’m going to have this salad, I’ll have it with my bread and olive oil.” And I saw they had like a seafood salad on the menu, and that seafood salad had avocado on it. So I’m like, “okay, maybe I can have some avocado on my salad,” because that’s normally how I would do things. So here’s one of the really good tips, if you’re going vegan or you’re interested in it and you’re wondering, “How can I eat vegan when I eat out?” What I’ll do is instead of just seeking out vegan restaurants, sometimes … I mean, we don’t often do that actually. Dennis doesn’t mind eating vegan at all, but I find most of the vegan places to eat are more like lunch places, at least here in Stockholm, and for me, actually, ambience is a really … when we go out to eat on big on ambience and the wine, I’d rather go to a regular restaurant and then just modify something, because usually it’s very, very, very easy, no big deal. And if it’s a good restaurant they should definitely be able to create something vegan, or maybe there already is something vegan on the menu.
[038:35] But if there isn’t, so what I’ll do is I’ll go to any restaurant, open the menu, do a quick scan and see if they have something vegetarian first. Normally, I mean, almost every place does. So if there’s something vegetarian, can I just remove the cheese? Usually that’s a good way to make a vegan meal. Or is there something that’s maybe not even vegetarian but it’s easily removable. Like if there’s a side of something or meat, can I have that removed? And then maybe I can add something extra. So, I’ll look at the ingredients, whatever is in each dish, whatever is in each plate, and whatever sides there are. So I’ll see, so in this place, for instance, I saw, okay, so there’s this seafood salad with avocado so I know they have avocado in the kitchen. Yeah, there’s avocado for sure. And then there was another dish that had sundried tomatoes. I was like, okay, so there are tomatoes. Then there was another dish that had something else, like, it had almonds. I’m like, okay, I could probably, like I have this really basic lettuce kind of salad that’s not going to fill me up, but if I can have some avocado, throw some sundried tomatoes on there and a little bit of almonds, and then all of the sudden it’s going to be more like a meal, and I’ll be full. Even that, if I could just have avocado with that I would be pretty stoked.
[039:41] So, this guy, the we know by now, that has a baby that’s same age as Luni, and I’m like, “Hey, I just want the vegetarian salad, and can I have some avocado on there please?” “Non.” (laugh) And I’m like, “Uh, no? You’re out of avocado?” “No, but that’s not a dish.” And I’m like, “Well you have avocado?” “Yes.” “Can I just have it on the side?” “Non.” (laugh) And I’m so confused, and of course I’m also hungry, yeah, let’s not forget that I’m hungry. I’m like, “Wait, you have avocado.” “Yes.” “I want avocado.” “Uh-huh.” “Can I have some avocado?” “Non.” (laugh) And I’m trying to understand, like, why. And it was maybe, you know, I honestly, I don’t know why. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just like that’s not what the menu is like and they just don’t want to modify anything, or maybe it’s hard for him when he punches it in to put like a note, I don’t know what the reluctance is, but they were like really nice about it, but just no, you cannot have avocado on your salad. I’m like, “Okay, how about some sun-dried tomatoes?” “Non.” “Can I have an almond?” “Non.” (laugh) So I’m like, okay, and then I just sit there and I know there’s no place else I can go, literally, because there’s no other place that’s open, there’s no other place that has even a single vegan thing at all on the menu. So I’m like, “Okay. I’ll have the lasagna please?” (laugh) And I’m sitting there eating my lasagna for the umpteenth time. Or, you know, I did end up having that salad one time and yeah, it was a fine salad but it just did not fill me up very well.
[041:08] So, we kept having these struggles all throughout this trip. After a while, you know, every time we went out to eat, instead of it being a joyful thing, because food is life, like, so much of my life and my day revolves around food, and great food. I mean, I love cooking, I love grocery shopping. I’m like a grocery shopping person. I love doing groceries. I love farmer’s markets. I love eating out, I love trying new restaurants. Normally being vegan is never a bump in the road for that. It’s never a reason not to go out to eat. It’s never been a challenge, really, ever. It’s really easy. I don’t even need, you know, vegetarian or vegan restaurants. It’s usually just always easy. But after two weeks of this every time it was time to go out to eat it was like a [wah wah waaahhh]. This total Debbie Downer. Have you seen that? It’s the SNL skit, the Debbie Downer one. Oh my god, Rachel is her name. Goddamnit. Okay, you’ll YouTube it and you’ll know it if you don’t know it right away. But that was kind of the feeling. Everyone you would speak to would be like, “No, sorry, you cannot eat here.” Or, no, you can just …
[042:12] So what did I do? Well, I drank a lot of wine, clearly, which always makes me very happy. I ate a lot of bread. But yeah, I was kind of hungry all the time, or slightly unfulfilled, or feeling a little big bummed out that I was eating something that I really did not enjoy. And this was just, of course, not the greatest thing, right?
[042:34] So I shared this on Instagram, and yes, of course, there’s a lot people that are vegan out there that have had similar struggles depending on where they go, different places. There was a lot of stories about rural places. Because of course being a vegan can be a challenge, but I also didn’t love posting that. I want to be truthful and kind of share whenever I come across a struggle of any kind, but I don’t want to make it sound like being vegan is a hard thing, because it actually normally is not. So now, looking back, what I should have done, I mean should have would have could have, I don’t like the idea of should have… If we go back what I will do, instead of go from place to place and stay in all of these different places all over, we could have just rented a house. If we had just rented a house for two weeks and just had that one same house with a kitchen, we could have stocked the kitchen really well, stocked the fridge, we could have gone to the farmer’s market every single week and picked up like anything specific and special. There was even a bigger town like 45 minutes or an hour away where they had a big supermarket. We could have probably gone there and get some specialty items just once, you know? We could have really prepared so we could have cooked, and then cooking …. Cooking as a vegan, it’s the easiest thing. We can prepare so much, it’s so so so so easy. But relying on eating out and not having a kitchen while being in a rural place like this part of south of France was a super challenge.
[043:54] There were some people that were asking, like, “If it was such a challenge, why are you being so specific and so difficult? Why wouldn’t you just have the cheese?” And yeah guys, it got so far that I thought about it. And I don’t know, I mean, let me think … I was vegan for, I don’t know, maybe four years? Huh? Does that sound about right? 3 years maybe? From 19 to 23, something like that, 22. Yeah, I was vegan for a couple of years, and it was so easy for me then. I don’t remember anywhere really having a struggle. If I had a struggle it didn’t feel like a struggle, because for me that anchor in veganism, which for me then was a lot about I had more environmental reasons and specifically health reasons than ethical reasons or the loving-kindness of the ethical treatment of animals, which for me right now is actually the biggest thing. Right now I’m very anchored in this I don’t want to cause any suffering of any kind. If I can avoid it I don’t want to take part of suffering of any kind, any form. And it’s forcing me to really evaluate and really be more mindful about a lot of things that I do. So not just how do I treat other people or people around me or can I be a kind person, can I do something nice for someone else, but you know, the clothes that I’m wearing, where are they produced? What goes into this garment that’s on my physical body? For me, as a human being, what kind of vibration sits in these things that I purchase, that I buy, that I wear, that I surround myself with, and even more important, the food that I put into my body? What’s behind that? Is there suffering involved? And when it comes to animal products, there’s no such thing as an animal product that doesn’t come along with exploitation and suffering. That’s just what it is.
[045:45] Specifically, I love cheese. I love cheese, I love cheese. I love cheese so much. I love cheese so much! And I was just in cheese capital of the world, France, and I didn’t even want to have cheese. So that’s kind of how deeply anchored I am in this knowing that, yeah, it doesn’t sit well with me, in this moment in my life, to consume dairy. Because if I eat dairy, it means that there is baby out there that didn’t get its mothers milk, right? There would not be dairy for humans to consume if all babies had what they’re supposed to have. So the reason dairy is exists is because there’s a nursing mama cow or a mama sheep or a mama goat out there wanting to nurse its baby, but the baby can’t nurse we want to nurse indirectly by eating the cheese or the milk or the whatever.
[048:12] So, you know, when I had James Aspey on the podcast, this was October last year, if you haven’t listened and you’re kind of interested in this topic, if it’s firing you up and you don’t agree, if you feel drawn to it, whatever, if it triggers you good or bad, go listen to that episode. It’s about veganism. You can find it wherever you just found this episode that you’re listening to right now. It’s with James Aspey, it’s amazing.
[048:35] He didn’t even have to, you know, in that episode with him, I’d been wanting to go back to being vegan for a long time, but I needed that final kind of Why, right? That final push, because yeah, cheese is awesome! Cheese is so awesome! It’s so good, it’s the tastiest thing ever. And I love like a good cheeseboard with of course some wine. Honestly, cheese, bread, olive oil and wine. Could have been my staple. I mean, I don’t think I’ll be able to eat a lot of bread and olive oil for a while to come.
[049:04] One of the things that James touched on in that podcast, which was kind of hitting the final nail in the coffin of me going back to being vegan and really staying there, I was breastfeeding at the time, I was nursing the baby, you know? For every carton of milk, for every carton of dairy milk or cow’s milk that you consume there is a mother out there that lost her baby. There is a baby taken away from her mom so that you can drink that mother’s milk. And, you know, like I was crying as we were recording this. It struck a nerve in me that’s just really … and I say this with as much love as I possibly can, I am not here to judge anybody for how they eat. I’m married to a man who eats, you know, traditional standard everything diet, who strangely enough kind of has this vegan outlook on life, like he can school anybody on veganism or talk about the ethical treatment of animals or loving-kindness. He really listens to everything, like really, he picks up everything, but it’s not strong enough that he’s ready to change the way he eats just yet. I think that he’s maybe on the cusp of a little bit of a change. But I mean our last dinner in France, yeah, guess what I had for dinner? I had lasagna. (laugh) Our last dinner in France. He had a steak, like a full on piece of stick with like fat running through it and fries and half a bottle of wine. You know, I had my lasagna that I shared with the baby, and the side salad. Like, there’s a side salad to my lasagna. I’m cool with that salad as part of my dinner, as long as it’s not my whole dinner. It’s not like I sit there with him every meal like food shaming or diet shaming him, or telling him he’s a horrible person, he shouldn’t be eating that. Like, you know, he orders a steak, I say nothing. Like this is the first that I’m commenting on it at all, just now speaking to this podcast that he won’t hear because he doesn’t listen to my podcast episodes.
[050:57] Yeah, everyone, you eat what you want to eat. If I can plant a seed in anyone to feel a little bit interested in moving towards a more loving approach in terms of loving-kindness, in terms of contributing less suffering to the world. What we eat has such a great impact, because we eat so much, and every day. So making even a little bit of a change will make a huge impact in the long run. So, if you feel triggered in a good way or a bad way, whatever way, go listen to that podcast, because it’s a really loving approach to it. There’s no shame, no hate involved. You know, and you can eat whatever you want. I will still love you. I am the only vegan amongst my friends, like, just FYI. Olivia’s little sister is a vegan, that’s it. So, you know, it would be really hard for me to maintain a functioning social life and friends and family if I was judgmental and mean to people who aren’t vegan, or if I was not accepting to non-vegans, which of course isn’t the case. I mean, come on, I’ve been full-on vegan now again since October. So that’s, what, eight months? Nine months? It’s not even that long.
[052:05] I think it’s important to, someone said the other day, the reason more people aren’t vegan are vegans (laugh) because there can be this kind of judgmental tone that goes on in these conversations. Especially if these conversations are had over dinner, that’s a really challenging thing. So just more acceptance put into anything is really, truly awesome. If you’re interested in hearing more about this stuff there’s a couple of movies I would super recommend. If you haven’t watched Forks Over Knives, that’s really good, specifically in terms of health, if you’re really into it for health reasons. Anyone out there who is questioning the baby being vegan and is it healthy for her, that’s also a really good movie for that. If you want to give your babies or your kids a little bit more of a vegan diet or more vegetables or whatever, Forks Over Knives is great.
[052:53] There’s a movie I would rather not recommend it because it’s so intense and harsh and horrible, if you want to know what goes down in the dairy industry and in the factory farming industry and the consumption of animals overall, you can watch Earthlings, it’s a pretty good one. And there’s a good movie out, actually, that I found out about through James, it’s called Dominion, and it’s new, I think, from the end of last year. I’ve only seen the trailer and I cried in the trailer already. So if anyone has seen it, let me know if it was any good, if you liked it. It’s probably coming to a Netflix release soon. I think you can download it otherwise. But yeah, there’s a lot of information to get out there.
[053:34] Anyway, this is kind of how it was. So, for me, this idea of just, “Can you just eat some goddamn cheese if you’re so hungry?” I really wanted to. When I say I wanted to, it’s like, I know it’s tasty, I know I like to eat cheese, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just couldn’t. I really, I really couldn’t. So that’s just who I am. That’s where I’m at right now. And next time we travel a place that’s going to be that quiet or that rural, I will definitely plan better and do better. So, not saying that you shouldn’t go visit south of France if you’re vegan. Go, just prepare, do more research than I did, and get a place with a kitchen so you can cook, because then all your troubles are fixed, everything will be done.
[054:22] Okay. So now that I am back in the land of vegan food, and Stockholm isn’t really like, you know, there’s vegan-friendly cities where you just know you can go a place and you can get so much vegan/vegetarian food. Like, go to Los Angeles, oh my gosh, there’s so much. Portland, Boulder, I mean, there’s amazing, amazing places where it’s just really abundant. Stockholm is not one of those places. But it’s a big enough city that I can find food everywhere and it’s really easy. Also, anywhere that has any sort of Asian food, I mean, you’re going to be gold wherever you go, because that stuff is so easy. And I can cook again.
[055:00] Now that I’m back in the land of easy, what was the first thing I did? Last night we landed after, of course, another challenging day of travel with this little baby, who is also sick. I hope she’ll be better tomorrow, but it’s her fourth day of being sick. So it was hard to kind of take here through layovers and things. I was so happy when I could get home and put her to bed. But the first thing I did as soon as she fell asleep was I took Ringo for a walk, I went over to my favorite Indian place in all of Stockholm, it’s called East India, and they have just the best, the best food. And I ordered aloo palak, which is a spinach cashew potato dish. Just so good, with papadam, the crispy bread, it’s so delicious. And then today (laugh) I mean, I don’t think I’m going to have any bread for a long time. Today I had a big plate of falafel and green hummus, it was like a pea shoot hummus with a big salad. It’s super delicious. I’m sitting here right now drinking a green juice. I’m just so into filling my body up with nourishing, whole foods again after the stay in France. I’m really, really grateful to be here, actually. And everything that I’ve had so far, the food that I’ve had since I landed, it tastes so good. I’m so, like, ecstatic about absolutely everything. I had an oat milk coffee this morning. Ah. Gave me goose bumps. Just gave me goose bumps just thinking about my oat milk latte, how amazing it is. If you haven’t had oat milk in your coffee, holy shit. That’s just, it’s so amazing.
[056:46] The question is, aside from being back in the land of abundance of food, what am I doing to ground back and to not feel like this uprooted tree anymore? Because for me this is really the most important thing. And I think it’s a challenge that I’ll probably have for a little while. I don’t know if it’s here to stay, if it’s part of being a mom, if maybe I should just travel a little bit less. But I know as long as I’m here and as long as I am on the road and as long as I am traveling, I want to get my feet back on the ground.
[057:16] So, a couple of things that I’m really committed to now that I have an entire month in one place. I need to move my body. Anyone who is feeling uprooted, not grounded, part of traveling and really going from place to place a lot is that we tend to lose that routine of getting up, waking up in the morning and moving every single day. My yoga practice has definitely been a little bit deprioritized lately. And really short. I’ve given myself not enough time on the mat. I’ve done a couple of poses, maybe right before bed, and that’s been it. For me right now I’m going to go running again, which is really exciting, uh, for Dennis. Exciting for Dennis, and the baby, that I’m going running with them again. I’m going to join them this afternoon for a little bit of a run. But getting your blood pumping any way you can is just such a good way to go back into your body, and also to shake off any stress, that feeling of uprootedness, I feel like I need to shake it out of my body and maybe sweat it out a little bit. So I’m going to go for a run. And then now that I’m back in the city, there is great yoga that I can take here too, so I’m going to practice with some of my favorite teachers right away. I have a class planned for the morning that I’m really, really excited about. So getting back into the body.
[058:23] And then letting myself arrive and just Be Here Now. I’ve made an effort now, because normally when I get to Sweden I have so much to do here. We have a big part of our team here, Yoga Girl sits here in Stockholm. I tend to kind of dive into work, and we have so much to do, we’re in this very exciting time now work-wise. I’m not doing that right now, but I’m giving myself a couple of days just to really settle and unpack in a big way. Not just unpack as in unpack a suitcase, but unpack as in kind of unpack my soul. My heart and soul and let my soul arrive, because I think it’s going to take a couple of days before I truly settle into this, you know, being here and now. Because I’m also … I love the idea of if you have true inner peace, yes, you feel peaceful in that peace wherever you are. That’s just not the case for me. I’ll definitely go through cycles where I feel more at peace than other times and where I can kind of … it’s easy wherever I go. But I’m a really big fan of go where peace is easy. (laugh) It sounds like a riddle. Go where peace is easy. So, if you find yourself in situations, or with types of people in different times in your life where it is really hard to find peace, go back to where peace is easy. Change something in your life so you can easier access that sense of inner peace. I know right now for me that hopping around, packing unpacking packing again, that’s not it. That’s not it. Of course we have some really great reasons as to why we’ve been traveling like this, and I had a bachelorette party and beautiful wedding and a union of love, such great great great reasons to move around like this, but right now I’m going to be here and make peace easy for myself and just be in one place. That’s definitely a really big part of it.
[060:21] I remember having, not an argument, but a discussion with someone about this. If you should be so Zen, shouldn’t you be able to just find peace wherever and however, whether you’re on the road or on the go, blah blah blah? Yes, in a perfect world, that’s the case. I don’t live in a perfect world, do you? Since we don’t live in a perfect world, why not make it a little bit easier for ourselves? If you know that there is something that you have the ability to change, maybe hopping around less, traveling less, maybe moving away from certain types of relationships that strain you, that bring you a lot of stress, maybe moving toward relationships that are more peaceful, maybe giving yourself more alone time … That’s a big thing. Not for me. I am not one of those people that just craves being alone. I know so many people that actually refuel that way. Dennis is one of those people. He needs just quiet time on his own, and that’s sort of how he rebuilds his energy, in a sense. For me when I’m alone, completely alone by myself for too long, I get a little bored quickly. But, you know, we all work through these things differently. So whatever works for you, however peace comes your way, move toward it instead of away from it.
[061:30] And I think my big learning now is, of course not just the food part, the food part is an important thing as well, so nourishing myself with foods to help raise the vibration of my entire being, and maybe, you know, bread four times a day every day isn’t it. But not just that, but actually steering toward wherever peace is easy, wherever peace is easy. I love just saying that sentence! Go where peace is easy! You should print that on a shirt, you guys! Where peace is easy. So yeah, moving my body, choosing to opt for being grounded, unpacking, being in one place, moving my body, being here now. And also accepting and kind of noticing that change of pace. That’s where I was at, and now here I am. And now here we all are.
[062:19] So, we move, we evolve, we learn, we do the very best with what we have, and I’m 100% sure that next week I’ll have something totally different to talk about yet again, because isn’t it beautiful how life works? Loving you so much, thank you for listening. Holding you, wishing you a blessed day, and I’ll see you next week.
[End of Episode]
Ritual – ritual.com/yogagirl
Felix Gray – felixgrayglasses.com/yogagirl
Four Sigmatic – foursigmatic.com/yogagirl