As I said in my previous most recent posts, as for now- my blog/website is purely a place of update for me. A place where I can share my travels, write about life and keep you updated on where I am and what I’m doing. It’s been just under a week since I left the beautiful city of Vancouver and embarked on my incredible journey around (so to speak) the world. First stop: Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For the next month and a bit, this is what I’m referring to loosely as my ‘base-camp’. I’ve been to Dubai a few times before: once for a short visit about 10 years ago when my dad first moved there for business; once for a summer, working there for an Environmental Impact Agency, and lastly, the summer after with my best friend Paulina to visit my dad and show Paulina the lavish world that is Dubai. Needless to say, I’ve been well acquainted with this Middle Eastern Las Vegas.
You’d think with all that this time in Dubai I’d really know my way around. More or less this is true, however- it’s been almost 5 years since I was last there, and in Dubai, 5 years is like 25 years in terms of building/construction and city development. A lot has changed and there are so many more buildings that have been built. The Dubai Marina is very large now, there are around 100 new hotels on the Palm Islands and the road systems are now exclusively confusing.
Funnily enough, right before leaving Vancouver for Dubai- I was out for a good friend’s birthday, Farooq. His sister, Amina, and his parents live here in Dubai and Amina is working as the Social Media Manager for The Address Hotels (amaaaaazing job, well done love!) So, Farooq has traveled to Dubai before. We were chatting about my upcoming travels and he posed the question that I was honestly expecting from more people: “So Chloe, why Dubai? It’s not very natural. Are you sure it’s a good place for you to go to? Doesn’t seem to align much with who you are.” Great question. Why Dubai?! It’s quite the transition to go from the beautiful country-side landscape at my ranch in Calgary surrounded by wildlife and horses- to Dubai, an ultimate concrete jungle, in the desert! I’ve said a few times since I’ve been here- I really don’t think it’s a good place for animals to be. So, why Dubai? Why would a Holistic Nutritionist who loves animals and nature be drawn to Dubai?!?!?
My answer is, it was a no brainer. My dad has been here for over 10 years now, working hard. Due to the characteristics of his job, my dad has been traveling and working abroad consistently for quite some time now. The result of this is that my brother and I don’t see him as much as we would like to. When we do see him, it’s not for months at a time. Long story short, I miss my dad. I miss his unending loving energy and compassion for people and animals alike. He is such a bright beacon of loving, positive energy- and it’s been something that has been missing from my life at times, especially the past few months. When I was spending time in Calgary, “praying”, I kept feeling a call to spend time with him. My intuition was telling me that it would be the next step in my journey. Of course, in alignment with what I have said of him, when I brought this up with my dad, he said without any hesitation “Yes, come to Dubai!” So here I am. I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to be here, soaking up all the positive energy (and sun, of course).
I have spent less than a week in Dubai and already am learning more about myself (or what I already know is becoming more clear). One thing that I expected, but I don’t think really felt till I arrived here- is the fact that I have to let go of my control of food and nutrition in a place like Dubai. What I’ve realized is that we are all SO blessed in Vancouver, with food. We are surrounded by such LUSH, ABUNDANT, COLOURFUL & DELICIOUS food. Our grocery stores are bustling with incredible produce of every size, shape, colour and variety. This is not something everyone in the world has. In fact, not many people have it. As a result, I have both realized an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my experiences in Vancouver with food. Also, I have realized the blessing to be in a place like Dubai which forces you to let go of a preconceived control. You really can’t spend your days worrying and focusing on food in Dubai. It forces you to live in the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong- I still am a Holistic Nutritionist and this is very much a passion for me. Thus, I have purchased a juicer to accompany me while I am in Dubai (and also to accompany my dad when I leave, I am teaching him the ways daily). However, organic produce is incredibly rare and expensive- and conventional produce is only a few notches better.
So, this extreme change in food availability is allowing me to let go of this control of food that I have really developed during my time in Vancouver. It’s giving me a perspective of the opposite side. For this, I am so grateful. I am finding a balance in between the two extremes. & this balance is developing a fabulous sense of peace within. It’s not easy being a controlled raw, vegan who is living in fear of where they are going to get their next meal- here in Dubai. It’s at times like these when I understand what people mean when they say diets like the “raw, vegan” “80/10/10” diet is a first world diet. Literally, when you don’t have the choice and you either eat or starve, your human instincts take over the mind and that need to control goes out the window pretty damn quickly. Am I eating meat then? No, that is a value I carry with me for life, I believe. Am I eating organic all day everyday? Absolutely not. I’m lucky if I can squeeze an organic juice in every morning while I’m in Dubai. Every other day maybe. One day at a time:)
I am writing this post from….. ROMA!!!!!! ITALIA!!!!! My first time in Italy!!!! Or as my dad is telling everyone, “her first time in Europe” Lol. Because apparently England and Wales are not a part of Europe. I am ecstatic to be here. We landed in the evening last night and are staying in a business’y hotel quite central Rome. It’s 5:30am right now and unfortunately, one of the perks of all this traveling is that your biological clock gets totally screwed up. You’d think that i’d be upset about this, but I am actually not moved really. In fact, I’m quite grateful right now that I felt the inspiration in the wee hours of the morning to finally write a blog post about my travels so far. I love it when I get that burning desire to share. It used to only happen when I was in a cafe accompanied by a coffee. It’s taking less and less to get it out of me now, to open up and be honest about what’s going on inside. Being in Rome, I’ve definitely imagined myself sitting on a cobble road here, laptop and americano in hand- writing a blog. However, for now- a small, quaint European hotel room at 5:30am will have to do just fine:)
I’m in Rome for 3 days, accompanying my dad on a business trip with one of his fabulous Italiano business partners & friends, Fabrizio. What a blessing to be here. I can almost barely contain my excitement (perhaps another reason why I woke up at 430am this morning- although it could also be a result of my liver being slightly upset with all the red wine drinking of last night’s events). Anyways, its’ fantastic to be here. Last night Fabrizio and his beautiful wife and two son’s took my dad and I out for dinner at one of their family friend’s restaurants. I am trying to find the link to the restaurant online right now, however unfortunately my Italiano is not so good yet. His wife reminded me of the name after dinner, and I had a little giggle inside. Boobies, is what she said. I wish I could figure out the spelling, but I will be better at writing down names and taking photos today (hopefully). I was speaking to my friend Mel just now through text and she was like “lets see photos of all this delicious food” and I was shamed to say I didn’t take any. There was something about this North-American/Canadian girl taking out her phone and snapping photos of each beautiful, mouth-watering dish that came to our table– that screamed out ‘these North Americans don’t know how to enjoy life and be in the moment’. So, I decided against it. Also, although the thought crossed my mind, it was a very small, quiet thought that was barely able to push through my intense enjoyment of the present. One several dishes that I cannot name, one of my favorites were fillets of eggplant that wrapped around delicious fresh Italian mozzarella sitting in a perfect tomato ‘marinara’ type sauce. YUM! (are your mouths watering yet;)?
So, I abstained from taking photos. I’ve actually done this quite a bit lately. While I was on the plane leaving Vancouver & Dubai, the views were so spectacular I thought to myself, I need to take a photo and share it on Instagram. Then, suddenly, a voice out of no where chimed in and said, just enjoy it. Following this, a photo comes to mind that my darling Paulina posted on Instagram (funnily enough) a few weeks ago. It was a quote saying, “Climb a mountain, tell no one”. When she posted it, I got it and found it very “inspiring”, but I don’t think I truly ‘GOT IT’ until these moments. This whole thing about Instagram and sharing each moment is like a beautiful, stunning animal that is poisonous. You are so enthralled with it and its’ beauty that you want to touch it, but when you touch it- it stings you or bites you. Instagram is great because it gives us the ability to share the beauties of the world and our experiences with each other, however- the sting (or poisonous bite) is that it takes away the beauty in living in each moment and just enjoying it. You see a fantastic sunset or sunrise and instead of truly basking in it’s beauty and being in awe, we rush to grab our phones so that we can share it and hashtag it as cunningly as possible- to get the most likes and followers. Oh humans, we are a funny race.
All this being said, I will still be posting photos of my travels and will definitely get that photo of my FIRST REAL TRADITIONAL ITALIANO PIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZA. My mouth is watering for this moment. I almost don’t want to snap a photo- so I can “bask in the moment”. However, this is the thing about conscious living and conscious thought. Be aware of the fixation/pattern/behaviour- and then allow it be. Dont’ resist it or fight it. It’s like technology in general. It has brought us a lot of incredible blessings. In all life, with love and joy comes pain. Yin & yang baby, it all has to balance out. So, notice the fixations/patterns/behaviours, witness them- and dont’ fight them. In time, they will either fall away or lose that control that they once had over you.
I’ve had a lot of these moments lately, conscious thought towards my fixations. I am continuing to learn that my fixations lie almost exclusively on a need to feel and be loved. What I’ve noticed is that this need manifests mostly through relationship with men. When I meet men, instead of just enjoying their company as another human being- I immediately wonder: Are they attracted to me? Do they want to love me? Can I find love in them? Can I find myself in them? This is another part of being with my dad. With my dad, I am learning to stop searching. I know that is already unconditionally there. I could go on forever about this fixation and part of my journey- however, I feel inclined to only say this; I feel change and I look forward to a time in the near future when I can live in the moment and enjoy the company of men without needing something (aka love, attention) from them. This, I know is coming. Phew… it’s funny, because I almost can’t believe I am sharing this with the world and all those people (and men haha) who know me. At the same time, it feels good to be honest about it and let it go.
Well, it’s 6am and I have quite a long day ahead of me. I am going on a tour around some of the main places in Rome (SO EXCITED) with one of my dad’s friends’ “guys from the office”, which will consist of lots of walking, touring, eating (pizza hopefully!!!) and being present. Also, tonight is a very large dinner at Fabrizio’s parents in laws house with a large group of people (a traditional Italian family farm house dinner with lots of food, WINE, dancing, singing and chatting). Thus, I am going to try (try my very best) to get a little more shut eye, and support my much needed stamina for today’s events.
Until next time, hopefully soon enough, I bid you farewell. Ciao! Ciao Ciao! Buon giorno! Buona sera! & Buona notte to all of you North Americans.
Chloe @ Chloe’s Countertop xoxoxoxo