Thursday, December 18, 2014

Short travel story #5 - ‘These boots are made for walking’


December 2014, Chiclayo, Peru

The realization I have to leave soon has made my heart into an open wound. It bleeds sadness. On the other hand a feeling of coming freedom touches the air, it caresses my thoughts, giving my feelings goosebumps.
I would have finally stayed somewhere. Main reason: him. I know: not smart. Well, for me, my body and mind, my girl and I and just for my girl it would... could have been actually very good.
The three of us is an already fading memory. That it cannot be has to be ok, for I have to be.

Surviving. Emotionally surviving, that’s what I’m doing these last days. I know that carrying her is hardly possible for me anymore. She's, and not only according to me, heavy. However, I strap on the carrier. Her arms are already waiting in the air for me to pick her up.

I start walking. Walking from here to the beach-town. Not the three of us as was our plan, decided not long ago after I arrived in this small town. Like many plans and wants it'll never happen. I feel my broken pieces rambling inside of me.

I need this physical challenge to overcome the emotional one. First I head towards the big street and then start walking along the side of it. The pedestrian sidewalk soon vanishes under my feet becoming rocks and sand. The view isn’t beautiful. I hardly care.

My girl gets restless. I take out my phone to show her one of the few movies I have on it and which she has already seen over and over. She grabs the phone out of my hands.
“Not the love you hear in your favourite song on the radio, I mean real love, true love, boundless love…”* Yes, I think, real love, that’s what I want to breathe in and out.

When the video isn’t enough anymore I take out the wonders of nature for her to drink from.
The sun comes through. With my hand I try to protect her from the burning sun. I lower my sunglasses, letting the rest of my face get burned. I feel drops of sweat going down my back and between my breasts. It reminds me of when I used to dance a lot. A good memory.

The road I follow shows all but love. It shows garbage. It shows trees who are in need of friends. It shows rocks and sand, unclear what to be: road or nature.

My red tight skirt, my earrings, my walking boots, me carrying a child and of course last but not at all least, the gringa that I am is probably a not very common sight.

Cars pass, some slow down and lights of taxi’s wink at me. “Chiclayo, Chiclayo!” I hear some shout. This time I don’t feel like responding one bit. I focus on my muscles working and accept the light pain I feel. I even welcome it. 

When I get there, well the park of the town, for the beach doesn’t give me the horizon I want to see at this moment, I put my girl down. She starts to crawl and smile a lot. It makes my I-needed-this feeling extra satisfying, and him telling me later it’s (only) 4 kilometres doesn’t changes the feeling: I will survive!

* This is a quote from the video I published above this blog. One of the videos that gets to me every time and is very important... the new and modern 'Imagine' of John Lennon to me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Short travel story #4 – 5 is where the heart is

November 2014, Chiclayo, Peru
 
She pulls my mouth even more open to be able to reach the back tooth. My mouth has always been too annoying small for dentists. Only for dentists.
I utter something. She pulls her hand back. I point to the door. “Cerrar, por favor.”
Not in one of my most vulnerable positions I want my host to see me. My teeth aren't my trademark and these new, to me, equipment they use aren’t quite designed to look even a bit charming.

She directs her friend and colleague to close the door. I’m in the hands of a student in graduation year, hoping that her expertise and my little bit of money she allows me to pay will be enough to fix the problem.

Hardly any further, I hear my baby-girl's cry-sounds. She's complaining in the hallway.
I excuse again. This time to open the door. I ask my host to go walking with her. “I was just preparing to go”, he says. “Oh good.” He looks sweet I think. Happy Niamh is in his hands.
They close the door again and continue with what’s already taking longer than we all thought it would. All my energy is taken from me while this crater is slowely filled.


Meanwhile.
My host is outside, near the building where I hope soon the tooth will be closed and ready. He’s carrying my baby-girl in the carrier. The night is making its introduction.
He gives her his mobile phone. With the other one he has with him he calls her. While walking they are ‘talking’ to one another. She’s listening carefully. “Da!”, she says. “DA!”

Her focus suddenly changes. She points to three small white painted wooden house numbers. 5 1 4. He reaches to the 5 to show her. Before he could say five, he’s holding the number in his hand, looking surprised at it.


“It came off so easily”, he says while we’re walking back to get a shared-taxi. “I was looking around to see if anyone had seen me. Doubting what to do, I took it with me.” He shows me the number. “I feel like a thief.”
“She seems to get her way”, while I’m laughing about the story and his funny expression on his face which is close to being shocked.

“Had a great time with her!” I’m happy to hear this, though it makes me sad again, knowing we will never be a 'we'. Inside I shake my emotions to relax.
Some seconds later he says: “you look funny”. Ok, whatever exactly he means, it helps those emotions to fall deep asleep.
When he sees my questioning face, he points to the side of my mouth and then touches his own. “Oh! I had no idea”, while I touch the swollen area. “I think it's also the second anesthesia for the first one didn’t do the job.”

We head home. Or something that comes most close for me to a home.


I imagine somewhere someday a postman scratching his head while looking at the number on the package and the one next to the door. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Short travel story #3 - The-vaseline-love-adventure

October 2014, Chiclayo, Peru

What has lip-vaseline, the believe every European has anal sex, walking in the dark with my baby-girl, my host helping me with my bags, being in a cheap hotel has to do with one another?! ... A lot!

Before you start forming a weird story in your head, the true one isn’t going to be less weird I promise.

The dark, the cold, I breath in what I still love so much: the night. 
He’s next to me, pushing the stroller with my big backpack in it. I carry my baby-girl. It’s around her bedtime, she's tired, but this sudden change keeps her awake. “Love, look! The moon.” I point three times before she looks in the right direction.

My host and I are both worried and exited at the same time. I can’t help laughing a bit. I never seem adventure free. He says his life was boring before he met me. Making me doubt if that’s a good or a bad thing.

While we’re waiting to take the combi-taxi, we hear loud music heading our way. “Hee, that’s my party!”, he says. The pickup truck comes in view. What a coincidence!
We wave to make them stop. The possible future mayor steps out. He looks tired of campaigning. What a lack of sleep, bad food and too many cigarettes does to one...

My worried look makes him say he will not smoke. They put my stuff in the back, I guess that includes my host, for inside there’s only space left for me and my girl. I can hardly distinguish the faces in the car.
I can’t hear or see if my host has hopped on. I imagine him proud and free, but holding on as best as he can for the big speakers take up most of the space.

We still have to walk a bit before arriving at the hotel. Let's call the room mainly plain and a bit shabby. The big bed gives me the hope my girl will sleep and the wish he would stay.

I give him a kiss. He responds! I immediately get so very aroused that it even shocks me. Adventures and a good looking guy does the trick I guess. He says he’s all but aroused when I tell him I am, too tired and worried as he is.
There goes the last of my positivity. I suddenly feel the last of my energy leaving me and just drown myself in acceptance. Well, at least my host got me discount on the room. That was the least he could do after giving me a broken heart.

The morning after starts good with a walk along the beach, a fresh juice, her crawling in the small park and him contacting me with the positive news: a place to stay for at least a week!
He’s happy, and I can’t help still feeling sad. Lost a lot on the way to here. Finally!, I thought: love, happiness and a place where I want to stay longer.


Now in short the embarrassing, painful, yet in a way funny, morning before:

I am woken in the middle of a bad dream to find the real world not much better. She’s angry, not loud but I hear her clearly discussing with her son, my host, my: I-would-love-him-to-be-my-love.
She found vaseline on the table. She thinks I left it on purpose there for her to find, to make her believe me and my host had anal sex. ... I wish! (COME ON! LET ME MAKE FUN OF IT!)

Apparently she knows a lot about it. Telling her it’s lip vaseline*, like it says on top of the jar, isn’t convincing her. He even shows her a website with information what vaseline can be used for. Also lips. So oral sex! (AAHHH! COME ON! LET ME AT LEAST…)

We’re all angry now. One happy family!

Her way of using religion, of being narrow-minded and her own decision not allowing any love in her life, has harmed all three of us. 
Still I don't regret being open about my feelings towards her son, even if she didn't accept them from the start. There's nothing wrong with love, though many fight against it and accept violence. Weird world this is. If love is a bad thing, I’m a proud badass.

So, I can't delay leaving with one more day. After not finding a place for free this fast, after especially him doing his utmost best, I leave to the hotel and end up listening to the most beautiful love of my life: the breathing of my sleeping baby-girl. 


* Want to become owner of this vaseline-lip jar? ...his anger made him hit the jar and left a dent on the lid... so you have an original... Check the Viv travel-art-shop.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Short travel story #2 - “Vote for me!

September 2014, Chiclayo, Peru

top photo (with me in front) by Ivan Effio Huidobro


How did I end up here?! Walking with my baby-girl in the small very present crowd.
In front of me I see a lot of white, supported by some blue and red, shirts, flags and banners. Banners that show a photo of how the situation is now in a street and in the photo next to it what it will look like in the nearby future if you would vote for this party.

They are enthusiastic shouting for their party. They walk fast, driven and a positive vibe can be felt.
The main three candidates walk and in times run in front of the crowd stopping at whichever house people show up, shaking hands, making short conversations, and giving out their party’s t-shirts, caps, flyer’s and candy. Some people try to drag others out of their houses to join them.

My baby-girl seems more popular at times than the candidates. Some of the girls, remembering her name, can hardly handle their love towards her and have to take her hand or talk to her when they pass by. She hardly responds back, just looking curious of what this crowd is all about.

Now I understand the interesting and new sight to me of all the paintings on the buildings I saw when just entering Peru. It has all to do with this election. Vote for me! No, for me!
Maybe the owner of the wall is lucky and gets a little money out of it by allowing his place labeled.



I came to Ecuador almost eight months ago just at election times and when I arrived a month ago in Peru I came into the exact same situation. Everywhere posters of candidates: mostly unhealthy overweight looking men passed their forties.
I've also figured out by now that the bigger the campaign and the more dirty tricks they have up their sleeves, the more changes they have of succeeding.

But practising what they preach? I doubt it a lot. Even though I used to be active myself I have started to feel estranged to this world of politics

“Hello.” The apparently used-to-be-famous TV comedian, with his strange hat: so people will recognize his specialness, addresses me. Briefly I feel the famous one here: the white-female-traveler.
He asks something about where I’m from and where I’m staying. I can’t help getting the feeling: I-am-famous-so-I can-screw (pardon my words) -anyone. But I am trying to stay kind and open-minded that I’m wrong. Though my bad Spanglish (for even that mix is already bad) saves me from further conversation.

My shoulders are getting weary of carrying her. I’m still holding the t-shirt* in my hand. No, I said as friendly as I could, I will not wear it. I can not vote or support a party I do not know and isn´t even green. Though still I let my curiosity and free time take me with them.

Suddenly I´m very aware of where I am by seeing him standing up high on the goal of the soccer field. Clicking away. I am in his frame. I wave, I smile. His manly posture, but functional reason to be up their, makes me smile and aroused.
I take a moment to breath in this moment, before walking on. Letting him do his job.

Everything makes me aware: I am in a new and strange country to me and the old one where I’ve spend most of my life, I feel, I am just as much estranged to.


* Want to become the owner of this shirt? Check the the Viv travel-art-shop

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Short travel story #1 - In the combi taxi

September 2014, Chiclayo, Peru


The young boy repeatedly bangs with his flat hand against the side of the van, by hanging his arm outside the window. He shouts and moves almost possessively, looking for people who need to go the van's direction. Opening the door rapidly many times, even stepping outside to try to get the people in.
If the-passenger-to-be is lucky, this boy is honest and wont bring them halfway their destination, just so he and the driver can earn some money.


His energy amazes me. 

My host and I start guessing how old he is. He says 14, I say 17, maybe 16.
Some minutes pass before I dare to ask the boy, who's finally sitting down, in my bad Spanish: “cuántos años?” “Catorce”, he answers, with a questioning look in his eyes why I'm asking.

"Aaahhh, your right!” Maybe I am more used to the Dutch, who make this boy due to his work experience and more tough life look older? Anyway, my age guessing skills need some practising.

The driver turns up the volume and the music fills the van. If my baby-girl wasn't asleep, she would definitely dance on it by bouncing up and down. The car has shaken her to sleep.

It's warm, but just perfect. The wind outside, the open windows, is making my hair dance. The road dusty, with sometimes a cloud of dust blown into the air.  
I am everytime remembered of the treeless surroundings. Not knowing if they once stood there tall and proud.

My host... I feel his leg against mine. A warm feeling in every way. I am trying to restrain myself not to take his hand into mine. We're looking past one another, but I feel we're looking into each other's soul.

The van takes us to our destistination...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A mother´s philosophy part 2 of 4: how and why sex(uality) changes when becoming a mom

He asks me if I want to come to the hotel with him. I tell him I can't, because I'm already 2,5 hours gone from her. She will need me soon.
I also have to be honest, I have missed dancing so much, that I, even if I had the time to go with him, would rather dance some more.

So, again no sex. Guess what?! I do not mind at all. Really?! Yes, really!
I have figured out by now that it´s not because I'm suddenly less sexual, the only difference is, I can not be and do not want to be focussed on it.

What´s wrong with me?!
I became a mom.

Enough men complain that women become less sexual once pregnant and once they become a mom. Maybe true, but the reason is, I'm starting to believe, not the most standard given answer: hormone change. 

They still work just positively fine most of the time, or come back fast or frequently.
Men who make funny and negative comments about this subject, are hurting women more than they realize and sometimes even more than the woman realizes herself. Well this is and could be wrong:
1. The way you feel is related to how you look (see number 2). Feeling dead tired: carrying many kilo´s, hormones kicking you around, healing after giving birth, if lucky: only torn, stitched and maybe even a little bit physically and emotionally traumatized here or there. And what´s sleep?
Now, with all this try to feel and look at your most sexy. Raise your hand if you can... I thought so!
Worst thing: there are men that can really make you feel opposite from beautiful when pregnant… and then give the blame on the hormones if you act upset and angry.
I was so lucky to get a kind remark when having a huge beautiful belly: "you look good from the back." UH! Wrong remark! Not horny! Anything but!
I know some say and think that the hormone change changes your sexuality. True, but it can even make you become more sexual.
If people suddenly make you feel like you are less or even not beautiful anymore or expecting on the other hand that your sexual feelings are exactly the same, arouses all but.
I´ve heard in rare cases, that the love actually grew between the couple, for they had now a beautiful family together. Seems logical to me. However, more often I´ve heard about negative stories such as separations, just shortly after the baby was born. 2. The way you look when pregnant and as a starting mom isn't always that awake, that fresh and that healthy. Tired, morning sick, carrying weight, not having energy, makes also less men look and flirt with you. (They think you're taken anyway, which is mostly true, not always.) Oh yeah, there are exceptions, of shining women and all, but let´s focus on the more realistic situations, shall we? Mostly of you hardly having any time to even comb your hair properly.
Oh yeah, I have felt sexy with my 6 months belly. But hee, those hormones woke her up and she beat the crap out of me. So, I decided: NO FLIRTING for now! 3. Your focus is on the baby, especially when you've just become a mom.
You listen to your baby's every sounds and needs. You can't use, even if you want it, a hand on your butt or really flirt, especially at those I-need-to-focus-moments, which are in abundance. I've noticed personally it makes me feel bad, restless and losing fun of being a mom when I lose focus. 4. Giving and getting love.
I love giving her the best of me. I love her to bits. But that doesn't mean I do not need love myself, actually I need it even more so, now that I am a mom.
I need a little bit of the so much love I give to my baby in return from a man. You can say, bad luck Viviane, you're (still) a single mom, but guess what, not getting that love you so much need when in a relationship is even worse.
I was talking to my good friend on the chat about this and I could almost hear the tears coming into her eyes, when she said how she recognized this.
We women just want a little back of what we give. First thing is love and not as a trick of getting us into bed. We can be stupid perhaps at times, but not that stupid!
We women, I feel, need more, or call it a different kind of love then before we became moms. We want to see the love in your eyes, also towards the baby. 5. Expectations.
If beforehand someone says: oh, she´s going to be less sexual when pregnant or with a baby, then you have a big change it will be the case. That remark is not romantic at all! The guy (or woman :)) however, who understands, listens, reads, dares to change (or call it: develop) with the change his love goes through, being pregnant and becoming a mom, will win a lot!
I think women do not always understand the changes they are going through themselves, or how to put it into words. That´s why they can't always make clear what´s going on or what they need.

In any case: it takes two! Also the woman has got to understand how a man feels in the process of it all. Though, I think we've heard that (accepted) story more often, than the one I've been writing about. I hope at least it makes you think about it… and to be more kind, more loving towards one another.

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Two
 more in ´A mother´s philosophy´ will follow: the pressure of society to be a working mom (to work or not to work) and short philosophies summed-up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A mother´s philosophy part 1 of 4: the greatness of being a single mom


No, this isn´t propaganda for becoming a single mom! To say it short: there isn´t one way of raising a child. Well, the only way is being as much a good parent or parents as one or two can be.


Tabooohooehoeeee


I´m tired. Not only because it´s bed-time, but because I hardly find a nice happy single mom story online.

When I was back in the Netherlands I was shocked to learn how prejudiced and not open-minded people are. In the Netherlands, for crying out loud!
I noticed how old fashioned people still were thinking, putting priority for the child on having a father and a mother instead of having a loving and a good parent or parents.

Funny, how I´ve heard moreover that I´m such a good mother/parent. Still, all the time I´ve to hear: “Where is the dad?” That´s the first question people ask me once they notice I´m a single mom. Not: "How is motherhood?" or such. Or nice would be: “Oh great! So I can date you?!” Noooope!

When I say that I don´t want to talk about it, people assume it´s a painful story, that I´ve no contact with the biological dad or something worse. Guess what?! UH! Wrong!
Also the focus everywhere online, pregnancy sites and such, is on the mom and guess what... the dad. I know so many, many single parents, from the start or after separation.
There´ s more taboo on this matter than I thought.

Yes, of course, it´s hard sometimes, but let´s focus on the benefits and the fun parts of being a single parent, at least as I´ve experienced so far.
I want to show the other side. Not every single mom is 16 years old, abandoned by a guy and hardly capable of raising her own kid.

Once again and the last time, this isn´t just to say being a single mom (or dad, but hee that´s more rare and also I talk from my own experience, and the last time I´ve checked: I´m still a woman) isn´t hard at times, but being parents, a couple, is just as much hard at times.


And do not forget, a child when growing up or when adult and looking back, will always feel something missing. I have even heard stories of people saying, they rather had had that their parents would have separated when they were young and so on.

It´s all about love. Let’s question that more.



My story short

You know, got pregnant (you know how that goes), wasn´t planned, decided to go on with the pregnancy, wasn´t scared becoming a mom even if I never wanted to be one before, but I knew if it would happen I would be a single mom (...), wasn´t 16 anymore (double that + 1), hard pregnancy and painful birth, but then holding the most beautiful thing ever seen in my arms…

Now let’s go to what we´ve all been waiting for, an overview. Our heads like numbers, so here my top 5 of the benefits of being a single mom!


The benefits of being a single mom/parent

1. No discussions
I don´t have to discuss anything with anyone. “Can you take care of that, honey?” “Shall we give her first this food, shall we buy or not buy that?”
I have to take care of things, and having no one to complain or discuss things with, makes me also feel I´ve nothing to complain about. Much more relaxed. I just have to do it.
The stress between parents can be felt by children. Having stress alone instead of between two people is less present I´ve experienced.

2. Freedom

I can live more the life that I want. I don´t have to think what my partner wants or what is possible for him. This, also on daily basis. Only me and my baby-girl matters. I still travel.

3. More focus
Some things I make more simple for myself as a parent, because I have to do it all. Making it more simple is actually relaxing anyway, also for the baby.
I can focus on her and me. I don´t also have to think of my relationship.
When I breastfeed her, there´s no one breaking in, in that sweet intimate moment. Maybe that´s also why she´s such a chubby beauty.

4. Less spoilt
Some think she´ll be more spoilt. I actually think the opposite. She has to wait while I take a shower for example and when she´s older she can´t go to her dad and get that cookie I said she couldn´t have.

5. Buddies
My baby-girl is also my little best friend, my buddy and partner in crime. I feel the connection is (different) strong. I have experienced all her first steps and it has also made me grow fast as a mother. (This has also to do with not having her go to day-care and such and her being an only child.)


With all the above I´m not saying she will never get a kind of father in her life. I´m not going to stay single forever. I hope not!
It´ll have to be a good connection
though, for the three of us. Otherwise I rather be and can better stay single.

I´m enjoying it so much right now, being a mom. I really do the same stereotype things fathers do with their children. (I believe by the way that some fathers are better ´moms´.)
I´ve heard I got more balls than many men got anyway.
So, I´m enough ´father´ I guess.


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Are you a single parent? Please share your positive experiences below.

Three more in ´A mother´s philosophy´ will follow: how and why sex(uality) changes when becoming a mom, the pressure of society to be a working mom (to work or not to work) and short philosophies summed-up.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Traveling as a vegan


Almost 6,5 years ago I started to live as a vegan. To many surprise it has actually not been as difficult as many think it is and I even thought it would be. 
 
Well, the reactions have been hard at times. Suddenly people become food experts and try to make you feel bad about something which is quite the opposite. But no discussions here, just my tips and experiences.

I saw and still see it as a hobby. I learned a lot about food and health since and really enjoyed it, even if  my basic reason was and still is not using other beings as a product, a thing, an object. It enriched my life more than I ever thought possible.

But what about when you travel?!

You would think perhaps that traveling as a vegan is difficult. I haven’t experienced it like that at all and again it's more how people react that bothers me. I’ve traveled to India, Morocco, several places in Europe, Turkey, Brazil and Ecuador since I am living as a vegan. So I dare to say: I am experienced. 

Maybe it's all new to you or still difficult, I hope the 4 points below will help you further.
 


To travel veganlicious:


1. Vegan language
First thing I do is write down and learn words in the language of the country I am going to or am in. Words such as: vegan, vegetables, meat, and: (no) milk, eggs, honey, butter, meat, chicken, fish, wool, leather, animal products and such.
Most of the time I know the words for food, example ‘rice’, ‘bread’ and such before learning any other words in a language.
It’s smart to anyway download a (offline) dictionary onto your phone. 
  
A must-have for the vegan(-minded) travelers among us is the Vegan Passport. It’s great! 
In many languages it’s explained what vegans do and don't eat. There’s even a page, see the image above, where if anything else fails images can be shown.
I have used it many times, also for people who wanted to know what veganism is.


2. To eat or not to eat out
Cooking for yourself is most easy if you want to be sure of eating vegan. Everywhere fruits, vegetables, rice, seeds, nuts and such can be found. Go to the (super)markets and just in case bring that dictionary along.
The ingredients and tastes can be different from what you are used to. In that case be creative, try things out or look up new recipes.

In some countries like Brazil tofu is for example very expensive and hard to find. Also many pasta's are made with egg. Enough other good things you can find. Every country has its unique and delicious things. Like the cacao and chocolate in Ecuador is just hmmmmmmmm... Chocolate with lemongrass! Or I make my own: cacao, cocos oil, stevia or panela and I love inside pure peanut butter mixed with some panela. So simple, so delicious. 

When traveling with the bus and plane, always take something with you, it has happened more often to me that the ordered vegan meal wasn’t there.
Sometimes a bus makes a stop. Everybody starts eating, but the only thing I found was a bag of natural chips to eat. In this case, be prepared or just eat/live simple for that short period.
 
The nice thing was, that eating out in Sao Paulo was hardly any more expensive than cooking myself. So I preferred going out... to a vegan restaurant with almost daily a great buffet.

The best website for finding vegan, vegetarian, veg-friendly restaurants, organic supermarkets and such is Happy Cow. You can read and leave recommendations there, add information or a restaurant.

I have eaten so veganlicious in vegan as well as in vegetarian restaurants. Most of the times the last has at least one vegan dish or could make one. Even 'meat restaurants' can...
In a pizzeria they made pizza without cheese for me, though it inspired them to gossip.
Also in almost every country you can find fries/potato chips, but don't forget to ask about the kind of oil it's fried in.

I try to stimulate and promote vegan restaurants and I don't like to see or smell animal products. Just saying what’s possible. 

I have eaten the best vegan cakes, ice-cream, food in my life while traveling!


3. No! A mistake!
Sometimes something goes wrong. People don’t always understand what being a vegan is means or you are so used something being standard vegan that you make a mistake.

Once in a restaurant they said I could choose between two desserts, but read the menu and one had honey in it. And oil can be meat or vegetable oil. In India for example a lot of ghee, a butter kind, is being used in dishes.

One time I probably ate something which had meat oil in it. Someone gave some vegetables to me and I wasn't thinking. It tasted different and not much later got sick to my stomach. Someone told me it was probably the oil…
Even if all the whole grain bread in bakeries here in Ecuador where I am, seem to be vegan, I ask in every bakery sometimes twice if there is no milk, butter and all in it.

I have a paper with me with all the E-numbers that are not or has a change of not being vegan. http://www.food-info.net/nl/qa/qa-fi45.htm 

Many countries don't work with the numbers, but the names. For the E-numbers/names in English: LINK


4. A vegan among others
I always say infiltrate and integrate...

I've met great non-vegan people, who cooked vegan for me or went out eating vegan with me. It can be nice and smart though when you are especially traveling for a longer time to meet or stay (through Couchsurfing for example) with other vegans.
They can help you out, give tips for certain places, recipes and foods. 
Not having discussions or having to cook in a kitchen with animal products, meat smelling pans ruining your food, is also a nice reason. 


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I focused on vegan food in this blog, but living as a vegan is more than food.
In Brazil for example, I found vegan, non-animal-tested, shampoos and soaps.


I've found that traveling as a vegan isn’t hard at all. Especially if you see it as a hobby, as fun, you will find and enjoy more vegan things than you thought possible.


Your tips, experiences, questions, remarks below the blog are more than welcome.