Livingstone Greenpop Earth Festival

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The Green Pop Earth Festival was easily the best night we had in Zambia, the atmosphere was beautiful and we were surrounded by some of the coolest people. The music festival itself was adorable, with marquees lined with fairy lights and lanterns hung from all the trees. the night was just perfect with all the fun music, especially Jeremy Loops who is a seriously cool human (go look him up on youtube asap). The aim of the entire night was to raise money for the Green pop project, an initiative to plant trees all over Zambia as the country with the second highest deforestation rate in Africa. Us lion volunteers also planted 500 trees the following wednesday so we definitely put our fair share of elbow grease into the Zambian farmland and I a definitely feel all that extra oxygen in our atmosphere…. IMG_2981 _MG_3019 _MG_3015 IMG_3001 IMG_3029 IMG_3033 IMG_3022 IMG_3006

Tokaleya Tonga – The Smoke that Thunders


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Tokaleya Tonga – the smoke that thunders or the Victoria Falls is the world’s largest sheet of falling water standing at 108m tall. So it is not the largest waterfall in the world but I had to go to Victoria Falls twice because I think you have to go back and make sure what you are seeing is real. Seriously. The falls are absolutely huge and so incredibly powerful its mind blowing. Our little group covered every trail and possible route….we also invented a few to get a better perspective. You could too easily spend all day roaming the trails, watch the rainbows fade in and out of the mist, get soaked on the bridges and take it all in. I’ll always have such fond memories here and Livingstone in general as we move forward in our Journey through to Botswana, Namibia and return to Capetown on our camping safari trip. It should be interesting to say the least… I am dearly missing our morning lion walks already though and all of the amazing people I met at Lion encounter, it was such an invaluable experience that I recommend to anyone in search of a good adventure and down right fun.

Zambia, you will always hold a very special place in my heart .

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Lion Encounter Volunteering, Zambia

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Last Monday Lil and I assumed our duties as volunteers with ALERT Lion Encounter Zambia, an organisation that is rebuilding the vulnerable lion population by having lion prides re-introduced to the wild. It has been a crazy week, just so busy and so much to get used to! The volunteer houses are situated within the national park, right alongside the Zambezi river, home to the hippos and the crocodiles who regularly make an appearance. We are also neighbours with an Elephant organisation which is really amazing, so in addition to the wild african elephants we see, we also can hang out with the guys next door who come to graze in the back yard. So yeah, we get the lot here, all the giraffes, zebras etc you name it. Our typical day……well it isn’t so typical at all. Generally you will have a lion walk, exactly how it sounds you bring out the lions and take them down to the river and play. They are so funny and as you get to know them the nuances of their personalities reveal themselves, this part is by far the best and the lions recognise you as well. This can be good or bad, depending on weather they see you as dominant or their next play toy. The other activities are not quite as fun but all entirely necessary for the program to run successfully. We have enclosure maintenance/cleaning, going to the other site “Dambwa” to do research, cub sitting (which is super adorable with the 6 week old cubs), litter picking,  behavioural enrichment and worst of all … meat prep. To spare your feelings I will not give out the details. I would never wish it upon anyone.

 

Beyond the lions us volunteers are able to participate in community projects which I particularly enjoy. This includes conservation education, book club, kids club and going out to the rural schools to help paint the class rooms, an initiative made by the community interns who stay with us. Doing the community projects is an incredible experience, the kids are beautiful, so grubby but so joyful and full of love. Unfortunately it is exactly how one would imagine this type of situation where these children are provided with so little resources in every aspect. It breaks your heart and you just want to give them everything but it is so difficult when they live so far away from Livingstone town and no one owns cars etc. The community interns are incredible in this way where they have poured their hearts into these kids education and even their personal lives, taking them to hospitals when needed and paying for medical expenses. They even organised a huge handout of tooth brushes to all the families, it is so simple yet so important. So as they say, I am certainly learning a lot more from these kids than I am teaching them.

 

Livingstone itself is an old town but a lot of fun. There is plenty to do since we are a stones throw from the Victoria falls which are insaaannnneee, I’ll post something about that later as I’m dissatisfied with the photos. Since being in Zambia, in many ways I feel as though I have seen  the “real” Africa. The land is arid, even though it is winter the days are up to 31 degrees, nothing is sugar coated necessarily, people are so genuinely kind and the vibes are just really awesome to be honest, the music is insane and everyone is just down for a good time. Volunteering thus far has been such an amazing experience, being a part of something like this is invaluable. The other people here are so wonderful, everyone is such an individual and there are just too many hilarious times. So basically I am loving life on this side of the world, its so surreal, I could never quite explain what its like but I think i’ve given the general outline but even so…. its too much fun.

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The Southern Peninsula and Everything on it

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We drove down the coastline to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape point, which, as it turns out are two different things and not just synonyms… Cape point is where the Atlantic and the Indian ocean collide whilst Cape of Good Hope is the south western most point of Africa. I think it’s a forgivable mistake. We travelled via Chapman’s peak road, a highway cut out of the side of mountains and the definition of a scenic drive giving us magical views of Hout bay.

We passed through Noordhoek, Scarborough and several other small coastal towns on our bucket list. When approaching Cape point, we saw baboons strutting the roads but after hearing the war stories of backseat break in’s, gang fights and stolen lunches, we weren’t all that keen to get too close and personal beyond our windows. The Table Mountain National park was so truly beautiful, I had my eyes glued to the glass the entire journey.  After making a quick stop and Cape of Good hope, we ventured up to cape point.

At the mountain peak where the lighthouse stood I come short of words to describe what we saw. The scenery was incredible with a line of foggy mountains that encompassed false bay to the rugged cliffs with waves crashing at the sides. Hence I spend a lot of my time in these places in silence, or making jokes that I cant breathe because it is so “breath taking”. I think Im funny… Naturally being the daredevils we are, we took our chances with the baboons and enjoyed our lunch on the cliff tops.

It is my favourite feeling in the world to be overwhelmed by nature and made to feel so small. I get it a lot here. Back on target Boulders Beach was our next stop, we had to see the penguins, it was a non optional excursion. Those little fluffy creatures were certainly a highlight of the day, penguin waddles are too adorable! We returned via Constantia early evening and passed out almost immediately after. It was a big day. Touring the Peninsula was spectacular and I recommend doing it for anyone planning to visit Cape Town. This is such an exciting place to be and I love waking up to each new day here.

Sending all my love to my friends and family, I miss you guys!

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First Stop Cape Town

DSC_0163~2_20140610054619201~2I couldn’t tell you why but Africa was always the only place I ever wanted to go at this time of my life. After 36 hours of travelling, 22 hours in flying, 14 in layovers and 3 hours of sleep, I was pretty damn excited to get here, to Cape Town, as the first stop of the 2 month journey. Within 10 minutes of checking in I was out the door and down the coastline, ill sleep when I’m dead.

It is easy to grasp a sense of what this place is all about, where everyone is your “brother” or “sister”, children and elders are treated as Gods and skip the awkward handshakes let’s just hug. True beauty is what it is, deeply engrained in the spirits of African people and I’ll tell you it’s contagious! The land is powerful, where the city surrounds the grand table mountain and lions head. The scenery is just constantly incredible and I still have to pinch myself every now and then to believe it’s real and that I have made my way here.

Cape Town is freezing by my standards and the weather is famed for its unpredictability. E.g. I stepped out in a cardigan and a tee shirt, 5 seconds later we were caught in a hail storm. I guess it keeps things interesting. The majority of our time spent here so far, all of three days, has had every minute filled. There are too many funky cafes at which your meals are generally a third of standard Australian prices. I’ve learnt quickly that it is difficult to budget for five months… Hence a 50 rand per meal limit. We are enjoying being classic backpackers.

We made a visit to hout Bay, and old fisherman’s town with a beautiful mountainside and a harbour or smelly, rusty ships. We saw the constantia vineyards and the kirstenbosch gardens, an incredible display of all African flora. However the best part was easily the sunset over the ocean from the coastal highway. So far so amazing in this city.DSC_0182~2PicsArt_1402326221858IMG_20140612_055402IMG_20140610_033319IMG_2623IMG_20140611_045017IMG_2633IMG_2637IMG_2640 IMG_20140611_103457 DSC_0318

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Blueberry Chia Smoothie

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Just wanted to spread the word/recipe for this amazing smoothie.

All you will need is

- 1/2 cup blueberries

- 1/2 cup coconut milk

- 2 tbsp chia seeds

- handful of ice

- dates to sweeten

- Optional toppings of coconut shavings and goji berries

Make your day beautiful!

My Beautiful Bali Adventure!

Last week I went to Bali for 9 days with some of my family and there are no words that justify the people, scenery or atmosphere. Bali is chaotic and packed with tourists in many places, seemingly overtaken by Western resorts and market stalls that appear identical. However, once you push past this initial facade, you discover the island is vibrant with culture, flourishing with exotic rainforest and offers incredible traditional balinese food….most of the time. The experience opened my eyes to cultural, spiritual, environmental and gastronomical experience, all of which I cannot wait to share! we stayed in Sanur on the south east of the Island then moved into the remote areas of Bali amongst the jungle where we stayed at the Bali Eco Stay- a self sustained community of jungle bungalows. This was amazing, most of what you consumed was harvested fresh from the gardens that day, proving the exceptional taste and appreciation for fresh organic foods. Located in the heart of fields of rice paddies and jungle, the Bali eco stay could not have been more pleasant. No television, the wifi (for my aunt and I) did not work thus we surrendered to merely existing in the natural world, ogling at the beauty that surrounded us. This experience provoked the realisation of what you really need and I’ll tell you it isn’t much.

We did so much there from rainforest walks, daily playing in the waterfalls, massages, cooking classes, I even had the opportunity t make my own coconut oil! It was a little heaven on earth where you could rejuvenate, reconnect with nature and reconnect with yourself. I was educated about the value of living an environmentally friendly lifestyle and how it can be really fun! I am therefore making a sum of changes to my current manner of living that resonate with my beliefs which I will share in the future. Whilst I am so grateful to be living where I am, it was so refreshing to be taken out of the city. The balinese truly embody the concept of “living in the moment”. This is perhaps something I should apply to my own life, acknowledging then removing the thoughts of what is going to happen or what has already passed. Do we overlook what is in front of us because our minds are focused elsewhere?

Nyepi day also fell on the second day of our holiday. Nyepi day is a day of silence, where the evil spirits can pass over the island. Essentially the entirety of bali shuts down. No one is walking the streets, using electricity, even the airport is closed off with the exception of emergencies! It was incredible to bea part of this cultural day and to admire the retention of such a strong sense of respect for balinese traditions.

There is so much more to share which I will do in separate posts but here are some of my photos of the places we visited.

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A Morning Ritual

I have this morning ritual that really helps me to welcome the new day and go into whatever it is I have to do with an open, clear mind. Personally, it is important to allow myself time to wake up, mentally/physically prepare and nourish my body and it is way easier to do this all in the morning. Whilst there are no actual health benefits to rising with the sun, I’ve found that it has really encouraged my healthy lifestyle and that the days are far more productive because instead of staying up into the late hours of the night, you want to get an early rest! This is my morning ritual as a guide but each individual should create something to accommodate their needs.

The first and arguably hardest thing is to wake up. To soften the blow a little I set a dreamy sort of alarm, you know lots of wind chimes etc. I also write a little message to remind me of why I want to get up instead of sleeping in, usually along the lines of “you know how good that sunrise is going to be, come on girl”, lame? yes, effective? yes. However, when this fails, try putting your phone in the corner of your room so that you are forced to get up, by the time you sit down again you will be awake.

Next its time to put on some running gear and go down to the beach, I am really lucky to live so close by, the beach has become an essential part of my day, it is really refreshing for the mind and the body. Whilst exercise seems like it would drain what little energy you have to begin with, it is really invigorating, getting your blood pumping and metabolism running. Do whatever exercise works for you but most of all what you enjoy! Take a friend too, someone to keep you going and to commit.

bronteYou can see why you would want to get up for this. You may not live close to the beach but there is a sunrise for everyone wherever you are so there is no reason not to get out there! It is usually at this point that I remember how amazing life can be if you take full advantage of what is around you. The Dalai Lama said ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”  What more could you possibly strive for?

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Once you’re home again and you’ve dried off, dry skin body brushing is an absolutely sensational way to take care of your skin! Body prushing upwards from toe to head stimulates both your circulation and the lymphatic system. This releases fatty deposits in the top layers of your skin, prevents premature ageing, removes dead skin cells, supports the vital organs in eliminating toxins as well as improving skin texture/muscle tone. So there are clearly several reasons why you should make this part of your ritual.

Shower time! I use all natural and cruelty free products in my shower because not only is it kinder to our planet, its kinder to ourselves because we are not covering our bodies in chemicals. I have really noticed the difference in my skin since using natural body scrubs (which you can make yourself) with epsom salts and coconut, coconut oil for moisturiser as well as a hair mask, certified vegan and organic facial and body moisturisers and aluminium free deodorant.  Whilst some of these products are more expensive, there are brands such as Sukin which I highly recommend as my #1 cruelty free product. Their products are middle range price and really good quality so if you can get your hands onto some of that, do it.

Breakfast is without a doubt the most important meal of the day. By having a hearty, high protein breakfast, your blood sugar levels and food cravings are regulated throughout the day which will minimise hunger pangs by mid morning or afternoon. I like to start my day by making a giant smoothie filled with just about everything to assure that I am giving my body all the essential macro and micro nutrients/minerals. This is my go to recipe…

Banana, spirulina protein smoothie

ingredients:

- 2 frozen bananas (for potassium and healthy fats)

-1 cup spinach (for iron)

-1/2 cup chosen milk (i use unsweetened soy)

- 1 tbsp chia seeds (for essential proteins)

- 1 tbsp Flax seeds (excellent source of omega 3!)

- 1 tsp spirulina (for vitamin b12 which is generally lacking in a vegan/ plant-based diet)

-1 tsp goji berries (huge antioxidant benefits)

- 2 medjool dates (optional but makes the smoothie sweet and offers lots of fibre)

- Toppings can be any fresh fruit and a bit of muesli (here I have used loving earth buckinis, shredded coconut and banana)

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After Breakfast it is pretty general, plan for the day, pack your things and get dressed but waking up early and taking the time for yourself ensures that you can clearly approach each and every day at your best. Whilst it may not be for everyone and I appreciate that, it has really made a difference in my life and maybe it could for you too!

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Summer Delights

I love summer, so so soooo much and wish the weather could be like it is now all year round! I thought I would share a few recipes and photos of the things I really enjoy at this time that help me stay fresh and feel good.

2014-01-17 11.42.07Smoothies are probably my number one love in life, I just can’t ever get enough, you can make whatver flavour you want and above all they are just so nutritious! So for me summer is a bit of a blender bender (hehe I really like that term) and I just love getting creative in the presentation…..clearly.

The smoothie above consists of the following

-1 cup of fresh mango

-1 cup of spinach

- 1/2 cup blueberries

-1 tbsp chia seeds

-1/4 cup orange juice

-1/3 cup coconut water

- topped with mango, raspberries and coconut shreds

 

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I made some friends on my balcony…..IMG_1599

I love sunflowers, they look so pretty in the summer!
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A fresh fruit salad to kick of the day for me is always a great way to start because I find the fruit just gives me so much energy which is really important especially on working days. Strawberries are full of antioxidants (like you haven’t heard that before) and well mangoes it goes without saying, they’re just so good! I add little extras sometimes for a nutrient boost like chia seeds, goji berries and dried figs.IMG_1361

So these are just some of the things that I am loving at the moment but I will post more recipes and summery treats soon!

Morgan Xx