7. Personal Development

Its aim is to look into human beings inner dimensions – we don’t know more about you than yourself, so do contribute!

  • Bolivian Story: Enrique MacLean and Paola Recacoechea

    Our first trip out of La Paz after we arrived in Bolivia was to Lake Titicaca for a long weekend away. We spent a couple of nights on Isla del Sol in an eco-lodge, which is where we met Enrique and Paola. They became our very first friends here. During that weekend on Isla del Sol we enjoyed dinner together each evening, laughing and talking about everything from heavy metal to politics. Back in La Paz our friendship grew, including pot lucks at our home and sometimes Enrique and Jean would ‘jam’ together – Enrique on guitar and Jean on his clarinet. We have been enthralled by their comments and…

  • Bolivian Story: Vanessa Vargas

    I met Vanessa when she was heavily pregnant with her baby, Rafaela. She was working at her partner’s restaurant, Red Monkey, as well as producing natural products for her business, Moi. Moi makes handmade cosmetics and personal care products based on natural and organic ingredients, without the use of preservatives, artificial colours or synthetic fragrances, being careful not to degrade our bodies or the environment. Vanessa never stops. I was surprised to see how busy she was whilst heavily pregnant and even since having her little girl it is not uncommon to find her in her workshop making products with her baby strapped to her or sleeping nearby. She’s a strong woman with…

  • Bolivian Story: Marcelo Teran Mitre

    During many days volunteering at Red Monkey I have admired the vibrant colours, shapes, organic patterns and uniqueness of their plates and bowls. I wondered if there might be a chance we could meet the artist behind these functional works of art and last Friday we were blessed with such a meeting in Cochabamba. Entering Marcelo’s workshop we could feel the creativity, experience and passion that has created this small craft business, MTM Ceramics. For more than 30 years Marcelo has been collecting the clay for his pieces from local rivers to then shape it into plates, bowls, decorative pieces, mugs, bonsai pots and more. He feels he was born for the purpose of…

  • Bolivian Story: Gabriela Rebeca Santa Cruz

    We met Rebeca the same night as Pablo, at Red Monkey, the only vegan vegetarian restaurant in La Paz. Rebeca was behind the bar mixing unusual cocktails that combine typically Bolivian ingredients like huacataya and locoto with fresh juices and of course, alcohol. When I turned up at Red Monkey for my first day volunteering in the kitchen Rebeca showed me around their food production garden, which is her baby and love. As we talked it became clear to me that she was feeling overwhelmed as the only person working in the garden, so I suggested I come one day a week to help out. It wasn’t a completely selfless offer, I…

  • Bolivian Story: Pablo Santa Cruz

    We first met Pablo in his restaurant, Red Monkey. Within weeks of it opening we were there – eager to try some healthy, vegan food in this city of meat and fries! Looking down the menu I was impressed to see kombucha listed and gave a little shriek. I thought we were the only ones in La Paz to be making kombucha :).  Pablo came over to our table, curious about my enthusiasm, and before long I was sharing our culinary images from Making Sense Of Things and Pablo had invited me to do a ‘guest chef’ evening there. Whilst I haven’t had the confidence to take up his offer,…

  • Baby time: Changing roles for a month

    I am yet to experience the joys of motherhood but I regularly find myself reading about natural parenting and birthing. I’m not sure why but it seems to fit with my quest to ‘make sense of things’ so I roll with it. My friend’s frequent flyer points recently delivered me to their family in Perth, Australia, where I spent a month as part of their growing family – mum, dad, 2 year old Nova and 6 week old Lumen. Before arriving I wondered… how would I cope? After all, reading and doing is very different. My concerns dissipated quickly. Every morning I was woken by Nova, a beautiful little girl, whose…

  • A lesson in self-reliance: The Choro Trek

    Relaxing in each other’s arms and sipping our local organic coffee we are now enjoying the stunning subtropical vista of the mountainous Andes from an eco-lodge in Coroico, Bolivia. We are surrounded by diversity, coffee plants, avocado trees, bananas, hummingbirds, butterflies and myriad of insects. It feels like bliss, however this moment of peace and quiet has been well deserved… When we were preparing for the 4 day Choro Trek (most people do it in 3), we knew it could be difficult as we had to carry all of our camping gear, first aid kit, food, water and clothing to suit everything from the cold dry Altiplano at 5000m to…

  • How to stay grateful in adversity

    You might remember our post on practicing gratitude... but wonder to yourself, ‘how do I stay feeling grateful when bad things are happening?’ Well, honestly, in the past I haven’t been that good at seeing positives during times of stress. My emotions tend to overtake me and then much later, when all has calmed down I try to reflect on how I could have handled things better. However, last night I realised that I’ve come a long way in the past few years. Let me explain… I took this photo at around 530am this morning as the sun was coming up and the moon was disappearing. I couldn’t sleep because my…

  • Back on line… we have now settled in Bolivia!

    It’s been a long time, hey? Well, Carly and I have had many (nice!) changes in our life lately… We are actually writing this post from La Paz, in  Bolivia, where we’ve moved in to our new home. So after more than two years of living from a couple of backpacks, we’ve now settled down for few years… These last two years have been beautiful though, and certainly worth every penny! Spending time with family and friends, building cob houses and natural building in Southern France, volunteering in a farm in Palestine, learning permaculture in Jordan, working in Yemen, Haiti and Central America, hang gliding in Grenoble, celebrating a friend’s wedding…

  • Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow

    Recently I stumbled upon 365grateful.com and this has inspired me to start reflecting on my day for the things I’m grateful for. Hailey from 365Grateful was told by her life coach (a nun) that the secret to happiness was all about reflection and gratitude. Check out the inspiring little clip below. The way Hailey reflected was to take photographs every day. I have also been taking photos of some of the every day moments and things that I’m grateful for… they are beautiful reminders!! When I look back on them I feel grateful all over again. 🙂 I’ve included some of them throughout this post for you to see. As you may…

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