Do you believe in curses?

This is an interesting article in the Huffington (here) about folks mailing rocks back to the general post office of Hawaii. If you read the article, you would know that the senders were returning volcanic rocks that they had picked up during their journeys to these pacific islands.

Why? Pele’s curse. Nope, not the footballer for those who know. LOL…

There is no deity in the Hawaiian islands with this name. Corrected: Pele is the Goddess of Fire and Lightning (thanks Lucy for sharing this). Do visit her at lovefoodwith lucy because we share a common love of food! Heheh.

It’s supposedly just a legend that if you take any sand or rock away from the islands, bad luck will befall upon you. Perhaps these folks had found out about the “curse”, or they had really encountered a series of unfortunate events? In any case we wrote about what ‘bad’ tourists and travelers bring home with them (here). Tsk tsk we hear you…

What we like to bring home with us aside from the usual tourist souvenirs would be pictures, photos and memories of the journey. As we recount the year, there were many striking instances that leave deep impressions upon us, but none of which will cause us anxiety such as that of Pele’s curse!

Maybe for Fengshui sake we might need to re-arrange the furniture a little…LOL. Hey but for some folks this is serious business and may lead to bad luck if they don’t observe the customs. Not a curse perhaps but close enough. Who wants bad luck?

Have you any similar stories to share about taboos that tourists should look out for?

Manage stress with travel?

Not sure if you are familiar with the saying : “Health is Wealth”. There was one flight in which both Mel and Suan coincidentally watched the same movie. The Japanese satirical movie’s story centred around how a squire worked for a samurai lord.

In the story, this squire falls asleep and is visited by the first god. This one’s the god of health. In it, the god told the squire he was about to take away his health. A healthy dose of conversation took place as part of the movie… The squire awoke and thought nothing of it. Some time later, he fell ill with fever and could not get out of bed. It was difficult to sleep but when he did he dreamt that the wealth god had come.stress

“Aaargh, away with you wealth!!” cried the wealth god to the squire and as quickly as he came he was gone. When he finally awaken, our squire was surrounded by family. They sobbed to him : “oh how the samurai lord has seized all our moneys and treasures for his war!”. All the events that followed and the stress cause the squire to fall into a coma – clearly shocked. It’s dark and gloomy and all the squire could see was the mist. Then a clearing. A figure. A hideous looking figure of a man. That our dear friends was the god of death!

If this report is true, it’s definitely alarming!

We once heard from friends posted to work in the Philippines that people they knew in the corporate circles were ‘dropping like flies’. Perhaps they drank and partied too much…but…and this is a true qualification; many years back we had good friends who reported having gout and hypertension. And these folks were at the height of their early 30s. All because of the food we eat and the little exercise we do. And it seems that apart from lifestyles and diets, stress of life (and/or work) are very likely factors too.

While it is one thing to manage our diets, it may be quite another to manage stress. Can travel help distract you from stress or will it worsen the situation? Remember our post on whether you are overworked? Do you feel stress is overwhelming you?

If so, what do you think you will do about it? We travel to unwind. How about you?

Petit & Pretty French villages

Many years ago, we recalled (when we lived in Holland) that many British folks were flocking to the southwestern part of France. So much that entire communes had almost become British villages!

Why did they converged on this part of France?

Is it the weather? The beautiful countryside? It is still a mystery to us till this day. Perhaps someone from the UK might be able to enlighten us! In any case, there we were based in the town of Perigeux making forays to verify if it is indeed true that the beauty of these villages was what enamoured a countless number of Brits over the years.

But first some technicalities. Many of this “villages” we visited weren’t just communes of abode. They were fortified. ‘Bastides’ they are called locally and there are good reasons to do so. In medieval times, you never know if a robber knight will turn up at your door in the middle of the night asking for “donations” of food, wine and where possible money. Some may even court womenfolk love…

In an age where bands of mercenaries live off the land – ie take from people, the commonfolk had to band together too! And build strong homes from which they can keep themselves safe from predation. Perhaps some of these horror flicks (of vampires and monsters in the night) deriving from medieval times were a satire on the roaming “bloodthirsty” robber knights and barons of the day! Today though we are blessed not to have such any of such. What a relieve!

And words from this post alone will not do sufficient justice to the beauty of the villages that we set our eyes upon.

Are these villages really as pretty as we say? Find out more in our essay here!

Last lights

You know some people say that when you run out of ideas on what to blog, you start to write about what is seemingly mundane. But before you write this post off (no pun intended), take a minute to scan through what we have to say.

For us the whole centrality of blogging is around two things. Yes just two:

  • Journeys and Memories
  • Interaction, with people around the world

The source of our blog posts can come from travels, excursions, adventures or explorations. It definitely comes from family, friends and your wider social circles too (aka our newsletter). So one should not neglect them. We have said that it is important to cherish what you have, for time is but the only commodity in life that cannot be stored for later use. You can try to save time, maximize the use of time or work against time. But there is no bank account, no cookie jar that can store it! Or perhaps we are wrong about that? Can you “catch” a specific moment of time and store it?

So what is this post about?

Why memories of course!

Of what you may ask? Is it mundane? Nooo. It’s memories of the beautiful sunsets that Mel & Suan shared, while on our journeys across the spinning top that revolves around the star we call the Sun. Snapshots of time, stored away eternally we hope.

Enjoy!

Tell us what sunsets have you enjoyed together with your loved ones?

Travel is life and death

Now a dramatic title like this coupled with a nice map of Easter island means either an exciting topic or a juicy piece of news. Perhaps not for you, but we find this report quite disturbing yet promising.

What is it?

It’s about how the millennial generation (in the west) have lower priority to save for a home and paying off debt (student loans or otherwise). Instead, saving to travel is of a higher priority in the sample population surveyed. Talk about asking the barber (in this case a travel company) if you need or want a hair cut…We suppose the report (cited here) needs more scrutiny on who and how they surveyed and we hadn’t the time to search and slice/dice the report. So we will take it at face value (which is really unusual for Mel).

In any case, anecdotal evidence in the form of web chatter suggests that there is a higher proportion of younger folks who yearn to push out onto a life of traveling. The plethora of blogs and instagram accounts bent in that direction could be cited as evidence. Or can it? What if, as in the recent political elections – these high profile examples are merely a vocal and highly visible yet tiny minority? Or that the sampled population in the above report had skewed in favour of those already predisposed to travel over other aspects of life?

Have we marginalized the silent majority (again) because the limelight that has been usurped from them? If you are a 20+ year old today, what would your aspirations be?

Green gardens, even in winter!

Why would you visit a garden without flowers? Now you know that in the eastern world, you have zen gardens, rock gardens (not music), bonsai etc. And in the west most people might associate gardens being adorned with flowers to some degree. What if we were to tell you that gardens in France are mostly designed not to have flowers in mind?

Would you believe us?

Actually we did not believe ourselves too. At least not when we started out driving all over France. And of course we made a sweeping statement. Not ALL gardens in France are without flowers. It is the concept that flowers are not a centrality – that is key!

In this essay, we want to share with you some gems of French gardens that we discovered through our driving journeys. They have been painstakingly built to be enjoyed throughout the year. Thus flower gardens that you might find less attractive in the depths of autumn and winter, you will still be able to find solace within these creations. Many of them can be found within the beautiful manorial palaces and homes of the former aristocracy.

Take a tour of le jardins du France and tell us if you like them!