Nicaragua , Other , Travel

Volcanoes, Lakes & Party Beach Towns: Exploring Nicaragua

I entered Nicaragua almost grudgingly. Guatemala stole my heart, and after a nightmare 19 hour night bus and too many frustrating misunderstandings to go into, we finally arrived in the city of Leon at six in the morning. Unable to check into our AirBnB until 7:30, we wandered the streets trying to find somewhere open for breakfast. Even at that early hour we could tell Leon was seriously, seriously hot, a shock after cool, temperate Guatemala. Tired, sweaty and pissed off, it’s fair to say I didn’t have the best first impression of this country. “You’re no Guatemala, Nicaragua!” But what do you know. After a long sleep in a comfy bed, it turns out that Nicaragua is pretty great after all.

Belize , Food , Food Republic

A Vegetarian Travel Diary; In Search of Food in Belize

There are places you know you won’t find any good vegetarian food, and there are places you think you won’t find any. Belize is the latter. The Central American nation has a lot of coast for such a small country, so fish and seafood form a substantial part of the traditional diet. Ceviche, conch and lobster are the national dishes, and the idea that a vegetarian movement would be strong here didn’t seem too likely. But Belize is veggie-friendly — far more so than I anticipated.

Other , Society , Travel

I Quit Everything to Travel the World. Here’s Why.

In May this year I quit my job, sold my possessions, found my cat a new home, said goodbye to friends and family and set off to travel the world. To describe this as something I’d been dreaming of doesn’t do it justice. Wanderlust evokes positive images, but this desire to travel and see the world was beginning to consume me. It was all I could think about, all I dreamed about, and it revealed a deep, persistent dissatisfaction within me. 

Guatemala , Travel

Reasons to Fall in Love with Antigua Guatemala

Ahh, Antigua Guatemala. It seems crazy that I’ve been on this planet for almost 28 years and yet until a few weeks ago had no idea how utterly incredible Guatemala is. It honestly stunned me. Why don’t more people come here? It’s been popular with backpackers for years, but why it isn’t as common a holiday destination as nearby Costa Rica is beyond me, particularly when it’s vastly cheaper. Turns out, people are waking up to how sensational this country is. For years civil war and the subsequent poverty were adept at warding tourists off, but in recent years tourism is up 26%, thanks in part to the country’s reputation as being the Mayan heartland of Central America. But there’s so much more to Guatemala than…

Belize , Other , Travel

The Cave of the Crystal Maiden; Exploring Belize’s Mayan Underworld

I am woefully behind with blogging. Writing on the road is hard! We’re currently in Antigua, Guatemala and we love it. It’s by far and away my favourite destination so far and I really, really want to write about it, but first I have to do another post on Belize – in particular the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave tour. The Actun Tunichil Muknal cave (aka the Cave of the Crystal Maiden, aka the ATM caves) is a vast cave where the Mayans used to make human sacrifices from about 600 – 900 AD.

Belize , Travel

Going Slow on Caye Caulker

Some places you know you’ll love as soon as you see them. For us, Caye Caulker was one of those places. We were sold from the moment we set foot on this island. After flying back from Cuba, getting the night bus down from Mexico and then hopping on a water taxi from Belize City, any destination where we could dump our bags and relax for a while would probably seem pretty idyllic. But Caye Caulker truly is the stuff of backpacking dreams.

Cuba , Travel

Havana, Cuba: Ten Things to Know Before You Go

Havana is the strangest, most fascinating city you can imagine. Raw, tropical, vibrant and energetic, Havana is alive with an energy and spirit that pervades its entire culture.  It’s a city of stark juxtaposition, where magnificent colonial squares sit alongside decayed and crumbling buildings, and classic American cars blast out the latest reggaeton music. Havana must be seen and experienced to be believed, but if you’re thinking of heading to this exotic island, here are ten things to know before you go…

Cuba , Food , Food Republic , Travel

A Vegetarian Travel Diary; In Search of Food in Cuba

Cuba is famous for many things. Rum. Cars. Cigars. Che. Food isn’t one of them. Aside from the staples (every Cuban citizen receives a regular supply of rice, sugar, coffee, meat, eggs and bread), food supplies are often limited and can run out without warning. Traveling the world as a vegetarian, Cuba was the country I thought would prove hardest to eat well in — or even moderately well. Its vegetarian food has a reputation for being either “completely uninspired” or “uniformly terrible” — but is the vegetarian food in Cuba really so bad? In a word, no. Definitely not. But I wouldn’t call it great, either. Let’s explore. HAVANA The first stop in Cuba is usually Habana Vieja, or Old Havana. As the…

Blog , Society , Women

My Mother, the Psychopath: One Woman’s Story of Abuse

Psychopathy is so hot right now—or so popular culture would have you believe. In the past 15 years, public awareness of psychopathy and other antisocial personality disorders has rocketed. From the lethal-yet-likeable serial killer we saw in Dexter to the now-iconic Patrick Bateman of American Psycho, it seems both the media and public are drawn to the image of the “elite psychopath.”

Crime , Justice

What It Takes To Kill: The Human Cost of the Death Penalty

They say you can’t put a price on life, but what about death? Earlier this year I spoke to Jerry Givens, a former state executioner turned death penalty abolitionist. He told me that for people who carry out the death penalty, the real, enduring cost is emotional. “If I had known what I’d have to go through as an executioner, I wouldn’t have done it. It took a lot out of me to do it. You can’t tell me I can take the life of people and go home and be normal.”

Crime , Justice , Women

Ched Evans, Rape & the Issue of Consent

In the past few weeks there have been many people expressing their views on convicted rapist and ex-footballer Ched Evans. Sadly (but unsurprisingly), many of those are ignorant of either the law, the case, or both. From the aggressive, uninformed die-hard supporters calling the rape victim “whore” to the legal uncertainties of more balanced posters, the same questions keep circulating on social media:  How can it be rape if the victim can’t remember if she consented or not? How can Ched Evans be guilty of rape if his co-accused Clayton McDonald was acquitted? If Evans is guilty of rape, then surely any drunk girl who has sex can say she’s been raped?