Mindo Part 2:

After the beach up North, 3 buses and a hitch into town, Antonieta greeted me with her arms wide open, a huge smile and the expression of pure love that most Latin cultured mothers naturally tend to do with kisses, hugs, soft cute names, giggles,humming, deep breaths, as if she hadn’t seen me in years (which she hadn’t so it was a very natural “expected” expression). I was just as happy to see her, but with less nick names and sound effects hehehehehe. Names that are common in the Latin culture are “mi amor (my love), mi quierida (my dear), mi preciosa (my precious), mi corozon (my heart), mi hermana (my sister), mi ninya (my child), etc. Although it can seem overly exaggerated at times, it can actually be quite authentic, such as this time with Antonieta. She is really one of those special souls who I commonly meet and have a deep connection with.

I’m happy to share, that it’s becoming more common now than ever before for people to make connections that feel like a lifetime, or from a past life and people don’t know any other way to express themselves in the moment except through the verbal and physical, and it’s all perfect. I get this often anywhere I go and it’s always a reminder of a bonus to why I love traveling and connecting with people. I love seeing how happy people get just by one person’s presence. I know it’s not actually me as Doris, it’s what’s inside me and what’s inside them that recognizes the divinity in one another and that spark that’s reignited that was created by the catalyst of mystery, surrender and trust. Hence the term “Namaste” translated from Sanskrti as “The divine in me recognizes/acknowledges/bows to the divine in you” and it’s been around for centuries because indeed it’s in all of us. We are all part of the divine, no separation except through illusions and self created stories and limitations.

Antonieta and I had a phenomenal day trip the the waterfalls. We took a taxi up to the entrance, took a cable car (a tarabita) to the other side and 2 min later entered an enchanting world like no other. This is what Mindo is all about! This is why it’s called Mindo (Mundo=world, Linda/Lindo=beautiful) and indeed this is a beautiful world. It’s like no other in Ecuador. It’s the cloud forest, not a rainforest, not a jungle, not a forest or a park.

Mindo is known to have 10% of the world’s population of birds. The vast array of birds, butterflies, flowers, trees, waterfalls, trails, rivers, and plants all intertwined into one area is astonishing and a real gift. Located only 2 hours from the capital of Quito, it’s the perfect get away, opposite to the beach, but nonetheless just as relaxing. There is nature constantly around and not just one body of water. There’s something about green, green, green. Green is the colour of plant’s blood. And we are what we eat. When we eat green we’re feeding ourselves fuel for our blood. When we look, feel, smell and touch green, even think green we are nourishing ourselves beyond the physical. So imagine being 24 hours in green territory. It’s no wonder people live past 100 years of age here.

Trekking through this gigantic playground of nature was like the feeling of “a kid in a candy store”. So many colours, flavours, textures, scents, sights, and sounds. It can make one giddy and euphoric. It was truly beautiful to observe Antonieta. Even at 60 years of age, her joy and enthusiasm has only gotten stronger if anything as the years pass by. Every colour, shape and sound intrigued her and caused her to jump with glee. (See pictures below of the many abundant delights of nature born creations that she was sparked by).

We reached our main destination, the Las Ondinas waterfall. Many believe that one of the archangel’s presence makes the waters healing and that’s what causes the colour to appear bluish green. It wasn’t the warmest day, but being from Canada, having a strong immune system and the desire to feel these healing waters on my skin, I immersed myself. I brought a bikini like the prepared traveler that I am, Antonieta went in fully clothed focusing on her goal, to feel the power of the water surround her, be in her, become her. After 2min of being fully immersed the body eventually, naturally becomes warm, an automatic healthy response, like taking an ice bath. Any discomforts that I may have had in my body were completely nonexistent and I don’t know what it was, but I felt this immense explosion of energy surge through my body. I felt it even when we were walking back into town. I got all giddy myself and began splashing in the water like a child. As I often do during my travels, I drank from these “healing waters” and was not at all surprised by its sweet, delicious, refreshing taste.

We didn’t bring any bottles with us and the one time I wish someone had littered, there was no bottle in site. We both asked the Universe to send us a bottle and when we looked up from our spot there was a couple sitting, drinking Gatorade. I never thought I’d be this happy to see a Gatorade bottle. We asked them if they had an extra bottle and they said “NO”. But when they saw our facial expressions of disappointment, one of them chugged the last bit and threw us the bottle. We were so happy. We rinsed it and filled it up with intention to create a ceremony when we returned to her home. We gathered some rocks to place by our bedsides, packed our stuff, dried and continued back to the top to head back by foot.

We were both so energized and since it was her first time at the waterfalls, she couldn’t and wouldn’t stop thanking God for my presence. I desired to be in this part of Mindo for years and so I was grateful for my presence and her presence, and the lack of many tourists’ presence on this particular day. The New Moon is kind, the Universe is kind, the power of trust, surrender, making an effort, and showing up are all so very kind!

Heading back into town by foot her knee gave in so we took a taxi for the half of our journey back to her home. FOr a 60 year old she is in top shape but some things are inevitable in some people no matter what part of the world they live in.

On the way back I noticed a shop called “The Beehive”. Being a lover of the bees and their sweet nectar and pollen, I was intrigued by the name. I had intention to check it out. As we passed it I noticed the owner sitting outside. The taxi stopped, I got out and I shouted “Ingo! Ingo! remember me!” He looked at me and with his eyes wide open said “What the Fuck! Doris Flinn what are you doing here?!” I laughed because he thought my last name was Flinn this whole time! I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me because this particular character is not easy to please or get on the good side of (so he says). Now this is another incredible story you just got to read… Part 3 continues

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MINDO cloud forest (a gem in Ecuador) Part 1:

I first arrived to Mindo 3 years ago in July 2010, where I was blown away by the amount of greenery, pure air and high vibrational energy overall.

The vibe of this small town, is just as blossoming as it once was last time I was here, and I’m happy to say that in a way it’s gotten “better”. For me at least. There are more conscious beings residing in Mindo and with the focus of “business” in this culture and often emphasis on “monetary gain” more so than sharing of “passion”, it’s nice to see more “gringos” (foreigners) setting up shop in town who do have the desire authentically to share their passion and doing something useful that benefits the town not just themselves like many of the expat retirees.

I originally chose to return to Mindo this time, to visit my dear friend (mother/sister/aunt) Antonieta, who owns one of the most tranquil, off the beaten path, hosterias in town, Los Cedros. It’s located outside of town, about 15min walk or a 5min taxi drive from the center, and I’m rather fond of this as a bonus to my stay in Mindo. It’s quite nice not having everything a doorstep away. It’s refreshing to walk into town and out of town, looking forward to what’s to come and to digest what was.

I’m staying in the same wooden cabin as I did 2 years ago when I returned to Mindo the second time with my father. He had his cabin, I had mine and it was quite the treat to have that space at that time, as you can imagine (a couple of months after my mom passed away). Antonieta understood and appreciated my independency and my desire for space, reflection, meditation and digestion of the week already passed in Ecuador. She created this space for me by spending the day with him in nature, showing him the special spots of Mindo and exposing him to something very rare among most travellers. The locals know the best gems around that most tourists never get exposed to. This is one of the perks to making authentic connections with them.

With dad’s absence of Spanish and Antonieta’s absence of English, it was truly remarkable and profound how language really was not necessary (and really is not necessary, it only makes things “easier”) when the Universal language of love and understanding, compassion and patience, childlikeness and acceptance are at play.
It’s like an untrained muscle. If we get used to convenience, that spontaneity and mystery muscle can weaken, so this was an opportunity for both of them to strengthen this part of their beings.

They both had no idea that such experiences existed, surrendering to the moment and allowing nature to guide them. There was no romance, it was more like brother-sisterly love and I was grateful to her for opening up the world of Mindo for him through her heart and her eyes. He was just as playful and open as she, so that made the experience for both of them more potent and even better for me. A second day of alone time for me and a second day of playtime for them in nature, discovering unfathomable qualities and most exquisite experiences.

I’m super excited and grateful for my third return to Mindo. Read part 2 for this time…..

Ecuador Part 2:

After a 12 hour journey between buses, trains, airtrain and planes, I arrived to Quito Airport on Oct 31st at 10:30am, it’s was empty as 12am is at JFK in New York.
I get to the immigration booth and I’m told I need a visa to enter. I’m shocked because I handed them a Canadian passport. I was honest and said I’d been in Ecuador before.
They said “you were sent out of Ecuador and needed a visa to return 2 years ago”.
I tell them the story the best I can in my broken Spanish about this one exception that has nothing to do with the present.
When I left Ecuador the first time 3 years ago there was a rule that to return on a free 90day visa, one has to wait 9months before entering agan. I didn’t know of this rule before entering again 6months later when I traveled with my father. They sent me back to Colombia where I made a visa and $1000 later (jn flights) I returned to Quito 2 days later. It was in their system “visa obtained outside of Ecuador”.

This was the first time the woman who was the one to give me the NO or the GO, experienced this. She got the more qualified, more experienced guys to help her understand the situation and 20min later, with a free 90day stamp in my passport, we were laughing and they were giving me recommendations of where to go. I suddenly had this urge to ask “where’s the closest beach? my body could use some healing waters and coconuts” instead of my first choice to my favorite cloudforest Mindo, just 2 hrs ($2) north by bus.

They suggested Esmereldas, which they said is about 6hours north. I ended up following this route but didn’t go to the touristy part of Atacames 1 hour from Esmereldas, but instead I took the bus 40min from Esmereldas to Tonsupa, which is like a mini Atacames, with less tourists, “quieter” and cheaper.

I got off on the side of the road, a motortaxi was waiting and he drove me around the small town of Tonsupa by the beach, we looked for a place for me to stay. Everything was closed except for a couple of places. I chose one place, decent for the price of $10, a bunk bed with a twin bed, sheets, and an attached bathroom. The water ran brown for 10sec before it turned clear. It’s a small town and the water isn’t the best, but it’s good enough. It’s treated with chlorine so the dirt might have been from the pipes. EEEEE! It’s been a long time since I experienced something like this as I first started traveling 5 years ago budget backpacking and these little crooks in the wall type of places were my first choice. Luckily the seawater is a natural cleanser and healing on its own. And I have access to it 24 hours a day.

I slept so much on the buses, airports, and planes, I was exhausted, and when I lay my head down at 10:15pm, I was overtired that i couldn’t fall asleep right away. My earplugs only blocked out half the loud music coming from the local bamboo bars across the street. I couldn’t hear the waves of the ocean and I knew it would be worth it nonetheless. I lay my hands on my tummy and gave myself reiki, trusting Source would send me my sleeping powers for some good nights’ rest.

I chose Tonsupa, without any prior knowledge of it because I desired peace, quiet, tranquility (tranquilo), relaxing, warm and a very little populated area.

I woke up at 8am, lay in bed till 9am, it felt like it was 12pm. I made my way to the beach right away. Swam, did yoga, meditated, and drank my first of many coconuts! $1.50/coconut. It’s gotten to be this expensive now in Ecuador, but a meal of rice, bread, meat, veggies is $8-10, which I would never eat now anyway, but just to give you an idea of how much meals cost around here at touristy restaurants. So $5 worth of pure food that fills me and energizes me, I’m good to go!

I desired the sunshine, the ocean and 3-4 coconuts/day to feast on their luscious sweet clear healing nectar for the next few days.

I did a 2 week coconut water feast in Hawaii 2 years ago as well as in Bali last year. I did one week in Thailand this year, but thai coconuts are hybridized to be sweeter than they naturally are, so to fast on that water was great but not as nourishing as young non sweet ones.

The ones I had today and yesterday are perfect! Not too sweet and full of life! And best part…..opened fresh for me right on the beach!

I feel lighter already. I overate while I was in Canada these past 3months, putting on that extra layer to “fit in” with the energy around me. The city life is just not for me, I already know this, but to maintain my flow and be present with the flow of the city in Toronto and Montreal, food is where my comfort and sustainability come from and I accept this story I tell myself for now. But everytime I travel I am reminded why Toronto is like the rawfood diet. It’s not meant to be forever, it’s meant to be for a little bit, to get the body adjusted to a new flow, then maintain with a balanced lifestyle of work, food, environment and activities. Of course when I’m doing the rawfood lifestyle I prefer to be eating local and seasonal foods and this is why Summer in Canada was perfect! But the rest of the year I like my rawfood from the tropics where the food is green and rainbow coloured all year round. I do enjoy my warm bowls of hearty root veggies in a soup or sauté. (not overcooked of course) and local medicinal mushrooms that have to be cooked or they don’t digest (shiitake, maitake, oysters, chanterelle, chaga, reishi) I love ginger, garlic, onions, pumpkin seed and olive oil, avocados, burdock root, green juice (celery, roots, green leaves like kale, collard, broccoli, purple carrots, and when in season sometimes I even enjoy garlic scapes and horse radish fresh!)

I dont’ rely on food to do the work for me, only use it as a tool so that i can do my own work and magic. “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Medicine is never to be relied on, only as an ignitor to get the juices flowing, reminded in the body and then one is to do their own work using the fuel and tools of life obtained. The coconut water provided from Mother Earth herself, nourishes me substantially so that i have endless amounts of energy and have a deeper more potent meditation and yoga practice and connection to Mother Nature. I will write more on this a little later.

So I’m at the beach, I’m in Ecuador and I’m back in my travel rhythmic world on a one way ticket, the way I like it and the way that jives with me best in this moment. No obligations, no responsibilities except to be present and feed my body, soul and entire being the best quality foods, environments and keep it all positive (that’s the easiest part hehehehehe).

Life is like a game after all. Read my blog post on this here: https://feedyourbliss.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/life-is-like-a-game/

Today is my second day here, I am in a new hotel, same price, better facilities, only 5min walk from the beach, hot shower and air con (which I don’t use anyway), wifi (which I wish they didn’t have), and I spent 4 hours on the beach today: swimming, sunbathing, getting a massage, getting my coconuts and by 2pm I was back here to write all about this and share it with the world. I admit though, 5 days at the beach is enough for me. There’s only so much sun, loud annoying men gawking and whistling and children screaming I can handle, but it’s all part of the adventure. I”m more of a mountain gal anyway so off to the cloudforest, Mindo in 2 days! I also came on the weekend, when there’s naturally going to be more people here anyway. I can drown it out for some time, but because it’s an option to move on, I take it. I enjoy my silence, but I do enjoy the challenge, it makes me really realize my potential for innerpeace and to use my tools of disengaging compassionately and peacefully. By the way I love and accept Ecuador just as it is for it’s good, bad, ugly, pretty, fairness, corruption, right, wrong and all of it. In every country, in every part of the world I’ve witnessed it all, and I’m aware of the “bad” and wrong” and because it’s a choice to tune into love station I don’t attract much of it around me.
Until next time, happy November!

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Ecuador Part 1:

Ecuador Part 1:

Alas, I’m in Ecuador!

What started as a thought, manifested earlier this year in May. I was in Thailand and I browsed through skyscanner.com for a cheap ticket to Ecuador. The catalyst to return was my desire to visit my Vilcabamba family who I became quite close with 3 years ago, when we first connected in Vilcabamba, South Ecuador (2 hr from the border of Peru). Vilcabamba is where people supposedly lived to be 170+ years old. It’s more rare now, what with tourism and modernization, and GMO. It’s one of those gems on the map that has become so popular that it’s more of a vacation destination now, but the secret spots still exist and I’m going to discover more this time.

One way from Toronto to Ecuador back in May was over $500. I bought it for only $285 out of JFK. A bus ticket from toronto to New York I knew would be under $50 so to me that’s what I call a deal! I usually book my tickets maximum 1month before, so this was a big deal for me in a way. But as the Flexatarian that I am, of course it wasn’t a surprise.

I thought “well if I end up going great, if not, that’s ok too, it’s not that much to lose”, And I already know that with every “loss” there’s a “gain” in one way or another.

I had my intention to create the space to stay committed to this ticket. A month later my mama in Vilcabamba contacted me again and said “Doris, my daughter Tanya (who is UK’s top wellness coach by the way), is facilitating a yoga rawfood retreat at our place in Vilcabamba and she wants you to be the yoga teacher for the morning classes”. Wow what an honour! Of course I accepted and I knew that no matter what I’d be in Ecuador in November this year. I’m so used to faciliating the rawfood part of events so this was a perfect opportunity for me to be apart of it, but not the “head” chef. I was quite grateful actually. I’ve been doing so many rawfood workshops this past year, especially one almost every week in Canada these past 3months.

I decided to give myself 3 weeks to adjust to the beautiful weather, play a little with the energy of Ecuador and to already be set up in their home ready to go when the retreat starts. This would also give Tanya and I the opportunity to connect not just through skype as we have done earlier this summer, but in person and really feel for one another’s energies and get the chance to get as close as her mom and I already are.

After spending about 3 months in Toronto and Montreal, I knew it was time to go, I could feel it! So I booked my bus ticket a week in advance.

I visited my dear friend Renzi (AKA Lauren Laurino/Dr. Ren/Holistic Oprah) in New Jersey for 3 days, taking a midnight bus from Toronto arriving to her the next day. It was an 11 hr bus ride with greyhound to the central bus station, then a 40min bus ride to Newark (EWR) airport, then she greeted me at 1pm at the airport, drove me back to her lovely space in her parent’s home in Union, New Jersey.

It was perfect! Her kitchen was the perfect size for me to create some magic, with a Vitamixer to create some tasty raw concoctions for us, a massage table to give massages to one another, and I even had my own queen size bed! I love having friends, places to stay all over the world, space and abundance of love everywhere I go. I believe I have all I need, the luxuries of life and the material world are just the bonus. And I learnt from a young age to accept everything as it comes, whether small or big. It’s all part of the journey and allows me to accept and appreciate abundance in all forms including that of material, that much more.

Renzi and I connected even more in depth, just continuing our connection from Toronto and Montreal earlier in October. We only knew one another for a month, but by the end of my stay with her, it felt like a lifetime.

I had other places to stay and other people to connect with in New York, but there was something deep down inside me that really desired to stay low key for the time being and I knew that Renzi and I had more to catch up on and so my intuitive decision was perfect for me!

At 9pm on Oct 30th I embarked a 45min train to another train for 40min, to the metro station that 30min later pulled in to terminal 4, where my flight awaited my arrival. Late night time is the best time to fly out. The airport is practically empty, the officers are smiley and relaxed, they even start conversations with the customers, even in New York they do this yes!
23kg is the maximum weight, mine was 27 kg because of the treats I’m supplying for the retreat and there was no charge, just a smile and a “bon viaje” (happy journey/travels in spanish). Actually Avianca allows 2 baggages 23kg each for free. I love Latin culture. SO generous and laid back. They don’t do the whole “fear station” approach to their way of life. That’s more an Americanization thing that is now slowly being incorporated into many systems around the world, even Latin, but that’s ok because I’m tuned into Love station so I automatically set myself up to attract those that are there too! Hence why my journeys are usually so smooth and mysteriously awesome!

1:15am flew out to bogota, arrived at 6am, flew out at 9am to arrive at 10:30am to Ecuador. Perfect! Read part 2 to find out where I am right now in Ecuador and why…..