2014 ~ a full year of nomadic lifestyle

January Granada, Nicaragua, where we wrap up our 5 year social / environmental impact business, CO2 Bambu.  We built 150 homes, created 200 jobs and changed Nicaragua’s mindset and legislation relative to bamboo forestry and bamboo housing.  Ometepe Island retains all of its magic for us, with its magnificent sunsets, bird life and natural vistas.

Ometepe – our slice of paradise and future, long term, Nicaragua base
Playa Coco, South of San Juan Del Sur, near protected bay, home to annual Oliver Riddley turtle nesting.

For more on our CO2 Bambu entrepreneurial adventure see:
 
 
For a short reportage about the social and environmental impact of our company, CO2 Bambu, amongst indigenous communities, victims of Hurricane destruction, watch: 
 

February ~ Ubud, Bali in Indonesia combines natural beauty with its lush, tiered rice paddies carved into the hill sides and spiritual and ethnic core.  

We have 3 successive, spectacular and memorable, home exchanges.  We immerse ourselves in a world of delicious, nutritious food, yoga at the Yoga Barn, walks in Ubud’s monkey forest.  We start discovering the intricate and extensive Balinese culture ~ from architecture, to music, to traditional ceremonies.


Balinese life revolves around many celebrations and religious rites
We get invited to attend a rare “every 75 year” temple ceremony at a village near by.  Having our motorbike allows us the freedom to weave our way through the Balinese countryside.
For more on our time in Bali, see:
 
 
 
 
 
 
For a Green Global Trek Youtube video of this extraordinary Temple celebration: 
 



March ~Yogyakarta, Indonesia where Ben completes a UN related consultancy project.  We experience life in a rural, Muslim village.  Yogyakarta is recovering from a recent volcanic eruption which blanketed the city in thick grey ash.  Most memorable are the numerous graffiti wall murals and the brightly painted rickshaws, each with its own character.

Whereas Ubud is steeped in the Hindu Buddhist tradition of Bali, the rural area around Yogyakarta is Muslim and the signs of Islam abound as one walks the countryside.  The hauntingly beautiful call to prayer resonates from the distance across rice fields…
Phenomenal street art ~ “graffiti”, in Yogyakarta
For more on our time in Yogyakarta:
 
 
 
 

April ~ Hoi An, Vietnam (our home base for 3 months in 2013).  We meet up with Adam, (our youngest son) in Hanoi.  We start off a grand adventure, discovering Viet Nam’s extraordinary street food, by returning with Adam to Hoi An for its beautiful architecture and beach.  Our adventure continues by motorcycle, to the Imperial city of Hue in Central Viet Nam, and Paradise Cave. We then tackle the Ho Chi Minh trail for a week, on our motorbikes, starting in Hoi An and driving through ethnic minority villages and countryside all the way to Dalat. Finally, we end our time in Viet Nam by experiencing the Mekong Delta and the city of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City.)

Hoi An’s region is  picturesque – from rice field farming activities to rural temples….
One of our favourite small temples just a bike-ride away.
Rice cultivation touches all aspects of life in Hoi An
Wooden boats at the shipyard near Hoi An are colorful, textured and  have a character all of their own.
The adventure begins… a week long ride on motorcycles, following the Ho Chi Minh trail.  Memorable!
For more on our time in Viet Nam:
 
 
 
 

 

And for a visual treat, courtesy of Adam:

http://www.greenglobaltrek.com/2014/05/adams-iphone-pics-of-central-viet-nam.html

 
 
For a Green Global Trek Youtube video of Hoi An “off the beaten path”:
 
 
Selected videos from our 5 months in Viet Nam:
 
 
 


May ~ Bangkok, Thailand is all about the magnificent, jewelled, ornate temples which line the river that winds its way through the capital.  We visit Bangkok multiple times during our stay in South East Asia.  From Bangkok we go island hopping in the Koh Lanta region, exploring  Muslim markets, beaches and forests on our motorbikes and get an introduction to Southern Thai cuisine.

Taking the boat on the river to visit Bangkok’s famed jewelled temples is a once in a lifetime experience.
Rows and rows of gold Buddhas… More Buddha images and sculptures than anywhere else we’ve visited…
For more on our stay in Bangkok:

 

June ~ Chiang Mai, Thailand is chockfull of temples, offers amazing street food and is a pleasant base to visit the Northern Thailand region. We spend time at a Meditation and mindfulness introduction at a Buddhist retreat. We are lured to waterfalls in the mountainous town of Pai and a definite highlight is our  visit to the rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary.


Morning meditation practice
Chiang Mai delights with its extensive temples.  Less ornate than the large temples of Bangkok, but exquisite in their  construction, paintings and sculptures of the buddha.
Evening is the best time to go sit in on chanting sessions at any one of Chiang Mai’s many temples.

 

for more on our stay in Chiang Mai:
 
 
 
 


July ~ Luang Prabang, Laos,  is simply gorgeous.  There are about 300 temples, with 2 rivers (one of which is the Mekong), lining both sides of the architectural gem of a town.  Orange robed monks are our neighbors and evening chants are beguiling.  If Buddhism has a home where meditation and living in the here and now is revered, it seems Laos is that home. 

Morning Alms ~  Monks and novices, in orange robe, turn to the lay population for their day’s meal
A gzillion Buddha sculptures reach their final resting place in a cave, nearby Chiang Mai
For more on our time in Luang Prabang:
 
 
 
August ~ Los Angeles, then ChicagoUSA for family reunions.  After a year of travel (launched in August 2013 in Viet Nam), we enjoy reconnecting with family and friends. 
Jacqueline, Ben’s Mom – always oh so chic, in her Beverly Hills home…
Peta reunited with her sons ~ Adam, Josh and Oren (Bonus son, Ezra, is in Portland)
Bluma and Stan, Peta’s parents,  at the beach in Michigan for a family reunion and 60th wedding anniversary celebration.
for more on our visits back “home”
 


September ~ Colombo, Sri Lanka is an unexpected stop in our travels, as we head towards India.  What a fortuitous three weeks!  We take trains and buses from Colombo to explore the South of Sri Lanka. Fort Galle, the walled fortress town, is yet another architectural gem.  The highlight for us is the Udawalawe elephant park and the coastal bird park. 

Muslim women in Sri Lanka eagerly engage with conversation… the desire for mutual discovery is clear in all our interactions ( Fort Galle.)
 
The 17th Century ramparts built by the Portuguese has not only resisted the advance of time and remains in perfect condition, but has provided the city of Fort Galle protection during recent tsunamis that destroyed the better part of the modern city adjacent to the old fortress town
Namal – the brave baby (3 years old) whose back leg was blown off by a land mine.  Namal needs help… we are struggling to organize a solution to get him a 3D printed prosthetic leg.
 
 
For more on our experience in Sri Lanka:
 
 


October ~ Verkala, India
 is our starting point for a return visit to India… from the colorful Hindu holy beach in Verkala, to spices and Kathakali dance in Kochi, to the buzz of Mumbai (spiced with a reunion with our friend Brook) and back to Delhi.  Pushkar is our ultimate destination in India as we complete a decade-old dream of returning to Pushkar for Asia’s largest camel “mellah” fair.  Most exotic place we have every been to, because of the convergence of tribal camel traders from the region. Simply phenomenal experience!  Yoga, drumming, singing, vegetarian food and the constant prayer in our “backyard”, at the holy lake of Pushkar.

From Islam in Sri Lanka, to Hindu Buddhism in Verkala.
Colors – everywhere – all the time ! India!
A proud and handsome sheep herder welcomes us into the region of Rajasthan
Pushkar ~ our all time favourite ~ The magic of Pushkar is unequalled ~ it is a feast for the eyes and an unending stream of exotic vignettes. View from our bedroom window.
Colorful beauty found anywhere, everywhere in India. Vegetable market.
The human race in all its dramatic and colourful variants on display, 24/7 in Pushkar
For more on our adventures in India:
 
 
 
 
 

November ~ Istanbul, Turkey is an opportunity to slowly transition from Asia to Europe.  We transition in terms of weather, moving to a colder climate as well as in terms of cost of living.  Turkey may not be as expensive as Paris or London, but it ain’t Asia!  We adjust to a Euro-based reality.  In the street, the juxtaposition of mostly grey and black winter jackets,  mostly men, is striking compared with our recent Indian regimen of breathtakingly colorful saris all around and beautiful women all around. 

Istanbul is rich with architectural and calligraphic beauty
Extraordinary beauty in Istanbul’s mosques
 
For more on our experience in Turkey
 


December ~ Tel Aviv, Israel is our base for reconnecting with family and friends.  We visit Jerusalem, Haifa and Zichron Yaakov.  Hummus and Masabaha rule our pallet.  Having a chance to spend time in Peta’s sister (Niki)’s universe is a great treat.  Before the year is out, we travel to Toledo, Spain for a week, and then end the year in one of our favorite port towns in the world – Essaouira, Morocco, where we indulge in sand, sun, sardines and soukh.

Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Shariff by Muslims.
Toledo’s Cathedral ~ it is COLD in Spain!  After 6 years living in tropical climate, we are not used to European winters!
Essaouira ~ one of our all time favourite towns, along with Pushkar, India; Hoi An, Viet Nam; and Ubud, Indonesia.
“See all these doors? These are my alternative futures!  Let’s see… where shall we travel to next?!”
For more on our Israel adventure:
 
 
For more on our Spain adventure:
 


This has been a truly AWESOME travel year!  

Few are such opportunities in one’s lifetime and we are thrilled to have had the courage to pursue a nomadic lifestyle for all of 2014.  We feel richer, smarter and even more eager for continued travel than before the year started…

14 thoughts on “2014 ~ a full year of nomadic lifestyle

    1. Petaneb Post author

      Gib glad you are enjoying following our travels and experiences. Always good to hear from you! Best to both you and Diane for 2015.

  1. Brook Skillman

    This blog gave me goosebumps and not those “cold, uncomfortable” ones but the ones that signify the exhilerating and unexplainable. After following your travels these past few years, a wrap-up blog was much needed. Mostly, to show the entire journey in sync. The colors of the countries, the smiles of the culture, the food from the streets and your brilliant attire melding into each adventure gives a glimpse of hope and a grand reminder. We are all one and you two have definitely accentuated what yoga really means…union.

    1. Petaneb Post author

      🙂

      “Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self realization. Yoga means union – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”

      – B.K.S. Iyengar

  2. Lois Cone

    This blog is rich and vibrant. Each photograph is an art masterpiece reflecting adventure and cultural magnificence!!
    Thank you Peta and Ben for taking me to places I may never get to visit!

    1. Petaneb Post author

      Thank you Lois for your very positive feedback on our blog! I am really enjoying photography as a creative way to “paint a picture” without a paintbrush and yes,at the same time capture the different cultures and adventure.

  3. Alison

    What an amazing year you’ve had. Many of the places you went to I could read about and be there with you (the Pushkar camel fair!, Bali, Thailand, Luang Prabang) and some we’re looking forward to for later this year (Turkey!).
    Hope 2015 is just as memorable and interesting for you.
    Cheers, Alison

  4. Dina

    What a colorful travel log, full of fascinating visual details. All the best for 2015, To continued good energy and love of adventure ! Love dina

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