Category Archives: Blog

Intentional Communities

Hello, it has been awhile since I posted a blog. I am pleased to report we had some rain to clear the smoke and today is a beautiful warm and sunny day. I am going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival tonight to see Merry Wives of Windsor in the outdoor Elizabethan theater and am definitely taking a coat, because it will be cold when the sun goes down. I am wonderfully located in the house I am staying so I can walk there and home afterwards. My friend Katharine arranged a real deal for me on ticket prices for three plays, the advantage of living here and having good friends!

I have enjoyed cooking again and having a kitchen to myself, cook what I want, decide if I want to leave the dirty dishes until I fix the next meal. I have had friends over for meals and tea. It has been nice to be one place for almost a month.

Initially I felt very frustrated with looking for a place to rent or buy. Everything felt too expensive and also isolated. I discovered I did not want to commit to a year lease or purchase that would put me financially on the edge and living by myself. So, now I am starting over by looking first for how do I want to do intentional community living. That is where I started with this process last fall, but old habits die hard. I immediately started looking at the ads for places to rent or buy, which was not the right place to begin. Again I am rescued by my friend, Katharine, who is putting me up in October while I do all this looking about.

I find I truly want to be in Ashland. I continue to discover friends and acquaintances who are still living here. I lovely the welcoming and friendly feel of being here and talking to strangers in restaurants, saying hello and talking to strangers on the street.

I will have dinner tomorrow night at a Co-Housing group here in Ashland. They are a group of condos built as a group, individually owned, which have a community garden and a building for the twice weekly group dinners they have. To buy one requires agreeing to the covenants they have established and to participate in the group. There are none currently for sale, but I am interested to meet the group and learn how they are doing.

My next step is to go to the Western States Community conference in Escondido this weekend. I hope to learn more about intentional communities that already exist and perhaps how to start my own. I will increase my networking with other people on the West Coast who are living in intentional communities. I hope to learn a lot.

After the conference I am going to pickup my friend, Robbie, who I met at Findhorn and was my Scottish host in Glasgow, in San Diego. We are headed on Arizona road trip for a week. Robbie wants to see Phoenix, the Grand Canyon and do some desert hiking. We will arrive Sunday evening at Pam’s and head straight up to Sedona Monday and hike with Stephun. We plan to go to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday, October 3rd, coming back that night to Tempe. I hope to visit with a bunch of my friends before we leave Saturday afternoon, the 7th. I am sure Robbie would love some hiking partners while I am busy some of these days with meetings and such, if any of you are available. He is headed to South America to learn more about permaculture after our trip.

When I get back to Ashland, October 11th, I plan to revamp my website and activate my scheduling calendar and start doing online visits plus Southern Oregon house calls. My Oregon license should be here by then. They have everything, but are waiting for my latest security check to come back. I do not plan on getting a DEA license again nor malpractice. My practice will be classical homeopathy, second opinions on interpreting lab work, diagnosis plus lifestyle/nutrition/herbal recommendations. For local people, I will include Scenar treatments.

I plan on still blogging as I continue to investigate intentional communities. I hope to get to talk to you soon! Best wishes, Valeria

Landing in Ashland, OR

It has been a couple of weeks since I wrote. I was last in London near the Heathrow airport on my way back to the USA. As I write this I am in Ashland, Oregon staying at a friend’s house while she and her husband are travelling the month of September. Tonight Ashland is lovely comfortable temperature with windows open and crickets are going outside. I walked to the post office and stopped at the grocery store this evening. It is cool enough for sweater in the mornings.

The combination of jet lag, forest fire smoke and overwhelm with the details of daily life, have interfered with my ability to write the blog. Because I flew London to Los Angeles, then to Tennessee to visit my Mom and sister before I came to Ashland, the jet lag was hard on me. Then when I arrived in Ashland there was terrible forest fire smoke in the air. Brown and so thick could hardly see, then it became like a fog. I did not see the mountains or across the valley until it rained on Thursday and we had a little wind. I immediately felt better and clearer! They use a formaldehyde product in the foam fire suppressant they spray on fires and I am very sensitive to it. My mind felt in a fog being in the smoke.

I have a mailing address now here in Ashland at a Mail Stop. I having been talking to friends, house rentals, realtor, for sale by owner and trying to decide what to do for housing and an office. It has been fun to have friends over for meals, to have my own car to drive and a house all to myself. It also seems complicated to get life, business, car all going again. Lots of choices and decisions to make. In a lot of ways travelling was simpler, more basic and more in the moment, not having to project decisions into the future so far.

I had to replace both batteries, big and small, on my Prius! It is 10 years old and 130,000 miles, most of them in Arizona, which is hard on batteries, but still an unpleasant bill to pay when I first day I was here. I started the car up and tried to drive it to the shop, but part way there it wouldn’t go over about 5 MPH. So I had to get AAA to tow me in. That was a couple hour wait, so didn’t get it to the shop until nearly closing. Fortunately the next day, the batteries were in stock, so I was able to pick it up in the afternoon. The following day I was back at the shop because the air conditioning had stopped. It needed more freon. Sitting parked is hard on a car just like a body! We all need to move around.

So between my car, the smoke and the jet lag it was a rough landing!

When I get figured out what I want to do and commit to it, then I believe it will get easier. Housing and rent are expensive in Ashland, so my choices aren’t exactly what I want. The University starts up in a couple of weeks for the fall quarter, so students and faculty are in competition for housing too. Ashland is lovely place to live, so I don’t want to settle for living in neighboring towns. For example, I went to a free singalong the other night that was fun. I am reconnecting with people I have known a long time and meeting new people. Ashland is a community people don’t tend to leave.

I envision having a solar, energy efficient house plus garden with great neighbors. I see a naturopathic practice, two days a week, that is a combination of local office and online, distance patients. I will enjoy teaching workshops online about the alchemy of changing your life for the better, from the book I have been working on with Deb Andelt plus writing a book about my journey. Of course I will be working in travelling on a regular basis too, there are so many places I still want to see!

Back to Heathrow airport

Exploring Exeter and the Devon area was wonderful. I took coastal train trips to Exmouth, Torquay (the English Rivera) and down to Cornwall. Lori and Stewart drove me to Dartmoor National Forest on Saturday.
This is what heather looks like up close – both the pale and darker pink are different types of heather:

It was intermittent rain and sun while I stayed in Devon, so always had my rain jacket along. I enjoyed cooking a couple of dinners for the family also. Shopping for groceries, discovering the kitchen, figuring it all out was a pleasant challenge. This is my Exeter family on the way to a wedding and St. Martin’s church near Exeter Cathedral:

On the day trip to Dartmoor, Stewart and I were both sneezing and both ended up with colds. I began reading a trilogy, Fitz and Fool series, by Robin Hobb, while I was being quiet with my cold. I am now on the third book – the author stops the books in the middle of the action and leaves you hanging. I am going to finish the series on the plane tomorrow, I sure hope it has a decent ending!
I spent a day in Cornwall with a KaliKalos friend, Sahajo. This is the sleeping lady at Haligan gardens in St. Austell

I had a lovely Exeter lunch with a friend, Anne, from my homeopathy training in Greece. She showed me St. Martin’s and told me about Devon thunder and lightening tea scones. Those are scones served with Devon clotted cream and honey.

I visited my KaliKalos work buddies in Peterborough for a day. It was nice to see the town and the area. We went on a bike ride around lakes and along rivers that also alternated between sun showers – a true English summer, I understand. We rode folding train bikes, which I really liked, easy to ride.

I went for the weekend to Bishop’s Stortford to visit a Findhorn classmate, Gemma and her parents, Eve and Shamus. She is living temporarily with her parents and working in the area. We all enjoyed spending time together. They certainly fed me really well! Eve, Gemma and I took the train to London on Saturday and visited Portobello market, then had dinner and went to see the musical, Kinky Boots. I really enjoyed it all.

Here I am, five months later, in the same IBIS hotel near Heathrow airport that I stayed in when I arrived. Tomorrow morning I fly back to Los Angeles. It is a 11 hour flight, so I leave at 10 AM and land in LA at 1 PM. I lose 8 hours. From LA I fly the next morning to Knoxville, Tennessee, so then gain 3 hours back again and travel another six hours. It’s a lot of travelling and flying. I will drink lots of water, then of course have to get up regularly for the bathroom, take baby aspirin and plenty of fish oil to keep my blood thin and prevent strokes, etc. I haven’t always kept well hydrated traveling because bathrooms sometimes are not convenient, but I definitely will for this travel.

I am still not clear on what I have learned or how this will reshape my life, but I am delighted with the new friends and experiences I have enjoyed. I have a packing system now I did not have last time I was at the IBIS. I am very comfortable with trains and buses now. Most days in the UK I have layered a cotton t-shirt with a long sleeve, zip neck sweater or shirt over top, dressing is easy. I have more energy, I am able to jog around train stations, up and down stairs with my luggage without any difficulty, rarely take naps. I can read on trains and buses now if I take ginger capsules before I start the trip. I feel calmer, more trusting about people and my future.

Ireland and Devon

I have had a full and colorful week since I last wrote, visiting families in Ireland and now in Exeter, UK. It is wonderful to stay with families when they like each other. I enjoy the dynamics of visiting with the different members, seeing how they interact and live, sharing meals and activities with them.

I traveled from Wales to Ireland via train and ferry. The train to ferry connection at Holyhead was wonderful. You just walked off train into the ferry terminal where they checked me in, checked my big suitcase and then bussed all the walk-on passengers right into the ferry where we got off and went up the stairs to the lounges. There were multiple huge lounges, restaurants, bars and games. The crossing was so smooth that I was able to just take my ginger capsules for motion sickness, ate some soup at a window table, read my book, looking out the window periodically to see where we were going. It is only about 3.5 hours across to Dublin.

My only anxiety was that Ireland uses Euros and I had spent all my Euros in France, thinking I was not going to need them anymore in England. I realized I probably needed Euros to pay for a bus from the ferry terminal to downtown Dublin. In the small town of Conwy, Wales where I was staying, I went the day before to the POST to change some money into Euros and they said it would be better for me to do it on the ferry. However, there were no ATM’s or money changers at the ferry terminal nor on the ship. Then I worried about it the whole way. I thought about asking another passenger to exchange some money for me but didn’t do it. I asked when I bought food for Euro change, but they wouldn’t give me Euro change. Change had to match the currency paid. When I got off the ship, the bus driver to town took Pounds or Euros. So no problem after all. I was dropped off at a train station. I carried my bags up the stairs and found an ATM to get Euros before I took my next bus, but it gave me a 50 Euro note – so I had to buy some food to get some change, but there was a line. Then they couldn’t change a fifty at food booth. The passenger behind me and in a hurry offered to change the 50 for me! Finally I had 3 Euros for the bus! Actually the bus fare is 2.70, but they do not give change in Ireland. The next morning I had the 3 Euro for the bus back to the train station. But how to get change for the tram ride to the rail station I needed for going to Killarney? Fortunately the tram had a automatic ticket machine at the tram stop that I could use my credit card for! So it all worked out ok in the end. I could have saved myself a lot of worrying. It was certainly nice traveling between countries that all used the Euro, I had not had these binds on my travels.
I really enjoyed this Spiritual Tourism banner in the St. Anne church in Killarney:

From Killarney I took the bus to Dingle. It is a gorgeous seaside town with surfing, sailing, fishing and spectacular green grasses and brilliant colors of flowers. This is what the hedges along the road looked like in the Dingle area, as colorful as anything as I have seen except Hawaii.

The latest Star Wars movie was filmed off the coast here on the Skellig Island, where Luke is found at the end of the last one. Sleeping man island off the coast is nearby.

I stayed with Kate and her family. She owns the health food store in Dingle and is friends with Helen because she is originally from Birmingham. She generously had agreed to put me up and even showed me around on her day off. Kate, her aunt Mar, son Tiger and I all drove along the coast seeing the beehive stone houses, standing stones and castle.

It was also high tourist season in Dingle and the place was packed with cars and tourists. Fortunately Kate lived in a nearby village so we were mostly out of the traffic, except in taking the kids to sailing camp and picking them up. The days were very long now, but Kate said in the winter when the days are short, no tourists and it is colder and rainier it can be hard on the mood.
Kate picked the straw weed traditionally used for Brigit’s crosses and gave to me so I could make an authentic Irish version.

I went from Dingle to Sneem on the ring of Kerry, where I was met by a friend, Pam, who is a fellow homeopath I met on Alonissos in Greece studying. She took me home to the family artist community she lives and works with. They have a series of houses connected to an art gallery out on an acre in the countryside. An amazing view of the bay in the distance. Right now there are seven family members living on the property and doing some amazing painting and prints.

They have been there over 30 years. The work of greeting people in the gallery was shared, with bells and speakers notifying everyone in their houses to what was happening in their Brushwood Gallery, http://www.brushwoodstudios.com/. They have their work areas, print making machine all incorporated into the houses. The meals and people flowed back and forth between the houses very easily. Great conversations over meals. It was lovely to be a part of for a few days. These are a few pictures I took with my phone in the gallery, but please go to their website to see their work. http://www.brushwoodstudios.com/

Pam and I walked on the Kerry trail into the town of Sneem.


The town very small with brightly painted buildings around a square, a small river running through it. Interesting shops and restaurants as you would expect in a artist, tourist town. Pam introduced me to everyone and negotiated a great deal on an Irish sweater I had shipped to Ashland. Should be there mid-September. I will be glad for a souvenir and warm sweater this winter I am sure, but it is nice not to have to carry it around for month.

Jo-Anne, Pam’s sister-in-law, generously volunteered to drive me the two hours to Kerry airport to fly back to the UK. The time flew as we discussed everything under the sun. She was going to a movie in town before driving back. I appreciated the Irish generosity and beauty of the land in my week there and am so glad I decided to go at the last moment.

Now I am in Exeter staying with a new friend I met in Inverness, Scotland at lunch when I first arrived on this trip, Lori. We have been in communication regularly since we met and she invited me to visit her and her family in Exeter and see the Devon and Cornwall region. I arrived yesterday and am taking a day off to write, pay bills, blog etc. before I start seeing the area. Lori has some great brochures on hikes from train stations along the coast that I am excited to do and are easy to access. There is also the Southwest Coast Path that I could do parts of. Lori and her husband Stewart are both hikers, travelers and interested in good quality food so it is lovely to be here with them. It is lovely to have dinner and conversation with them and their son in the evening. So generous of them to house and feed me so I can explore this lovely region.

It is hard to believe, I am winding down on my travels – my flight back to Los Angeles from Heathrow is August 22nd. I will spend a week in Tennessee visiting family before heading to Ashland, Oregon. I feel ready to start figuring out where I want to live next, the community, the living space and the land incorporating all I have learned from my travels.

Wales visit

I am writing this from a B&B in Conwy, Wales. This is the best Wifi I have had access to for awhile. Last night I stayed in a youth hostel again, but moved today to the B&B. It is a marvelous little town with a castle and a wall around it on the river near the ocean. Lovely vistas, lots of sunshine while I have been here.

I am on my way to Ireland. I decided this weekend to go to Ireland after Wales instead of back to England. Conwy is a stopover going towards Holyhead to catch the ferry to Dublin. I realized I really liked this little town of Conwy and was not so excited about Dublin. The Conwy Tourist Information center found me an affordable, walkable B&B before the train left at 11:30 AM to Holyhead, so I decided to stay another day.

From Dublin I am going to Dingle on the Southwest coast to stay with a friend of Helen’s a couple of days. Then I head to Sneem on the Ring of Kerry for a couple of days with Pam, who I met in Greece at the homeopathy class. I am excited to visit Ireland, I have heard so many good things about it.

The training seminar in Wales with Dr. Helen Ford was great. She is a M.D., homeopath and medical intuitive. I had asked her in Greece if she could teach me how she accessed the information, so she set up a special two day seminar for me. I am pretty excited to say I was able to understand and do her process thereby accurately acquiring information about the emotional and energetic triggers causing all kinds of issues. It will be a great tool to add to my bag. I also found it very helpful for me to understand on a different level my own health issues where I can change my reaction to my triggers.

The seminar was held at her historical cabin in Wales. Thick slate walls, low door openings, tricky stairs to the second level, wood heat and a door for every room. We arrived in a grey fog, so didn’t see much outside the first evening:

The seminar was Saturday and Sunday. There was only one other student, so we were able to do a lot. Helen is also a great cook, so we ate very well.
This was the view when the cloud lifted:

In Birmingham I was able to walk to a Botanical Garden from my hotel. I was rained on, so was able to get some lovely flower photos.

and escaped the rain into the butterfly house:

Tomorrow Ireland.

A long week in Paris

Paris was intense place to visit. It has so much activity day and night, so much to see, so many tourists! It was amazing to me to be downtown until late at night, take the subway home at midnight and still have it feel very safe, packed with tourists and workers. This is a photo I took at Versailles where I spent a solid day walking and looking:

I think my best memories are of the evening events, sunset boat cruise with Veronik, walking tour with my new friend, Susan and her son Cole and an evening walk through the left bank with Nathalie. Susan and I met through a Facebook group for women travellers 35+. She and I both graduated from Cal Poly and she still lives in San Luis Obispo, so we had some things in common in addition to being in Paris at the same time. This is photo of Vironik and I on night cruise and one of me on walking tour.

I was able to connect with my friends from Findhorn again. My findhorn roommate, Nathalie, and I both met for a wonderful evening walk and dinner on the left bank, but then had a great Sunday hike and picnic in the Fontainebleau Forest, about an hour outside of Paris. From the top point we could see only forest. Nathalie has just been certified as Reiki III, so I even got a Reiki treatment on a lovely rock near a Druid’s cave. It threatened rain the whole time, but didn’t start until we were back at the car.

Lionel and I had a Japanese lunch and discussed the unintended consequences of how secrecy can interfere with healing and how the way we are structured is so different than it used to be when a doctor or healer would live with and treat their village. They knew the families, been in the house, were all integral in the community, illness was usually impossible to hide and affected everyone. Now there is the separation of doctors and counselors from patients, medical records secret from all but other doctors, the short visits, the lack of home visits and frequently a lack of community support. Maybe the patient doesn’t tell their friends and family what is going on in addition, so are unable to process with them. We felt perhaps this lack of discussion and processing interfered with healing.

I decided to leave on Monday for England and the train fare had shot up to 403 Euro! That is probably four times what I expected. Turns out the Tour de France finished up on Sunday on the Champs de Elysee in Paris and the trains charge based on the traffic. Veronik reminded me about BlaBlaCar, a European ride share, along the lines of AirBnB, but for car trips. I had created an account and been verified back in January before I left. There is a verification process so people are who they say they are and are legit. I signed up for a ride in a four seat car with a Realtor who was driving from the South of France to visit his mother near Calais, but was willing to pickup Paris passengers. It only cost me 19 Euro! It was nice to meet him, his son and another woman who was returning home from Paris after a weekend. I imagine we will have BlaBlaCar one day soon in the USA. It makes sense to meet interesting people and share the cost.

I am very sensitive to artificially scented laundry products and candles. When I stayed last night in Dover at a B&B, they had washed all the bedding with some detergent I could not tolerate, so I had to strip the bed and pile everything covered with a clean blanket to keep from smelling it all night. Still had itchy eyes and congestion in the morning. After a period of time of being ok, I forget to inquire about people’s laundry soap for the bed linen. I pity small children that can’t chose or explain why they might not tolerate their bedding or their clothes if washed in some of these chemicals. People who are not sensitive frequently don’t understand the problem. Motel owners must, because I have not had a problem at a hotel in US or Europe.

This morning I abandoned my already paid online second night in Dover and am writing this from Birmingham. The amazing thing is I went online and chose this hotel thinking it was close to the train station, paid for it, then realized it wasn’t really walking distance. I was irritated with myself and got a taxi. However Edgbaston Palace Hotel is really an old palace converted to a hotel. I am sleeping in single room – probably servant quarters. They also have affordable laundry service, a Botanical Garden within a mile walk and amazingly a bus stop almost in front that takes me to Stourbridge tomorrow right near Dr. Helen Ford’s. So, I ended up with the perfect hotel and I didn’t even realize it. This is Edgbaston palace where I am sitting in the pub with my liter bottle of Still Spring water and Rugby game on TV to write this on wifi.

I am staying at Helen’s and then attending her seminar this weekend in Wales. She is teaching Aura diagnosis in what sounds like a beautiful natural area.

Paris in July!

Here I am in Paris for the first time! I arrived day before yesterday. I am staying with a friend. Her place is very accessible by Metro to everything and is a lovely neighborhood. The weather is beautiful, sunny, a little breezy. I walked last evening for a couple of hours from the Concorde Metro stop through Jardin Des Juileres, past the Louvre, the Chatelet les Halles, down Rue de Rivoli along the Seine and past Hotel de Ville. I was on my way to dinner with Veronik, and some of her American friends at her place. Veronik is a Parisian artist. The friends Cara and Deb have been living in Paris. We had a flavorful and lovely vegan meal.

It was an amazing first day in Paris. It felt like everyone in Paris was out on a warm Sunday evening sitting on benches, sitting in cafes, filling the streets. I saw mothers and fathers walking their new babies, families, all different kinds of couples, groups of all kinds and lots of people sitting in cafes eating and watching everybody. What was amazing to me was that at midnight after dinner when I was taking the Metro back home, it was still full of people, tourists and travelers. I sat with two groups of American families on the Metro. I followed a crowd up out of the station at my stop. The streets looked different dark with the businesses closed, but I still felt safe.

Today I am having a quiet day as most museums are closed on Monday. I will see some museums Tuesday and go to dinner with a friend, Nathalie after work. Wednesday I am splurging on a French sauce cooking class in English at Le Cuisine. In the evening, Veronik and I will go to a free art exhibition and on a sunset cruise of the Seine. She says the sunset is gorgeous going out and you see Paris by night coming back in.

These city dwellers move every day in ways we didn’t in the Phoenix area. Walking to the Metro or bus, up multiple flights of stairs home, to the neighborhood bakery for bread daily and groceries all incorporate daily movement that isn’t available in suburbia with cars in the garage. It certainly reduces the need for going to the gym. The cobblestone streets give your feet a different feel also – the Austrian artist Hundertwasser would approve of the brain stimulation of walking on uneven surfaces.

Imst, Austria was where I ended up staying in the Tirol region. It was a small central town with lovely hiking trails, on the foot of the mountains. I found an affordable hotel that was well situated and stayed until it was time to take the train to Zurich and fly to Paris. One of the aha moments I had while hiking was about curiosity and compassion and how important they are to health. If we are creative and free that is wonderful sign of health, but adding in curiosity and compassion makes us more fully rounded. They connect us to the world around us. These can also fade pretty fast when people become ill. Sick people focus in on themselves and their situation until they start having energy again.

After five months of traveling (my house closed on February 24th in Chandler) I am feeling glad I am going back to the States next month to figure out the next phase of my life. I have some great things planned for the next month, but I am looking forward to hugging my family and friends and being stable for September in Ashland. I feel like figuring out permanent community housing. There are still people and places I will visit and places I plan to revisit. But I find this traveling takes most of my attention and energy. I have some projects, writing, community building and work I would like to do which a home base will support.

Bad Ischl, the Salzkammergut

Hello!
I am writing this from a Bad Ischl Bed and Breakfast in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. It is a lovely place, even won the European award for most beautiful town last year! The flowers are gorgeous in their pots, hanging and beds. Also a river runs through town, the local people wear their traditional costumes in the shops and shopping at the farmer’s market. My German is coming back slowly, but most people here speak some English also. Hedy, the older woman who runs the B&B, speaks English, but says it wears her brain out to understand if I speak too fast or get to complicated. In this region a Bed and Breakfast is less expensive than the hostel, but no wifi. (I will go to the spa and use their wifi to upload this to my website). It is mostly older women who put out a sign room for rent in their home. The one I am staying at in Bad Ischl for a week was reserved for me by my Austrian friend, Silvia. Breakfast is sliced brown/rye bread with butter, a little homemade jam, every other day two eggs soft cooked in a glass and a pot of black tea with milk.

One interesting observation on my travels are the t-shirts. Almost every t-shirt with words in Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria has only English words, American locations, English sayings, etc written on them. In some cases I wonder if they wearer actually knows what is being said. My favorite t-shirt was on a little boy in Bulgaria: “Superhero loading”, a graphic of software loading, “Please wait”. This in a country with a Cyrillic language where the street signs were impossible to read! So, I frequently can’t read the posted signs, but I can always read the people’s t-shirts. The clothes in general are very similar everywhere – I can’t tell where people are from based on what they are wearing, nor recognize other travelers very easily unless I hear them talking.

I have for several years wanted to spend time in the Austrian Alps region. The hiking, the salt soaks, the beautiful scenery and lovely people. I am spending a week here in Bad Ischl and it has been very peaceful. I have really come to appreciate staying in one place for awhile and getting to know it. I think back to some previous travels where we were moving to a new location most nights and wonder how I coped with that. Of course traveling by myself means I have to figure it all out and that takes a little longer. I really appreciate this opportunity to be able to spend quality time in a place I have desired to get to know better for some time. I get out hiking, walking in the mornings and have gone to the Eurotherm spa for a detoxing, 3% salt, neutral temperature soak in the evening. These photos are from a hike to the top of a local mountain after riding part way up on the gondola.

This is my lunch after the hike before coming down the gondola.

Austrians as a group seem very environmentally conscious, the water, the mountains, the air have been important commodities to be stewards of for hundreds of years. People from the cities have long come to visit this region for their health. In Vienna I visited the Hundertwasser exhibit at the KunstHaus museum. He even went farther with believing we should not live and work in buildings with straight lines. He felt flat floors and straight lines didn’t resonate with nature and were unhealthy for us, so this museum had rolling floors, wonderful primary colors, inset rocks, rounded corners and spiral stair case.

On my way to Austria, I spent a couple of days in Budapest, Hungary. I stayed in a Hostel right downtown, walking distance to the subway, main shopping district and a major thermal bath. I unfortunately was recovering from being sick most of the time I was there. I had gone hiking in Bulgaria to a waterfall and when everyone was refilling their water bottles from the stream, I did too. Unfortunately it made me pretty sick my last days in Sofia, during which I fasted and slept, then it took a couple more days to get my appetite and energy back. I was good enough to take my flight from Sofia to Budapest. Then I drank liquids and took it easy. So, in Budapest I went to the nearby thermal healing waters spa for two days in a row and soaked and laid around. The truth of traveling by yourself, is if you don’t feel good and not thinking clearly, you have to just hunker down for awhile. The advantage however is nobody else is inconvenienced, there is no reason to push yourself to go when you don’t feel like it. I thought Budapest was a lovely city and I hope to go back one day and really see it.

My pension in Vienna I booked through Booking.com, I have used it a lot, and it was very well located and affordable. I hadn’t remembered that in Austria everything shuts down on Sunday – the shopping, grocery stores, all but restaurants. I was staying in a shopping district so even a lot of restaurants were closed too. I walked a half hour for breakfast to Cafe Landtmann and had their house breakfast, amazing dark hot chocolate – so dark they served a pitcher of milk to add if you needed it. It was like drinking a wonderful dark chocolate bar. A fresh roll, butter and soft cooked egg. Very elegant waiters, atmosphere. It was delightful. I was glad to have my appetite back.

Tomorrow is Sunday again and I have gone to the grocery store and stocked up a little. I only like to eat out one meal a day. I got some apples, peanut butter and interesting looking crackers plus cucumber and carrots. Monday I plan on leaving for Feldkirch in the Vorarlberg region of Austria, near Switzerland so some food will be good while traveling on the trains and bus. Feldkirch is noted for it’s organic, green businesses and community.
Best wishes,
Valeria

Sofia, Bulgaria

I left the KaliKalos community in Greece to continue my travels. I had been a total of a month there and loved it. I made a great new friend, Sylvia Trost, a German Naturopathic Doctor, who I stayed with the second two weeks I was there. We are talking about offering a seminar next year in Greece. Would be lots of fun!

I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about Bulgaria and was not quite sure what to expect. However I became determined to visit Georgi, who as as a college student, lived with my family for six months, over twenty years ago, in Ashland, Oregon. He and his family live in Sofia. He met me at the train station – a beautiful modern new facility – taking a break at 2:00 in the afternoon from work to meet me. After all these years, I recognized him immediately as me and my bags kind of tumbled off the train. This was an old train with very steep metal stairs to lower yourself and bags down off of. We had to change trains and stations when we crossed the border from Greece to Bulgaria – so I had to schlepp these same bags over three train tracks and onto a bus, then back across train tracks to the Bulgarian train.

I am determined to lighten my bags immediately and have shipped off two packages of sweaters, long johns, book, etc to the states today. I am generally travelling with a weekend type backpack and a carry on pull bag plus my CPAP medical device. That day I had in addition a purse and food bag since it was a 7 AM to 2 PM ride on the train. When it is flat land I manage pretty well, but this definitely required my receiving help to navigate steep narrow steps. Fortunately I met a nice college student on the train who was very helpful and I enjoyed visiting with. So anyway I meet Georgi in a mess of straps and bags! He quickly got me sorted out and on my way.

Georgi had a lovely AirBnB apartment figured out for me near downtown Sofia – easy to walk shopping and sightseeing. Then he took me to lunch at the new Sofia Mall and he loaned me a Bulgarian phone to help with navigation. It was very helpful to have my airBnB address as a map icon on my homepage when I got lost. I am enjoying the Bulgarian food – tomato and cucumber and their special white cheese salad, a yogurt milk made with what else – Bulgaricus culture. Moussaka, cucumber and yogurt and mint salad.

Sofia has some wonderful free walking tours and also a culture tour in English to taste and learn about the culture. I did the culture tour and enjoyed the variety of people on the tour – Swedes, Dutch, American, Canadian, etc. We started with a lovely flaky pastry with cheese called Boritska, we learned how to spell our names in the Cyrillic alphabet, we tried rose jam and herbal tea, learned a couple of Bulgarian dances in the park.

I went to dinner Friday night at Georgi’s house and met his wife and children. It was interesting to see how both my AirBnB and his house have these clever cabinets and design for everything so it is very modern, streamlined and tidy. The weather has turned quite warm so we had a nice family dinner in the backyard which Georgi cooked once we got home while I visited with his wife. She has excellent English as does his oldest son, so it was easy for us to talk. They have only used homeopathy for about 8 years, I was amazed to discover I had an impact all those years ago introducing them to homeopathy. They are a very active family, interested in nutrition, yoga, biking and hiking. We laughed at old stories and I learned about their life here. We were very compatible, like extended family.

We spent Saturday and Sunday together, visiting the Rila monastery on Saturday.

Georgi and family:
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We went hiking to a waterfall near the top of a mountain on the edge of Sofia on Sunday.

The water is clean and delicious straight from the stream and they took home large containers home from a fountain near the car. I was definitely the slow one going up. The kids raced ahead with one parent, while I went my pace behind with the other. It was lovely and green and lush country with the Linden trees in bloom giving a wonderful aroma. They had food organized, I just had to come along. It was quite nice to be so well taken care of.

Today is Monday and I have been napping and further exploring my neighborhood. It is nice to have a quiet day after very busy ones. I am very impressed by Bulgaria and the way it has evolved since it became sovereign in 1989.

The Pelion, Greece

I am really loving my time in Greece. This area I am in along the coast North of Athens and across the sea from the island of Alonissos is very healing country. It is called the Pelion. Today I am writing from Kissos again. I am back near the KaliKalos community I was with earlier, but up a very steep hill staying with a friend, Sylvia who is also a naturopathic doctor, trained and licensed in Germany. There is no Wifi in her home, so I use the KaliKalos wifi when I am in the area.
This is path up to Sylvia’s house:

Yesterday was rain, thunder and lightening storm. Day before yesterday was a beautiful clear day where we laid on the beach in the warm sand, in the shade of the hill behind us. It is so unusual for me to have afternoon shade at the beach after living along the Pacific ocean coast. I really like being able to be out without sunburning. The water was a comfortable temperature for swimming and so very clear. Apparently there is a preserve of some sort off coast, so the sea is exceptionally clean here. My phone camera enhanced the photo colors:

Last week I finished the homeopathy course with Vithoulkas at the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy. I made some great new friends and learned some new things about homeopathy. It is wonderful to see a master at work. Here is a photo of my friend, Whittni with Professor Vithoulkas. He looks pretty good for 84 years old!

This is the entire class:

I took the ferry for 4.5 hours to Volos. The ride was beautiful and the sea is very flat, no real waves and the ferry was huge but not very full. We passed by the island of Skopelos where the church on the hill is from the movie Mama Mia.

It was nice to come back to a known area – where I know my way around and know many of the people. It has been a great place to connect with people of common ideas and interests. I have decided to stay until June 21st when I head to Sofia, Bulgaria. Today I went on a hiking tour where we visited several different villages, walking on mule paths, walking paths, streets, up and down, very little of it flat. I met a new friend, Antoinette, from South France. I am interested in touring some of the areas specific to Mary Magdalene in the South of France. I had just a few days ago committed on my calendar to visiting that area before I go to Paris. I had read a book awhile ago, but wondered how I was going to make a good plan for visiting. Today I felt like meeting Antoinette was an answer to my prayer! She might even travel with me around the area.

Sylvia is planning on spending the winter in India and is encouraging to come for a couple of months. A friend, Ann, is encouraging me to see New Zealand while I am in the travelling mode, she says the North Island is not to be missed. I am still planning on coming back to the states the end of August, but considering whether I might want to extend travelling before I really settle down in Ashland with a house and business again. Travelling seems to be agreeing with me!