Ayurveda: Experiencing an Ancient South Indian Tradition

Ayurveda: Experiencing an Ancient South Indian Tradition

Ayurveda is a system of healthcare and healing that is known worldwide, and originates in Kerala, India.  It was what I heard most about before arriving.  Scholars think Ayurveda has been around since 5,000 BC, and the majority of practitioners worldwide train in Kerala.  Ayurveda doctors evaluate patients by using all of their senses, and consider a person holistically: mental and physical health as well as diet.  Recommendations for treatment often include dietary changes as well as physical treatments, and it’s common to treat things like weight gain, migraines, and general aches and pains as well as more serious ailments that Western medicine would say requires surgery. The grounds of an Ayurveda spa. Guests are expected to speak softly and respect the treatments that are taking place.  Ayurveda practitioners use a variety of herbs and spices in their healing, as well as other natural elements like milk, honey, and oil.  Some are mixed in a poultice and rubbed over the body while others are applied and wrapped on parts of the body.  Warm oils are a major component of Ayurveda, and it seems most procedures involve covering the person in oil at one point or another.  There is also quite a bit of massage in Ayurveda, and, of course, this is the component that carries over to the casual consumer like myself. Unlike western massage, the focus is on rhythmic rubbing, sometimes with two different masseurs at once.  Patients are always treated by someone of the same gender, and most procedures involve a high degree of nudity.  Genuine Ayurveda can also involve leeches and enemas, although I’m willing to bet few tourists get involved...
Gear I Love: Mobi Cards by Eye-Fi

Gear I Love: Mobi Cards by Eye-Fi

I received no sponsorship or compensation of any kind for this post, and the views contained are completely my own.  So often when I’m shooting an event (particularly when there’s a photo booth), attendees ask me if/when the images will be on Facebook. They want to know if I can upload them immediately and directly from my dSLR, and if not, they sheepishly ask if I mind re-shooting the portrait on their phone. I usually tell them not to worry, I’m not too high and mighty for a phone camera, and laugh it off apologetically when they ask if my Canon gets wi-fi.  That is, until today. This Christmas I received my favorite type of present: one that is both completely perfect for me and a complete surprise. Michelle, my future sister-in-law and fellow jet-setting photographer on the fly, gave me a Eyefi Mobi 16GB memory card. The card uses its own wi-fi to transmit photos from your camera (anything from a point and shoot to a full-frame, professional dSLR) to your phone, e-reader, or tablet. Using the free app, the photos can be selected, rotated, and posted to the social media of your choosing, including instagram, Facebook, WordPress, and twitter, or simply texted or emailed to a friend.  The card is a punchy orange, which ensures I won’t take a boring old regular memory card by mistake, and it comes with an activation key on the card’s cover that ensures your photos end up on your device. You can add up to 20 different Mobi cards to your Eye-fi, and opt for push notifications that will announce the...
Review: Cuba, My Revolution

Review: Cuba, My Revolution

It seems crazy that I somehow didn’t know there was a graphic novel about Cuba, but alas, that was the case until I saw The Mary Sue’s books section of their fantastic gift guide.  Written by Inverna Lockpez, illustrated by Dean Haspiel, and colored by José Villarrubia, Cuba: My Revolution tells Lockpez’s life story via Sonya, an aspiring artist who is 17 when the story starts on New Year’s Eve in 1958. After Fidel takes the country that night, her world changes quickly.  She decides to put her love of art on hold in order to become a doctor, following in her father’s footsteps and fulfilling a pressing need after so many medical professionals jumped ship.  We follow along as she trains with limited equipment, is relied upon too heavily due to personnel shortages, and eventually goes to the front lines of Playa Girón, known in the US as the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  From there her life takes a turn for the dark and surreal, and it becomes harder for Sonya to see the good in the Revolution, even as she tries to hold on to that hope.  As scarcity becomes more common, private property is seized, behavior is monitored, and it gets harder to leave the island, Sonya tries to reconcile what she and others fought for with the reality of what eventually becomes a communist (or “Marxist-Leninst”) state.  There’s also an interesting look at how both the medical professions an the art world of Cuba evolved in the early days. The visual aspect of this book is stunning, and the use of panels, background illustrations and...
The Mirabal Sisters: Revolutionary Wild Women

The Mirabal Sisters: Revolutionary Wild Women

The Mirabal sisters can be felt everywhere in the Dominican Republic. They are on currency and stamps, celebrated in statues and in literature, and the Mariposas (butterflies) seem to float through the very air. At its heart, In the Time of the Butterflies is a book of historical fiction about the four Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic. They went up against the dictator Trujillo and each woman became a revolutionary in her own way. This all happened in the 1930s-1960s, at a time when Haitians had been massacred by the 100,000s and anyone (or the family of anyone) who disagreed with Trujillo was subject to jail time, disappearance, loss of property, torture and even death. Cuba’s own Revolution also plays a role in the ideology and hope of the Mirabal sisters. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. It’s how I learned about Apartheid, China’s One Child Policy, and racial reality in the pre-Civil Rights South. In fact, for a long time I thought writing historical fiction was going to be the small way in which I would attempt to save the world. I love that Alvarez shows the Mirabal sisters as women first, even when they couldn’t prioritize their womanhood to themselves. They were sisters and daughters and lovers and mothers and friends. It’s not like they grew up saying how they were going to be martyrs destined for Dominican currency and to be the founding example for the UN’s Day Against Violence Towards Women. They grew up as the Mirabal Sisters, and the capital T in “The” came later. The perspective shifts from one sister to the next throughout time, giving...

Subscribe Now

Join the Away She Goes mailing list to make sure you don't miss out! You'll get the monthly newsletter with posts, plus exclusives like travel discounts, never-before-seen photos and advanced travel plans that you won't find anywhere else. No spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Great Success!

Pin It on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: