As travellers with creativity as the core, we’ve chosen to dig deeper into the how our friends and other fellow travel bloggers search for architecture, art, design and music during their around-the-world journeys.
So, let’s begin with the second interview in our new series called ‘Create/Travel‘
Hi Mindful Wanderlust! It must be getting close to a year since the first to we came into contact with you and started to bug you with all our questions about how we could follow in your footsteps by volunteering with dogs in Thailand, but some of our readers haven’t been so lucky, so; let’s begin!
1. Who are you, and why do you travel?
We are Cody and Giselle: a drummer, makeup artist, singer, bartender, world travellers, environmentalists, tattoo enthusiasts, artists, animal and human rights activists, and hopefully compassion and positivity influencers.
We travel because the world is such a beautiful place and we want to experience it all. The ancient cultures, the delicious food, the friendly people etc… The world has so much to offer and there is so much to see. We travel to learn about life and learn about ourselves…..and eat a lot of really good food.
Without creating deities out of the two of you, we really admire the way you travel. We love your vegan lifestyle, your attitude to not only animals, but also to native life in the countries you visit; and we love how you encourage people to travel responsibly.
2. What’s the biggest difference people can make to make their holidays and travels more responsible?
It is the traveller’s responsibility to do research before they leave. Find out if your tour is helping out the local community. Respect the locals and the environment. Locals rely heavily on it, and animals cannot survive in a destroyed habitat. Leave no evidence of your visit.
Do not go to animal entertainment shows as your money supports breeding in captivity, and animal abuse. There is nothing sustainable about wild animals in captivity.
You’ve been to some incredible countries since you started travelling from India to Nepal, and most recently, two incredible sounding journeys around the countries of Burma and Bhutan; two countries that we know to have fantastic cultures.
3. Which of those two countries had the most memorable architecture in your eyes?
Bhutanese architecture is unique unto itself. They have beautiful buildings called Dzong. They were built as fortresses and are now used as religious and administrative centers since the 17th century. The combination of engineering skill and aesthetic beauty is reflected in all their structures. We particularly liked the traditional Bhutanese farm houses. Most are two stories high, a cutout of a curved trefoil motif called a horzhing is characteristic of all windows in Bhutan, and they are elaborately painted in religious, floral, or animal motifs.
What is also very distinctively Bhutanese, are the phallus paintings in Bhutan. The Bhutanese decorate their homes, and other buildings with paintings of giant penis’.
The story goes, Drukpa Kunley, a mad monk (known for his unorthodox ways of teaching) from the 15th century, believed that phallic symbols drove away evil spirits and vindictive gossip. This practice is still part of the Bhutanese folk culture.
We know you both to take more than just a passing interest into the cultures you’ve come into contact with and we’ve on many occasions read about your experiences with the people you’ve met.
4. Is there one experience with local art or artists that you’ll always remember?
Years ago, during Cody’s first trip to Cuba, we were flipping through the typical tourist paintings of coconuts, palm trees, and vintage cars, and came across some amazing work by an artist named Ernesto Miguel Blanco Sanciprian. Luckily he was there selling his paintings, so we had the chance to speak to him about his work. Of course we were in Cuba, so we were not “carelessly” speaking (we take that for granted don’t we?) aloud. He was happy to share his thoughts with us, and we learned a lot about what the people of Cuba have been through, and are still going through. His paintings are powerful, and very politically charged. They scream for social justice. We bought 2 of his paintings, and look forward to displaying them once we settle for a bit. We still keep in touch with him.
Speaking of art, we know that you’re quite keen on having your bodies covered in fantastic designs and have had the pleasure of seeing one tattooed on during one night at Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.
5. Which places or events have made the biggest impact to the tattoo’s you’ve both had during your travels?
For me (Giselle) My Animal Liberation tattoo.
Being in Thailand with so many animals, and finally waking up to the truth that they all deserve freedom, and to live; not just the cute ones that we in the western world consider pets.
I am completely opposed to the oppression of all beings. Justice for all is a big thing for me these days, and we will never get to peace if we continue to treat animals the way we do.
Cody: I got a tattoo of a dog that I fell in love with named Nit Noy. She walks around acting like a little bad ass but once you win her trust she is a complete sweet heart. We took care of her when she had TVT (Transmissible Venereal Tumor) and she warmed up to us right away. I also got a Meat is Murder tattoo because just like Giselle I became aware of how much pain and suffering animals go through and I do not agree that they are here for our pleasure.
We can both remember Dale and Cody having a “do you know this band?” competition during our time volunteering together so we know that you’re incredibly keen on good music no matter if you’re listening on the bus or in your hotel room.
6. Have you discovered any music on your travels that you think more people should hear about?
Our first night in Bhutan was pretty special. We settled into our friends place, and she told us her Bhutanese friend has invited us to dinner with a Swedish band. We all met at a restaurant and hit it off immediately. One of them happened to play with one of Cody’s favourite metal bands, At the Gates. We finished dinner, and made our way to a bar with a private room, where they brought their instruments, and we jammed out until the sun came up.
They are all very talented musicians who are involved in several projects in Sweden. One of the bands Fontån makes perfect travelling music.
Check out two of their projects here:
You’ve recently just finished a fantastic time with a trip home to your native Canada for Christmas to surprise your family, but we know you well enough that the world is just too big to stay in one place for too long.
7. Where are you heading to next, and where else MUST you visit before you begin to slow your travels down?
Well……..after 15 months in Thailand, we’re going back for the rest of February! Hahahaha…..we have two good friends meeting us there, and we are very excited to show them around one of our favourite countries. We then head to Turkey in March and meet Giselle’s mom. We’re VERY excited for April, as we have a 9 day tour in Iran planned! As for MUST’S, the whole world is a MUST.
But high up on our list, is Tibet, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and we are talking about an across America vegan road trip too!
Thanks so much to Giselle and Cody for sharing their love for travel, for animals and their responsible thoughts towards travelling.
We’re so jealous of your time in Bhutan, and seeing that picture of Nit Noy after so long just makes us want to return once again. Maybe it’s time we headed to Thailand again?