Honing Our Organs of Self Knowledge As Digital Nomads

Well, we’ve put 19,000 kms in total on our car since June travelling across Canada and down the west coast of the United States and into Mexico. We’re finally settled in the most remarkable city that we’ve ever been to in both Europe or North America. Think ancient Italian port town nestled on a rocky bowl with mind-blowing food and culture for less than a few pesos.

Guanajuato, Mexico is built in a steep teacup that is an ancient caldera of a volcano. It was the seat for the Spanish invasion, and subsequent revolution, due to the wealth of the gold and silver mines documented in the art of Diego Rivera (Frida Kahlo’s husband).

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In the week that we’ve been here, we’ve already been to several concerts, with a world class symphony, with performers that hail from Russia, Europe as well as Mexico. Yesterday, I went to a piano recital that blew my socks off, afterwards there was a wine and tapas offering in the spectacular garden with local folks peppered with expats. It cost me $10 Canadian.

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I’m learning to muddle through with my broken Spanish, although it is tough being so effusive and so short on vocabulary. I will start my tutoring online next week and hope to volunteer here with local youth who make organic soaps and olive oil so that I can learn more of the colour of this expressive romance language.

Our two room casita, with fibre-op, sits at the very top of the bowl with mountains jutting up on three sides. Any stroll to the the town takes us on a steep incline that makes me often think that I need a climber’s belt, ropes and several carabiners to make it back home.

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Our morning hikes take us down cobbled streets through a dam, salted with patos blancos (white ducks), a gorgeous park past several schools and universities for art, political science and engineering. Of course, there are churches with huge iron bells and haciendas dotted in between with old colonial styling and balconies, man how I love a pretty balcony!

Jeff and I will scoot into Café Tal for a Sencha Tea (or the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had) and then we might have a couple of steamed tacos for breakfast from a street vendor. All totalling about $3.50 Cdn. A cab is 50 pesos (about $3.00 with tip) and the bus is 5 pesos (which is so little I can’t calculate it). Our groceries for the week come to about $30 – $40 Cdn at Mercado Hidalgo (built by Ernesto Brunel and Antonio Rivas Mercado with input by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel of Paris’ Eiffel Tower) where we get all our fruits, vegetables and meats.

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It’s even cheaper if you walk the streets and locate the native indians, mostly women with babes in arms, who’ve brought their wares to sell down from the ranchos way above the lip of the caldera. One such young fellow, in front of his parent’s vegetable stall, stopped and asked me in broken English where I was from. I responded, “Canada,” gesturing way, way far from here, and he asked me if we speak English there and I said, “Yes, and French too!”

The weather is very cool here at night, dropping down to a nippy 5-8 degrees celsius which is in the mid 40’s on the fahrenheit scale. Like home, we have three blankets on our bed for warmth at night. And boy do we sleep! At 7,000 feet above sea level, we’re having to take the homeopathic remedies, Coca and Cundurango, for a touch of altitude sickness. You’re extra sleepy at night, the oxygen thinner so when hiking back up the 3,500 steps (about 15 flights of stairs … no, we don’t count them … we have an app for that!) from having tea, we need to stop a couple of times to catch our breath. Also, you can have headaches right where you’d have devil’s horns, if you were thusly inclined, on the top of your head and feel at times a little hungover with a stomach bug.

While it takes about six weeks, typically, to stabilize your blood oxygen levels, we’re already feeling amazing in our new locale. We travel like this to fulfill our astral desire function to know new people, culture, art, music and language. It builds the ontic (sense of autonomy/immunity) by holding our essence in check as we’re exposed to many different circumstances and seeming social incongruencies to our more conservative Canadian sensibilities. Also, living in Canada, frankly is just too familiar, and also very pricey now that we’ve just paid off all of the “investments” we made into our education.

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We’ll see what the next five months here in Mexico yields. In our opinion, we’d much rather be on this side of any walls to be erected by boisterous (better if I don’t add the other adjectives I’m thinking of) politicians.

 

A Case of Altitude Sickness

Jeff and I were staying in Kimberley, BC for the past couple of weeks. It was a stunning place to live as we were completely surrounded by mountains. The Canadian Rockies were on one side and then the Purcell Mountains lined our vista on the other. I could trace the ski hills with my finger as they traveled across the mountain sides.

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“Mountains” by Tony

Being an east coast Maritime gal, I’d never seen or lived in mountains so high for any length of time except to visit Switzerland and Austria for a short while back in the early 90’s. Jeff refers to me as his mermaid as I love the ocean and I LOVE to swim and snorkel for hours at a time. Mountain living was a whole new thing for us which is why we’ve been travelling so much. We’re curious about different geography, climates and how other folks dwell on the planet.

The second week in Kimberley, I just wasn’t feeling one hundred percent. My health is usually incredibly robust, but I was really restless and agitated with a low grade vibration going on just below the level of my skin. I also wasn’t sleeping well at all. I was SO tired. I would go to bed and lie awake for hours, trying to tell myself that meditating was just as good a rest. Meanwhile, the agitation was ramping up more and more. I’m usually pretty laid back and a great sleeper, but I felt physically and mentally wound up tighter than a top, and it was starting to affect me emotionally.

Also, during my early morning hikes to town for a green tea, I’d have to stop periodically on the ascent back home and rest. I was feeling more and more light-headedness and I often felt winded to the degree that I needed to sit down on the trail to recover. I’ve been hiking heartedly for over 20 years and never felt so spent. Mind you, our step counter app was telling us we were hitting about 6,500 -7,000 steps per day with an elevation equivalent to 15 floors of a skyscraper. Sure it was challenging, but this was extreme. I’d never not been able to talk while hiking like this and I felt really dizzy, like I might faint.

It was during a tour of the local town folks’ gardens that I began to piece together what was going on for me. One woman, Linda, mentioned that she was from Edmundston, NB just about 5 hours north of where I’m from. Jeff was asking her about the Black Bears that visit her compost when she turned to me and asked me how I was making out with the elevation?

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“Spitalfields Gardens” by Herry Lawford

I let her know that I’d not been sleeping and that I felt anxious and jittery. She then informed me that that is common for folks visiting, given that Kimberley was the 2nd highest town in Canada at 5,500 ft., just after Banff, AB. This explained a lot.

I recalled, then, years ago how I’d served a woman who went on a ski trip to Colorado and was staying in a resort at just over 5,000 ft. above sea level. She’d called with an acute and similar symptoms but with actual vertigo and fainting that landed her in the hospital. Thankfully, I wasn’t feeling that badly.

When I went back to our Airbnb, I studied Coca in our Materia MeMadicas. I was astounded how much my symptoms matched. Coca is the plant grown high up in the Andes that the natives use to combat altitude sickness by chewing on the leaves. Homeopathically, it will also cure a case of altitude sickness. I made up a dose of 200CH on our radionics machine and took it that night.

In Dr. Clarke’s Materia Medica, he says,“Coca has been used for centuries by natives of West South America as an intoxicant; and also as a remedy for “Veta,” the condition induced in persons on coming to live in high tablelands:?faintness, throbbing heart and head, dysentery, &c. It is like tea and coffee in arresting tissue-change, and enabling those who take it to undergo unusual fatigues.”

The thready pulse, feeling winded, sudden loss of energy, trembling, lack of sleep, and nervous exhausted feeling were also all in there. I’d noticed the heat with the sleeplessness, with throbbing in my arteries, extreme weariness and night sweats. The night before I’d awoke with a start and my pillow was soaked! I’d never had a hot flash in my life, and so I was not liking these latest symptoms at all.

After the homeopathic dose of Coca, I slept like a baby and the bug crawly feeling and the weakness all disappeared. I swam a mile at the salt-water pool the next day and felt great. Back to my mermaid roots in our mountainous climate before heading to Vancouver the next day.

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“Kauai” by Adam Foster

The mountains are glorious and I’ve loved getting to know the people in the West who stem more from German and Danish roots. They’re a rugged, intelligent, no nonsense lot with a strong bent towards recreation, healthy foods and a kind of “make it happen” attitude. I have to say, now that my symptoms are addressed, I could perhaps have a little mountain Kimberley in me too as long as I have a dose of Coca and a can of bear spray strapped to my belt.

Further reading : The Ideogenic Realm : Cocaine and Coca