summer in the city

Totally neglecting internet right now as we have a fourth round of visitors soon arriving. Feb/March is the time of catching up and enjoying vacation in this wonderful city, before we get started with work for real. Vacation naturally means hanging on the beach, eating loads of good food, late night conversations on the boat, devouring way more chocolate than usual and drinking a bit too much alcohol. All as it should iow.

Very glad that the temperature has risen a bit to never less than 22 C, and more like 25-27 daytime and 22 nighttime. If only it could stay exactly this way the rest of the year.

Follow a bit of our days on instagram if you like.

Blueberry dreams

An açaí bowl every now and then hasn't hurt anyone. Açaí is the famous Brazilian super berry that you've probably heard of. It is one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits in the world. With a sweet flavor and an intense violet color it contains an insane amount of vitamins and all the important omega fatty acids. Since açaí is very perishable, it's hard to get them fresh unless you find yourself in swamps and floodplains in the Northern parts of South America, which is where the açaí palmtrees like to grow. I often buy Sambazon's açaí juices which makes things easy, pouring a cup into my morning smoothie, though I've lately gotten around to also buying the frozen açaí pulp.

For a bowl like this, I mix a packet of frozen açaí pulp with bananas, plant milk and whatever fruit, greens and herbs I might have laying around and mix it up to a consistency thicker than smoothie. This one is topped off with some nice organic hazelnuts and kiwi.
Don't you just love eating health.... ? Doesn't hurt it's so damn beautiful either.

Whatever açaí you end up buying, look for a fair-traded one which guarantees fair pay and working conditions for local harvesters. As global demand for the fruit has expanded rapidly in recent years, so has also liberal application of pesticides and fertilizer which makes me think you might also rather choose organic than conventional.

If you can't get a hold on açaí or don't want to spend the extra money, why don't you use frozen organic blueberries? Similar taste and colour and the blueberry too is extremely high in anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. I love my blueberries. They always remind me of my beloved grandmother and our blueberry pickings in Swedish and Finnish forests when I was little.

Speaking of blueberries. When we arrived in the states almost two years ago, I was surprised to learn that your blueberries grow on large bushes and that they were grown commercially on blueberry farms. The blueberries we have back home in Scandinavia (you might call them billberries here) grow wild, they're much smaller, sweeter, have a complete purple/blue interior and not whitish like here in the US and they grow on small plants close to the ground. We pick them with a berry picker like this one. My grandmother used to make wonderful sweet blueberry juice, warm blueberry soup and lovely cakes out of our harvest. I still remember the warm, comforting smell that filled the kitchen as the boiling began.

Can not wait till we get to go back home and spend some time with my family in the Scandinavian forests. So many wonderful wild berries and food to find over there. Cloudberries, woodland strawberries, gooseberries, lingonberries to name a few.

music monday

Photo from Key West that we visited last week.

Planning and dealing with the building permits of the café takes pretty much all my waking hours at the moment so I'm not a fun blogger as you can tell. Why don't you listen to this playlist in the meanwhile. 
That song by Elliott Smith though... yet another seriously talented artist who ended up taking his life due to depression caused by a combination of early life family abuse and drugs. Can you feel the pain in his voice? Like so often it seems the most torn and fragile souls are prone for expressing and creating music and art with a higher level of emotional intensity. Turning pain and darkness into art is such a powerful creative tool, regardless if done as a conscious choice or an instinctive need.

Turning thoughts into reality

Opening a café now in a very near future, there are few minutes in the day that I do not ponder on all the ideas and possibilities of creating a truly wonderful place for anyone to enjoy. Great food is the one thing which I am not too worried about, the menu will be based around the food I cook the best. Good, simple, organic, healthful, plant based. Just have to find someone good that can help me out in the kitchen.

Excellent service, a foundation of any successful service business is another aspect, and I have yet to find the amazing people that will work their butts off with me. With the experience I have in hiring, and the café/restaurant industry as a whole, I know this isn't the easiest part of the equation and staff turnover is normally very high. Though I believe that you'll attract the positive by being a fair owner that pays well and give enough encouragement and training along the way. You might know this area of the world better than me, where would you look for employes in Miami? Any specific website/newspaper with good reach? 

Location, is something many would tell you is the most important part when opening a retail or restaurant operation, though I know of experience that people that really want something, they'd travel to get to it no matter how far or near. And since our place is located in the midst of Downtown Miami - in an area that is growing and expanding by the day but which hasn't yet come to full bloom - this part is challenging in the way that we won't (yet) have a constant stream of walk-bys.  

Good marketing, is therefore key and I am glad for the years of blogging and Internet use as it has taught me a trillion ways of reaching out to people. What will be interesting is marketing at low cost on the ground, in a city I am not yet too familiar with, but my faith tells me it will all grow organically as time goes by.  

Inspiring, comfortable, relaxed ambiance, the one aspect that is most on my mind these days. The one aspect I always look for in any place I visit and seeing it from the customers perspective, this truly is where we will have to put most consideration now at start. Possibilities are endless. I've been offered help to design the place, but truth is that it is the entire concept of a restaurant that has always appealed to me. I want the café to reflect my personal vision of the perfect place to kick back and enjoy good food, music and inspire to great conversation. I believe that with Alex's and my combined efforts, we can create something very personal and beautiful. I have the feeling and vision in my mind so clear, the challenge is to put it all together.

There are several colleges around the corner of the café, The New World School of the Arts, for one. Which makes me think we might have a good flow of students visiting. I don't mind students at all, but my dilemma right now is figuring out how to combine the possibility of partly using the café as a place to hook up your laptop for a meeting or study over a healthy lunch and a green juice (all those times I seek for a place to hang out with my computer I know how important this is). But at the same time you wouldn't want the place to turn into a cyber café and take up too much space from potential lunch eaters. Maybe put a minimum charge for laptop guests, or divide the area and leave only a quarter of the floor space designated for computer use, or have specific hours in which you may use your laptop. If someone has a smart idea, please share. But overall the design and interior idea is to make it feel less like a coffee shop, and more like a cozy living room in which one want to spend a lot of time. It should feel like a home that reflects the idea of my perfect place to enjoy great food, drinks, music and the company of others.

The place in the photos above is a restaurant we visited in Montauk last summer. Wonderful ambiance, though what could go wrong on a warm summer's night amidst a lush and green forest and well thought out lighting. We won't be in the nature exactly, but a small terrace with 4-6 tables out front seems a good idea. How is it with eating outdoors in the summers, here in Miami? Plenty shade where we're at, but the humidity might be very harsh a few months a year?

Golden nutrients

health benefits of turmeric ayurvedic medicine super foods
In today's heavily polluted and over-intoxicated world where GMO's, pesticides, toxic plastics and dangerous chemical elements such as lead, mercury, fluoride, chlorine, arsenic and god knows what else is part of each human beings everyday lives to some extent - it feels important to take to the small measures one can to protect our bodies.

Eating organic, drinking filtered water and avoiding processed and manipulated foods is a good start, but to add some real natural "medicine" to the equation is an added weapon in your body's fight against unnatural enemies. Super foods, as they call it, come from mother nature and they are extremely nutrient dense, meaning they provide a much higher dose of health benefits for their weight compared to other fruit, vegetables, herbs, greens and nuts. Super foods is also a successful marketing term for the health industry to sell more overpriced products (companies cashing in on people's fears and insecurities can be found on each side of the coin), but there are some natural treasures that has proven for centuries to have a positive effect on human health.

Turmeric, is one such golden star. This yellow herb/spice, indigenous to Southeast Asia and cousin to Ginger, is as you might know, widely known and appreciated for its culinary use. All those wonderful Indian curry dishes are dyed and flavored by this root. Equally, the spice mix you all know as curry (powder), has a main base of turmeric hence the warm, deep mustard colour.

This powerful root, packed with antioxidants which is of major help in protecting our cells against free radicals, has long been used in Chinese and Indian medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions including eczema, infections, liver problems, anemia, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, flatulence, toothache, bruises, chest pain, fungal infections, colic and the common flu.

As a herbal concoction it lowers cholesterol, thins the blood and fights clotting. Due to these beneficial properties, it is said about the turmeric that it helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. In its successful antioxidant fight against free radicals, it is also believed that a higher consumption of turmeric has good effect in slowing down aging, preventing and combating growth of cancer cells, and even avert Alzheimer's disease. Both the Alzheimer and the cancer medicine industries are enormous so there are as many articles speaking against natural medicine as there are ones that speak for it. Companies that make billions on us being sick does not want us to know about or rely on cheap, natural remedies. So it is like always up to each one of us to choose which side to believe in and act according to what we feel seems more legit. 

As I have seen the positive effects of healthy, natural, organic, non-manipulated foods in both myself and others, I choose to feed my body with all the good that comes from mother nature. So as part of my regular morning ritual consisting of a large green and fruity smoothie or a warming bowl of oatmeal/nuts/fruit, I also drink a cup of hot water with a teaspoon freshly grated turmeric or a teaspoon ground turmeric. 
In its pure form curcumin (the potent yellow/orange pigment of turmeric) is poorly absorbed by the human body (curcumin is insoluble in water and the human body is mostly made up of water), that is why mixing it with some sort of oil is crucial to benefit from it the most. Coconut oil is the lighter, sweeter option, but I sometimes go with olive oil too. To take it one step further, experts say that Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, boosts the bio-availability by 2000% so add a few turns on the peppermill to let the nutrients become better available to your body and have them work in their most effective ways. I like adding some grated ginger and a few drops of maple syrup for extra flavor. You could definitely boil up almond milk instead of water for a more creamy concoction. They say two drinks like this a day will help your immune system tremendously. Always make sure you use organic turmeric and ginger to avoid the negative effects of pesticides.
Just one of those little things one can make oneself used to and which could show dramatic positive effect on your health if made regularly. 

Sweet concoctions

So very anxious to get the new kitchen ready downtown so I can start working on the menu again. Cooking on the boat works fine but the Force 10 gimballed three burner stove and oven are not as reliable with heat distribution so it's pretty hard to get exact results. 

This is a brownie I made while still in "my" kitchen corner up in MA. There has been a long way to create a fudgy, sweet, moist, rich and well composed brownie that is free from dairy and eggs, but this particular one is a keeper in my recipe book. It is also free from processed sugars, which I do my best to avoid.

My vision and intention for the new place we're opening, is to create a varied menu that doesn't necessarily feel vegan at all. At least not the sort most people associate boring vegan meals with. It should be organic food, sweets and drinks that anyone and everyone can enjoy without missing animal products during their experience. It's been a battle many times during the test and experimentation process but I'm glad I've had people around me who love meat and can't imagine life without dairy, as their input is honest and straightforward. Nothing as rewarding as seeing a self proclaimed vegetable hater light up at the taste of your plant based concoctions. 

Not going to fight too much to convert skeptics, but I am determined to show that you do not actually need all what we have been indoctrinated since birth to feel a need for. And hopefully inspire some to choose healthier and replace old school food with more conscious options at least every once in a while.

P.S: Feel free to like my Facebook page for the new café to get all our updates! It still bears the name of the business I started in MA, and this will be changed as soon as I've found the right name. Any suggestions?

Choose wisely

Please watch this my friends. Not so much news for some of us, but nonetheless an important reminder. Knowing what exactly you're feeding yourself and your children should be the number one priority in life. It is part of the foundation of creating a healthy future. Robyn O'Brien is a former financial analyst from Texas who after her youngest child had an allergy reaction begun learning about the food supply, and slowly realizing just how manipulated it had been in favor of profit. Just like Vani Hari aka the Foodbabe, Robyn has helped to lead a food awakening among consumers, corporations and politicians here in America.

Follow her on Facebook so you get the informative stuff right into your phone. I believe that in order to get in tune with what is truly important, it is tremendously helpful to stop following or reading pages with little real substance, and instead use your precious time learning from people and movements that can help guide you towards the healthy and important things in life. Remember, your life is shaped by each choice that you make.

Read here for more of my articles on food health and how we can make better choices for ourselves.

Soon to be something wonderful

This is the place we have so slowly started to turn into a vegan café/restaurant. It still feels surreal even thinking about it. Surreal in the way that only the thought sends butterflies through my belly. This two story, 3100 sq ft location in downtown Miami, five blocks from the awesome new big Whole Foods, has been used for retail previously and never been a restaurant before. So there's a fairly large amount of job for us now to get a kitchen installed with all what it means. The process is extremely interesting. From the planning of each sq ft from an architectural aspect, to a mountain of regulations and of course the design and interior part. Not to even mention the production of a perfect menu, and hiring of the right crew, though all that comes at a later stage. 

So glad for the little knowledge and experience I gained up in Boston during the year and a half that I worked in different cafés and restaurants, most of the times very close to the owners. And also for my mentor/business adviser Michael who's built kitchens and operated food businesses up in MA for the past 50 years. He's the one I call when I need to know which brand of oven to go for, where to find good used equipment, what sort of grease traps to use, and who reminds me of the importance of keeping costs down. When I started my first small company, an online fashion store some ten years ago, I thought I could do everything myself and I seldom wanted to ask anyone for help. This time I am taking as much advice as I can in order to create a rock solid foundation. And what else does one keep those experienced and knowledgeable friends around for :)

Am currently looking at different floor types and even if my eye would want to go for an antique Southern European tile like the one below, I think we might end up going for a cheaper wood that we stain in a natural tone as a start.
If anyone of you know a good importer of a Portuguese floor tile like this, or maybe some good Mexican, Moroccan or other good, affordable earthy, impactful tiles, lemme know please!

Also, best flea markets in Miami/South Florida?

finding the groove

Have so many posts and subjects that pops up in my mind that I think of writing about here but priority has lately been to find my position in this new hometown. It still feels better for each day and I have this very strong feeling that this move was the best thing that could have happened in life right now. Combining work out, work, good food and plenty of sleep is pretty much what my days look like currently. I am so thankful that my good old Swedish friend Jonas introduced me/us to the idea of moving here, and it is in one of his properties in Downtown Miami that I am planning to open a little place. A place of good, healthy food, music and great vibes. Something of an extension of all what I love and believe in.

With respect to the content of my previous post, I am more convinced than ever that it is so important to cut through the nonsense and instead wholeheartedly absorb and nurture the healthy opportunities one have been given in life. Workout-wise, it means that there's no need for me to not be in the best shape that I can, when relatively speaking, it is so easy to make it happen. Hence I've again made physical activity a routine as common as eating breakfast. 

Work-wise, I am pouring all what I can from my soul, heart and mind into creating a job and life situation that is ideal for myself. My intention is to build something that I can be genuinely proud of from the bottom to the top, while also giving back and offering something of value and joy to others. Both of these goals require plenty of dedication obviously, but it is relieving somehow to know that, really, it is only my hard work and clear focus that is needed for me to achieve exactly that what I am envisioning. With all what life has taught me thus far, I feel the time is right to raise the bar a notch and work on making some of my greatest dreams come true. My first superficial goal, is to bring this ol' body into a better shape than it has ever been before. Let's do this now.

In these times

There is a growing hole in my heart for all the people around the world that is continuing to suffer, who have lost their homes, their parents, kids, friends, grandparents, siblings, neighbors - to unnatural deaths caused by war, deadly diseases, attacks, food poisoning, vaccines and over-medication brought upon them by their (or another country's) government whose manipulation and control of the system, media and society is rapidly growing. We are soon outliving the last generation where most still have had the fortune of dying a natural death, and in my darkest moments I feel humanity is close to its own self caused destruction. 

I’ve cried, for all those millions of innocent people, first thinking it was an uncommonly severe form of PMS i was going through this month, but after the week had passed, I still cried. From the depths of my heart, a quiet, bottomless cry of sincere sadness and frustration. Knowing fully well my tears won’t help any persons situation, except flush my mind and cleanse my tinted heavy heart.

Life has always been precious, I’ve always been the first to promote a “live life to the fullest” attitude, but more now than ever, do I feel it is important to live true to ones beliefs and do what good we can with the time we have left. I don’t mean to put a damper on your new-year mood, but really, there are things we are in much less control of today than in the past. Real freedom is not as easily achieved as one might think. And unless we escape to the most remote place on earth which with a sky full of satellites and Google earth on each man’s computer doesn’t even exist any more, we are all part of the problem no matter we want it or not.

No matter how well we manage to avoid the corrupt and one sided mainstream media, we are still consumers. Consumers of this man-made utopia, a dream created by a few which is orchestrated so well that we have fooled ourselves to believe it so hard that we’ve made it into our own dreams. But truth is most of us are living and serving someone else’s vision more than our own. Like a dutiful citizen, the best sort of slave who doesn’t even understand it is being used and made use of. Who doesn’t understand that the hatred and bigotry they’re growing from within is a manufactured result of someone else’s greed and imperial aggression. A manipulated idea wrongly placed upon yet another naive human beings shoulders. Traumatizing its perception and ability to make his or her own decisions.
The more time that passes, the more that I see, know and learn, the smaller and closer do I build my world. Effectively I cut off what’s not meant to be there in the first place, clean the weed and add more love and sincerity into the things and people that are my most important, the strong pillars of my fort, my private life.

If I were to point out some of the most important of all aspects in a human beings life which helps maintain some sense of freedom, this is what I’d find:

Drink and eat healthy - Hydrating a human body is the single most important thing for our survival. Make sure to filter your tap water very well as it in many cities around the globe, especially here in the USA, contain a too high level of Fluoride (which is purposely added by the government), among other unwanted chemicals and pollutants such as lead and mercury. A Brita or Soma pitcher does not remove these invisible particles. There are great counter top filtration systems for around $200 and they last for as long as you take good care of it. Read more in this informative post by Wellness Mama. And here if you want to know how Fluoride, a highly toxic byproduct from the fertilizer industry, is bad for you.

Buy local organic food to the greatest extent you can. Non processed and no factory farmed foods obviously. Learn to cook your own meals. As long as you rely on others to do it for you, you will be in no charge of what goes into your body. Do you really want to leave that important aspect up to someone else?

Be selective - Regarding everything from food to choice of friends and partner. Understand your value: you are worth as much as anyone and everyone else and can make your own choices without having to justify or explain to anyone. Ask yourself: What is essential? Then eliminate the rest. Say no to events and activities of less value so you can give yourself fully to that what really matters.

Remove every sort of relationship/friendship that doesn't make you feel real good. The ones that makes your heart feel heavy and uncomfortable instead of uplifted. The ones that care more about themselves than others. The ones that pick on you or try to make you feel smaller only because of their own demons and insecurities. The ones that constantly talk shit about others because you know it, they'll do the same when you're not around. Learn to, and do not be afraid of demanding peace and harmony for your life. Say no to small people drama, you've got better things to do than be concerned for others who clearly need to work on themselves first. If you want to respect yourself and attract good people into your life, these are the choices you must make. But don't forget to live up to your ideals yourself, as well.

Follow your passion - What are your inner desires? Is there a possibility you can explore them, and not only dream about them? In most cases, it is the self that puts stop on fulfilling dreams, but only because you placed mental obstacles in your head. Stop doing that. Write down pros and cons with your current situation and another, more ideal situation. You might find that the good aspects of your current life overshadows the negative after all which in that case is great. Or, you could find out that a change is needed. Don’t be afraid of changes. They make you grow and you’ll find corners of life and yourself you've never discovered before. Email me if you have any doubt or if I can be of any help. I'm serious. We all deserve to do the things we've always dreamed of. Who knows how much time there is left. If you on the other hand are a homebody that prefer the comfort of the couch and a safe salary in the end of the month, don't be afraid to admitting it. Nothing wrong with that as long as you are ok with it and as long as you don't lie to yourself.

Stop stressing - Don't stress about all the things you should or should not do. Take your time. Your path is your path, no one else can ever know or feel what you are going through. Try and find peace in each process. It doesn't matter how long time it takes for you to accomplish/finish/initiate whatever it might be, it only matters that you know that you are on your way. Or that you are taking it easy for a while. I love the easy, reflective in-between moments, those are the times I gain perspective and can examine life and situations objectively.

Say no - You don't really need to do anything, no I'm serious. That is my standing point. These days, I only ever do the things that feels good and right, right then. I have nothing to prove to anyone. Whatever I want to do in life, I will do my best to achieve them one by one when time is right for each. Not going to rush it. It might be tempting to say yes to that offer or that event, just because it might lead to something later. Or because they pay well or whatever it might be. But if it's not truly what you want and not something that feels good in your stomach, why bother? I'm pretty good at avoiding such traps and as I get older I find security in knowing that when I am ready and fully prepared, I will do whatever it is I will be doing, but strictly my way.

Sleep well  - I prioritize this highly. Much above late nights and most sort of events. It's a good day that starts with feeling recharged. If you add a bit of stretching/yoga/exercise in the morning followed by a fiber and vitamin packed breakfast, that is a perfect start of each day, for me.

Spend less, enjoy real life more - Do you really need 25 pair of jeans and four TV's? Our society has made us believe we need so much of everything. Obsessive consumption is a sickness as much as alcoholism, although more expensive (hopefully). I see shopping as one of the great distractions in society. Constantly wanting and needing new products/gadgets/clothes distract people from really important things. It also makes you a slave to consumption and to the companies that only sell their products for profit, and not so much to make you happy. For each dollar you save on shopping, you can add that to your dream travel or dream project account. Spend the money on visiting friends or family. Or buy yourself freedom in the form of an apartment, other property, a car or why not a boat?

And then email me if you find a totally remote place far from all the political madness of the world as we know it. Though I'm guessing I'd need a spaceship for that.

a few weeks in

THIS is what we have been waiting for! Cruising around downtown, the financial district and its busy city center, over to warm and inviting paradise beaches, the fancy Bal Harbour and back home to the boat that is anchored in a very calm and serene place, with a safe and free bike/car parking right outside. As for living situation of two ocean nomads, it can almost not get better than this. 

Let us compare the current life situation with two of our most recent other: New England in the North where we lived for almost 1,5 years. And the Caribbean/South America in the South, where we stayed for 2,5 years.

Weather: New England certainly was the coldest and looking at it from that perspective, there's nothing that could have us move back to such a freezing climate with the boat again. It taught us things and made us stronger I suppose, but speaking of life quality, it is in sun and warmth we feel right at home. Caribbean, on the other hand, was hot, and a few months a year it was a little too hot. I remember we complained a bit on the heat, but never to the extent we complained about the cold in Boston. We have always said that something in between would be good. The Mediterranean sea is therefore still our most ideal as far as climate goes. It has just the right balance with not too hot summers and very mild/warm winters.
South Beach a week ago. I've put myself on a healthy workout regimen since then as I'm trying to get rid of the (too many) comfortable winter layers of chocolate and beer. It is so much easier to find pleasure in exercising in warmer climate. As much as it is easier to hide a lazy body full of comfort food under layers of thick winter clothes. I know both sides very well but also which I don't like to belong to.

I think we arrived here in Miami at the right time of the year. The slightly chillier temperatures of December/January makes for an easy transition back to the heat and so far so good. There's really nothing negative to say about the 27 C / 80 F we have here currently. With the right set of awnings and wind scoops on the boat, it still hasn't become unbearable and I'm thinking it still will be slightly cooler than the Caribbean islands also during summer? Regardless, this climate is much better than what we just came from up in the North.

Independence to move around: We have still not lived long enough in any one place during this sailing life we started five years ago, that we have concluded we would be in need of a car. The bike was the first thing we decided to invest in though as we got our new American Visas sorted last summer. We had and still have a dream of crossing the US on motorcycle. Time will tell if we'll ever make that happen but it's good to know that we can if we would ever find the time. Being now based in Miami which we have plans to keep as our home base for at least the next couple of years, we will eventually need a car too.  Going to look into getting my American drivers license asap.
A couple alligators we ran across in Everglades a few days ago.

Being in the Caribbean islands where we were for more than two years, a dinghy definitely gave you some sort of freedom to move around on the water side of life at least. But on land without your own vehicle, we were always depending on buses, taxis and sometimes we hitched a ride. Alex missed his bikes very much and it sure would have been awesome to explore the Caribbean with a motorcycle. So being here in Florida, in a similarly beautiful climate but which also offer so much more than only that, it is extremely convenient and enjoyable with both a dinghy and a bike as we now can fully take part of the location in so many more ways than what we could have done before. 

This state is huge, not to mention the nearby states we would love to visit. And to be able to drive from North Miami Beach to South Beach, through Downtown to Brickel and Coconut Grove in 40 minutes instead of relying on unpredictable bus schedules, well you know it, it gives you freedom. Riding a bike also keeps you closer to the nature than what a car does, though a combination of them two would be the best since we're planning on staying longer.
Love the quietness and cleanness of Hallandale Beach as opposed to the madness of South Beach.

Friends and family: Still equally far from most of them, but there are very good flight connections anywhere in the world from here. Besides I have a strong feeling it will be easier to lure people into coming to visit us in the warm and sunny Miami, than the cold Boston. Also realizing that we have quite a few good friends down here in Florida already which is just a fantastic bonus!

Good healthy food: One of my most important aspects in life as you know already. Florida offer a better year round climate for growing vegetable and fruit than what New England does. Or at least the sort of fruit and vegetables that we eat most of. Even if we don't grow our own food on the boat, there are Farmers Markets with organic produce to be found in almost any district here in Miami. Having scanned the grocery stores in the region, I am also satisfied with the fact that many products are a tad cheaper here than up in Boston. In addition to fresh produce from the market, Whole Foods and Publix has all of the organic non-gmo food that we normally buy. Comparing this area with the Caribbean or South America, the US definitely has such a greater selection of good groceries and for a better price (although tropical fruit might be easier to obtain down there).

Work opportunities: Alex will for the time being travel back to Boston once/twice a month to continue working from the studio up there. He's back on track with his mastering career and there's no way he will give it up again. We have hopes of finding a more local solution for him soon but this will work pretty good as a start. My vegan cooking on the other hand is actually one of the main reasons we decided to move to Miami this time (beside the obvious fact that we just couldn't deal with another cold winter).  

This is the catering/take out service that I started up in New England:

The idea is to develop this business further, and aim it towards an even more health conscious South Florida clientele. Below is the location that we are looking into:
So much potential in such a raw open space. Many details to figure out obviously before any of it will come alive but the idea and opportunity seems pretty good so far. I count on you all to come visit if/when we're open!

Culture: Something we talk about on the daily here is what a great mixture of lives and culture there is here in Miami. A very stimulating dynamic here that we missed up in Boston where everything is pretty much the same with very little room for alternatives. Only driving one street up and down here in Miami, you get astound by the great variety in architecture which is so inspiring for the mind. The New England way of building is very characteristic to its area and beautiful of course, but for people like us who like change and variety, it gets a little boring for the vision when all houses are built the exact same way. What we also like with Miami, is that there's a very strong latin culture which gives a special sort of interesting depth to the city. We definitely like it like that: high and low, a bit of everything in one bowl.
To sum it up: Life feels pretty good. We have many things to figure out, but it seems that we are in the right place right now. Oh, and the hot shower situation on the boat we have finally solved by digging up this good old solar shower bag from the lazarette:
Can't get hotter than this after it's laid in the sun for a while. 5 gallon / 19 liter hot shower is such a luxury..
Cheers on that!

Love by the way that we can find Spanish beer and groceries so easily in the stores. Obviously my workout regimen allow for a few beers every week. A good balance of health, comfort, pleasure and activity is so important. So far so good on the balance department down here!

Read this old post about what we think makes a place or a country worth to live in.

Through the canal

Where were we? So we left Portsmouth in Virginia, and due to winter and the North Eastern storm that was active exactly this week, we chose to not sail on the ocean side in the area of the notorious Cape Hatteras. Instead, we prepared ourselves for 3-4 days of canal motoring. Something we didn't look too much forward to to be honest. I've mentioned before that our prop is too small for this boat and the engine doesn't have its own room but is installed under the saloon table/cover so really it feels like it makes more sound than actual progress. Thanks to wind from behind and mostly flat water, we managed to average approx. 5.8 knots throughout the canal trip so not too shabby after all.

Going through the Intracoastal Waterway as the canal system is called (which by the way goes through the whole East Coast of America) you will have to pass several bridges. Some of which are fixed at 65 ft (our mast is 63 something), some are lower but open on either request or on a particular schedule.
The canal also have locks.
I am sure this part of the trip would be much more enjoyable in the summer (as would by the way any part of the journey). Now you probably don't know Alex well enough to know this about him, but he has a very.... how should I put it.... French mood. Which means that if there is something to complain about, be sure your brain will get notified. Every 30 seconds. He is a walking paradox in many ways like many other of us human beings. I have never seen anyone deal with emergencies and life threatening events in such an efficient and focused way without raising one eyebrow, but emotional stress that could come from banal things such as ... too much marmalade on his toast, can totally get him off balance.

He gets shit done like no other and has an extreme determination, but he can't for his life write or follow a to-do-list (which by the way are my favorite things to write in the world). He is untouchable in many ways and can make a living out of anything anywhere, but he gets depressed and miserable if it's raining for too long. So you can only imagine how peaceful, harmonic and comfortable this part of the trip was, for us both of us in different ways, as it was raining 24/7. No leaves left on the trees, no visible life or wildlife to count on. And pretty much grey, dark, wet and cold for 3,5 days at end. Add to that the annoyance of the engine..

I think anyone that know me would say that I was born an optimist (sometimes too optimistic perhaps) and I can deal with anything that come my way. I could complain for a little while if I really needed to, but I never let it take more than a few minutes before I get over myself and accept and deal with what the universe has thrown at me. Alex on the other hand, seem to think that situations will change to the better if only he complains enough. Or if everyone around him feel the magnitude of his pain.

And don't you even dare to mention that you actually find a sort of beauty in the raw darkness of a cold winter landscape, because that's when the crying starts for real. Ha! I am exaggerating now but you get the point.

It has clearly taken me a few years to learn to accept the extreme opposite of my innate optimism, the sensitive pessimistic nature of my beloved Frenchman, and today I can finally laugh about it. When he's not around, of course ;) It takes a lot of practice, patience and even self confidence to not always wanting/trying to change people so they suit your personality, and instead accept that you simply were born differently. Don't you think?
Just another bridge on another rainy day.
Bought this thing on the farmers market in Portsmouth, can't remember the name of it now but it was a relative to the bok choy. Anyone knows?
Used it in many different meals, like this one. Sprouted beans with vegetables, turmeric and coconut milk.
Another meal while we're at it: Steamed rice with meatless crumbles which tastes so much like chicken when prepared with red pepper, red curry paste and coconut milk.
Cold dot com.
Stir fried cabbage with sprouted beans and a tomato salad. Plenty proteins..
"Is it over yet!"
Crossing the Pamlico River with a good breeze which gave us an opportunity to switch the engine off for some time.
The low pressure system had finally dissipated as we arrived to the other side of the river.
Swedish Christmas feeling with wonderful thin gingerbread from Anna's.
The hair that got washed approx. every seventh day over that month it took us to sail from Boston to Miami.
More of the green stuff, as well as more of the meatless crumbles, served with steamed rice. Have to try and find a non-gmo verified version of the crumble thing.
What a difference a few miles make. So much greener the closer to Morehead City we got.
Dolphins in the canal.
And more army helicopters. Felt good being near the ocean and blue water again. We stayed one night in Morehead City in a very friendly marina called Portside Marina, before we jumped out into the ocean and a two day sail to Georgia.

The last part of that wintery East Coast trip coming up here shortly ..... let me just say we are both very happy that we are back in the sun. Both the boat and the bike is now with us here in Florida and it seems this new year will be filled with much less cold rain than the previous. High five on that!