11 Stops On The Groovalution Part 1 - Bali, Marrakesh, Kerala (India) Mexico City

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Hi. My name is ellee ven. I am not a rocket scientist, I am not a travel agent, I am not a tour guide, but I am a self proclaimed groovalutionary, an enthusiast for travel, and so today, this is the first of a three part series called 11 Stops on The Groovalution. Let's see where we go first ... Bali.

So this 11 Stops on The Groovalution series is inspired by my love of travel and how it affects me creatively, so I'm just gonna touch very briefly on these wonderful spaces and talk about how these spots have affected me creatively. So Bali is like the land of the coconuts, and the rice fields, and healing waters and healers of all kinds. There's sand and sea, there's incredible jungle, there's incredible vegetarian cuisine, but something that stuck out were the offerings. You go around the towns and there are little dishes of offerings to the gods, and there's always some seeds, some flowers, and then often times you see a cigarette on top of it as well, and the idea is that you appeal to the good and the bad, the yin and the yang, and so that's very, that's very much a part of their culture. 

So, I thought that was super interesting, and of course I came back and I was just like really into my knife skills. I just wanted everything to look beautiful, and colorful, and just happy. My one word for Bali would be jungle-lover.

So next stop on the Groovalution is ... India. 

Oh my gosh, what a treat. So my mother had passed away, and so had my sister, and so I really needed to go far away and see different things, and so I went to the tippity-tip-tip-tip-tip- tip of India.  After flying for 30 hours, you were picked up in a Honda, and then I went to a dock, where I then was on a boat for 30 minutes as the sun came up, and it is some kind of beauty to behold, and these beautiful back waters and jungle like terrain. And then, you soon see what is an incredible amount of poverty, but the people are so beautiful, so reverent. Every morning I would wake up, the sun would come up, you'd hear like kind of the paddling of some fishermen, and off in the distance you'd hear people chanting, like waking up with the sun.

What really took me aback was this incredible reverence for life with no bells and whistles. The water, dirty water, the sky, a beautiful sky, the Earth, a beautiful Earth, but these humans were grateful and devoted. I went to a temple there and I met a man who literally had callouses on his shoulder, easily an inch deep, blackened, because their, during their worship they actually carry statues on their shoulders. Men in line, like 50 men in line with these big bamboo sticks, and they're carrying these like, you know, crazy, God knows how much these, these, these things weigh, and that's, he is, uh, he is a respected man, because his callouses show his love for God. My word for India is devotion.

So what's the next spot on The Groovalution? What's the next stop on The Groovalution you may ask? Mexico. Ay-ay–ay-ay-ay. What do I say about Mexico and Mexico City? Again, colorful people I say, but also very stylish and very refined. I mean, the margarita is taken to a whole new level in Mexico City. Of course, in Tulum the margarita's were fabulous, and also in, uh, (laughs) Rosarito, the m- the margaritas were amazing. 

Underground cities that still exist and people are still excavating today, it makes you wonder how they built on top of all that and didn't really know what was going on underneath also. It just is, uh, a real testament to the layers of a society and a culture.

So my word for Mexico would be- layered.

Where are we going next? This is so fun. I need to keep this here all the time. Marrakesh, thank God. Ah, Marrakesh is so beautiful. Marrakesh is actually where my parents first discovered each other. My mother a Spaniard, my father born in America, conceived in Kiev, and there they were at La Mamounia, where men in Fez caps and capes greet you at the door, where it smells of orange blossoms and figs in the distance, where the gardens are as beautiful and colorful as they can be. It's very hot there, and so I think that to eat in a heavy way would not actually be conducive to that terrain, so there's a lot of stews, even the meats are really slow cooked, so it's really a lot about the aromas and the spices, and again, really colorful, but for, for Marrakesh, I would give it to the spices over the color. The, the colors are there, but the spices are amazing.

One thing that's amazing and irritating simultaneously is they have a spice called "the lazy wife spice", so obviously I think that's kind of rude, because if your wife is cooking for you, sh- she's not lazy, okay? But it has 35 spices in it, and so basically you're covered. You're like "Well, uh, is it going to have cin- is it going to have cinnamon? Is it going to have like tu- turmeric? Whatever." It's got all of it in there, but it basically is your spice man's favorite variation of all of these spices together, but they call it the lazy wife's spice because they are sexist. Sorry, Marrakesh. You need to cover your shoulders, you need to cover your everything. You should not go shopping in your shorts, okay.

I went to Marrakesh twice, and I definitely feel like you just have to go back there just to really even take it in. You go to buy shoes, it's like "Here are 5000 shoes valued between seven dollars and five, or, you know, ten dollars, and we're going to negotiate for the next 25 hours."

It's pretty stimulating, and going to the souk, it's good to go with a man. I can't believe I'm saying this, but, you know, because it is a sexist situation, sorry Marrakesh, it's just not good for the female solo traveler, I don't think, if you're trying to go and bargain. It probably would be helpful to be with someone who's from there or spoke the language, who is probably going to be getting a cut of your sale, but at least you will get out of there with your, you know, all your limbs intact. It's not that dangerous actually, but ... The word for Marrakesh is spicy.

So today we have talked about Bali, we've talked about India, we have talked about Marrakesh, and we've talked about Mexico City, and, you know, it's amazing because, I have to tell you, I have the travel bug, and I travel all the time, and if you'll notice, those places are just like little dots around the globe, and then still there's like this whole world for me to continue to explore and enjoy.


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