“If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost”. I doubt Vincent meant looking for interesting things to read, listen to, or watch when he wrote that, but the quote comes to mind when I realize that I’ve racked up an embarrassing number of hours searching for ways to educate and entertain myself lately. Thankfully, the quest hasn’t been completely in vain, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite finds.
Books: I could offer 20 recommendations off the top of my head, but I will cut it down to the two most recent books I’ve read: The Salt Path (which was, in fact, recommended to me) and A Long Petal of the Sea.
The Salt Path is the most inspiring memoir I’ve read this year. It’s a true story of life changing losses that push the author and her husband, Moth, to strap on their rucksacks and take on the 630-mile South West Coast Path of England. Check out this review.
The other is by the gifted Isabel Allende. A work of art, A Long Petal of the Sea, is set during the Spanish Civil War which, aside from the French Revolution, is my favourite historical time period. Here’s a synopsis.
You Tube videos and films: Cutting back on social media has not kept me offline, I have to admit. It has made my time there less stress inducing, fun, and educational, though. As a DIY’er, I’ve always used You Tube, but I hadn’t realized how much more there is there in solid entertainment and education. It’s not all pet videos apparently.
Video Inspiration for long distance walking and hiking (or if you just like seeing others have epic adventures). You can follow the channels of these folks who are, right at this moment during the pandemic, doing some impressive thru-hikes. Currently, I’m following: Taylor from New Hampshire (Taylor the Nahamsha Hiker). She’s braving the Appalachian Train and uploads daily. Matt (First Church of the Masochist) is walking from Key West Florida to Canada, and Marcy (Miles to Go), is a newish hiker attempting to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Also, Fit for Adventure is a vlog by a fun and often hilarious young woman in Wales who films her outdoor adventures and some crazy challenges. The scenery in all of these is spectacular.
If you like documentaries, maybe check out To Measure a Mile: Three friends set out from the Mexican border on a 2,650 mile journey to hike to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). An unscripted look into the wild, strange, beautiful lifestyle of a 5-month thru-hike.
If soothing and inspiring videos on sustainable and simple living ideas are of interest, this woman in Ireland produces great content at what she calls Fairyland Cottage.
If you’re interested in content that explores the conviction that a better world is both possible and necessary, check out Lucky Black Cat’s channel. The channel explores politics and ideas that will help move us closer to the societal transformations that are necessary for a better world (to the extent that ideas can do this). Clever and entertaining, too. This is Lucky Black Cat.
If you’re looking for simple, effective exercises to get or stay in shape, this fitness instructor and doctor, Kristie Ennis, is a great resource. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCq4wJn0zh05i5VI1jmDN5g
Lastly, in this You Tube category, is an award winning and absolutely lovely animated short film (10 minutes) that highlights the fragile nature of life, love, and what it means to never give up.
Podcasts: My tastes seem to change all the time with podcasts but there is one recurring theme, as you’ll gather from these episode recommendations. I’m including one outlier.
Black Autonomy Podcast: Building a Poor People’s Survival Movement, The Essential Worker Racket: How COVID Hero discourse is used to discipline Labour on Citations Needed, Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly on RevLeft Radio, and on Backpacker Radio, an interview with Dr. Alan Carpenter, who didn’t start hiking until he was 65 and has since accumulated about 20,000 miles on foot. He’s a good storyteller and his near death experience on the trail – whoa! Pretty inspiring guy.
Thank you for reading. As always, if you find any of the content I post each week useful or entertaining, please consider following the blog and sharing it with friends.
Stay well and safe. Christine
P.S. Breakfast Cookie Recipe
Yes, for breakfast! or when hiking or for an afternoon snack. Vegan, GF and delicious!
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal 2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free, if needed) 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup smooth, nut butter or peanut butter 1/2 cup real maple syrup 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries and/or dried apricots) 1/2 cup (60g) pepitas and/or sunflower seeds
Combine the ground flaxseed meal with 5 tablespoons water. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes to gel.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: oats, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a another bowl or a large measuring cup, mix the wet ingredients: nut or peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and flax mixture. Whisk until smooth and thick.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and combine until it’s like cookie dough. Fold in your dried fruit, pumpkin/sunflower seeds.
If the dough is too sticky to handle, refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes to firm up a bit.
Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to put about 3 tbsp of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing about 1/2 inch apart. Lightly flatten the top of each cookie with your hands or a fork.
Bake for about 18-20 minutes. After 5 minutes, use a spatula to carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container once cooled. I like to freeze them so they keep longer. Just take whatever quantity you want out the night before.