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Start of the roadtripLast weekend Chris, Bec, and myself rolled out of the Permaforest Trust seeking new adventures, time to let our hair down, and some great music! We were heading to the Bellingen Global Carnival to watch international artists rock several different stages.

Our journey started with a few late night road pops, french fries (mmm yum), and several dumpster dive sessions during our 4 hour journey down the coast. We managed to find heaps of veggies and a few other treats to feed us for the entire weekend. I have to admit that I was still quite surprised at how much we did find when we discovered the right bins…

Do I look like something out of magazine advertising Gap?

The following morning we realized that our campsite at the festival was surrounded by beautiful trees and rad neighbours. We had played a night of truth or dare and I had been dared to wear a dress at the festival for one hour (among other things). So in the morning I did a photo shoot with Chris and Bec with Bec’s beautiful dress. It was a pretty good experience to wear a skirt…

Ironically, after Bec suggested later that I should turn it into a skirt and wear it for the rest of the day I didn’t hesitate *well I felt a bit nervous but then kinda thought…man what’s the problem here this is a cool skirt*. So for the remainder of the festival I confiscated Bec’s skirt and wore it and still have it at the trust — dunno if she’ll ever get it back.

Wearing a skirt/dress kinda made me realize some things about social/gender norms that we hold about ourselves. That a male is generally thought to be strong, tough, not have a feminine side, and not to wear such things as dresses and skirts except of course kilts. There’s a cultural significants to kilts that makes this an exception.

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Jamie & RomanToday I felt that it was appropriate to pay some respects and hi-fi’s to a special friend of mine whom is embarking on an amazing journey.

Jamie Liewaluzny (Liew+Zackaluzny=Liewaluzny – haa haa) has decided to take the degree that she trained so hard to obtain (law degree), jump on a plane, and head to Sierra Leone.

So why is that such an amazing feat you ask? Umm well Jamie (on the right of this picture) is heading to Sierra Leone to work on the defense case of one individual being tried at the Special Court that the United Nations and Sierra Leone have established. The conflicts that have plagued this country are extensive and tragic. This country is still not a really nice place to visit because of all the unrest that is plaguing these people.

As Jamie indicated to me it’s something that she feels strongly about and it doesn’t “matter who I represent because everyone deserves a fair trail.” She’s right everyone does and needless to say I think your great for believing that Jamie. I think that just taking the time out from her regular job in the Ottawa judicial system where she works for a judge to dedicate a few months on this project is really amazing.

If your history about Sierra Leone is rusty you should really have a look at the latest movie about this tragic history called Blood Diamonds (or here for official web addy). Apparently, this movie is a real eye-opener to the conditions in Sierra Leone and give one perspective of the situation that people faced. It’s tragic to know that something that we deem precious and special such as a diamond could really fuel and encourage such violence and despair in people.

To many people, diamonds symbolize love, happiness or wealth. However, for many others, they mean conflict, misery and poverty. In some African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, profits from the unregulated diamond trade are used to fund armed conflicts. As a result, tens of thousands of civilians have over the past years been killed or tortured and millions have been displaced. ” – Amnesty International report on the situation.

It’s beautiful to be inspired by so many amazing people around me and to you Jamie I say thanks and cheers! May your travels find you beautiful things and lots of learning.

Hugs

Shane

My further respect started when I met a great deal of women on the bike tour that were using things like reusable pads and “the keeper“/mooncup/etc. It’s not easy having to deal with a menstrual cycle and being a guy I kinda get off easy not having those issues (or having to bear a child for a long period of time either).

One of my friends Jen made this rad video about The Keeper (read: reusable tampon and other great stuff that has a different name in your country).

Check it out! I think it sells itself!

Lots of love!

– Shane

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