When In Rome

I didn’t do what the Romans do. I didn’t drink wine nor did I eat cheese, which seemed to be the staple food instead of pasta. The smell was honestly tantalising, and having an empty stomach didn’t help at all. But a rational part of my mind reminded me of the horrors of the dairy industry and I immediately shut down my olfactory system as best I could.

In a way it was simpler travelling while fasting because you don’t have to think about lunch. You could go through the day somewhat uninterrupted, wondering about the secrets of the underground section of the Colosseum or pondering on the vastness of the Roman Forum that might have been a shopping mall without the need to think of filling your belly and spending more money.

Fasting on a vegan diet this year for me has not been much of a difference compared to last year when I was not on said diet. The hunger and thirst are still as familiar. The appreciation of lack of nutrition and poverty is still cultivated, if not enhanced. The differences then and now have only been the type of food I choose to eat when breaking fast and the strength of my spiritual connection with the Universe, which has arguably augmented.

Because this diet encourages healthy eating, I know better now to make sure I eat foods with high carbohydrate content. Eating oats and fruits before dawn for example does satiate me longer. The trick is to avoid processed food and eat more produce. Substitute the biscuits or chocolates with bananas, dates and grapes and you’re good to go.

Ramadan hasn’t really been difficult for many years simply because I have always set a positive mindset. I dislike hearing people whine about their 10-hours-old hunger when there are people living below the line and hence in constant hunger for months. And so I tend to switch my thoughts to the things I’m grateful for such as the roof over my head, the books on my shelves and the people I call friends. I also busy myself by doing something be it reading, cleaning or exercising. It’s just a matter of taking your focus off of the emptiness in your stomach. 

So I guess travelling while fasting was not really so bad because I was constantly on the move and that I had friends to entertain me. When we were all exhausted, we took an hour nap or so on the ground under a shady tree somewhere at the Palatino. It doesn’t hurt to lie on the grass and give yourself a break when you need it. A nap certainly helps to quickly revive your energy like taking a shot of espresso.

In the end, it’s all about setting your intention straight and acting upon them. In terms of travelling, I simply wanted to tread on the soil that once held a great civilisation and gain more knowledge and experience thereby enriching my life. Sure I got tired and thirsty but at least I know I spent each day of the trip well.

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