There have been big changes in my life over the last several months. The biggest: the Kitchen Shaman has relocated. After our road trip in late July, where I cooked up a storm at VeggieFest Chicago, we decided to pull up stakes in Arizona and move to the Midwest.

This wasn’t an easy decision, temporarily putting on hold the dream of moving into an RV, making travel cooking videos and talking to vegans in other cities, combined with sightseeing and creating art. I was looking forward to not being attached to a permanent place.

 The decision to move was the correct one. This can be found in the philosophy of the Buddha, that right action is right action. While at some moments I mourn the loss of living in a big city with more than two restaurants to eat at and a thriving artistic community, I know that what I’m doing is what I’m supposed to be doing.

One of the services I am providing is cooking for my in-laws. They are still on the standard American diet. While I’m not extremely happy with this turn of events (having not cooked meat in over 3 years), I’m proving to myself how I earned that job in the fancy restaurant. I’m a good chef. And I can make just about anything taste good.

The spouse still gets all the mouth-watering vegan food that I do cook, but recipe development has slowed down some.  The kitchen is smaller and the lighting isn’t as good. I’m managing to shoot mini videos and post them to instagram and twitter (you can follow me on either or both @kitchenshaman).

Produce is a little expensive and I have to travel farther to get to the store I really like to shop at. And Trader Joe’s well, that’s in Kansas City, which is over an hour away.

I have a new ebook on the burner, but, my laptop crashed. The spouse and I are sharing resources and it makes it hard to produce. I did not backup my files so the book is stuck in a hard drive that I can’t get to yet.

I’m learning to deal with life’s challenges in a much more realistic way. The transmission in the car went out and we had to get it fixed. I gave away most of my warm clothes, so had to buy more to get through the colder winter.  My 18-year-old cat died. We’ve had to lean on the in-laws for help, and I’m learning to accept the help gracefully.  A phrase I learned when I was younger comes to mind: the Universe is plentiful and there is enough to go around. That translates to if I ask for help, I’ll probably receive said help. Sometimes the help is offered. I’m choosing to say yes. 

I am adjusting to life here in the heartland. Folks are really nice. They smile, they look at you instead of keeping eyes down while walking past you. I find this a breath of fresh air from the push of a big city.

There aren’t many plant-based people here. I’ve found a few. But I have found a fairly intense artistic community, and I am pursuing connections in that direction.

veggie sandwichThis really isn’t a woe is me post. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. It’s about the facts about life. How everything can change based on one decision, or, at least for us, one road trip. Between April and August it became very clear to both of us that we needed to be here in the Heartland with family. We also both needed the change. The move proved just how much it was needed. 

I’ve kept busy by working on Radically Reducing projects. We did so much shedding before moving. It’s pretty incredible what you can get rid of in just a short amount of time. And we recorded the process. The videos are slowly being released over on Radically Reducing on youtube. Re-watching the videos makes it clear how overwhelmed I was feeling getting rid of my things. The goal was to fit everything into a 16-foot moving truck. We met that goal.

Now that I’m feeling more settled I hope to be focused on writing more and creating more videos. I don’t want to say anything just yet but one of my new connections might be helpful in furthering that goal.

Whats a good name? Vegan Midwest? Cooking Vegan in the Heartland? How to be vegan around the meat? If you come up with any good titles let me know!

For now, I’ll leave you with this:

Follow your heart. It will lead you down unknown paths and change the way you see the world.