STATERA COLLECTIVE X VASARA: A GIFT OF LOVE

The gift of love can be the most important gift you ever give.

We are honoured to be collaborating with Statera Collective this year, as volunteers on selected Changemaker Trips will receive a bottle of VASARA Amoris Donum (A Gift of Love).  Amoris Donum is a bespoke essential oil blend designed specifically to complement the volunteering and wellness experience in Cambodia.

For volunteers, this blend combines beautiful oils from across the globe to open your heart and symbolise connection with others. It can be worn throughout the project, during your Yoga classes and meditation, plus the fragrance will serve as a reminder of your life changing experience in Cambodia.

During your Changemaker experience, we encourage you to use Amoris Donum in the following ways:

• Pulse Points: Apply to your wrists and inside your elbows.

• Chakras: Apply to your Chakra points (particularly your Third Eye and Heart) to connect your higher wisdom with your heart wisdom.

• Centring: Return your mind to calm by applying the oil to the front and back of your neck, forehead and temples.

• Inhalation: Breathe in deeply and affirm your intention. Use this oil throughout your Changemaker Trip to create a powerful olfactory memory that you can continue to experience long after your journey.

• Energetic Cleansing: Apply before showering or bathing to energetically cleanse your aura.

• Meditation: Apply to the soles of your feet before meditation.

Amoris Donum is handcrafted in Western Australia, using these responsibly sourced essential oils:

Frankincense (Boswellia rivae) – Ethiopia Traditionally helps release the past. Frankincense resin is the main incense used by many spiritual traditions, facilitating stilling the mind, while opening the breath.

Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum officinale var. sambac) – India Fosters confidence and optimism, as well as feelings of euphoria. It enables one to receive affection.

May Chang (Litsea cubeba) – Vietnam In China it is known as the ‘Oil of Tranquillity’. Promotes calmness, emotional clarity and self-confidence.
 
Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) – Ecuador Spanish for ‘holy wood’ or ‘saint wood’. Its common English name is ‘incense tree’. Encourages spiritual and devotional connection, reduces negativity and increases the capacity for giving.

Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) - Western Australia Supports the experience of inner unity of body, mind and spirit, and opens the heart to peace and acceptance.

White Cypress Leaf (Callitris glaucophylla) – Australia The leaf oil is deeply refreshing and uplifting to emotions and vital energies. In this blend it is favoured over the bark oil because the leaves of a tree symbolise reaching out and connecting with others.

With love to all Changemakers, Carla, Vasa & Christine VASARA

To learn more about VASARA, you can visit: www.vasaraskincare.com
 

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OUR FAVOURITE VEGETARIAN EATERIES IN SIEM REAP

Vegetarian cooking is something I’ve been exploring after completing yoga teacher training. After eating an Ayurvedic diet for three weeks whilst undergoing our teaching training program, I realised that I could no longer stomach red and white meat. Since exploring alternative foods, I have found an abundance of recipes, businesses and cafes offering wholesome, unique and nutritious options for non-meat eaters. Reducing your meat intake is good for the environment and good for your temple (your body that is). I’m very aware that every Instagram Yogi and her dog is a clean eating vegan but at Statera Collective we are about balance.

 One of Statera Collective’s objectives is to take volunteers on a culinary journey, enjoying delicious and diverse vegetarian cuisine and show off Siem Reap’s amazing array of eateries.

We have picked three of our faves so you can try meat-free in Siem Reap..

VIBE CAFÉ / vibecafeasia.com

Vibe café is such a COOL vegan place! Don’t worry there’s not a plain lettuce leaf in sight. The café itself is nestled away in a quiet street off the main strip but boy, they are up-to-date. Anything you want - raw treats, seed and nut mixes, good coffee, cooked vegan meals; your breakfast lunch and dinner is covered if you end up getting hooked like I did. Upstairs is a beautiful bright open space where you can hang out in a rattan swinging chair or work away on your laptop at their long wooden table. You’ll be surrounded by plants, sunlight and delicious wholesome vegan food. Their food is so interesting, that’s why we love it – they’ve reinvented some good old favourites but kept it vegan which is incredible. We’ve visited this café with avid meat eaters who were a little apprehensive of the V-word but they left having almost licked their plates clean.

Our top picks are the Buckwheat Flatbread (Gluten-freers this one is for you!), super simple but hits the spot and their Honest Burger – you’ll have one of those “I can’t believe it’s not butter’ moments – the monster sized chickpea patty, all the trimmings and sweet potato fries with special vegan ketchup will leave you full, extremely satisfied and returning the next day for more. If you need a mid-morning pick-me-up, try their beautiful coffee with fresh nut milk. If you’re feeling nostalgic and missing your local café back at home, it’ll give you a familiar piece of home.

FOOTPRINTS / footprintcafes.org

Footprints is a social enterprise founded by expats and operated by local Cambodian superstars. Read their story on their menu – these guys are genuinely hearts on legs and their vision is H-U-G-E! We love being a part of their journey.

Pheak Day and the team will bend over backwards to give diners an amazing dining experience and their food is FRESH as you can get! Whilst Footprints café is not solely a vegetarian eatery (there are so many awesome choices on the menu for our meat-eating friends – their Fish Amok…*drool*), they do veggie dishes REALLY well! It’s the perfect place to dine with friends, grab a coffee, or pull out one of their books from their overflowing bookshelf. We recommend a locally written Cambodian novel called ‘A Proper Woman’ which gives tourists an honest account into the life of a Cambodian woman and how she broke cultural norms to study, travel and pursue a career.

Try Footprints’ Mango Peanut salad (this is an OMG dish and not your typical light salad but rather is loaded with fresh ripe mango and flavour) and their quirky smoothie combinations are to be reckoned with! Chocoholics, try the Fudge Brownie Smoothie – if you’re watching your sugar intake, maybe don’t.

BANLLE / banlle-vegetarian.com

This little place is quiet and more of a local dining experience. The restaurant is actually outdoors and little tables are positioned under the veranda to steer you clear of any rain or direct sunlight. It is actually quite relaxing to dine there as lush plants and old tall trees surround you. Banlle has a very homely feel to it and it almost feels like you’re eating at someone’s house. You will make friends with the restaurant owners’ pets who roam free – they’re friendly so even if you’re not an animal person, they won’t impose on your dining experience. This place is 100% vegetarian and it’s best experienced if you order a few dishes to share with your table – try a bit of everything. We recommend the BBQ Mushroom Sandwich which mimicked ‘pulled pork’. Very tasty and satisfying. It’s a messy dish but oh-SO worth the dash to the hand basin to wash your hands afterwards.

On our Changemaker Trip, we do visit and recommend these cafes as part of our welcome and farewell dinners. We also include a BEAUTIFUL vegetarian cooking class where a local Cambodian chef guides you through a few local dishes, made from scratch. Later, enjoy a long table lunch sampling the fruits of your culinary labour of love.

These recommendations are shared with love

Enjoy x

Valentina is the Founder of Statera Collective. Statera Collective offers affordable responsible volunteering and wellness trips to Cambodia across different projects and start from one week in length so you can give back, fill up and afford the time away from your day job. Enquire at info@stateracollective.com

 Vibe Cafe's Acai Smoothie bowl

Vibe Cafe's Acai Smoothie bowl

WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING, ALL THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES IN HELPING YOU TO ACHIEVE IT

A long time ago I discovered a desire to use my living time on this Earth to contribute. There was a buzz I felt from giving back, whether one calls it selfish or selfless, it's what I knew I wanted to feel all the time. You see, I studied hard to secure a 'good' job, I earned good money, brought things, upgraded my car, afforded great experiences but deep down my soul lay low and only glowed brighter when I formed a deep connection with someone. Often I felt the glow brighter when I was giving, either physically helping, sharing knowledge or offering encouragement. Whilst I knew I wouldn’t save the world wearing a wonder woman cape, I knew I could positively impact the lives of many people. It felt like an underlying confidence and knowing so strong that I knew no one could ever rob me of or dissipate. I clearly remember a day when I was working in a corporate office, sitting at my desk one afternoon, starry eyed as I listened to a colleague talk about an ex-colleague who had left the workforce for a period of time to volunteer overseas. I remember being in awe and my soul glowing with an inner knowing that this was also my path.

Over the years, I researched volunteering trips, they appeared either too expensive (I was giving my time for FREE, how could I pay $5000 to volunteer in Nepal for a few weeks excluding flights?!) or the dates were limited and didn’t work with my humble four weeks of annual leave (after 10+ hour workdays I needed my annual leave to relax and recharge). As much as I wanted to pack up for three months and live in an overseas village, I couldn’t afford that length of time away from my J-O-B. Actually, I recall thinking, who could get away for this amount of time freely? Millionaires? Trust fund kids? The self-employed? Retirees? Who could go away for a significant period and not be negatively impacted financially? That was my biggest question as a corporate employee at the time.

As the Universe would have it, I was awarded Gardening Leave in between a change of jobs in 2015. Sometimes in the corporate world, if you work directly with clients and resign from your position they ‘walk’ you to the door, pay you for the remaining four weeks of your employment staying home, doing the ‘gardening’ whilst they protect their intellectual property with your absence. I remember clearly my thought process at the time:

Me: “Wow, what would I do if I could do anything in the world while I was getting paid a fulltime wage?”

Brain: “Spend four weeks with your family interstate of course, they are the most important people in your life”

Me: “Yes I LOVE my family, they are all busy and working at the moment and I’ll be visiting them in a few short months and right now, I have four weeks to do ANYTHING… I’m getting paid so what can I achieve in this time. What I have been putting off to that ‘oneday’ or ‘someday’…this is that time!”

Brain: “Volunteer overseas – you know a friend of a friend on Facebook who lives in Cambodia helping out with a charity, look him up”

Me: “YES!”

And so it went, a nervous young woman who jumped on a plane and headed over to Cambodia alone, ready to build a house with a locally run charity. It all flowed from there. It’s funny what they say about timing needing to be right for your goals because I don’t feel as if I could have started Statera Collective a day earlier or a day later than I did. Everything fell into place at the exactly the right time. No BS.

So I’m not announcing that you wait for the day you work in Corporate, change jobs and get awarded Gardening Leave. I’m asking you to TRUST. Know what you want deep down and keep kindling the fire of that passion because at some point, all of your ducks will line up, the time will be right and everything will be in place. This is your green light to GO for that dream. Just TRUST and anything can happen.

Contribution by Valentina Algeri, Founder of Statera Collective

Statera Collective offers affordable responsible volunteering and wellness trips to Cambodia across different projects and projects start from one week in length so you can give back, fill up and afford the time away from your day job. Enquire at info@stateracollective.com