Category Archives: Travel

Vegetarian in Moscow: A New Russia

When I left Moscow in 2003, it was hard enough to order a salad with no meat let alone find a veggie burger in Moscow. Thankfully, times have changed.

There are now not only places to find vegetarian food, but also growing online communities to help the vegetarian in Moscow.Even regular supermarkets carry vegetarian lasagna, cutlets, burgers, etc.

Jagannath [my city-pick favourite!] locations have full vegetarian/vegan restaurants with small shops selling everything from meatless foods and supplements to all-natural soaps & toothpaste. And the Vegetarian Card gives members discounts to vegetarian-friendly businesses around the city.

Most mainstream restaurants have a way to go before I’d call them vegetarian-friendly. But Moscow is definitely taking a step in the right direction.

Returning To Russia

Of all the places I’ve visited, the only other place that has moved me & shaped my life as much as Russia has been Tibet. And maybe I’ll go back there someday. But right now: I’m moving back to Moscow.

Since finding out I’d been hired in Russia, I’ve had three types of responses when I tell people the news:

  • Outright baffled: “Oh, I don’t really know anything about Russia”
  • Outright confused: “Why on Earth would you want to go there?”
  • Outright overjoyed: “Oh my gawd that’s so exciting! Russia!”

Darren Logo

It’s been a decision fraught with self reflection. I’ve been slightly torn because I’m very well aware that I’m not skipping into a rainbow-covered land of unicorns, to put it lightly. But it’s a nation with an amazing history and a currently political climate that I find fascinating, with all it’s complexities.

Red Square & MeAbove all, ever since I reluctantly left Moscow in the winter of 2003, I’ve vowed to go back to live & work some day. I don’t have many regrets in life. But I know that if I didn’t give Russia one more chance, I’d get to the end of my life, look back, & regret that I didn’t at least give it a shot.

So here I am giving it a shot. 36 years old. A new teacher. And moving from Toronto to Moscow.

If you’re one that said “Oh I don’t really know anything about Russia” or “why on Earth would you want to go there” or “oh my gawd, that’s so exciting! Russia!” Follow along and I’ll do my best to show what my life there is like.DSC01232

People who have never been to Russia tell me that Russians don’t smile or laugh. But I know that they do. And I’ve seen them myself. And I look forward to more.

The Quest for Cheap Contact Solution in France

One thing I’ve always been amazed at in France is how expensive contact solution is. It’s usually only found at an optician’s store or perhaps a pharmacy and, compared to most countries, it’s extremely pricey.

This post is simply for the many people out there looking for affordable contact solution in France. In my own search I found many blogs and forums with travellers and expats voicing their surprise over the high price. But rarely did anyone post about where to find the cheapest. So here’s what I found:

IMG_20150216_120309_editHans Anders. At least in Lille, Hans Anders has (by far) the best prices for contact solution. Their store-name brand is about 5 euros cheaper than most other places, and you actually get a larger bottle! They also have a travel-sized bottle (within the 200ml carry-on allowance for liquids) perfect for vacation.

Find a Hans Anders location near you here.Find a Hans Anders location near you here.

Blackberry Travel: Best Travel App I’ve Ever Seen

imageThis app continues to baffle me with how amazing it is. For frequent travellers, especially for business, I see why Blackberry is still the way to go.

I just booked two flights. When I received the confirmation email from the airline, Blackberry Travel automatically loaded all the flight details into the app & my phone’s calendar. It includes everything: date, departure & arrival times, flight number, booking reference number, confirmation number, flight company website & contact, +++ image

It’s an active app so it constantly monitors the flights: automatically updates time changes, gate changes (yes, it even tells me what gate to go to), etc. It tells me the current weather forecast & time for my departure & arrival cities. It’ll even take me to other travel apps to help with city guides, maps, and translation for foreign languages.

From right in the app I can book a hotel (with a low-price guarantee), rent a car, or book a private vehicle for airport transportation. It adds all details right into my calendar & phone so I never need to worry about losing reservation info. It’s all right here.

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Darren’s On The Move: Toronto à Lille 2014 – 2015

Darren’s Got Some News from Darren Donahue on Vimeo.

Sign to Help Stand Against Brutal anti-gay murders on the rise in Russia

Anyone who knows me knows my love and fascination toward Russia, my second Mother Land. Living in Moscow was my first big international adventure and the experience opened my eyes to both beautiful and brutal things in our world.

Unfortunately, under the present Putin regime, there is more of the “brutal” going on in Russia in right now and it is only going to get worse. Information, publications, and educational materials that mention homosexuality are now considered gay propaganda in Russia. Possession and/or distribution of such material is now considered a criminal offense.

Please click the image below to sign the AllOut form to voice your opposition to Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws:

Oppressive Chinese Police Open Fire At Dalai Lama Birthday

Chinese Police Open Fire At Dalai Lama Birthday Event

Chinese authorities block Tibetans from joining a peaceful birthday to

In Tibet it is illegal to possess photos of or give praise to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader and promoter of peace around the world. Many Tibetans have been imprisoned, tortured, and lost their lives for doing so.

Now Chinese authorities have opened fire on Tibetans in a rurual area who had gathered to say prayers for the Dalai Lama’s birthday. It’s a chilling statement that Chinese authorities repeatedly imprison, torture, and kill innocent Tibetans while prominent figures in the international community look the other way.