Trading Places in Lisbon: 7 Questions for Art Magazine Editor Kay Ess

Kay Ess in Brittany

Trading Places is all about experiencing how people live around the world. Through travel, learning, and discovering traditions, cultures, and the beauty of our diverse planet — we try to walk in another person’s shoes for a bit, to step into their lives however briefly — so that we can connect with others, and let that inspire our own lives and bring more joy into our worlds.

How to Travel for Free course

When I travel, a large part of the time I stay in other people’s homes — usually through home exchange, but also by house sitting, Airbnb, independent rentals, etc. One of the things I love about traveling this way is that I’m not discovering a new place so much through the eyes of a visitor from some generic chain hotel — I’m actually trading places with them, getting a little taste of what their daily life and home town is all about. It allows me to really experience a place more like a local, and I love both the interesting people I meet this way, and the”insiders’ look” into a place that I get. If you’re interested in learning more about how I do this, and how it enables me to travel for free, check out my e-course on it! And if you use the code TRADINGPLACES when you enroll, you’ll get a 20% discount!

Lisboa Portugal
Photo by Shelley Seale

In September 2017, I traded places with Kay Ess and her husband in Lisbon, Portugal. My partner Keith and I stayed in their cozy, beautiful flat filled with artwork and collectibles from their travels around the world — and because Kay and Nuno were there for several days during our week stay, we got to know them a little bit as well, which is wonderful.

I asked Kay 7 Questions to get to know her better, and let the Trading Places Village get to know her, too! So let me introduce you into Kay’s world: Kay is a Curator-Editor of a contemporary arts magazine, and also runs a Eco-Friendly Lifestyle site, Raw Food Lisbon. She was born in Montreal, Canada and grew up there and in Paris; but has been living in Lisbon with her husband for a number of years.

Trading Places: What is a “typical day” like for you?

Kay: I don’t have a “typical day” as I tend now to live more connected to the flowing energy, to my needs and feelings and to what the Universe brings. Having two domains of professional activities maintain me quite busy, but I am able to balance intense work periods with healthy lifestyle which includes yoga practice, conscious breathing, music, trampoline, long walks, Ocean baths, cold press juices and home-made whole plant-based cuisine which I love to enjoy with my man.

Raw & Plant-based Intensive Training
Raw & Plant-based Intensive Training. Photo © Kay Ess

As an editor and curator of the Contemporary Art e-magazine Wrong Wrong, which is based in Lisbon, I invite international artists to create projects for online publications and as a freelance author, I also write on artists’ work for the magazine, for exhibitions or catalogues. Because art history, contemporary visual arts, intellectual reflection and creative sustainable development through eco friendly lifestyle have a lot in common and a lot to offer for today’s active open-minded and forward-thinking people, I am also committed to crafting the future of sustainable food for a peace & love mindset, for nature’s regeneration, biodiversity nurturing, human wellness and health. So as a plant-based raw food lover, I also host people from around the world who wish to experiment or to maintain a high vitality healthy diet during their stay in Lisbon. I also organize intensive trainings on raw food to share this life-changing and empowering knowledge with as many people as possible.

Trading Places: What are a few of your favorite places to eat in your home city?

Kay: I like to explore the eco-conscious restaurants in Lisbon who work mainly with plant-based, whole, fresh, organic, seasonal and local foods like Ela Canela and the Green Affair (the options are still very few). I also like to discover, from time to time, the great chefs’ cuisine — Alma is one of my favorites — and some brunch are also really good like the one by the Tagus at Altis Belem Hotel. I also enjoy some really beautiful restaurants installed in ancient palace, Palácio Chiado is my favorite one. For a chocolate pause, my place is Bettina Corallo in Principe Real because it’s natural and lovely, dairy-free and handcrafted with very little sugar.

Table with raw plant-based foods
Table with raw plant-based foods. Photo © Kay Ess

Trading Places: What are some of your favorite places to play, things to do? Hangouts, nightlife, parks & recreation, what you do for fun.

Kay: The cultural life in Lisbon is tremendous and my passions for art, music, cinema, theatre and contemporary dance are fulfilled with the several international festivals and the regular programs (Maria Matos, Culturgest, CCB, Almada’s Theater Fest…). As a Corto Maltese’s lover, I enjoy sharing an original cocktail with my Wrong Wrong crew at the House of Corto Maltese in Cais do Sodre. For high quality and stylish cocktails, I enjoy the Mini Bar, which is by the São Luis Theater. And for terrific views on the city, the miradouros (viewpoints) are equally unforgettable.

Trading Places: What is your favorite thing about your home, and why?

Kay: The light, the wide open-views on both sides, the big park just by.

Trading Places: What do you do to recharge or practice self-care?

Kay: Fasting, juicing, going to the beach and ocean swims in the Lisbon area.

Beach in the Lisbon area, Ericeira
Beach in the Lisbon area, Ericeira. Photo © Kay Ess

Trading Places: What is one of your favorite places you’ve ever traveled to, and why?

Kay: South East Asia: Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I was very sensitive to the incredible beauty, warm welcome, pure presence and care of the people, to the marvellous traditional architecture style (particularly to the Lana style in Thailand), to the amazing sophisticated culinary arts, to the breathtaking landscapes (the Mekong in Luang Prabang), the religious temples and Buddhist practices (prayers, collectives habits and rituals…), to the genuine silks and several traditional know-how, to the rhythms and the high energy frequencies which I felt were quite different from those in the West.

Cultural Thai Association Inauguration Day in Kamphaeng Phet, November 2017
Cultural Thai Association Inauguration Day in Kamphaeng Phet, November 2017. Photo © Kay Ess

Trading Places: Tell us one fact about you that might be surprising, fun or quirky.

Kay: For the past time, I would tell you that I am a former DJ and I drove a Harley for 12 years! For the present time that I am passionate about local and exotic fruits and a durian lover in particular. So one of my biggest dreams is to travel Asia during the season to taste some of the best varieties!

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