Hello UKCSC! I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to write to you on my project, Healthy Stoner. I started the blog because even back when I used to smoke cannabis (pipes, bongs, and joints) like many people do I always loved getting out and doing stuff, stoned. In Bristol whilst studying at UWE I used to love going out for stoned bike rides with my mates, exploring the fringes of the city. Weed just enhanced the fun we were having.
I’m a 100% recreational user of cannabis. Everyone has a vice. I like getting stoned. I enjoy a beer as much as the next guy (although can count the number I’ve had in the last year on two hands) but weed’s always been my preference. I just hate feeling hungover which gives me the sense that I’ve damaged my health somehow. Even when I used to have a tight chest from a heavy weekend of smoking I never felt as bad as being hungover.
The attitude many people have in the UK regarding alcohol vs. drugs has always got on my wick. The way weed is just lumped under the term ‘drugs’ even though, as we all know, alcohol is hugely more damaging both to the health of the human body as well as to the health of society. So in many ways my blog is aimed at the large number of middle class British people who drink as much as I get stoned but who lump weed in with ‘drugs’ and who look down on anyone who chooses to enjoy the herb instead of guzzling wine. Let’s not forget wine does have its health benefits, if you drink no more than one glass per night. But any more than this and it’s a detriment to your health.
I’ll get off the soap box now because I know I’m preaching to the converted. I started Healthy Stoner because I love getting stoned and riding my bike and I couldn’t see much else on the internet about weed and exercise. Also about a year before starting the blog I’d taken the decision to quit smoking and buy myself a vaporiser. I know that many people enjoy the physical act of smoking, the ritual of rolling the perfect joint and the sensation of the smoking itself. For me I just like the sensation of being stoned (and wasn’t addicted to tobacco) so I guess this gave me a head start in making the transition from smoker to vaper. Pardon the pun but I was blown away by the positive effect on my lungs. After nearly fifteen years of smoking I had felt negative changes but after switching to the vape there were instant, tangible gains in my lung health. Another reason to start the blog, I wanted to evangelise about this!
Vape Stations At Your Ready…
Way before I even knew what a vaporiser was I had a dream to travel internationally on my bicycle. Like many people I’ve always had a strong passion for travel and combining this with my love of cycling was my dream, and later the addition of the weed aspect turning it into a stoner road trip. It took the best part of a decade to get myself to the point where I could quit my job and head off but in August 2015 that’s exactly what I did, starting the ride in Newcastle on the Big Ride for Palestine travelling with two hundred or so others down to London in a rolling protest for peace which culminated in the ‘taking’ of Westminster Bridge and holding a minute’s silence for those killed. From London I rode down to Portsmouth catching the ferry to Cherbourg and pushing due South through the centre of France and across the Pyrenees into Spain where I enjoyed the delights of the semi-legalised scene in Barcelona/Ibiza before heading further South to the Sierra Nevada mountains and Granada.
By that time winter was fast approaching and I’d already sorted myself out a job in a ski chalet in the French Alps so rode back up there to spend the season getting high on chair lifts and improving my skiing which was incredible. The following Spring I set off from France heading South through Italy to Rome then back up to Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece, everywhere meeting amazing people (some of whom I”d met through the blog) and having fantastic adventures. I can’t call myself a true ‘Around the World’ cyclist because I chose to miss out the Middle East/Central Asia and fly with my bike straight to the South of India. I’d gone to the Royal Geographical Society in the year before leaving to learn about international cycle touring from people who’d already done it (and pitched my travel idea to a Dragon’s Den of experts including Levison Wood, but that’s another story) and I’d learnt that countries like Uzbekistan were extremely serious at the border and would not only strip search you but also go through your phone and laptop for any evidence of anything illegal so I thought with the nature of my trip and the fact I’d be carrying a used vaporiser I’d be best to stick to more chilled regimes. India is still strict on weed but I figured I’d have a better chance of remaining lifted and also staying out of trouble.
In India I rode an 8,700km tour from the very southern tip (Kanyakumari) up the West coast and up into Nepal and then back down the East coast which was a life changing experience. That sounds like a cliché but it’s true. Both India and Nepal are very special places. Nepal was the icing on the cake, both physically and metaphorically and I hadn’t fully understood how it used to be the ‘Amsterdam of Asia’ until the US made it criminalise cannabis in the 1970s. A strong culture of it still exists there. I’m now in New Zealand touring here and am working out where I go next.
I want to finish by saying that I’m not putting myself on a pedestal with the blog. It’s not called ‘THE Healthy Stoner’ because it’s not just about me, rather I am putting myself forward as an example of someone who enjoys combining recreational cannabis and exercise. My ambition is to grow the blog into a community of healthy stoners, a place where people can come together and share stories and organise events that involve getting stoned and going into the great outdoors and having fun, because that’s what it’s all about. We all know that the stereotype of a pothead as someone who sits around smoking and eating cheesy puffs is old and tired but many others in society don’t and it’s time this is done away with once and for all because it’s not representative of the millions of people who enjoy recreational cannabis today, in the UK.
If you have an experience you would like to share, or have your own 420-friendly and cannabis advocacy projects on the go and would like to share them with our audience please get in touch and we would love to help you get the word out.
Healthy Stoner is currently comprised mainly of short video clips however Roger is currently writing a book on his travels and hopes to at some point find an interested publisher. Any enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org