Global Ventures on the Horizon with Mieko Perez ft. the Traveling Canna Writer

November 6, 2021   |   By Victoria Sockwell

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Everyone wants to be a part of the cannabis industry in 2021. Cannabis is the new “It” girl in town.

Veronica (Vee) Castillo has been doing the work for over three years. She is creating spaces that celebrate black and brown voices in the cannabis industry and curating content to continue to educate - all the while being a mentor to fellow cannabis writers. Vee is doing the work, but her journey didn’t start here.

Castillo was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and by 2018 she had constructed her own home- a significant feat that most Americans at the time did not have the economic privilege and freedom to do.

But, unfortunately, what might feel like freedom to some does not always bring peace to others. Peace comes from a place much deeper than material wealth and assets. Most chase after happiness, but true peace comes from within. So despite all her worldly accomplishments, it just wasn’t enough to satisfy her ambitious hunger.

Reflecting on conversations with her uncle, she expressed that activism was ultimately what she wanted to do through her writing. With that conversation lingering in her memories, Castillo left her comfortable corporate American job to begin her life as the Traveling Canna Writer.

Vee Gives Plants the Credit for Her Healing: “Eating plants made me open to all plants.” Castillo’s journey to health started in 2010 when she began transitioning to veganism.

She stated in an article on her vegan journey; “it was an easy transition because I was already weird about too much chicken and where it came from.” When transitioning, it’s important to remember what and why you are doing this. Whether for health or moral reasons, it has to be at the forefront of your decision-making regarding food.

She began with small steps - starting her mark at pescatarian. Pescatarianism is a fish-based diet, taking the focus away from land animal consumption. Still, for Castillo, that was not enough stating in the same article that as she evolved into her higher self, she knew that she had to let seafood go. “This transition required baby steps. I let go of lobster and crab first, then I let go of all of it."

One of the main complaints about transitioning into a more plant-based diet is the amount of cooking you have to do. But if you can conquer your fear of the kitchen and the dread of “what am I going to cook for dinner” - you would be surprised how much your cooking skills can grow.

In vegetarianism, this is where people begin to waver on their journey to veganism and to live in the Midwest at the time; it was much harder not to get the stares and the “crazy” looks.

“This sort of made eating out impossible because in the Midwest, in 2011, vegetarian was looked at with a shock.” Castillo is correct in that sentiment, with only 5% of the population in the United States claiming to be vegetarian in 2011 according to the 2011 Vegetarian and Vegan Stats by PETA.

Veganism took a little more care and consideration. To be vegan, you have to be conscious of everything that comes into your body - that means checking labels, researching ingredients you aren’t familiar with, cooking way more than you think you will, and eating a lot more than you probably did when eating meat.

Castillo mentions in her article, “By this time, I had lost a bunch of weight, cared about how my food got to my plate, and just wanted the cleanest diet possible.” Though weight loss wasn’t the main goal for her transition, it was an added benefit with a vegan diet that she enjoys discussing to inspire others to let go of the meat.

Describe the moment you knew it was time to hit the road to become a traveling writer?

When cannabis gave me my life back, is when I knew what I’d travel and write about. I had to get out here and tell the truth! My purpose was confirmed right in that moment- I would go learn more and tell the world that cannabis is life!

In some of the articles featuring you and articles you wrote yourself you mention going back to fish after going vegan. What made you go back to Pescatarian?

Stress, the thing that gets many humans when they’re stressed out. For me, it was needing something convenient and less hard because in America- the dining out culture doesn’t support vegans well.

I was stressed and needed easy and it was easy to slip back into old eating habits. It didn’t help that a lot of my stress came from my health. Being diagnosed with Chronic Migraine gave me a life filled with (symptoms). My quality of life began to suffer-I just needed easier.

Speaking on that, you credit cannabis for healing you of migraine - can you explain?

Cannabis came into my life during that time. I was desperate for relief. In 2015, marijuana was introduced to me as a form of medicine. While every prescription drug had failed me, cannabis improved my health and ultimately improved my quality of life.

A friend at the time saw me preparing to take my medications. In that moment she expressed the ways Cannabis could make me feel better. We smoked and I immediately knocked out, some of the best sleep I had had back then.

I woke up feeling relieved and went out and purchased my first eighth. I dropped the prescriptions I was on and began my journey into becoming the Traveling Canna Writer!

You also mentioned that Cannabis made it possible to consider consumption of mushrooms. Can you explain?

I had become familiar with the benefits of cannabis but as I learned more about plants, I became intrigued. Like cannabis, mushrooms can assist in natural healing.

I began the Magic Mushroom/Psilocybin Microdosing Experience Series to talk more about my experience with the fungi to educate others on the many ways mushrooms can help us connect with our higher selves which in return can open us to so many opportunities. Cannabis led me to mushrooms, because I trusted her, I knew that I could trust mushrooms.

What’s next for you?

There is so much happening! Some things I can’t announce but I can say, I will close out the year having toured all the north, the south, the east, and the west of the cannabis industry. I will be writing my first book, and my cannabis travels will be taking me to the Caribbean.

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About Victoria Sockwell

Victoria Sockwell is a Chicago-based writer, archivist, and organizer oriented towards restorative justice, healing, and liberation. She is also an independent culture writer and archivist for various community projects. Her sociology background and experience give her an acute awareness/understanding of the vitality of studying our pasts to get a preview of our future. She is excited to gain experience as an archivist and researcher to combat the erasure of Chicago’s Black history.

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