On social media you only see the fruits of my labor… you don’t see what goes into trying to work remotely. The cost of having a remote office.
Even though I was raised Catholic, I have never been a particularly religious person. My father was Buddhist and growing up in the Buddhist country of Thailand, I’ve only heard of Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha in stories and myths. In my mind it was a magical place that was portrayed in the many paintings inside the Buddhist temples in Thailand and it wasn’t a “real” place. So when I had this opportunity to pilgrimage to Lumbini (although I know didn’t actually set off with that intention), I found myself very humbled by the journey.
Perhaps this is what this country compels us to do - share slivers of our soul.
There’s so much here that encourages us to do that. Whether it’s the trek in nature to the peace pagoda, seeing elephants and rhinos in Chitwan National Park, the many multi-day treks offered… each person can find a way to reconnect with a part of themselves that they may have forgotten - even in the most unexpected ways.
If there was any part of my trip to India with my mother that truly felt like I was immersed in a world that was completely different than anything that I’ve ever experienced in my life, it’s Varanasi (also known as Benares, Banaras or Kashi, a city located on the left bank of the Ganges. One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, it is also one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism.
Suman Kumari Singh of Suryaa Villa, a heritage home in Jaipur, Rajasthan, teaches me how to make my first Chapathi! I admit, I'm a bit intimidated. She makes Indian cooking look easy!
While traveling in Jaipur, we came across “Ladli” (meaning “loving girl” in Hindi), a vocational training program for abused, orphaned and destitute children in the desert city of Jaipur, India. I learned that this vocational center paid children that were vulnerable to begging (and even prostitution!) and taught them skills in craftmaking, a very valuable skills in the jewelry capital of Jaipur. They were also taught Hindi, English, Art, Math, and Dance, and were provided nutrition, medical check-ups and counseling.
I'm very excited to speak at TravelCon, a travel conference in Austin, TX put together by Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt & Lynan Saperstein of Experience Experts about how how my blogging has led me to become an independent travel agent focused on selling sustainable travel. I'm going to share the lessons I've learned and also show you how you can do it too!
I want all human beings to not forget that despite the conflict in the news, there still is much beauty in humanity. Despite our differences, we have a shared humanity that we mustn’t be scared of. While news headlines can divide us, travel can unite us.
Tucked away between Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary lies this hidden gem of a country. Greener than green and bluer than blue, it's easy to fall in love with the easy-going and peacefully bucolic yet jaw-dropping country side. And did I mention that the wines and the food are seriously delicious?
Prayers from the mosque’s loudspeakers meld with reggaeton blasting from multiple car windows and techno music that reveals a party taking place on the second floor of a nearby McDonald’s. This is Casablanca. And in this city—immortalized in a film by vintage Hollywood—one is affronted by a cacophonous yet complimentary swath of cultural influences that make up Morocco, a country directly south of Spain in Northern Africa.