Now that I've been traveling for nine months, it's time to update my master packing list. One of the most common questions I'm asked by those preparing to depart on a backpacking journey of their own is: what's in your pack? After months vagabonding through India, SE Asia, and Europe, I have some opinions about what to take and what to leave behind.Read More
Filtering by Tag: RTW
"Chai chai chai! Chai chai chai!"
"Pakora! Samosa! Pakora!"
We are on a train heading east to Hampi. Food hawkers jump on and off at every stop, rushing through the cars shouting, selling refreshments. I want to taste everything that passes—samosas served from a worn cardboard box, crispy masala rice snacks in a giant plastic garbage bag, fresh mango lassis carried in a tattered milk crate. Yet I cringe as the vendors grab food with their bare hands, passing it to customers wrapped in sheets of used newspaper."Chai chai chai! Chai chai chai!"Read More
I've grown to love late night arrivals. A blanket of darkness wraps around everything keeping it secret until morning's unveiling. There are so many unknowns that come with travel: Will this new bed have bugs in it? Will I die in a rickshaw? Will there be toilet paper? All that is unfamiliar dawns the next day. Ok, maybe not all, but at least you get to see where it is that you've landed.Read More
I have always had it in me, wanderlust. It's pretty much forever been my dream to explore the world through long-term travel.
Forget those short stolen twelve days of annual vacation allotted to working America (even though that's all the time I've had these past few years). No, that kind of travel is frenzied, restricting the majority of life to an unnatural cycle of constant want of more. I'm talking about the kind of long-term travel where you give up owning most things, leave behind a stable home, learn to live simply on a budget, and really see the world.
Searching for a guru is trendy in India, especially if you're a Westerner. I've begun to theorize that this eternal quest is driven by what is lacking back home in the West––a culture with belief in something more meaningful than the self.
India is the perfect place to visit, then, because spirituality is so omnipresent in a non-preachy sort of way. I should have known of its importance months prior to arrival, simply from the visa application. Halfway down the form I was required to check a box indicating my religious affiliation. For the record, agnostic and atheist weren't even listed as options.Read More
My foot is asleep. No, I take that back. My entire leg is asleep. A numb tingling sensation that reminds me of childhood gymnastics shoots upwards through my body. I have been sitting cross-legged in silent meditation, wrapped in the darkness of early morning for satsang (sanskrit for in the company of the "highest truth") since 6:00AM. Given my current inability to feel my legs, I'm not sure things are quite so enlightening right now.Read More
Stepping out of customs and into a crowded pen of late-night travelers, the warm Mumbai air reassures me we are no longer in China. Bunches of people are waiting, but not for us. Unfortunately, that appears to include the taxi driver we'd supposedly hired in advance.
"Sometimes you have to surrender before you win. Surrender is at the heart of the Indian experience." — Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram
If there's one thing I've learned about India, it's that surrender really is at the heart of the Indian experience. There are so many inexplicable hoops and loops to everything here, and the method in which they are worked out rarely makes logical sense.
In this instance, in order to find our driver, we have to pay someone to contact someone else who eventually discovers our guy sleeping in his car.
I'm happy to announce that I've broken through the shackles of the internet firewall of Chinese censorship — I've arrived in India! It's 2013! And I haven't posted in a really long time. Oops.
In order to blog properly, I really need to dedicate quite a few more hours a week to this. Easier thought than done when continually on the move. I'm seeing so much every day (awesome!), it seems like it will take forever to fully process my documentations. But the amazing thing is, I really feel like I'm living. And I love that.
It's been one month on the road, but it feels so much longer. I am in southern China now, and after days of being blocked out of my own blog (even with a VPN), miraculously the Great Firewall seems to have peeked open for a moment, time enough to post a farewell to beautiful Bali.Read More
One of my favorite moments in Seoul was stumbling upon a little art festival hosted by the Jogyesa Buddhist temple. I was wandering through the markets of Insadong weaving through all this:Read More
There's no turning back now. A five year chapter of my time in Los Angeles has finally come to an end and with it, I feel a great sense of lightness. I spent my last night at home in the U.S. boxing stuff for storage, packing, and fending off panic, stress, and worry that I've made the wrong decision to leave behind everything that I know. It's pretty scary to drive out of our driveway–house empty, belongings in storage–straight for a year of complete unknowns. Even so, beneath that panic a growing sense of freedom has slowly descended upon me. I'm filled with joy, anticipation, and wonder for what lies ahead.Read More