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Tag Archives: India

A patchwork quilt of my Indian days

My third exploration of these Instagram collages is providing some great perspective on our time in India. Instagram images feel like highlights of daily joys, and usually a sum-up post of images from a place is a showcase of your best and most influential moments. Making a little visual quilt of the daily joys seems to weave the kind of fabric that makes sense to my mind and likely memorializes a place akin to how I will mentally.

A year of many extremes and many joys, that 2013

While my job expects me to make high quality media, I also enjoy using social media to share the daily small joys that often don’t get a glossy coating. Using Storify, I curated a story of the previous year from my various online venues, resulting in the most ground level reflection of my experiences through Bhutan, Boston, and Hyderabad.

The time I took ten students to the
war-torn region of Kashmir
and they loved it

Have you ever been on a trip that you knew was so special: every detail seemed divinely delivered, every moment one to journal about, every vision worthy of an Instagram? This was the sentiment possessed by all involved in our trip. Lazy nights spent huddled around the fire were coupled with songs or thoughtful talks about travel. Even in moments where the students were out of their element, up before dawn, freezing, or pushed to their physical limits on hikes, they were still so engaged. The usual shyness of students in need of filtering questions through their teachers to the guides dissolved after a half hour on the ground. The students loved Ashika.

A journey back to north India, a mind running in place

Though my steam was running low by the end, the students and I agreed that the trip was a bit of a mental recharge to engage with where we were living. I spent many hours chatting with the students about their upcoming first graduation ceremony, gender inequality in India, and traveling solo as a female around the world. I pretended to be a guru in a cave on the train, accepting students into my lair (joining me in my double seat) for questions about life and happiness. My answers were usually, “Write about it!”

With pocket money and a rickshaw, some kids discover Hyderabad

Open blocks to explore hundreds more, we feel strong
moving into a space we somewhat know, a city we sheepishly call
our home, from our hostel for the homeless.
Bulk home goods to crispy street food, we were happy.
Dirty lake walks to all-star city specialities, we were happy.
We were happy by choice, equipped with freedom
and company that subscribed to the daily magazine of discovery.

I want to teach under a bodhi tree.

Regardless of the reasons why it didn’t happen, I know what I want: engaged students every step of the way. That investment in time must provide me immediate return, onto which I can bank that long term effects are plausible. I am building daily on a blueprint created many years ago, when a long trip provided me a clear life goal. Of course, I also must find ways to steady my mood and know I cannot control all the variables that allow a student to be an engaged one.

What is evidence of good travel?

We burn fuel, and sometimes we observe where that takes us,
hypothetically hoping it’s toward patch-covered nirvana, an open mind
Regardless of the “where to” but focusing on the “so what”
What is travel, and what is a traveler?

After three weeks in India, I finally feel like I’m traveling.

Flickers of lightning are faint but always to the left of my aim toward the horizon. They provide an additional layer of drama to my nighttime ride home from the city of Hyderabad. I booked a taxi with the help of a Hindi-speaking friend, someone whom I quickly and liberally offered my trust purely on […]

Nomadderwhere on the Black Informant Podcast

I’m such a sorry case for a writer that I’m actually stalling the publication of a post on how I haven’t written anything in a while! 2011 for Nomadderwhere is a Catch 22 kind of year. If that’s not clear, then stick around for the explanation coming whenever I get my act together. In the […]

Consume & Update: The Visual Edition

Prepare yourself for a very visual-centric post today. Perfect if you went to a horse race yesterday and are a wee bit feeble this morning. Gastropalooza: Indian Style An eclectic video on Indian street food that will either make you hungry, want to go to India, have a headache, or think a musical pig is […]

Consume & Update: Red Dust, Stupid, and Countdown

I’m on the road in Northern Indiana but here to offer you some great material to couple with Sunday’s newspaper and buttery toast. Another Timelapse Wonder Making you feel very, very small in this beautiful world in 65 seconds or less…

Journeys of a Lifetime in March

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month – thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration […]

Journeys of a Lifetime in February

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month – thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration […]

Journeys of a Lifetime in January

Happy New Year! Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month – thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to […]

Journeys of a Lifetime in December

Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month – thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration […]

Video of the Week: World Traveler Intern Highlights

One of my least favorite questions to answer is “What was your favorite part?” Slimming down a trip into the best moments leaves out all the thrills in between and the trip’s entirety as a journey, which amplifies the highlights even more. The experience of the World Traveler Internship had an obvious highlight for me: […]

Consume & Update: Tea, Ponies, and Good Reads

After perusing the web for the most interesting goodies, here are my suggested reads and views for the week! Burning Man Timelapse World Hum and Eva Holland displayed a video by Ben Wiggins of stunning, time-lapse footage that gives a visual account of Burning Man, an annual art festival that seemingly cannot be truly described […]

Journeys of a Lifetime in October

I welcome you to a new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month – thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Every month I will pick out a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to […]

Consume and Update: Life, Tolerance and Free Guides

If you’re always learning, hopefully you’re never bored. Here’s my attempt at bringing you the quality information I’m learning by this week. Christine created a series this month on what she knows best: giving a lifestyle some massive alterations to become one’s dream life. This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps […]

Why it will be a while for India: Day 28/29

Imagine an alternate universe that’s accessible by easy flight. A Mars or Twilight Zone with roaming holy cows, instant disease upon the consumption of food, toilets seemingly nonexistent, and pimped out buses roaming the streets. And imagine this place has so much of great appeal: colors, spices, drinks, music, dancing, people, animals, mountains, beaches, and […]

India Travel Photographs Galore

See the true beauties from India. Also check out my blogs on India for some insightful musings. Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail

Sunrise over Marble: Day 27

The following came to my mind while viewing her in splendid beauty. And by her I mean the Taj Mahal. “From a brutal sun, she grabs the softest light and increases her elegance as more is revealed. Detail. Elaborate. Pristine. Smooth. The grandeur. The scale. All reflections point to a love harbored by one man […]

What is Fatehpur Sikri? Day 26

Akbar’s capital city and home in the 1500s. An incredibly well-preserved complex of structures created in the Mughal style of architecture. A pretty far out place in rural India. So many centuries-old monuments are dilapidated and crumbling representations of their formerly grand selves. Sadly, pillaging and the wearing effect of time get the best of […]

Step in the Name of Water: Day 25

There are many perks to being in India during the off-season, a.k.a. the blistering heat of summertime. I walked into some nicer, yet empty restaurants and mentioned the items on the menu looked quite expensive. This usually got me at least at 20% discount because they needed the business. However, the heat is inescapable and […]

Bollywood’s Kal Kisne Dekha: A Quality Laugh

Nihal was a simple boy, bright and charismatic. He moved to Mumbai to go to his dream college and befriend the sweet women who liked him dearly and charm the spoiled ones who didn’t. He pulled some Matrix moves on the bad boys in school (who fittingly wore leather jackets and rode motorbikes) then saved […]

Great Wall + Indiana Jones Movie Set = Amber Fort: Day 24

Outside of an intriguing city called Jaipur sits a massive sprawl of buildings that seldom leave people unimpressed. We approached the area and got out on the side of the road to take distance shots of the entire panorama. Brushing off the hats that hawkers placed on our heads for purchase, we clicked the crusting […]

Movin’ On from Delhi: Day 23

So much about Delhi intrigues me. The spice markets and the grand monuments. The tree lined roads and innumerable modes of transportation. I have friends in Delhi and enough knowledge of certain neighborhoods to make me feel somewhat comfortable with this harsh environment. I can’t say I enjoy the street side groping (by any stretch […]

Feeling Balmy and Looking Skyward: Day 22

The extent of my knowledge on Sikhism stops at the turbans. That’s pretty sad, which is why putting on a headscarf, washing my feet, and walking up the steps to Bangla Sahib, the Sikh temple in Delhi, was an experience I happily embraced. Red, beautifully woven rugs covered the marble floor completely, and we slinked […]

Independent Travel vs. Tour Group: Day 21

The age-old debate: should we call our own shots or pay someone to do it for us. It all depends on how you value your own physical, mental, emotional exhaustion and how things like this affect your appreciation of a destination. Last year, I traveled across Northern India alone, at time spending only $20 bucks […]

A Friend Among the Hassle

Upon reaching our luxurious hotel in Delhi, I practically sprinted for the area I know best, the backpacker district…Pahar Ganj Main Bazaar. This one stop shopping/lodging/dining/etc. paradise for budget travelers was the first place I planted my feet and bags during my India visit last year, thinking this would be the perfect launching point for […]

India, Shock with Awe: Day 20

The last time I left India, just eight months ago, I related the effect the country had on me to a scruffy, irritating, acidic kiss from which I recoiled…and then later longed for. As the horns screamed around our taxi from the airport, I turned to Chris and said, “Home Sweet Home.” He nodded. This […]

A One Day Exhausting Encore, and I’m Still Clapping: Day 179

I’m a firm believer that so much of your lasting memory of a location depends on how you entered it. When I arrive in the dark of night to a new locale, it’s as if I wear a chiffon blindfold that begets a hazy concept of the city. All you have are the smells, the […]

Diwali in Transit: Day 178

From Darjeeling to Kolkata, Diwali erupted in my wake. Descending the staircase of Hotel New Vaisali, my working boys were in the process of hanging strands of orange and yellow flowers over the entrance to the lobby, taking as much care in the presentation as they would placing a fallen baby bird back in its […]

Snubs and Grub, Why Eating Alone is Gangster: Day 176

To seek out mental exhaustion To be stranded with nothing but my mind To be shoved completely out of my bubble and to let the one that covers me burst into tears on occasion To see things I read about To have a more enlightened mind and know, from experience, things never to be forgotten […]

This is Why I Travel: Day 174

BANG! POW! CRACK! These are not the captions of a Marvel comic but the sounds that reverberated off the walls in my all-marble hotel. They were unexpected, oddly timed during the day, and seemingly arbitrary in the grand scheme of normal life in Darjeeling, India. I had no idea why the boys that worked in […]

When It’s Right, Let it Simmer: Day 172

Alice Villa and her crew kicked me out with a smile and a tear. My beloved guesthouse was overbooked, and my sorry load needed to relocate for the remainder of my mountain adventure. It was a bittersweet parting with an establishment that saved me from extreme bowel distress, gave me food and impeccable shelter, and […]

The Best Part of Wakin’ Up: Day 171

COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE Smile and decline. COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE CHAAAAAAAI I wasn’t tired. Yes, I woke up at 3:30am and ran through the echoing city of Darjeeling in the bare cold of her film noir-esque pre-dawn. Yes, I jumped in a stranger’s jeep, gave him two dollars, and […]

A Dumpling with a View: Day 170

I wrote these thoughts while on the “road”… “A nervous dog pacing for a good, sunny, uncrowded spot to bathe and relax A little boy snorting and scaring girls (including me) to impress his buddy between swings on the monkey bars Old women with elephant wrinkles thumbing 109 prayer beads” This “road” could have be […]

Finding melodies in malady: Day 168

I barely slept on the night train and eventually took a seat at the window, once the sleeper car had become alive again. The atmosphere outside infiltrated my senses with green, cool, and an absence of the decay of Delhi and Agra. In those few early moments, I had a breakfast of rural fulfillment. I […]

Breaking News: Polos Invade Top Mughal Tomb: Day 165

On a trip dripping with solitude, I surprisingly felt very little in terms of personal, all-encompassing, heavy-hearted loneliness. Although, those rare times [when I did feel the weight] were compressed into quick moments that were scattered at key points on the trip. New beginning moments. Big change moments. To strap on my backpack and walk […]

Trek to the Tropical Tundra: Day 162

No blood was shed. The curfew worked. We strapped the chickens on board and waded in fresh puddles to the jeep. Over my dynamite Kashmiri bread breakfast earlier, I felt the boat sway and new voices bounce off the water. Mohamed crawled out of the flashy water taxi, the Parisian movie director a new arrival […]

Too Much Thinkin': Day 153

I may have made a truly horrifying decision, pushed by the approach of an immediate journey, the desire to part with the urban jungle; the work of three assuring and ambiguously generous salesmen along with the back-up by happy Western customers…my gosh, who knows why I flew to Kashmir. It’s a thrill I normally find […]

Welcome to the Himalayas: Day 152

Indiana is not a place where you need to worry about gripping the purse at your side or walking cautiously to your car at night with mase at the ready. This lack of high thrills and danger may be one reason why some say it’s a boring place to live. In fact, I think it’s […]

Why I Hate the Indian Bureaucracy: Day 149

The shower was near scalding a heat that leaves your skin itching for more harsh comfort but it was the hottest I’ve had in weeks and it stayed that way I steamed out the biters encircling my naked frame my arms radiated like dry ice It’s the signal of a shift, a baptism and wash […]

This Travel Thing is Hard But Good: Day 54

The chaos has fully set in. Lauryn Hill and her soulful ballads mark my release from a hectic two days of studying, exams, and all that shipboard hooplah. It really is a shame that we spend such a ghastly sum of money for an incredible school experience, and the most distracting element of the trip […]

Leaving the Dirt Behind: Day 52

Of all the times I have celebrated the grand holiday of April Fool’s, never have I been in such a vulnerable location, where the Captain and his crew have incredible potential for scaring the living daylights out of us. Doctor Matt claimed to quarantine two students for leprosy, Dean Ron (the voice) mentioned a nearby […]

Thinking of Indy in India: Day 50

My transformation began with the first step off the gangway. The equatorial sun toughened my already sun-kissed skin, pollution darkened my nostrils, mosquitoes feasted on my leg, and the stench of the city penetrated deep into the fibers of my clothing. Any Westerner would experience this discomfort with a visit to Chennai, but this is […]