This song and dance is so real for me! I keep this blog real, and for my readers and followers, I will do just that. My job as a writer is to keep it real. See, in my culture, well 50% of my culture. I am 50% Indian by birth and family, and American by well living here most of my life and growing up in the states since I was 7, so much frustrates me. Women and girls, and even men and boys, are told what they should be like or do in life. I am all about self growth, having own identity, going after dreams and passions, and breaking status quo. I am not the typical Indian girl by any means. I grew up climbing trees and was the most adventurous one. I speak my mind and aay it as it is. I can be blunt. I don’t suck up to people to be accepted. I love myself enough to stand my ground and stand up for what I believe in. I do not use others to validate myself unlike what the Indian part of my culture tried to teach me. Keepin it real, it gets really frustrating and annoying when people think they know what is best for me or what I should do, or who I should be with, or not be with, where to live, etc. I am worlds apart from my parents and their generation, yet they think it is best for me to be with someone as conservative and traditional as them. News flash: I drink alcohol. Not a lot, but when I feel like it especially during my travels. I make hostel buddies and we go to happy hour and try local Pisco Sour in Chile. Forget what people think of my body, I will shave if I want and not shave if I don’t feel like it and wear skirts and dresses. I love dresses. I love being in the water and wore 2 piece. I don’t care what others think of me. I love myself and my body that I work so hard to tone and keep fit. My parents generation would not even wear shorts, let alone get in a pool! I am a total water baby, and love the water. My parents’ generation lives off of traditional Gujarati food daal bhaat shaak roti, whereas I cannot stand daal. I Hate Daal with a passion. I like food from all cultures. My fav is Mexican. I love pani puri and palak paneer, but do not eat Indian food daily. I don’t eat it, so I won’t make it. My parents only hang out with Indians. My friends, on the other hand, are from different ethnicities and backgrounds. I speak Spanish too. I connect with Europeans, Australians, Asians, Africans, etc. I do not discriminate. My closest friends re from Africa. I have shared dorms with strangers with respect and appreciation. My mind is 100x more open minded thanks to my travels and my profession. I take care of everyone no matter what their skin color is. My job is to give people comfort and improve their health. I do not understand why my loved ones think that they know what is best for me and try to shape me to be someone I am not. I am not a conservative traditional woman. I value my spirituality and culture, but I also pray at Cathedrals and read the Bible along with the Gita. My parents idea of my life is to be a weak daughter in law and obey in laws. They give my brother full freedom to live his life separately, yet I am told to be ok with things that crush my soul. I have done more for my parents than any person I know, and I have a right to be with a person who genuinly makes me happy and compliments my lifestyle. People think they know who I should and should not date. Who I should and should not see as a potential partner. What about what I want. The job I want, the city or place I want to live, or the type of person I truly see myself with. I always made sacrifices for others in the past at the expense of my own happiness and well being. I gave up so much, perfect jobs, perfect colleges, even chances to get to know people who deserved my time. Instead, I wasted on mediocre things and people who treated me like cra*, yet they looked perfect on paper for the checklist my parents have, not mine. I was told its ok to be treated like that. I should be bigger person. I was told its ok to be cheated on and used. I was told its ok by my own family and some friends. On the other hand, I know myself and know its not ok. Its ruthless. I save lives for a living; I deserve respect at least. Sometimes, your own loved ones do not know what is best for you or who is best for you. I know my life is worth more than to be tossed around. Listen to your own inner voice, and follow your goals and dreams. You live with consequences of your actions. No one else. I wish I could turn back time and followed my heart and inner voice more instead of what others thought was right for me or wasn’t. I wish I could pick up my life and move to a city I would find my dream job in. Titles, degrees, paycheck, do not matter to me. Passion and hard work does. Integrity and making others feel better is priceless. Follow your heart and take those risks. Do not let anyone tell yoh what is right or wrong for you. They have not had same life experiences as you to shape the perspective through which you see things and people. We are all different and unique in a million ways. Be yourself. Be thyself. You can have many shades to you. Beauty of life is to constantly grow and change as humans. No change is boring. I for me, love and embrace change, may be why I am so fond of traveling. I used to love Kathak, a classical Indian dance form that I trained in, for 3-4 years. I now love hip hop! I love dancing in general, but hip hop is my jam! I love old Hindi songs, but I break it down to Timber and Mic Drop. My fav activity of the week is going to hip hop class at the gym!! I find myself in the kitchen dancing in my PJs as I wait for the microwave to heat something up. I am not meant to be all “proper”, cook gourmet Gujarati food, rub my in laws’ feet, blah blah blah. I hate Sarees. I never wear Sarees. I tried 2x in my life, and I felt suffocated, and that was 10 years ago. I love my uniqueness and I respect others’ differences. I wish each of you out there embrace your unique self, and do not think you have to meet a certain timeline or be someone you are not. It is one thing to change and grow/adapt with life, and it is another sacrifice your inner peace for what society wants. What I see for myself is completely different than what my parents see. I see myself in my dream job, in my own place, in a place I feel at home, with someone as open-minded as me, nontraditional, who knows how to respect women, wants to build a life with me, and makes me laugh. Someone who actually travels with me, not just say he would. A dream job in pediatrics or family medicine. That is what I see for myself. Money does not impress me. How someone treats me and others and how they make me feel says everything about their character. So my internet friends, do not cave into someone else’s vision of what is right for you. Know thyself enough to be thyself in this vast universe of billions of combinations of neurons and matter. Be weird. Be free. Be you.
1. How to budget travel:
Traveling can be as cheap or expensive as you make it. I don’t know about you, but I do not have a million dollars. Even if I did, I would use that money to fund children’s education and healthcare or start NGOs. Traveling is a side hobby, while being a Nurse Practitioner is my calling and passion. I make time for both. Even before I became a NP, I had a low new RN salary/wage, and it was even below minimum wage for RNs as I was a Pediatric nurse. I was a grad student too back then. I worked my way through school and graduated debt free. Nonetheless, I got a crazy idea to travel to Europe on my own for 2.5 weeks. I saved overtime pay, doing 60 hours a week in addition to grad school, and booked my Europe backpacking tickets. My 2.5 week Euro trip across U.K., Greece, Italy, and Switzerland, cost me about $3000 including plane tickets, lodging, food, and excursions/activities. That is actually a lot of money for backpacking, but I was a novice back then. I also spent $4000 for 2.5 months in South America last year. You learn and grow with more experience. Flight to London from US was too expensive and took up 50% of my budget when I did Europe. On the other hand, for South America, I used airline points/miles with Southwest and flew to Tampa for $5. Then I took flight to Cartagena, Colombia via Ft. Lauderdale for $250. The intercontinental flights in both, Europe, and South America, are super cheap if you look at the right places. I paid as little as $25 for plane tickets in Europe, which was cheaper than the trains even. I paid 60 Euros to get from Italy to Switzerland via train. I love train rides though, and I wanted to experience the nature and mountains. Therefore, it was worth it. All in all, it is about budgeting the cost of travel versus what is a priority on your to do list/or to experience list, and what can be sacrificed for make things works. I paid less to travel across South America in 2.5 months than I would have for rent for that much time is a large city. Budget wisely. If resorts and Margaritas are your thing, then you will not be able to travel as much unless you have a lot more money. Now, if you adjust or are flexible to hostel living, and Air bnbs (which rock IMO), then you got it dude! If it helps, many hostels have welcome drinks and happy hour. I have tried so many free drinks and samples through hostels, and I don’t even drink that much. I just like to try local beverages as part of the new cultures I am trying to experience. My fav so far: Pisco Sour in Peru and Chile. My Japanese, Canadian, and Dutch friends that I made at hostels/air bnb/and on a group tour of Machu Picchu, were with me. I could not even finish the whole glass because I have such low tolerance of alcohol. Also, as a nurse, I try to be very careful about my health and well-being and everything in moderation. I like my liver, thank you very much! I do spend a lot of money on food when I travel as I am a total foodie, but I try to budget and cook at the hostel or air bnb host’s kitchen by going grocery shopping at local supermarkets. I make friends with families I stay with and they also invite me for their meals. I rarely eat alone when traveling even if I went solo. Sometimes, hostels have free breakfast. Even air bnbs can provide that sometimes. I lived off of breakfast free Nutella and bread in Italy. Budget the cost of food by planning where you will stay and what food options are available.
2. Something has got to give
Cannot have it all, or can you? So this is where being a minimalist works in my favor. I do not like make up, curling irons, high heels, a million pairs of clothes (besides my Indian clothes collection, guilty of that). Everyone is different, and some love to take 10 pairs of shoes with them for a 1 week trip. Some like to take 2 bags of make up for a hike. I like to take my boots, flip flops, 3-4 pairs of clothes, usually a bathing suit, travel towel that is microfiber antibacterial (https://www.amazon.com/Microfiber-Set-Absorbent-Antibacterial-Swimming-Camping/dp/B072LYLND2/ref=sr_1_34?keywords=travel+towel&qid=1563278676&s=gateway&sr=8-34), travel size shampoo/skin care products, sunscreen, my journal, a book may be. Not much. I still have extra room in my bag because I take lightweight clothes such as leggings, skinny jeans, skirts/dresses, shorts, tanks, and wear the heavy fleece or jacket during my flights or bus/train rides to save room in my bag. I layer up at airports to save money on check in if I have to. A little compromise and adjusting is needed. That $50 for check in fees can be used for food or a discount airline ticket. It is totally OK to travel with whatever “stuff” you want, as it is your journey, and to each their own! However, this is what works for me. I met girls in my hostel female dorms who full out unpack a make up kit and hair straightener. I have also met people that are more simple like me. Nothing is right or wrong, but just what is right for you. You can make it work by choosing what is a necessity, and what can be left at home. If you want to travel for longer on a $500 budget lets say, you have options. Do you want to stay in the fancy resort with all you can eat, room service, wallpaper, lemon fresh toiletries (take them if you pay so much for a hotel room and use them on your next trip!), heated pool and spa (ok I do love heated pools and Jacuzzis, but that is a sacrifice I will make for my longer trips)!? you can, but that budget is not going to go for more than 2-3 days if you count the plan ticket and how an average resort room costs $100-300 per night. If you want to turn that budget into funding a week long trip, staying at air bnb for $20-100 per night can give you more bang for your buck! I go to medical conferences funded by my work because as a NP, I am required to do Continuing Medical Education (CME) to keep Up to Date on medical advances and knowledge/skills/renew licenses. Those conferences are always at super fancy expensive hotels and resorts. Needless to say, they are costly!! Out of pocket, I cannot afford that. I use my CME allowance wisely. I love learning and growing, and I love connecting with colleagues and updating my knowledge bank to provide the best care for my patients, but I am still on a budget. I use my CME allowance very wisely. I have stayed in resorts if the cost is covered, or else, I stay in Air bnb or a different hotel nearby and uber/walk to the conference. I did that in Orlando and Chicago. I am not impressed by fancy resorts. They are pretty to look at, but do not offer much in terms of comfort and adventure. I need the homely feeling I get at air bnbs, and even hostels where my dorm/roommates feel like family or friends. I recently stayed at a hotel in Asheville, and I did not like it. I felt so secluded. If I stayed at airbnb lodge, I may have made friends with the owner or other travelers. There is always a good and bad to every side of things.
Oh I can write a book on this. Again, to each their own, but I discovered how backpacking is the traveling style of minimalists. Backpacking can be many things. It can be long multi-day hikes through the mountain ranges. It can be day trips. It can be weekend getaways. It can be around the world for 1 year, 1 week, 1 month, or whatever duration, which ever place (s). As the name implies, it is traveling with a backpack. All of your stuff goes in a backpack, instead of a suitcase. Backpacks actually are stretchable with more space, they are nifty as you can take them essentially anywhere. It is hard to take a big suitcase on a 1 mile walk from the bus station to the hostel/air bnb/lodge. On the other hand, the backpack can be used a pillow for long layovers. I nap all the time in airports. I crawl up in a corner of on some chairs. I can also hide my backpack under a chair and go use to restroom or get food without being afraid of someone stealing my stuff. Even if they do, there is nothing valuable in there. I do not take large electronics with me. My valuables are hidden on me at all times. That is a secret. Backpacking allows for saving money on check in bags, only taking what you absolutely need, so you spend more time with the place, people, and experiences, than trying to decide on an outfit. Trust me on this, when you are down to the only pain of clean clothes, because you have to find a Laundromat in the international town, or wash clothes by hand, it will take you 5 minutes to get ready. I washed my clothes by hand in India and Europe. I used laundry services in hostels and community laundromats in South America. Some Air bnb owners happily let me use their machines and even gave me their detergent and fabric softeners. so sweet! I make sure I do not spoil myself too much. I like to feel like I earned the trips. I because a pro at washing clothes by hand, which was a foreign concept to me having grown up in states. Apparently, in India, it is very common though, and same with many countries. However, it is sometimes hard to dry clothes outside. When I was in Valparaiso, Chile, I used air bnb owner’s washer, but had to hang clothes outside to dry. It was pouring rain that night, and my clothes were soaked. I had nothing left to wear, so I had to turn the fan on in my room and spread my clothes out on the furniture. Meanwhile, I found a local clothing store and got myself a pair of pants and shirt while my clothes dried. Backpacking is not all fun and games, but I love the unknown, and the adventure of these things. If I had a suitcase, I could have put 10 pairs of clothes in there, but a backpack only allows so much room for clothes. It makes me think out of the box and be creative. Backpacking is a way of traveling for me that I thoroughly enjoyed in the past for those reasons. Save money, be simplistic and minimalist, and my favorite, a great workout! Talk about strength training and cardio all in one! I feel strong with my backpack as I can whip it in someone’s face if they try to harm me. I can also run really fast with it on unlike with a suitcase. I have climbed mountains with it.
I had done a whole post on credit card miles. That is a different story.
Sometimes, I do travel with a suitcase/rolling bag. That is usually not associated as much with my budget travel trips unless there is a free carry on allowance, or I have to pack heavy clothes for some event. There is no right or wrong, but this is just how I make it work. I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and live vivaciously. Travel has made me so open-minded, and I realize that I would not have gotten this worldly education had I never left my hometown. Follow your dreams and passions. Nothing is impossible. I M POSSIBLE. Money, degrees, awards, status, titles, are all blah. Happiness from those things is temporary. Happiness from creating a life for yourself by pursuing your dreams and passions, no matter what challenges are along the way, is priceless. That is the satisfaction I get from travels because I created this life for myself. Growing up, I could not even afford school lunches. I slept on the floor a lot. I did not know what family vacations felt like. Now, I have attended medical conferences at the Disney’s Grand Floridian. I went to Epcot as an adult and loved it! Happiness comes from sharing your joys with others. That is why I love blogging. I wish to share my experiences with strangers in hope to inspire them to go after what they want in life, especially people that can relate to me with traveling. Earning money does not make me as happy as being able to take care of my patients. I know I deserve much more than I earn, and I have done the math many times. Regardless, my profession is that of caring and helping others. The joy from seeing people’s health improve, or child get better, is priceless. When I travel, connecting with locals and other travelers makes me happy, not how fancy the shower curtain or granite countertops are.
I tried to add images of the mountains and the town/city of Asheville, but I am so technology deficient. The images are not loading. May be can try later again. Anyway, I am so blessed to get to live life another year! I planned to do lots of hiking on my bday. I had read that Asheville was a top solo travel spot and has lots of trails in the Blue ridge mountains. I did not grt to do those trails sadly. Its ok. I have traveled so much, but for the 1st time in my life, I did not enjoy this trip as much. I did enjoy downtown and this garden area I checked out. NC Arberatum..can never pronounce or spell that! I like the hippie vibe and veg friendly places. I eat so much. It got so hot, but mountain breeze felt good. I could have chilled in a pool had I not firgotten my bathing suit! I always forget it. Well I do not know why I even took it to Montreal when it was cold and chilly. I cannot believe I travel so much and have become so adventurous in last decade. I surprise myself. Sometimes, I am shy girl in the corner not making eye contact with anyone in my own little world. Sometimes, I am chatting up a storm with strangers who feel like family. It is all mood dependent.. and caffiene dependent. I used to be so shy and homebody. I climbed trees as a kid, but was not outgoing at all. Traving in the last 8 years or so made me so outgoing and less shy. I am still an introvert who enjoys her own company, and needs time alone. I leave loud noises and too many people to go sit alone under a tree or go through pictures on my phone. Nursing also made me more outgoing. I know how to connect with patients well. I enjoy it. At the same time, I can be so socially awkward. I am not always able to go up to people and say hi. That shy little girl in me comes out from time to time. I may be outgoing, but still am an introvert. An outgoing introvert, with hints of shyness that pops up in some situations. I used to always hate the shy part of my personality. People would tell me we won’t bite you, you can talk. Now, I am accepting of all shades of my personality. I am never the loudest in the room. I shy away from attention. I like to write and reflect. I journal and blog. As a new 29 year old female, I love myself for who I am. I am proud of my self growth journey and am patient with myself. I used to always put others 1st. As a nurse, daughter, and friend. I burnt out. I learned self care. I treat myself to trips, food, rest days, naps, and jamming to 80s and 90s pop and hip hop. Aint no shame in that. You can dance, having the time of your life..ooo see that girl.. singing the dancing queen. I love retro. I love meeting young girls and encouraging them to be who they want to be. Not what society says, but what their heart says. I am so thankful for the opportunities that I was given, but mostly worked crazy hard for. I am so happy and grateful for all the amazing relationships with friends and family in my life. It is so easy to complain and forget the good things. I choose to see the positive in others. I choose to forgive and not hold grudges. I choose peace. I choose to live life to the fullest. I had always wanted to visit Asheville, and I made it happen. I had always wanted to visit Montreal, which I went to a month ago. I choose to work hard and make things happen. Life is a gift. God is kind. All the bad experiences and trauma I have been through have given me new insight on life and taught me tolerance and preserverence. I am eternally grateful to the universe for giving me a chance at life when so many babies die in utero at conception as an embryo, or in childhood. I have seen so many people lose their lives or live with horrific diseases. I am blessed to be healthy and try to be fit. Being 29 means I have white hair now, but I also have years of wisdom. I call the white strands wise highlights. That does not change the inner child in me. I love blasting a whole new world and let it go! I love playing with and caring for kids! It makes me so happy.. here is to another year to live. I cannot say thank you enough to God. I am blessed. Everything is always working out best case scenario for me thanks to God and my faith. Stay smiling and never give up on your dreams. I dream to be a NP in pediatric primary care or primarily practice serving peds in family med. I am thankful for my job though. I get to see some kids and I love those encounters! Always find the positive in life. There are always multiple choices, and the best answer is your intuition. Tomorow is a gift. Go after what you want, withour fear or inhibition. Choose positivity.
I am in Asheville, North Carolina. I had always wanted to come here. 3 years ago, I was offered a nurse practitioner job here which I turned down to stay in Ohio. I kind of regret it, but oh well. Everything happens for a reason. I lobe the mointains and fresh air, except all the construction here now. I love walkable places, and I walked around downtown for hours. I enjoyed watching the kiddos play by the fountains. That is how it shouls be. Play outdoors and be active, not on video games 24/7. The pediatric nurse in me was happy! My dream job would be pediatric primary care NP. I love kids and miss working in pediatrics. My5 years at Children’s hospital felt like a hobby, not a job. I am drawn to kids everywhere I go. I stare at others’ kids out of love. I cannot help it. Somethinf about being a cancerian may be?! It is my bday tomorow, and I have no one to celebrate it with, but God. I am thankful though. So much to appreciate about life and the gifts God gave me. I always wondered what it felt to have a big family or siblings and cousins who actually call me or ask how I am doing. Not a single cousin calls me in my bday or holidays even. None care to text me unless they need something. My sibling is so far away as well and so disconnected from me. My friends, who feel like family, are all far away now too. I have amazing friends though. Theg feel like my brothers and sisters. I had the sweetest gesture, my friend, whose wedding reception it was, her and her husband got me a present for my bday before leaving for their trip. I was like it is your wedding day, I gift you guys, not the other way around! I was so touched by their kindness and thougthfulness. I wish them so much happiness and blessings. I normally never get presents on my bday or any holidays. I always gift others things. It was strange feeling receiving a present. I only dream what it would be like to be in a large family that cares about me and wants to call or spend time with me. If something happened to me, who wouls even be there for me. I go saving lives daily, but if I needed help, who would help. I wonder what love of siblings feels like. I wonder what it feels like to have someone look after you and protect you as a sister. I learned to be my own bodyguard and brave traveler. I built muscles through strength training going from slim to toned. It would be nice to celebrate a bday with loved ones. I am such a family oriented person, yet I have been deprived. I make plans and my own siblings cancel them. Through teaveling, I get to connect with strangers who feel like family when I stay at their homes or air bnbs. They look after me and ask about my day or life more than my own blood relatives. I guess I will cut my own cake tomorow. Whats the point. I will spend it with nature and mountains in this cute little town. It is so hippie, but in a good way. Loving the open-minded vibe. For me, music is tied tighly to traveling. I think is is natural for humans to attach meaning or experiences to songs. I am yet on another trip, and trying to entertain myself during this early morning flight. Waiting at the gate.. Havana na na na.. this song takes me back to Colombia! Especially Cartagena. I was obsessed and played this on repeat during the start of my South America backpacking trip last year. https://youtu.be/HCjNJDNzw8Y The other song that takes me back to South America is Despacito. I love that song by Luis Fonsi. The original one that is.. so many more. Music is soul food. It can bring so much joy and peace. I am introverted and sometimes music and dance is all I need to shut myself off to the world.
A mountain in center of city!! Also, namesake for Montreal! I wish I had hiked more but I was starving and when I am hungry, I get hangry. I needed to find food. So after I switched rooms from room with my new friend to a room alone, which I hate, I headed to Mont Royal. It was a 45min walk. Well 1 hour to get to the bottom then like 20 min to climb to the view point. Hunger made me leave and find food. I was craving pasta and Italian. It is the hormones. I am so bloated from PMS. Just got my period today. I needed food. I really wanted to do a longer hike. Next time.. I always find hikes where ever I go. So I could not find a cheap Italian place. They were all overpriced. I therefore went back to same Mexican place. Then went to hostel to nap as my period was making me fatigued and weak. I hate hormones controlling my mind and body. It is the worst. I have been so active in last 4 days, yet I am so bloated and retaining water making me feel like a balloon. With this much exercise, I should have lost 5 pounds by now. Whatever.. so over it. Stupid metabolism. I used to not even weight 100lb and do same physical activities as not gain wight 3 years ago. In that time, my body changed so much! I cannot fit into any of my dresses for my friend’s wedding. I need new dresses asap and have nowhere to get them. I am so moody and irritable right now. It is the hormones estrogen and progesterone messing with my serotonin. Being a healthcare provider, I know exactly what this is. Women go through so much. Not fair. I could not even nap despite needing it because the new dorm room they moved me to has been squeking noises from the window every 5 seconds! And the cleaning staff keep blasting loud music while doing their job! On the bright side, I was like screw this. I left and came for gelato. I need to find some funny onesies for my friend’s baby. She wants one, and I am in no shape or mood or have time to go to old montreal again. My body and mind feel like a hot mess! I just wanna take a hot shower, play relaxing music, grab a drink with my Australian friend tonight, and sleep peacefully without the noisy squeky dorm room. Have to catch a flight tomorow. Last full day in montreal not so good. Its the period ruining it. I need to buy more tampons and pads too. My period came early. Did not expect it on my trip. Always ruining plans. So need to find a pharmacy and a baby store.. urggh. Its raining now. This period symptoms are too much. If men lived one day experiencing what being on a period felt like with hormones shifting and body changes.. they would see women differently forever. It is like a cloud over me for a week. My belly was flat yesterday, and today my skirt is so tight and bulging. I walked like 10 miles and ate mostly healthy.. well not. Oh well. I just need comfort food. Nuttella gelato! Reminds me of my Eurotrip!!
wait..how do I pose as a barbie.. lets practice some posesI am a barbie girl in a barbie world.. an American Indian short athletic toned barbie in casual wear! If I came here as a 7 year old, woahh! My australian roomie and I had fun in underground city barbie exhibit! make a wish. Jeanie in a bottle!! I used to love I dream of Jeanie and Bewitched on nick at night!! Dear universe, my wish is your command. Thank you in advance!… happily ever after. many cultures many forms of beautymy style.. heaps of fun.. had a few takes. This is confused bubble in mouth awekward pose aka natural me.in the biggest movie theater ever…seeing Godzilla in Imax. bascillica de Notre Dame. So serene. Loved it. I pray in Cathedrals too. God or universe or higher power is ever present. IMO. To each their own. I respect all religions. love hostels..made an amazing friend even for several days. We clicked and my solo trip turned to a girls trip. Funny how I click and connect with people so well like magic when traveling. I forget names but never memories. She had top bunk and mine bottom. Have to change room tomorow ;( boo. Its been a slumber party.. gonna miss this. I needed this. A stranger felt like a close friend and we explored the city together, went to movies, crashed a graduation at a local uni..just stood there and people watched heheh, and wished we could get flowers and teddy bears. Neither of us really got to celebrate our graduations and we are nurses.. how sad. not so sad anymore.. round 2 of this chocolate heaven. I am bringing my kids and grandkids here someday. This is gonna be a family legacy. When my daughter goes on her 1st backpacking trip, I will tell her all my crazy lovely stories and adventures! Be brave and free my child!my friend’s choctail!! And waffle sandwitch!!my oreo cheesecake milkshake.underground city.. we had heaps of fun figuring the maze out.. gpsing our way around town. Old town montreal to modern charm. Day well spent!! I wished for a travel buddy, I got one. She is temporary travel budy for couple days, but feels ages of connection. People I know do not travel with me much sometimes yet strangers and foreigners become family to me in hours of learning life stories and bonding over lost in the city. Ironic. Hostels rock. Someday will do 4 day train ride like my friend… it seems so cool!!!! I have to get back to saving lives till then. Meanwhile, the universe is delivering my permanent travel buddy. So blessed and grateful. Ended the night with wshing my hair with free toiletries amazing smelling shampoo and conditioner that I took from the 100 dollar hotel my 1st night here. Give me my money worth.. now I smell good. Its all good! Simple pleasures of life. I should socialize but dont wanna play pool or drink beer. Eww. I had amazing cocktail last night called fuzzy navel. I had to get it because of the name. It was good too!! And we had shots of ghostbuster whatever tht was.. hostel bars and lounges are so nice and kitchen and all. The breakfast is good too. Free buffet style. I will miss my roomie. We have plans to crash eachother’s future weddings. I will go to australia and she will come to mine pretending like we don’t know eachother!! A girl can dream. She will be sure to have veggie food for me in Melbourne!! Au revoir?! I will socialize again. I am so sore from 10 hours of walking. Hiking mont royal tomorow.
the hostel behind methey crack me up. So creative. Trying to smile. Their kindness and witt helps.walk.. love walkable cities Bonjour! All I know in French is Ja mepel ?, and bonjour, and well bon apetit! I took French in middle school, but forget. From the moment I stepped into the country via airport, I fell fall this city. I love the vibe. Sometimes, you just know. It clicks. I have been to plaves where it nevee grew on me or took forever such as Chicago, I hate New York, but I loved DC, San Diego, Cusco, Medellin, Cartagena, Mumbai, Leh, Fort Kochi, Interlaken, and some others..I love how Montreal is so diverse and multicultural. I love the French lingo everywhere. It is so pleasant to the ears. I had amazing encounters with uber drivers. I had a Cuban and Haitian driver so far. I had a whole convo of our life stories with Cuban driver in Spanish and with Haitian driver in Engligh as I do not know Creole. I then had amazing thaali today at famous Indian thaali place downtown Montreal. I for 1st time liked their chana masala more than Palak Paneer and I am a die hard palak paneer fan. It is my fav.. yumm spinach gravy with palak cubes. Then I spent an hour at a pharmacy for fun because I am a nerd. I wanted to compare Canadian stuff with US stuff. Here are some pics and videos. As much as I enjoyed being a solo traveler, I see myself traveling the world bckpacking and having hiking trips, exploring new places, renting log cabins in the wood climbing mountains, with a partner or travel buddy. No excuses. I worked so hard to build this life and adventture spirit in me. It is deep rooted in me now. It is therapy for my past. It is coping with my present. It is hope for my future. Travel means so much to me. I envision sharing these experiences with someome. For now, I am enjoying these trips. I make friends. I hope to make new friends this trip too. waiting for uber to get from hotel to hostel. I am going through something rough, and I have been on a journey of personal growth. I believe in law of attraction and how I manifesting world travel. I always said I am a world traveler, and well my life is a living proof of my imagination. I know what I deserve in life and I belive in overcoming all limiting beliefs and status quo or dogma to have life I dream of. I have suffered enough. I know my worth. I follow several youtubers who have reignited my passion for power of law of attraction. No one know the future, but I can visualize. I visualize my dream partner with me now. From solo traveler to couple travelers and backpackers. I manifested this Montreal trip. Almost did not make it as Delta overbooked the flight and had no seat for me! But I am here! I am blessed. I can choose to be sad, or choose to be happy. I choose happiness and peace. I am over panic attacks for a life not meant for me. I hve hd anxiey ever since I was harrssed at my old job. I was traumatized. I recovered after so much pain. Now I am my own advocate and do not let others walk over me and my dreams. I deserve to be a priority to myself and anyone close to me. It is not being selfish. It is having self respect. My career is a source of burnout caring for others all day. I deserve to be cared for. I need to come home and unwind and travel is a way for me to rejuvinate my soul and mind. Travel is my therapy. I will do a post on LOA later.. my hand hurts. Nap time before I head out again!
A foodie and world traveler by profession, and exploring new places, hiking new mountains, and trying new food aka pigging out is my specialty. My mantra in life is, life is too short, so be yourself, grow to be best version of yourself, challenge status quo, and create the life of your dreams! I am a dooer. I like spontaneous trips and making things happen. I hate excuses. Everyone says I am very courageous and brave for a woman. I say I have worked hard to build myself up to be like this. Mostly through solo travel from my early 20s. I learned that people will always stop me and question me. I learned that no one can see my dreams the way I can. All it takes is inner faith and for me, my spirituality and God as my best friend by my side at all times. I am never scared when traveling. Even solo as a woman. Chop chop karate! Don’t mess with me! I am a nurse and can do first aid on myself. I am resourceful and can memorize maps and directions like a photo memory instantly. I learn new languages easily and blend in like a local, which in my opinion, is best way to travel, live like a local! I went from shy little girl growing up with not much money, skipping school lunches due to cost, shopping at thrift stores, to being able to travel the world, a dream many people have. The only.difference, I work hard and make it happen challenging status quo, and others find excuses. I never had the time or money to be honest. I made the time, saved up, go into credit car rewards, stay cheaply in hostels and air bnbs. Only time I stay in hotels is when its free from CME conference allowance when I have to attend medical conferences, or if I get half off with reward points! Or with certain friends and family who cannot adjust to air bnb and hostels. I get it, its not for everyone. I respect that. I just do not find luxury hotels too cozy. I have been in many due to my medical conferences and had $300 per night rooms which I felt like is too much. I had no choice then as the conference was there and I was alone with no hostels or air bnb nearby. I got it all reimbursed though. Other than that, I love cosy rooms and homes, elegant, yet comfy. I love feeling like a local. In Nashville, we stayed in air bnb and loved it. We had cute little room with comfy mattress for a good night sleep. A neighborhood to go walk around at night! I love the food and music vibe downtown and suburb living! Very walkable.
This movie, her character, Shah rukh’s wisdom has been anthem to last several years. What women go through.
Ok friends, let me let you in on a little secret. shhh.
Well, what is a secret anyway? I think there is a joy in sharing knowledge and experience, so in today’s blog entry, I will write about how I make traveling the world affordable. People always ask me, or “tell me, but it is too expensive?!” blah blah blah.
Here is a recap on my childhood. I am part of an immigrant family that moved to this country when I was only 7 years old. We had a decent life in India, spent my childhood playing with friends, running on the streets, etc. Cannot complain. After moving to this country though, we struggled, a lot. I struggled to fit in as a child who had to learn English all of a sudden, but I managed. I learned Spanish, Somali, Japanese in the process too with my new diverse friends. Our finances, however, were poor. We lived in a bad neighborhood with no safety. I grew up often sleeping on the floor or roll out bed. I shopped at the thrift store, and my family’s idea of dinner nights were at fast food places. We had no family vacations except the free passes we got to local amusement parks from my dad’s job. My mother and father worked double shifts day and night to make ends meet while supporting family in India. I grew up in a tiny apartment with gunshots in the neighborhood, and girls being stalked, robberies, and kids being kidnapped. I grew up not feeling safe in my own neighborhood or home. I got my 1st job at 15 years of age at the school store through personal finance class where I was proud of the $5 per hour wage. I skipped lunch to work, and starved many days. That work ethic never left me. I saw and lived struggle, from harassment to lack of money. My parents could not even afford a house for their family growing up because of this struggle. I envied my friends who lived in houses and I would sleepover and have slumber parties, things little girls love to do! Our UNO and card games, secrets, and pillow fights. I learned to work hard and be my own hero, and learned to value and put my family first. Money was never a reward, instead, I knew if I worked hard, God would give me the money I need and more. I used my 1st paycheck after I turned 18, since I could not do this before 18, to sponsor a girl child in India to get her education. I, myself, growing up poor, knew that giving is the real means of life. Someone always has it worse than you. That childhood, taught me to be the financially savvy woman that I am today. I learned habits and tricks to stretch every dollar or rupee and travel the world for cheap, and free sometimes. I make every dollar work for my advantage, and that of my friends, as I have given my friends free flights too with my reward points.
My life goal is not to be a millionaire. I hate expensive things and materialism. I like simplicity and this less is more. I love walking around in gym clothes, and hate designer clothes. I do not like jewelry, Gold, or silver. I do not waste my money on these things. Instead, I save. I use coupons, and credit cards with travel rewards. The two best travel reward cards out there are Capital One Venture One AND Chase Sapphire. With these, I manage to get free flights, to Mexico, other US states, and free hotel stays. I also got travel expenses reimbursed from my trips to India, South America, Europe. If I spend $1000 on a trip, I somehow get 10-20% back in the long run through these points and miles. I have been upgraded for free in world class airlines such as Emirates from Economy to 1st class due to my miles. It is all about accumulating miles. If I know I have a big purchase coming up, I use the card which will give me more points for every dollar spent. People spend extra money to stay in fancy hotels and traveling excursions, while I find deals and bargain. When I was in Cozumel Mexico, I bargained the cost of zip-lining down to what I thought was OK. Some cases, if I know local people need this money, I will give it to them, but for large corporations or for-profit, I have no mercy. I have a NGO and non-profit mentality. I spent my 1st year as a nurse volunteering for free in India, but it was the best year of my life. Money does not buy happiness; experiences do.
Credit card miles and points are great and all, but also keep up to date with coupons. I recently bought an electric toothbrush for $3, which was originally $8. I used a reward bucks with the local pharmacy and multiple discount codes. I have bad allergies, and know when I will be running out of medications, so I am sure to save up coupons and has HSA aka health savings account to bridge the gap between insurance and high deductible out of pocket costs. Some things are more expensive than they need to be in this country, unfortunately, even healthcare providers have medical bills and expenses and poor insurance coverage. Having a health savings account comes in handy and is very valuable for today’s times. I also have had phases without insurance, and that is when I had gotten Pneumonia and was very sick. I, myself a healthcare provider, treating others daily, had no insurance for 3 months during my new job, and had so many out of pocket costs. I used my old HSA card from previous job and GoodRx app discounts to pay $0 for all of my medications.
Many things are not fair in life. We are not given what we want so God can teach us to grow and turn ourselves into the best version of ourselves. I grew up without vacations, but now travel the world. I grew up shopping at the thrift store, including buying my interview outfit from there for my 1st Nurse practitioner job, to traveling the country for medical conferences being in a room learning from highly intelligent and caring colleagues of physicians, NPs, and PAs. I went from being shy and timid being a victim of harassment and stalking, to standing up for women in the workplace against workplace harassment and any man that tries to control me or display signs of abusive behavior. Money is just money, it will come and go, but our own strength and wisdom, street smarts, and book smarts, knowledge and experience, will help us conquer life. The value of $1 is that of 1 million for me, and will always be, and 1 million dollars, will mean nothing to me. Money never excites me. Adventure does. Growth does. Deep intellectual conversations about life does.