Its our first night and I can’t help but people watch— I’m so fascinated by the contagious energy, the people, the lights and all its aliveness. Despite the cold, we took beers to our our balcony, walked out to the edge of our fire scape and stared out into the twinkling lights of the streets and its historic alleyways. Curiously peeking into windows, as if to get a glimpse of the people’s lives around us. One of my favorite things about our travels is the glimpse of the different lifestyles and the exciting paths that people have chosen to take. I love seeing locals in their element. Where they grab their morning coffee, their favorite bookstore, and the friends they’ve made at their frequent sandwich shops. I think many of us can agree that it takes a certain level of grit and passion to make it out in New York. You constantly hear people tell you “ you don’t want to move out there it’s too expensive”, “its too crowded” “nothing is easy there” — yet so many still make the move there, and it inspires me just at the thought of bumping shoulders with the people who push past what’s defined as easy, or practical. I love, love, love places like these, places that remind you how small you are and how infinitely large the world is around you. A place that makes you want to write in your journal, exposes you to the inspiring, the unsafe, the cold and the romance of discovering all its corners. We wandered over to Brooklyn in hopes we would fall in love with its personality.. but only on our way out did I feel as if I have gotten a glimpse of its charm. But isn’t that the charm of places like these? The same charm that us junk and thrift store hunters seek? The thrill of the hunt is as gratifying as discovering its gems? Those willing to keep their eyes wide open and their heart seeking will indeed find it as a gem.
As I write this, I sit in Aaron’s childhood bedroom decorated in nostalgia. Baby faced photos, old sports jerseys, down to the DARE trophies. As I sort through our travel photos which feels like yesterday and lifetimes ago at the same time, I realize how lucid life is when we’re moving. How travel sparks something inside and can make you believe in magic again. I remember running free through these fields, dancing into the sky-high clouds, feeling like we can do anything we wanted, and we were doing it. There’s something about the mountains that bring a sacred energy and Nepal is no different. We found ourselves leaving the bustle of Kathmandu to retreat in the charming mountain town of Pokhara and hiking to a small village called Gachok. We were greeted with sparkling eyes and kids with their hands in heart center greeting you with a loud “namaste!” Lush fields stretch out in the valleys as they connect the mountainscapes. We witness the simplicity of the people as they worked the fields until the sun went down. During our trek, we were called down by a beautiful Nepalese girl and her mother who invited us into their home and prepared us a fresh cucumber salad from their garden. What little they have was all they needed, and it was what they offered us. I will never forget how this simple, yet large gesture of a cucumber salad can immerse me in gratitude long after our journey through Nepal.
As we drive through Utah’s vast, infinite sky, layers of canyonlands sprawl out as far as the eye can see. I was spellbound by the colors that waved through the clouds and the deep red formations made me feel as if I was on Mars. We wanted to pull the car over every five minute to try and capture it, as if it was our way of preserving the beauty we were seeing. I remember wishing the drive through Utah would last until we got to our destination. It truly is a special place of high vibrations. It tugs at each person differently, making each person connect with a unique energy all their own. Some moments are meant to be kept, but I feel like our moments through Utah are meant to be shared. Happy Sunday <3
Packing to re-visit Aaron’s homeland of Palau, an untouched (and many times, unheard of) gem in the pacific. So excited to visit both of our families together to announce our engagement before heading back to the U.S.! Might be out of radar for the next couple weeks..but for now, a little tropical inspiration for you <3
This post has been waiting to be finished for several weeks now it seems. So much has happened since Jaisalmer. We’re not even in India anymore. I’m still trying to piece together all the insanity from the last couple of months. It’s wild to look back at these photos and believe I was actually there. Jaisalmer was a special place. Special in a so many ways but I think a big part was due to the fact that it was the first long stop of my solo journey around India while Charmie was experiencing Ashram life in the north. This was a city I got to know all on my own. A place where I had several meals with locals and randomly made friends with an older chap from a nearby desert village that I ended up hanging out with for a couple days. This was also a place where I had never felt so isolated or alone. It was the “off season” so the town was extremely quiet as far as tourists go. Nothing but Indian faces and broken English conversations for days. I took advantage of having absolute freedom of going any direction without discussion. Each day I would go out and walk wherever the wind took me until sundown, getting lost in the maze of alleyways throughout the ancient fort. I remember feeling like I had discovered some sort of mystical desert wonderland and I had it all on my own.
Traveling alone in India was truly life changing. So many moments of peace, anger, excitement, euphoria, shock, confusion… all that can never be re-lived or fully explained. These are images and memories that I will forever hold onto as being one of my favorite stops along the journey so far.
I write this from an ashram in a small village of Ropa nestled in a valley of the Himalayans. I’m two weeks into my ashram life of schedule and discipline, a world most foreign to me than any place I have ever visited. A journey in itself, but one I knew I needed. I’m so used to lots of reflection time, self guided discovery, and choosing to spend every minute of my day exactly how I want, working on projects that inspire me, clients whom I adore, and waking up when I want, eating however much, whenever I want. I knew my biggest struggle would be a rigorous schedule in harmony with a community of women.
My ashram life starts each day before sunrise to a meeting in our mediation room for a sating (“to be in company of truth”) in other words to gather with others who are also on their journey of truth. We focus on raising the vibrations of the room with singing and yes dancing =) followed by a guided meditation. The rest of the day is a whirlwind consisting of yoga, teaching postures, spiritual and anatomical studies of the mind, body, and soul. Next thing I know it is lights out, as me and my 3 other roommates fall asleep with our headlamps on reading our yoga manuals.
I have never felt so connected and disconnected at the same time. Wifi is many villages away, this is the first time I have felt “far enough away” to be homesick. I never realized how something as simple as hearing a familiar voice can bring you back home, until I couldn’t.
The struggle also comes with so much growth. Everyday I work on my intention of non-attachment. My disconnection with the internet has brought me more connection with the life that surrounds me. There is so much existence and stillness. The cows that I pass along the way who’s milk calms my stomach overnight, the mountain spring that fills my water bottle with an ice cold flow of life energy. The village children who run up for hugs or give you flowers with their contagious smiles =) I have realized that just because I can’t physically tell someone I love them, doesn’t mean I can’t send them my love. So from my small little village life.. I send you my love <3
India is a huge country with so much diversity. So many religions with “over 8 million” gods, according to a friendly local. When he asked me how long I’ll be in India for, I said, “Almost 2 months… too short for India, right?”. He replied straight-faced, “Of course, why not. A lifetime is too short to see India.”
With so many places to see, where do you begin? Charmie is stationed in the Himalayas and although I love the mountains, there’s something about desert regions that I always seem to gravitate towards. I decided to spend the next month exploring Rajasthan, a desert region in Western India that is home to the Rajputs. Rajputs are a warrior clan within the Indian caste system that claims to originate from the sun, and by looking in their eyes you would almost believe it. Almost everyone I’ve talked to and photographed so far all seem to have this mysterious haze of bloodshot. I’m not sure if it’s from the constant dust storms or the prevalent opium culture. Whatever it is I’m intrigued. I feel so incredibly grateful to be here right now. Tomorrow I head off into the desert, spending the next 3 days exploring the land by camel! : )
Wow…10 days is Delhi flew by. An incredible city to set an amazing first impression of India. The land of extremes. One side spinning around a powerful spiritual vortex with devout followers chanting and roaming through the crowds. The other side being a loud, pushy, aggressive and inconsiderate society that seems anything but centered. For peace of mind, I’ve came to the conclusion that both parts must be present in order to obtain some sort of balance. The aesthetics of such a rich and historical culture make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a past lifetime. I’m still trying to put the pieces together from the whirlwind of last week. Now I continue onwards without my love, venturing off to far away places solo for the first time. I’ll miss her by my side but looking forward to the opportunity for complete spontaneity. Off to the Indian desert-region of Rajasthan!
This past Saturday we spent it on the busy streets of Chiang Mai for their annual flower festival. Exotic flowers and traditional music filled the streets as beautiful traditionally adorned Thai locals showcased their culture. When we first heard about it, we were told it started at 8AM, so being the night owls that we are this was a challenge to be up and fight a crowd. Funny thing is, it didn’t start until after 5PM! haha We’ve gotten used to the relaxed concept of time around here, so we didn’t mind at all. We spent most of the day temple hopping, sipping smoothies, and finding new discoveries in our own neighborhood. At sundown, the exotic blooms made its way down the streets of Tha Pae. The parade was a beautiful representation of their vibrant culture through people, through artsy floats, music, and yes, their beautiful ethnic threads!
This is the longest we’ve sat still in the past year and we’ve gotten to know the four walls of our apartment very well these few months. We love how the sun shines in through all our open windows and the noisy street noises remind us of the chaos that sits right outside of our balcony. We had found our groove, found our work and life routine, and even made some neighborhood friends. And then it hits us. We’re antsy to leave, antsy to pack and ready to hit the road, the sky or the sea. Not that Thailand is any less exciting since we got here, but our cameras has had time to collect some dust, and blank pages of our journals are still left blank awaiting more stories to be told. Wanderlust, you fickle thing. It’s time to go once more, so we booked a train and it’s leaving Tuesday.