Saturday, March 30, 2013

Varanasi: India on Steroids

Take everything completely over the top and culture shocking about India, times it by 100 - and welcome to Varanasi.

The many ironies of India are further exaggerated and outrageous in Varanasi, one of the holiest yet dirtiest cities in the country. An ancient city even older than Jerusalem, Varanasi is the “beating heart of Hinduism.” Devout Hindus flock here with three typical purposes: to die, cremate a loved one and/or wash away their sins in the holy Ganga river.
This guy is the more decently dressed of some babus who are completely naked and
 hang things from their genitals. Let's just say drugs may play a part in the spirituality of some babus.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Connecting with Other Travelers

With Natalia from Brazil
Another top reason why I love traveling: the connections formed with other travelers. After a year and a half abroad, I feel lucky to have friends (and places to crash!) all over the world.

A common theme throughout my blog has been my many treasured experiences hanging out with locals in nearly every country I've visited. While the insight and adventures local-style remain unparalleled, I often neglect to mention this other monumental aspect of my days as an independent traveler: other travelers!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Living Like a Local in Pushkar

Everyone in Pushkar is either chanting, meditating, praying or on their way to do so. Most mornings begin with the sound of humming mantras, the days are filled with bathing and making puja in the holy lake and end with spiritual drumming late into the night. As one of the holiest Hindu cities in all of India, what better place to slow down and get comfortable for a while.
When you're traveling long-term, it's necessary to occasionally take time in one location without an agenda. In five months, the longest I've stayed in one place was two weeks in Bangkok. After moving around too much in the past month, I was in need of some serious soul rejuvenation when I arrived.