Asia, Getting Lost (Travel), Travel Storytelling

A Meeting With Death

The dog’s oozing red eye followed me as I was navigating the tiny, uneven pathways snaking through Varanasi, its motions unnaturally slow and pained. As the days passed, I noticed more dogs with red, bulbous eyes laying in distorted positions, while cows with deformed horns inched along the alleys.

Backpackers spoke of the strange “vibe” in Varanasi and the sicknesses travelers seem to acquire while in this Indian town. Their vivid stories couldn’t prepare me for the reality.

The feeling of death, heavy and crushing under the humid summer air, remained even as the sun appeared. Like the animals, people moved slow and injuries abounded. My friend stubbed her toe, requiring a hospital visit, and a hostel roommate was bitten by three monkeys at a temple.

Shortly into my stay in Varanasi, I became disinterested, distant. I wasn’t attracted to the city as I was to the rest of India. But to fully appreciate and understand Varanasi, I had to encounter death.

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While out one evening, several men passed by me carrying colorfully swaddled bodies. Used to experiencing death at a distance in American culture, I wasn’t sure how to react. It felt disrespectful to be so close to someone’s deceased loved one.

A man approached, asking to show me around the ghats. Not wanting to make a spectacle of the burnings, but not wanting to close myself off from local encounters, I let him tell me the history of the burnings as the orange embers and ashes flew around us.

“Do you see any women here?” the man asked. I then realized I was the only female.

“They are not allowed because they cry and crying is prohibited on the ghats,” said the man.

For centuries, Hindus across India have brought their dead to Varanasi for customary burials. Hundreds of bodies are burned every day, the ashes spread in the swirling Ganges river. Those fortunate to die here are said to obtain moksha, freedom from the cycle of death.

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I sat near the funeral pyres, observing locals tending to the fires, sifting through ashes and bathing in the river. These men, covered in sweat and enveloped in the smoldering heat, were within inches of death every day, yet they laughed and splashed in the water.

This proximity to death made me realize how often my own culture tries to avoid its imminent approach – to push it away with pills and beauty routines. But here death was a tangible and persistent presence – not a finality. Only through seeing death could I fully appreciate living.

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Getting Lost (Travel), North America, Uncategorized

Travel Tuesday: Pompano Beach, Florida

Six pictures to inspire you to visit Pompano Beach, Florida, a family-friendly beach town on the southeast coast. Beautiful beaches, a fishing pier (currently undergoing renovations), and endless opportunity for sun-filled activities – boating, surfing, snorkeling… it’s a relaxing spot for family vacations, or a great place to spend spring break!  Continue reading “Travel Tuesday: Pompano Beach, Florida”

Travel News, Uncategorized

Travel Companies Adapting to Solo Travelers

Solo traveling is thrilling yet challenging, freeing yet stress-inducing. Basically it’s a blend of extreme emotions that (in my experiences) always has some positive aspect – whether it’s the opportunities that open up, the personal skills you gain or the insights you learn about yourself.

Continue reading “Travel Companies Adapting to Solo Travelers”

Getting Lost (Travel), Travel News, Travel Tips

What It’s Really Like to Be A Travel Writer

I like to travel. I like to write. So why not combine the two into a job title: travel writer? Let’s just say, it’s easier said than done. Take it from a professional… Continue reading “What It’s Really Like to Be A Travel Writer”

Travel News, Uncategorized

It’s December 1st!

Today marks the last first day of the last month of the year! Crazy how fast 2017 seemed to fly by. But it’s certainly not over yet…we still have multiple holidays, festivities, and (for all the college students reading this) final exams to experience (though my preference is to quickly get through the latter)! Continue reading “It’s December 1st!”

Getting Lost (Travel), North America

15 Pictures to Inspire You This Fall

One of the downsides to living in South Florida? The lack of fall. If there’s any sign of “fall,” it usually means a palm frond has fallen from a tree. Not the stuff that makes you think of sweaters, pumpkin-flavored everything, and typical fall activities amongst a backdrop of colorful-leaved trees. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, has amazing, beautiful autumn seasons – and I can vouch for this state because I lived there for four years. Click the link to see some pictures that may make you wish to be immediately transported to a countryside pumpkin patch… Continue reading “15 Pictures to Inspire You This Fall”

Getting Lost (Travel), Travel News, Uncategorized

Travel Inspiration : Women Who Made the Nomadic Lifestyle Work

Having a nomadic work lifestyle seems to be growing in popularity every day. Just scroll through your Instagram and you’ll find influencers, writers, and other creatives updating their social media accounts, blogs, or business websites through wifi at a cafe in Bali, Mumbai, or Dubrovnik. Thanks to technology, creating and working for companies or establishing an online business for your personal brand has become easier. And (most importantly) it allows people to travel and work while on the road. Though it seems challenging, and arguably takes some hard work and spotty wifi to maintain, a nomadic work lifestyle is completely possible. Take it from these women who made it work and share what life is like on the road… Continue reading “Travel Inspiration : Women Who Made the Nomadic Lifestyle Work”

Asia, Getting Lost (Travel), Travel News, Uncategorized

I wasn’t going to share this: #metoo

I wasn’t planning on writing this post. I thought about it, especially in this social media-obsessed world where sharing every one of your life’s details is normal, if not encouraged. Maybe I should share what happened. Maybe it would help others.

But I kept going back and forth in my mind.

Maybe it wasn’t sexual assault. Others have gone through worse. Maybe I’m overreacting. It’s over, so why not just move on.

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Getting Lost (Travel), North America

4 Parks to Visit in Colorado

Colorado has really got it all, it’s no wonder it has become such a popular spot to live, work, and play. If you find yourself in this state, make sure to visit some of its many diverse parks, filled with wildlife, sandstone rocks, trails, and even a natural amphitheater. Continue reading “4 Parks to Visit in Colorado”