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”

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”

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.

 But I couldn’t move on. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Days later and I still felt withdrawn, ashamed, and dirty. And I didn’t even do anything. Continue reading “I wasn’t going to share this: #metoo”

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”

Getting Lost (Travel), Travel News

How To Pack Light

Okay, so I have to share this article because it totally applies to me (and I’m sure thousands of other people who tend to overpack). The more you travel, the better you get at packing. You realize what you do really need (such as toiletries, one pair of sturdy shoes, etc.) and what you don’t need (ten shirts, 5 pairs of pants, 3 shirts per day – all for a weekend trip). For this travel news post, you’ll learn how flight attendants, those constant travelers, pack for each trip. Hint: It doesn’t involve many things – just strategy. Continue reading “How To Pack Light”

Getting Lost (Travel), North America

Places to Hike in Boulder, Colorado

If you live near mountains, or even hills higher than 10 feet, than count yourself lucky. Because if you live in Florida for a few years, you’ll probably forget that walking up a hill requires some exertion, and walking up a mountain trail filled with large rocks and tree stumps will require even more exertion. This was the case when I went hiking in Boulder, Colorado. But the outstanding views made all the struggling worth it. Here are three hikes you need to tackle when you go to Boulder. Continue reading “Places to Hike in Boulder, Colorado”

Getting Lost (Travel), North America

Hurricane Irma: My First Hurricane In Florida

Over the past weekend, everyone in the United States, and many parts of the world, had their eyes on Florida. As Hurricane Irma had already ripped through the Caribbean, leaving destruction and even death, many were scared of the impact a Category 5 storm would have on the Sunshine State (categories are 1-5 and depict a hurricane’s sustained wind speed and potential for damage). Thousands evacuated, but my family and I stayed near Fort Lauderdale. Here’s what it was like during a hurricane… Continue reading “Hurricane Irma: My First Hurricane In Florida”