I’m writing this month’s recap on a bus on the way back to Bangalore, India from the town of Mysore. In the past few months, I’ve spent more time in Asia than in America and I wouldn’t have it any other way, especially right before the election.
Posts I’ve Written This Month:
- Dominican Republic | A Concrete Impact
- Malaysia | An Evening with Food Tour Malaysia
- Myanmar | What I Was Doing in Myanmar
- Arizona & Utah | 3 Canyons in 3 Days
Home (currently a mix of NJ & NYC)
This month started off in the States, right as my family’s Southwest road trip was coming to an end. I woke up in Vegas for the first (and likely only) time, to catch my flight back to NYC and back to my friends’ place in Astoria for the night. We caught up on stories & Anthony Bourdain, got brunch in the morning, and I took a bus back to NJ.
I spent a few days resting, writing, practicing yoga, and taking the dog to the beach, then I headed up to NYC yet again that Friday. I’ve found that if I’m home, I can’t seem to leave the city for more than a week. I’m not mad about it and so thankful for my friends who have not yet grown tired of housing me. That morning, I had lunch with a new travel friend and had the best avocado toast I’d had since Malaysia. Then, giving her only a half hour’s notice, I met up with my friend Marie (aka One Carry-On) in Union Square where we caught up on our travels, lives, and mutual friends in Myanmar. I then FINALLY (!) met in real life the incredible founder of Sundara, the organization I worked with when I was in Myanmar. We had talked for so many hours before, during, and after my trip that she already felt like an old friend so it was so wonderful to meet her in person. Kater and I met for drinks and a lot of laughter (as per usual) in Chelsea.
I then spent yet another night in Astoria for the third weekend in a row. My friends and I went for an Iranian meal at Ravagh Persian Grill, inspired by our weekend before of catching up with Anthony Bourdain and Parts Unknown. We had a diner brunch the next day and drove out to Long Island for one of the weddings of the year where I danced my booty off with some of my oldest and best friends from college.
Just like getting together with my family before I went to Myanmar gave me a boost for that trip, being with this particular group of friends for such a wonderful event gave me a boost for India.
When I returned home after the wedding and after a few dramatic Lifetime Original Movies, I had four more nights in South Jersey. I got in many puppy snuggles, packed very last minute, and then I headed off to Bangalore. This journey was a little easier than my one for Myanmar as I only had two flights in a row instead of three. For my layover, I was in Paris for a few hours, still a city I haven’t seen outside of Charles de Gaulle airport.
So why am I in India? It all started with my friend Erin introducing me to her friend Prachi in February. Erin had volunteered in Bangalore with Prachi’s organization, Leave UR Mark, and had the greatest experience. Leave UR Mark connects travelers in Bangalore and Goa with local on-the-ground orgs for internships and volunteer opportunities. Erin knew how much I’d wanted to volunteer abroad and thought India would be the perfect spot for me. It feels insane to be already halfway over with something we’d been talking about since February, but I’m so happy that everything worked out.
I started off the trip working with Arth Ayurveda, an Ayurvedic health center. As part of the job, I learned all about Ayurvedic health, received heavily oiled therapeutic massage treatments, went to the college where doctors are trained to learn more about herbs and oils, and found out more about my own health than I ever expected. I have some future posts coming out on Arth Ayurveda’s blog (1 and 2) and one for my own as well, so stay tuned.
Now I’m hanging out in a girls’ home for the rest of my time here – learning a little sign language, playing some fun games, and experiencing a lot of giggles. The little ladies are so incredibly sweet and I’m not ready to leave next week.
Aside from working, I’ve been exploring what Bangalore has to offer. I’ve been to Bangalore Palace, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Food Street, the National Gallery of Art, Commercial Street, and more. I’ve eaten SO MANY dosas. I took a day trip to Nrityagram, a village for dancers who have dedicated their lives to Odissi, a traditional Indian dance, and wrote about it here. I’ve practiced my yoga, purchased a Kurta, and had Henna applied on my left hand. I modeled for an Indian accessories catalog – more to come on that, too.
I have just a few more days in Bangalore and then I head to Goa, a popular beach area in Southern India, to help out with the #Escape2Goa event. I’ll be meeting up with 15 other bloggers (including other Erin!), the Goa Department of Tourism, and some friends from Leave UR Mark. I’m so excited to experience another Indian state but I’m also sad that my time in Bangalore is almost over. Just like Myanmar, it does feel to me like a place I’ll be back, but I don’t know when that will be. Until then, I’ve purchased three bags of dosa mix to survive.