Minor Updates

Hiding out in a Hostel, to get a break from being in the house.   (Mustache Hostel in Kailash Colony, New Delhi, it’s very nice if you wanted to know)

Just finished my first Hindi lesson which went supremely well.  I was riding some mild euphoria at finally getting out, doing something, learning something.

Finding out about all these cool things I could do, but seems I’ll have to branch out on my own IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.

Ahhh it’s been so hard to do anything.  We were going to go to Agra yesterday to see the Taj Mahal, but his dad pronounced it “too foggy” and said we couldn’t go.  So his friend went without us instead.  We spent the day at home.

I really get frustrated being cooped up like this.  I’m starting to get snappy with him, and I really don’t want to turn into one of those sitcom wife-types.

I found a place that has salsa dancing on Tuesday nights, but his mom already said I can’t go out dancing because it’s too dangerous.

Aiiya.  I told him I won’t come back to see him in India till he moves out of the house.  I think I mean it.  Never thought I’d be relieved to finally get back to Fargo, but it’s sorta looking like that.

Anyways I just bought a round trip plane ticket for Bangalore so I’ll be going there in two weeks.

___

Also:  I have almost one hundred percent decided to do El Camino this summer.  (This is a pilgrimage in Spain.)

Considering buying a smaller camera.  My nikon D700 that I bought in high school is VERY HEAVY.  I need something more low-key.

here’s a Punjabi song for you.  12 saal – bilal saeed

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Yesterday is History

I went to Tomorrowland 2014 completely solo.  Best thing I could have possibly done in Europe.

On the first shuttle bus I met the two dudes who I would be hanging out with for the majority of the festival.  I was lucky, because there are three reasons to go to Tomorrowland:  Drugs, Sex, or Music.   They were there for the music, like I was.

Smuggle in some food if you can… the food there is horrendously expensive.  I took raw potatoes and carrots and just ate them like that rather than pay their nasty food prices all day.

you can bring a water bottle in.  Do that.  Make sure it’s empty and hide the cap in your bra or whatever.  They don’t pat you down, they just check backpacks/purses.

I paid more for my ticket because the hotel and flight packages don’t sell out as fast as the cheaper ones that go on sale later.  I remember being poised above the mouse (should I get it? Should I wait?)  I clicked “confirm”, and I have never regretted it.  Probably the best experience of my life.  I could pay twice that price and it would still be worth it.  Going solo was easy… at least as a woman, you will make friends easily.

The two dudes who I was hanging out with took SO many pictures and videos that I felt like I needed to be constantly documenting the experience as well.  The third night I lost them in the crowd and hung out with someone from Jordon who doesn’t even bring his phone in to festivals.  He got me to put my phone away and just live it.  I gotta say that’s the best way to do it.  It’s too stressful to  be constantly looking around trying to get a good click.   He also offered me drugs, to which my standard “nah man” sufficed as a refusal.

 One of the dozen or so stages…

Love the information desk.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam was the beginning of finding my traveling groove.  I freaking like that city.  Also did my first walking tour here.

The thing about “free” walking tours is you don’t really get a three hour tour for nothing.  They expect you to pay and if you don’t tip you will (and should) feel like a terrible human being.  Plus this tour was SO informative that it was definitely worth the euros.   Our tour guide was intensely knowledgeable.  Amsterdam is full of History (I know that’s a very American-in-Europe thing to say).

I love walking tours.  I try to do one in every city I go to now.  The best one was Amsterdam’s, but I hear the one for Brussels is even better.  Liverpool’s was the worst one, we left halfway through.

The bikes in Amsterdam are scary.  They don’t care about pedestrians so be prepared to jump out of the way often.

 Hostel Life, a 12-bed room, one shower.  At 2 AM our first night Everyone was yelling at the guy in the bed next to me because he had music on and he wouldn’t use headphones.  He got kicked out eventually.  I find if you are in a co-ed room, people (dudes) will say something if someone is being loud. But if you are in an all-girls room no one will say anything.  Two people banging in my Barcelona hostel literally woke EVERYONE up.  And they wouldn’t stop even when I said “Could you NOT have LOUD SEX  right now!?!? Co-ed rooms are the way to go.

 Best place for a church… in the middle of the red light district.  Guess the sailors would go to church the morning after visiting the girls and try to buy their way back into heaven.  Priests were more than happy to accommodate.

 Amsterdam is very rich… was a huge port city where the East India Trading company was located.

Central Station.

Innsbruck, Austria.

I really like airbnb.com… basically you pay for it like a hotel, but you’re staying in someone’s house.

This can go one of two ways, either you are treated like a hotel guest, or you are treated like a couchsurfer, an honored friend-guest.

If you are using this website while traveling, I recommend you stay with a group of students, (actually with couchsurfing too).  Look for shared student housing.

Also, be sure if you are finding your way somewhere with screenshots, that you make them detailed enough so that EVERY street is labeled.  (or just use an actual map, printout or whatever, so you don’t have to worry about your battery running out).

Innsbruck is beautiful.  We were only there for a night on our way to Italy.

 Rose-gardened airbnb!

Our lovely hosts!

Denmark and a few

choice words about couchsurfing.org . From what I can tell, if you are solo traveling as a woman the men you stay with will probably try to get it, but in my case at least, they always backed off when they realized I wasn’t into it.

Now I realize I only stayed with two people when I was by myself, an Indian in Denmark and a Viennese dude in Austria, but it happened both times.  So I guess you need to ask yourself if twice makes a pattern, and for me it definitely does.  

Actually European men in general were very easy to friendzone.. I never had to explicitly say “BACK OFF” because they could always read the signs, which is important considering I was attending Salsa/Bachata congresses and music festivals by myself.  And even when they realized I had a boyfriend, they didn’t recoil in horror, just carried on being my friend.  Love that.

Anyways!

Denmark pictures.  As my first destination was Copenhagen, I had no idea what to do, how I wanted to spend my time, so I just sort of wandered around the city.

 Above and below are pictures inside Christiansborg Palace.

 One thing I love about European cities are all the people performing in the street.

City center shot.

Thoughts on Copenhagen, Denmark:

Too expensive
Everyone CAN speak English, but they start out with Danish because it’s rude to assume you’re a foreigner.
To blend in, dress in many many black layers. (and be a tall blonde woman).
It’s cold. Hence the layers.

I really didn’t do much here.  I don’t think I really understood how to experience a city.  Also it unnerved me how expensive everything was..

The Magician’s Assistant

If you have to make a choice between doing something and not doing something, always ALWAYS do it.  I’ve never regretted seizing an experience, even if it cost me something.  It’s good for you to be nervous, and overcome it.  You don’t have to wait to do something until your friends will do it with you.

Live music is always worth the money.  Experiencing a wholly different country than the one you were brought up in is always worth the money.

This doesn’t count when you’re buying material objects, clothing, a new blender, Persian rugs.  If you’re not sure if you want it or not, it means you don’t.

This is how I saved enough money to travel Europe for two months (solo for one month), and to make sure I enjoyed my time there to the fullest.

It’s our one year anniversary today.  Heading to India in a few months to see him.  Can’t believe I managed to make it to a year with anyone actually, especially given we’ve  been apart more than we’ve been together.   It helps that he doesn’t try to keep me on a leash.  Encouraged me to travel to Europe, encourages me to go out dancing because he knows that’s what makes me happy.  I’m so lucky to have him.


Heard this song in Serbia.  Vance Joy – Riptide.  His debut album (available this September) is called “God Loves You When You’re Dancing”, which I personally think is a remarkably relevant title.

Couchsurfing + good music

So far I’ve found two people to couchsurf with, one in NYC, and one in Copehagen (Denmark).  They both seem like cool people.  Hopefully my boyfriend is cool with me staying with random dudes.. They both have a ton of references so I feel safe.

Couchsurfing.org is a website where you can either host travelers… or just stay with random strangers as you travel the world.  I only contact the ones who have hosted many times before.  My brother used to host people a lot, and they were always really cool

Anyways I was feeling quite drained and bored with life but now I remember that I’m gonna be all over Europe this summer and I don’t feel so bad.  Even though my boyfriend left for India this morning and I won’t see him till December. meh.

Also I keep having odd dreams about Tomorrowland.

Guess I’ll be going to India this December, assuming our relationship can survive till then.

new!

Goodbye 2013.  You were more than good to me.

This year I:

1.  Traveled alone to Korea and Thailand. (+Jeju and Koh Phi Phi)
2.  Danced on stages in both places.
3.  Got certified to teach English in Thailand.
4.  Enrolled in my last semester of University.
5.  Bought plane tickets to Europe.
6.  Lost weight.
7.  Gained Weight.
8.  Ate the equivalent of 3 tons of seaweed.
9. Danced.
10. Wrote.
11.  Fell in love.
12.  Met amazing, amazing people.

and most importantly….. (drumrolllllll)

Learned to NOT GIVE A FLYING @#$%& what people think of me! BaZINGA.

hashtag clearly attached

man I really missed the early AM’s.  Nothing I’d rather be doing than discussing heaven and hell on the kitchen floor with near strangers and not strangers.

We threw a party.

I miss good talks. So tired of gossip. on and on and on. I need to really really really just talk to someone.  Will make that happen this week.

I feel a bit stagnant.  Oh well, that can’t last forever.  Either I get bored enough to take drastic measures, or I just hold out until I leave for Europe.  (Less than a year!)  I don’t even particularly want to go there if I can’t get Tomorrowland tickets, but I’m sort of locked in to backpack throughout the whole place with my friend. Oh well, it will be fun, even if its not my first choice travel destination.

(Will I be single then?  Do I need to know at this point?)

I can barely imagine having a good reason to not be with him.  Man. being single.  I used to be so comfortable with it, but I don’t know how I could transition back to that.