Female dorms

When people think of hostels, they generally think horror movies or college dorms. I beg to differ, from personal experience. I want people to get a better idea of dorms in hostels from a female traveler or backpacker’s perspective.

I do not always stay in hostels, especially if I cannot find a female vacant dorm bed. I refuse to stay in mixed, or co-ed, dorms; although some people really do not mind. Mixed dorms are much cheaper. Most hostels have female dorms, male dorms, mixed dorms, and private rooms (think simplified hotel rooms). A lot of time, friends traveling together, or couples, will stay in mixed dorms. As a solo traveler, who is a female, I always find comfort in female dorms though. I only stayed in a mixed dorm once, $6 per bed per night, and the dorm roommates were nice; still, not my thing. I felt uncomfortable in mixed dorms. People are still very respectful for your space and all, but I prefer female dorms for the reasons below:

1. Female dorms tend to have a lot of solo travelers, so you make friends easily with other solo travelers. I strike up conversations easily, and next thing I know, it feels like we have known each other forever and explore the city, mountains, towns, take bus/train rides, together. 

2. We generally look after each other. I have never had anything stolen or misplaced. Now, be cautious and use common sense to keep valuables safe of course. Nonetheless, my female roommates have always been super nice and friendly. We borrow things too sometimes. I remember during my Euro trip in my early 20s, I was in Athens, Greece. I was washing clothes by hand, and needed detergent/soap and a brush, and a girl kindly let me use hers. 

3. Safety and privacy. Some people do not care to make themselves at home in mixed dorms, but I always feel safer in female dorms. Sometimes, we hang our clothes, including all clothes, to dry on dorm beds when there is no washer/dryer in sight. Not all hostels allow this, but some do. In Manarola, Italia, my dorm mates and I had to dry clothes, and we opened the window for more air. Next thing we know, one of a intimate piece of clothing from one of the Australian girls’, that was hanging on the window, flew out and fell below! we all cracked up!! Most people are chill and adapt. We learn to help each other, so after half hour laughing, and debating if someone should go get that, we finally ended up hiking the mountains in Italian western coast together and grabbing some Nutella crepes. It is a safe space. Some dorms even have curtains or sliding doors! I love that! It helps with having to change or just have privacy. Mostly, female dorms are cleaner and more organized too-I noticed.

4. Female dorms end up feeling like slumber parties, with strangers, who feel like family and friends within moments of meeting. Travelers and backpackers have a way of connecting with others like no others. It is strange, but we somehow can share our whole life stories with ease, and learn so much about other cultures and countries. Each traveler has a passport full of visas and stamps, each representing millions of encounters and colorful stories, good and bad. We are all tied together through an invisible thread, and the journey continues. Some, you stay in touch with, but some, you wish farewell, and wonder what new adventure awaits them in life! … yet each person leaves behind a message or memory that will last forever. I collect memories with new friends and my temporary family while traveling, not souvenirs.  

  So what is the layout of a female dorm? Generally, most hostels will post the price per dorm bed per dorm room. For example, a 4 bed dorm is going to be much more expensive than a 16 bed dorm. The more people crammed into a room the cheaper, obviously! The older I get, I prefer staying in the 2-6 bed dorm rooms to minimize risk of noise and clutter. I am not much of a party backpacker. I prefer peace and quiet, and occasionally will chill at happy hour or go out with new traveling friends. I do not like to be up till 2 am drinking or partying though, not my style. To each their own, but I prefer to do my research, and look for non party hostels. Some people prefer party hostels. I am not one of them. Most dorms have reduce noise policy after a certain time though. The rules may be lenient in party hostels, but again, the crowd there probably is looking to party anyway. Also, the many female dorms come with en suite bathroom, meaning the bathroom is attached to the room for the female guests only. I prefer that. Sometimes, it can be a hassle to find a common vacant bathroom, especially during morning rush hour when everyone wants to shower at the same time! En suite bathroom rooms are also more expensive, but I think worth the few extra bucks or whatever local currency is! They are cleaner. Communal bathrooms are ok too, as I have stayed in many air bnbs and hostels with them, and had no issues (tip:shower at night when everyone is still out and bathrooms have just been cleaned!). I just prefer en suite ones. We leave our shower caps and towels in there, and it feels like home. Especially in the smaller 2-4 bed dorm rooms. Dorms come with lockers too, for the most part. Always carry your own lock and key. 

Try one for yourself next time! The friendships and connections I make in hostel dorms, cannot be found in most secluding overpriced hotels, especially when solo traveling. Some adjustment is required, but you also save ton of money, literally. That allows for more travel time, and investing in other experiences. 🙂

I use http://www.hostelworld.com. There are other sites out there too!

I will do a post on Air bnbs in the future. The older I get, I also prefer them more sometimes when I just need my space. Some Air bnbs can be cheaper or equally prices to hostel dorms, depending on place and time! I have also made ton of friends in Air bnbs with locals and other travelers. Stay tuned for that post… 






$500 Backpacking for ONE month, say what?!

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This is bare minimum for simplistic/minimalist travelers or backpackers. You can extend the budget for $1,000 per month per person too. I will do another spreadsheet at a later time on that. That allows a lot more flexibility. At the end of the day, it is your trip, you decide. It can be cheaper to travel the world, than live in large Metropolitan cities in the U.S. paying rent or mortgage. You do need to work hard and save up for this, or work as you go finding ways to generate income. I generally volunteer when traveling, but I budget wisely and am a hardcore minimalist. The only thing I splurge on is food, but even that, I find good deals!


Janmashtami (Birth anniversary) of Lord Krishna

Today is the birthday of Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, in the Hindu spiritual realm. I have reverence for all faiths and religions, and I am more spiritual than religious. However, my connection to Lord Krishna, who I consider my best friend, goes back to before I can even remember. Ever since I was a little girl, I remember making sketches and paintings of baal Krishna (baby Krishna). In the Indian Gujarati part of my culture, we greet each other with Jai Shri Krishna, to say hi and bye. There is no direct translation for hello. It is a Godly greeting to greet and part.

During the festival of Janmashtami, people celebrate by recreating Lord Krishna’s childhood events such as matki phod. It is when a clay matki/pot it hung on a rope between trees, poles, or buildings. It is filled with makhan, a thick type of yogurt, which was Lord Krishna’s favorite childhood snack. He used to break into people’s homes as a child to steal the makhan to feed to his friends and cousin, while licking the rest with his hands. He would get caught white handed, literally. A lot of Lord Krishna’s childhood stories teach of morals and righteousness vs societal evil (jealously, power, greed, etc.). A lot if it is symbolic.

The Bhagvad Gita, which is the holy book for Hindus, is written as a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjun, his mentee. The book is not meant to preach Hinduism. In fact, it is a spiritual book that can be applied to whichever faith or even people who choose not to believe in a higher power. Wherever I travel, I take a mini Bhagvad Gita with me. Spirituality is different from religion, but both can be deeply intertwined. I feel at home in Synagogues in Fort Kochi, cathedrals in London, Colombia, Santiago de Chile, temples in Banaras, Buddhist monasteries in Sarnath. I have yet to visit a Mosque or Sikh temple, but I have many Muslim and Sikh friends who I highly respect and wish on their holidays. I know Sikh prayer and Islam prayer. I used to recite everyday in the past. It helps me connect to people all over the world when I volunteer serving the communities. I never feel like a foreigner. I am always taken in as a family member wherever I go in the world with love and respect. My spirituality has a name, love for Lord Krishna, who is my best friend and travel buddy, but my spirituality teaches me tolerance and empathy for all.

This is one my favorite spiritual days because it makes me happy to celebrate the birthday of someone I adore. My name means Lord Vishnu, and my parents did not even know the meaning of my name when they named me Jinal. I learned later on with invention of yahoo search engine. My connection to this name and the avatar of Krishna can only be explained by the images that come to mind as I hold a paint brush or pencil.


Be a free spirit…


I am all about non conventional, avoiding status quo, following your dreams and calling, taking risks, being different, being yourself, being real, and I am turning my passion of writing into publishing a book. Well, I have some ideas. I have started drafts in the past. My current work leaves me so exhausted, but I plan to start soon. I keep hoping to inspire others to do what makes them come alive. It may mean being away from family and friends, or the familiar, or taking a pay cut. Whatever it is, money does not buy happiness. Real friends and family will always be with you no matter how far you wander. Also, travel forces you to make new friends on the road.

Naam rab ka naam Sai ka Ali Ali Ali.. I believe in all religions and respect all faiths. I feel at home in Cathedrals, as I do in Temples. I know Christian and Buddhist prayers. I know Islam and Sikh prayers. I learned them at Manav Sadhna, Gandhi Ashram in India.


Pagli Hawaein mujhe jaha bhi le jaye, hawa ki saheli hu mein

The crazy air takes me wherever, I am the air’s friend.

Mein ek pal hu yaha, ek pal hu waha

I am here one moment, and somewhere else another momemt



Aakash hai koi prem kavi, mein hu uski likhi kavita

The sky is a a lovely poet, I am its written poem.

I love poetry. I used to write short stories and poems in 3 languages. Mostly English and Hindi.

To breathe is to live

To live is to explore

To explore is to wander

To wander is to discover

To grow, to learn, to be humbled by our world

A world like a kaleidoscope

of many perspectives

of many colors

for an Indian American female to travel the world and break barriers speaking Spanish and Japanese, French or Somali, Hindi or Gujarati, or whatever new languages I try to learn, I try to be mindful of local cultures. The world needs more peace makers. Spread kindness. Do not be tied down by status quo and dogma. I am going to be a 70 year old lady dancing to old songs and hip hop! Always embrace your inner child.



“Faith and Prayer are both invisible, but they make impossible things possible.” _Buddha



As I love blogging, here is yet another entry. Lately, I have been re-evaluating a lot of my life’s choices and outcomes. I am at crossroads considering doing a travel/volunteer trip. The only thing is that this time, I prefer to go with others who share similar ideals and vision to help others. I have NGOs in mind, but I want to do my own thing and travel and do free health screenings and education classes for locals. There are so many logistics to take into account, and it is not a one person thing. I would need to have a team, or at least one other person. I can use assistance with this. It would a dream project, but really, a prayer or offering to God.

How is it that a girl so shy and quiet, ends up so outgoing and a world traveler. I consider myself a global citizen, and I have made friends from all over the world. I think my spirituality has a lot to do with it. For me, spirituality is something very personal, and I don’t judge others based on their views and connection with God, higher power, universe, or however they see it. For me, I was raised as a Hindu, but I love to learn about all faiths and religions. I felt at home in a Synagogue in Fort Kochi, as I did in a famous Cathedral in London, or temple in my hometown. When I travel, I do not impose my thoughts on anyone. Instead, I try to learn about their belief system. I have always been highly spiritual. I see God as my best friend.

However, I am not a fan of orthodox rituals from the 1800s that use religion as a way to discriminate people due to caste or for being a female going through menses. I have volunteered in India with NGOs to fight such prejudice and educate on health and unity.  I lived in Gandhi Ashram NGO Manav Sadhna’s volunteer house for few months and emersed myself in local culture. I washed my clothes by hand, played with neighbor’s kids, did bunch of child development education and assessment to local preschool/daycares called anganwadis. My spirituality took me there. It connected me to strangers like family. I make friends fast, and they feel like family to me when I travel, sometimes, even closer than family. One of my favorite spiritual quests besides my stay at Manav Sadhna, was at Sarnath, Banaras, UP, India. I visited the Banyan tree under which Buddha gave first sermons. I went alone, taking a rikshaw from Banaras hostel to the town of Sarnath. It was so enlightening. I promised myself to remember the moments and teachings, but it is easy to get carried away in day to day life, especially work life in the states.

People from other countries take it easy and relax more, but here, is it all about climbing the ladder and making money. That does not suit well with me. I am a strong believer that God will give my fair dues, and my job is not to be a millionaire. My job is to help others, as it is my way of praying, and being a nurse/nurse practitioner is a medium that allows me to do so.

Traveling and meeting strangers allows me to gain a better perspective of life in other parts of the world. All of this is due to my spirituality. Without my connection to God, and trust in the universe to have my back, how would I have hikes mountains in Salento, Colombia alone, or taken overnight bus rides to Bogota, trains in India in Kerala, or dared to do any of my solo travels?! Faith in God, and faith in myself. My dream is to open a NGO, or free clinic. Especially for pediatrics. I would love to be able to travel, and get paid for it, so I can spread kindness and love while helping the sick medically. So far, I have done short volunteer trips and bunch of backpacking, but to be able to have the funds, resources, and keep my Nursing/NP licenses up to date, and travel like that, would be a dream. I also would need the right people with me. I have been a solo backpacker enough, but somethings in life, you need help or a buddy. Most people care to work 9 to 5 and earn a paycheck. Which is great too, and I have done that too. I will do that in the future too, especially when I have children to raise. I am set on giving them a world class education and teaching empathy by traveling with them, and teaching values of volunteering and giving.

However, the world needs more storytellers, people who go out of their way to help others, even if there is no hefty pay involved. Traveling is my passion, and I travel as a minimalist. Nursing is also my passion. Through my spirituality, I have been trying to combine the two. I cannot just be jobless and travel all the time and volunteer as I have thousands of dollars to pay for annual malpractice insurance, license/credentialing updates, and whatnot. I have to keep up to date working locally in the states somehow. I see possibilities where others see barriers.

20180404_130152_HDR.jpgTraveling opens the mind to that, and it helps expand one’s horizons. Often, people do not understand me, but I understand them. Sometimes, the people that are supposed to be closest to you, don’t get you, because they have not traveled the world or seen through different perspectives the way you have. I say, travel whenever you can. It is the best education you can give yourself. Spirituality for me, allowed me to travel so much, especially solo as a young female. Most importantly, faith in yourself is all you need to follow your dreams. Like the lamp in Aladdin, let your faith be the lamp and the universe or God be the geenie, whoever you believe in. The magic carpet is your imagination. If you beleive in something without doubts, it will happen. I made world travel possible when everyone doubted me. When my friends and family dis not understand or support my decisions. People in my life did not get my spontaneous plans or need for adventure. I listened to my calling, faith, and the universe made my dreams a reality. Do not let status quo or dogma limit your life. Everything is possible. This is from my 29th birthday. Don’t mind the food/chocolate stains on my shirt. People always say I look younger than my age. I used to wear glasses to make me look older, but I hated them, so got lasic. I think in when you can laugh at yourself, make others laugh, and smile from within, not fake smile, you will always look young as that is what children do. Children do not let society rip their dreams yet, so do not let anyone do that as an adult. Let your inner child out, and always be silly. Well, there are times to be serious…. but but for the most part, it is ok to be weird or different. Life would be boring if we all were the same. Like all women in my family, I will always look 10 yeqrs younger than my age. I used to let it get to me as people would not take me seriously. I diagnose and treat people fot a living, do not call me sweetheart. I hated that. Now, I just joke right back. Not as sweet as I look if you call me that one more time.. the injection is in my hand. have wrinkles from laughing, not from stress. Give yourself a whole new world…. one of my fav songs. I feel like I am living the song whenever I travel.4 I love airports and my bookbag. New places and new people. I may be an introvert, own it, but sure am very outgoing thanks to my faith helping me build myself up traveling the world. Faith and spirituality gave me a life I thought only celebrities can live, going to Switzerland, Interlaken is one of my fav towns in the world! ❤ All I learned how to say in German is thank you, but for me gratitude for all blessings, only brings more to you. Thanking strangees for their kindness is priceless where you go in the world mis amigos!20190710_222509

Hip Hop Baila Baila

Hello my readers,

This is me dancing away at my cousin’s reception. I usually do group performances with friends, but I have done some solo dances, one for my brother’s engagement party many years ago, and one for my cousin’s reception. This reception dance made me have palpitations and anxiety before I got on the dance floor as there were 100 eyes on me. I sipped down the champagne on the table right before they announced my name. 🙂 Then my dress was so heavy that the skirt/chaniyo kept sliding down my waist, and by the end of it, I was like why does my abdomen feel so cold?! luckily, I had champagne, so I could care less, and I was barely 100 pounds back then, not like it matters. Embrace your body however it is! I motivated my parents to dance, and now they even go to the gym more than me!

Everyone has passions, and dancing is one of my passions. How does this tie to traveling? Well, when on the road, as I say, I have to keep fit. I love exercising, and the gym is my second home. However, when traveling, I do not always have access to a gym; ok, I usually don’t. Therefore, I find creative ways to workout. I have to be what I preach. Dancing is something that is so much fun, a full body workout, mood booster, can do anywhere, and can be done for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, and heck, even 2 hours. Yes, I have danced for 2 hours straight before! I firmly believe that one does not have to be a “good” dancer to dance. What is a good dancer anyway? Life is no competition. I love dancing in the rain, dancing in the kitchen, the gym, at events, and even in my office once I shut the door. It is about doing what makes you happy. If dancing makes you miserable, don’t do it, but if you can let go of fear of what people think, and shake a hip or move that arm without any rhythm, all power to you! Life is not about what others think of you. I love when people who are non-dancers try to dance. It is the cutest and sweetest thing! Just being yourself and letting go. Having a good time without a care in the world! I may be dancing from before I could walk in a straight line, and done a lot of stage shows and trained in different dance forms, but my fav is impromptu. I love breaking it down to random music, especially Latino.. Baila baila.. Despacito ❤ I remember taking classes in Bogota, Colombia and this was my song! I also love hip hop at my gym; we have classes 2x a week, but I go based on my work schedule. Some of my fav Hip Hop/random songs to dance to are: Disclaimer: The lyrics are well, its hip hop.. not PG 13. I am a feminist, as I believe in equality, so naturally, I do NOT endorse these lyrics. I find most of the songs, except for that’s my girl/Havanna/MIC Drop (well I don’t understand Korean),as having really disrespectful lyrics. I don’t like the womanizer/objectifying women lyrics, but the songs are fun to dance to nonetheless. Music is music. I dance to hip hop, pop, slow contemporary, I dance to bunch of Indian Hindi songs, I dance to Latino jam.. dance is dance. No hatin allowed.

Good ol Livin la vida loca

Mic Drop

TIMBER!! Pitbull/Kesha


Work from home

That’s my girl

Hey Mama

and of course, my all time fav: Despacito

my South America, Colombia, Jam: Havana. This was my South America Backpacking Trip anthem. I played this and Despacito on repeat for 2 months.

Here are my Indian (Hindi/Punjabi) jams to break it down to:

my childhood jam that they made into a remix: aankh maare

have your own dance parties! I miss my friends and I dancing randomly in basements and acting out scenes from movies using table clothes as dresses and being all weirdos. Good times.


Of course there is always 90s pop: Backstreet Boys, Destiny’s Child, Brittany Spears: my guilty pleasure. You drive me crazy… bye bye byeee

If you dance to these songs (no need to be in rhythm, just dance however or walk in a straight line waving your hands), I can guarantee you will burn some calories and get a great workout in. It is about having fun. Dancing releases endorphins which help with Serotonin in the brain causing feelings of happiness!

Music does not discriminate. DO your thing. Dance like no one is watching, and well if someone is, then who cares?! Be happy, live, smile, laugh, dance, and make others laugh!

Minimalist Traveling

My lovely backpack. This backpack has been with me to India twice, South America for 2.5 months, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Canada. I had an even smaller backpack when I had done my Euro trip 6 years ago. 

1. How to budget travel:

Traveling can be as cheap or expensive as you make it. I don’t know about you, but I do not have a million dollars. Even if I did, I would use that money to fund children’s education and healthcare or start NGOs. Traveling is a side hobby, while being a Nurse Practitioner is my calling and passion. I make time for both. Even before I became a NP, I had a low new RN salary/wage, and it was even below minimum wage for RNs as I was a Pediatric nurse. I was a grad student too back then. I worked my way through school and graduated debt free. Nonetheless, I got a crazy idea to travel to Europe on my own for 2.5 weeks. I saved overtime pay, doing 60 hours a week in addition to grad school, and booked my Europe backpacking tickets. My 2.5 week Euro trip across U.K., Greece, Italy, and Switzerland, cost me about $3000 including plane tickets, lodging, food, and excursions/activities. That is actually a lot of money for backpacking, but I was a novice back then. I also spent $4000 for 2.5 months in South America last year. You learn and grow with more experience. Flight to London from US was too expensive and took up 50% of my budget when I did Europe. On the other hand, for South America, I used airline points/miles with Southwest and flew to Tampa for $5. Then I took flight to Cartagena, Colombia via Ft. Lauderdale for $250. The intercontinental flights in both, Europe, and South America, are super cheap if you look at the right places. I paid as little as $25 for plane tickets in Europe, which was cheaper than the trains even. I paid 60 Euros to get from Italy to Switzerland via train. I love train rides though, and I wanted to experience the nature and mountains. Therefore, it was worth it. All in all, it is about budgeting the cost of travel versus what is a priority on your to do list/or to experience list, and what can be sacrificed for make things works. I paid less to travel across South America in 2.5 months than I would have for rent for that much time is a large city. Budget wisely. If resorts and Margaritas are your thing, then you will not be able to travel as much unless you have a lot more money. Now, if you adjust or are flexible to hostel living, and Air bnbs (which rock IMO), then you got it dude! If it helps, many hostels have welcome drinks and happy hour. I have tried so many free drinks and samples through hostels, and I don’t even drink that much. I just like to try local beverages as part of the new cultures I am trying to experience. My fav so far: Pisco Sour in Peru and Chile. My Japanese, Canadian, and Dutch friends that I made at hostels/air bnb/and on a group tour of Machu Picchu, were with me. I could not even finish the whole glass because I have such low tolerance of alcohol. Also, as a nurse, I try to be very careful about my health and well-being and everything in moderation. I like my liver, thank you very much! I do spend a lot of money on food when I travel as I am a total foodie, but I try to budget and cook at the hostel or air bnb host’s kitchen by going grocery shopping at local supermarkets. I make friends with families I stay with and they also invite me for their meals. I rarely eat alone when traveling even if I went solo. Sometimes, hostels have free breakfast. Even air bnbs can provide that sometimes. I lived off of breakfast free Nutella and bread in Italy. Budget the cost of food by planning where you will stay and what food options are available. 

2. Something has got to give

Cannot have it all, or can you? So this is where being a minimalist works in my favor. I do not like make up, curling irons, high heels, a million pairs of clothes (besides my Indian clothes collection, guilty of that). Everyone is different, and some love to take 10 pairs of shoes with them for a 1 week trip. Some like to take 2 bags of make up for a hike. I like to take my boots, flip flops, 3-4 pairs of clothes, usually a bathing suit, travel towel that is microfiber antibacterial (https://www.amazon.com/Microfiber-Set-Absorbent-Antibacterial-Swimming-Camping/dp/B072LYLND2/ref=sr_1_34?keywords=travel+towel&qid=1563278676&s=gateway&sr=8-34), travel size shampoo/skin care products, sunscreen, my journal, a book may be. Not much. I still have extra room in my bag because I take lightweight clothes such as leggings, skinny jeans, skirts/dresses, shorts, tanks, and wear the heavy fleece or jacket during my flights or bus/train rides to save room in my bag. I layer up at airports to save money on check in if I have to. A little compromise and adjusting is needed. That $50 for check in fees can be used for food or a discount airline ticket. It is totally OK to travel with whatever “stuff” you want, as it is your journey, and to each their own! However, this is what works for me. I met girls in my hostel female dorms who full out unpack a make up kit and hair straightener. I have also met people that are more simple like me. Nothing is right or wrong, but just what is right for you. You can make it work by choosing what is a necessity, and what can be left at home. If you want to travel for longer on a $500 budget lets say, you have options. Do you want to stay in the fancy resort with all you can eat, room service, wallpaper, lemon fresh toiletries (take them if you pay so much for a hotel room and use them on your next trip!), heated pool and spa (ok I do love heated pools and Jacuzzis, but that is a sacrifice I will make for my longer trips)!? you can, but that budget is not going to go for more than 2-3 days if you count the plan ticket and how an average resort room costs $100-300 per night. If you want to turn that budget into funding a week long trip, staying at air bnb for $20-100 per night can give you more bang for your buck! I go to medical conferences funded by my work because as a NP, I am required to do Continuing Medical Education (CME) to keep Up to Date on medical advances and knowledge/skills/renew licenses. Those conferences are always at super fancy expensive hotels and resorts. Needless to say, they are costly!! Out of pocket, I cannot afford that. I use my CME allowance wisely. I love learning and growing, and I love connecting with colleagues and updating my knowledge bank to provide the best care for my patients, but I am still on a budget. I use my CME allowance very wisely. I have stayed in resorts if the cost is covered, or else, I stay in Air bnb or a different hotel nearby and uber/walk to the conference. I did that in Orlando and Chicago. I am not impressed by fancy resorts. They are pretty to look at, but do not offer much in terms of comfort and adventure. I need the homely feeling I get at air bnbs, and even hostels where my dorm/roommates feel like family or friends. I recently stayed at a hotel in Asheville, and I did not like it. I felt so secluded. If I stayed at airbnb lodge, I may have made friends with the owner or other travelers. There is always a good and bad to every side of things. 

3. Backpacking

Oh I can write a book on this. Again, to each their own, but I discovered how backpacking is the traveling style of minimalists. Backpacking can be many things. It can be long multi-day hikes through the mountain ranges. It can be day trips. It can be weekend getaways. It can be around the world for 1 year, 1 week, 1 month, or whatever duration, which ever place (s). As the name implies, it is traveling with a backpack. All of your stuff goes in a backpack, instead of a suitcase. Backpacks actually are stretchable with more space, they are nifty as you can take them essentially anywhere. It is hard to take a big suitcase on a 1 mile walk from the bus station to the hostel/air bnb/lodge. On the other hand, the backpack can be used a pillow for long layovers. I nap all the time in airports. I crawl up in a corner of on some chairs. I can also hide my backpack under a chair and go use to restroom or get food without being afraid of someone stealing my stuff. Even if they do, there is nothing valuable in there. I do not take large electronics with me. My valuables are hidden on me at all times. That is a secret. Backpacking allows for saving money on check in bags, only taking what you absolutely need, so you spend more time with the place, people, and experiences, than trying to decide on an outfit. Trust me on this, when you are down to the only pain of clean clothes, because you have to find a Laundromat in the international town, or wash clothes by hand, it will take you 5 minutes to get ready. I washed my clothes by hand in India and Europe. I used laundry services in hostels and community laundromats in South America. Some Air bnb owners happily let me use their machines and even gave me their detergent and fabric softeners. so sweet! I make sure I do not spoil myself too much. I like to feel like I earned the trips. I because a pro at washing clothes by hand, which was a foreign concept to me having grown up in states. Apparently, in India, it is very common though, and same with many countries. However, it is sometimes hard to dry clothes outside. When I was in Valparaiso, Chile, I used air bnb owner’s washer, but had to hang clothes outside to dry. It was pouring rain that night, and my clothes were soaked. I had nothing left to wear, so I had to turn the fan on in my room and spread my clothes out on the furniture. Meanwhile, I found a local clothing store and got myself a pair of pants and shirt while my clothes dried. Backpacking is not all fun and games, but I love the unknown, and the adventure of these things. If I had a suitcase, I could have put 10 pairs of clothes in there, but a backpack only allows so much room for clothes. It makes me think out of the box and be creative. Backpacking is a way of traveling for me that I thoroughly enjoyed in the past for those reasons. Save money, be simplistic and minimalist, and my favorite, a great workout! Talk about strength training and cardio all in one! I feel strong with my backpack as I can whip it in someone’s face if they try to harm me. I can also run really fast with it on unlike with a suitcase. I have climbed mountains with it. 

I had done a whole post on credit card miles. That is a different story. 

Sometimes, I do travel with a suitcase/rolling bag. That is usually not associated as much with my budget travel trips unless there is a free carry on allowance, or I have to pack heavy clothes for some event. There is no right or wrong, but this is just how I make it work. I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and live vivaciously. Travel has made me so open-minded, and I realize that I would not have gotten this worldly education had I never left my hometown. Follow your dreams and passions. Nothing is impossible. I M POSSIBLE. Money, degrees, awards, status, titles, are all blah. Happiness from those things is temporary. Happiness from creating a life for yourself by pursuing your dreams and passions, no matter what challenges are along the way, is priceless. That is the satisfaction I get from travels because I created this life for myself. Growing up, I could not even afford school lunches. I slept on the floor a lot. I did not know what family vacations felt like. Now, I have attended medical conferences at the Disney’s Grand Floridian. I went to Epcot as an adult and loved it! Happiness comes from sharing your joys with others. That is why I love blogging. I wish to share my experiences with strangers in hope to inspire them to go after what they want in life, especially people that can relate to me with traveling. Earning money does not make me as happy as being able to take care of my patients. I know I deserve much more than I earn, and I have done the math many times. Regardless, my profession is that of caring and helping others. The joy from seeing people’s health improve, or child get better, is priceless. When I travel, connecting with locals and other travelers makes me happy, not how fancy the shower curtain or granite countertops are. 

Last year of my 20s!

20180318_183124-1I tried to add images of the mountains and the town/city of Asheville, but I am so technology deficient. The images are not loading. May be can try later again. Anyway, I am so blessed to get to live life another year! I planned to do lots of hiking on my bday. I had read that Asheville was a top solo travel spot and has lots of trails in the Blue ridge mountains. I did not grt to do those trails sadly. Its ok. I have traveled so much, but for the 1st time in my life, I did not enjoy this trip as much. I did enjoy downtown and this garden area I checked out. NC Arberatum..can never pronounce or spell that! I like the hippie vibe and veg friendly places. I eat so much. It got so hot, but mountain breeze felt good. I could have chilled in a pool had I not firgotten my bathing suit! I always forget it. Well I do not know why I even took it to Montreal when it was cold and chilly. I cannot believe I travel so much and have become so adventurous in last decade. I surprise myself. Sometimes, I am shy girl in the corner not making eye contact with anyone in my own little world. Sometimes, I am chatting up a storm with strangers who feel like family. It is all mood dependent.. and caffiene dependent. I used to be so shy and homebody. I climbed trees as a kid, but was not outgoing at all. Traving in the last 8 years or so made me so outgoing and less shy. I am still an introvert who enjoys her own company, and needs time alone. I leave loud noises and too many people to go sit alone under a tree or go through pictures on my phone. Nursing also made me more outgoing. I know how to connect with patients well. I enjoy it. At the same time, I can be so socially awkward. I am not always able to go up to people and say hi. That shy little girl in me comes out from time to time. I may be outgoing, but still am an introvert. An outgoing introvert, with hints of shyness that pops up in some situations. I used to always hate the shy part of my personality. People would tell me we won’t bite you, you can talk. Now, I am accepting of all shades of my personality. I am never the loudest in the room. I shy away from attention. I like to write and reflect. I journal and blog. As a new 29 year old female, I love myself for who I am. I am proud of my self growth journey and am patient with myself. I used to always put others 1st. As a nurse, daughter, and friend. I burnt out. I learned self care. I treat myself to trips, food, rest days, naps, and jamming to 80s and 90s pop and hip hop. Aint no shame in that. You can dance, having the time of your life..ooo see that girl.. singing the dancing queen. I love retro. I love meeting young girls and encouraging them to be who they want to be. Not what society says, but what their heart says. I am so thankful for the opportunities that I was given, but mostly worked crazy hard for. I am so happy and grateful for all the amazing relationships with friends and family in my life. It is so easy to complain and forget the good things. I choose to see the positive in others. I choose to forgive and not hold grudges. I choose peace. I choose to live life to the fullest. I had always wanted to visit Asheville, and I made it happen. I had always wanted to visit Montreal, which I went to a month ago. I choose to work hard and make things happen. Life is a gift. God is kind. All the bad experiences and trauma I have been through have given me new insight on life and taught me tolerance and preserverence. I am eternally grateful to the universe for giving me a chance at life when so many babies die in utero at conception as an embryo, or in childhood. I have seen so many people lose their lives or live with horrific diseases. I am blessed to be healthy and try to be fit. Being 29 means I have white hair now, but I also have years of wisdom. I call the white strands wise highlights. That does not change the inner child in me. I love blasting a whole new world and let it go! I love playing with and caring for kids! It makes me so happy.. here is to another year to live. I cannot say thank you enough to God. I am blessed. Everything is always working out best case scenario for me thanks to God and my faith. Stay smiling and never give up on your dreams. I dream to be a NP in pediatric primary care or primarily practice serving peds in family med. I am thankful for my job though. I get to see some kids and I love those encounters! Always find the positive in life. There are always multiple choices, and the best answer is your intuition. Tomorow is a gift. Go after what you want, withour fear or inhibition. Choose positivity.

Music and Travel, Mountains and cute little town Asheville

20190709_06295120190709_19324920190709_194644I am in Asheville, North Carolina. I had always wanted to come here. 3 years ago, I was offered a nurse practitioner job here which I turned down to stay in Ohio. I kind of regret it, but oh well. Everything happens for a reason. I lobe the mointains and fresh air, except all the construction here now. I love walkable places, and I walked around downtown for hours. I enjoyed watching the kiddos play by the fountains. That is how it shouls be. Play outdoors and be active, not on video games 24/7. The pediatric nurse in me was happy! My dream job would be pediatric primary care NP. I love kids and miss working in pediatrics. My5 years at Children’s hospital felt like a hobby, not a job. I am drawn to kids everywhere I go. I stare at others’ kids out of love. I cannot help it. Somethinf about being a cancerian may be?! It is my bday tomorow, and I have no one to celebrate it with, but God. I am thankful though. So much to appreciate about life and the gifts God gave me. I always wondered what it felt to have a big family or siblings and cousins who actually call me or ask how I am doing. Not a single cousin calls me in my bday or holidays even. None care to text me unless they need something. My sibling is so far away as well and so disconnected from me. My friends, who feel like family, are all far away now too. I have amazing friends though. Theg feel like my brothers and sisters. I had the sweetest gesture, my friend, whose wedding reception it was, her and her husband got me a present for my bday before leaving for their trip. I was like it is your wedding day, I gift you guys, not the other way around! I was so touched by their kindness and thougthfulness. I wish them so much happiness and blessings. I normally never get presents on my bday or any holidays. I always gift others things. It was strange feeling receiving a present.  I only dream what it would be like to be in a large family that cares about me and wants to call or spend time with me. If something happened to me, who wouls even be there for me. I go saving lives daily, but if I needed help, who would help. I wonder what love of siblings feels like. I wonder what it feels like to have someone look after you and protect you as a sister. I learned to be my own bodyguard and brave traveler. I built muscles through strength training going from slim to toned. It would be nice to celebrate a bday with loved ones. I am such a family oriented person, yet I have been deprived. I make plans and my own siblings cancel them. Through teaveling, I get to connect with strangers who feel like family when I stay at their homes or air bnbs. They look after me and ask about my day or life more than my own blood relatives. I guess I will cut my own cake tomorow. Whats the point. I will spend it with nature and mountains in this cute little town. It is so hippie, but in a good way. Loving the open-minded vibe. For me, music is tied tighly to traveling. I think is is natural for humans to attach meaning or experiences to songs. I am yet on another trip, and trying to entertain myself during this early morning flight. Waiting at the gate.. Havana na na na.. this song takes me back to Colombia! Especially Cartagena. I was obsessed and played this on repeat during the start of my South America backpacking trip last year.          https://youtu.be/HCjNJDNzw8Y       The other song that takes me back to South America is Despacito. I love that song by Luis Fonsi. The original one that is.. so many more. Music is soul food. It can bring so much joy and peace. I am introverted and sometimes music and dance is all I need to shut myself off to the world.