Mt. Royal

A mountain in center of city!! Also, namesake for Montreal! I wish I had hiked more but I was starving and when I am hungry, I get hangry.  I needed to find food. So after I switched rooms from room with my new friend to a room alone, which I hate, I headed to Mont Royal. It was a 45min walk. Well 1 hour to get to the bottom then like 20 min to climb to the view point. Hunger made me leave and find food. I was craving pasta and Italian. It is the hormones. I am so bloated from PMS. Just got my period today. I needed food. I really wanted to do a longer hike. Next time.. I always find hikes where ever I go. So I could not find a cheap Italian place. They were all overpriced. I therefore went  back to same Mexican place. Then went to hostel to nap as my period was making me fatigued and weak. I hate hormones controlling my mind and body. It is the worst. I have been so active in last 4 days, yet I am so bloated and retaining water making me feel like a  balloon. With this much exercise, I should have lost 5 pounds by now. Whatever.. so over it. Stupid metabolism. I used to not even weight 100lb and do same physical activities as not gain wight 3 years ago. In that time, my body changed so much! I cannot fit into any of my dresses for my friend’s wedding. I need new dresses asap and have nowhere to get them. I am so moody and irritable right now. It is the hormones estrogen and progesterone messing with my serotonin. Being a healthcare provider, I know exactly what this is. Women go through so much. Not fair. I could not even nap despite needing it because the new dorm room they moved me to has been squeking noises from the window every 5 seconds! And the cleaning staff keep blasting loud music while doing their job! On the bright side, I was like screw this. I left and came for gelato. I need to find some funny onesies for my friend’s baby. She wants one, and I am in no shape or mood or have time to go to old montreal again. My body and mind feel like a hot mess! I just wanna take a hot shower, play relaxing music, grab a drink with my Australian friend tonight, and sleep peacefully without the noisy squeky dorm room. Have to catch a flight tomorow. Last full day in montreal not so good. Its the period ruining it. I need to buy more tampons and pads too. My period came early. Did not expect it on my trip. Always ruining plans. So need to find a pharmacy and a baby store.. urggh.  Its raining now. This period symptoms are too much. If men lived one day experiencing what being on a period felt like with hormones shifting and body changes.. they would see women differently forever. It is like a cloud over me for a week. My belly was flat yesterday, and today my skirt is so tight and bulging. I walked like 10 miles and ate mostly healthy.. well not. Oh well. 20190604_12173520190604_12131320190604_12071320190604_12015120190604_12180820190604_12014620190604_163731I just need comfort food. Nuttella gelato! Reminds me of my Eurotrip!!

Montreal adventure

20190603_163515wait..how do I pose as a barbie.. lets practice some poses20190603_163504I am a barbie girl in a barbie world.. an American Indian short athletic toned barbie in casual wear! If I came here as a 7 year old, woahh! My australian roomie and I had fun in underground city barbie exhibit! 20190603_16333220190603_16331720190603_163130make a wish. Jeanie in a bottle!! I used to love I dream of Jeanie and Bewitched on nick at night!! Dear universe, my wish is your command. Thank you in advance!20190603_162252… happily ever after. 20190603_162326many cultures many forms of beauty20190603_162313my style.. 20190603_11412820190603_12061820190603_13134820190603_163505heaps of fun.. had a few takes. This is confused bubble in mouth awekward pose aka natural me.20190603_134152in the biggest movie theater ever…seeing Godzilla in Imax. 20190603_100921bascillica de Notre Dame. So serene. Loved it. I pray in Cathedrals too. God or universe or higher power is ever present. IMO. To each their own. I respect all religions. 20190603_10005220190603_10023720190603_10353520190603_11251520190603_10345520190603_09441920190603_09324020190603_075554love hostels..made an amazing friend even for several days. We clicked and my solo trip turned to a girls trip. Funny how I click and connect with people so well like magic when traveling. I forget names but never memories. She had top bunk and mine bottom. Have to change room tomorow ;( boo. Its been a slumber party.. gonna miss this. I needed this. A stranger felt like a close friend and we explored the city together, went to movies, crashed a graduation at a local uni..just stood there and people watched heheh, and wished we could get flowers and teddy bears. Neither of us really got to celebrate our graduations and we are nurses.. how sad.  20190603_184556not so sad anymore.. round 2 of this chocolate heaven. I am bringing my kids and grandkids here someday. This is gonna be a family legacy. When my daughter goes on her 1st backpacking trip, I will tell her all my crazy lovely stories and adventures! Be brave and free my child!20190603_183729my friend’s choctail!! And waffle sandwitch!!20190603_183312my oreo cheesecake milkshake.20190603_18212220190603_18055820190603_18024220190603_17543620190603_170620underground city.. we had heaps of fun figuring the maze out.. gpsing our way around town. Old town montreal to modern charm. Day well spent!! I wished for a travel buddy, I got one. She is temporary travel budy for couple days, but feels ages of connection. People I know do not travel with me much sometimes yet strangers and foreigners become family to me in hours of learning life stories and bonding over lost in the city. Ironic. Hostels rock. Someday will do 4 day train ride like my friend… it seems so cool!!!! I have to get back to saving lives till then. Meanwhile, the universe is delivering my permanent travel buddy. So blessed and grateful. Ended the night with wshing my hair with free toiletries amazing smelling shampoo and conditioner that I took from the 100 dollar hotel my 1st night here. Give me my money worth.. now I smell good. Its all good! Simple pleasures of life. I should socialize but dont wanna play pool or drink beer. Eww. I had amazing cocktail last night called fuzzy navel. I had to get it because of the name. It was good too!! And we had shots of ghostbuster whatever tht was.. hostel bars and lounges are so nice and kitchen and all. The breakfast is good too. Free buffet style. I will miss my roomie. We have plans to crash eachother’s future weddings. I will go to australia and she will come to mine pretending like we don’t know eachother!! A girl can dream. She will be sure to have veggie food for me in Melbourne!! Au revoir?! I will socialize again. I am so sore from 10 hours of walking. Hiking mont royal tomorow.

Montreal. I am here!

20190531_22483220190601_12012120190531_22483220190601_12012120190601_132319the hostel behind me20190601_123019they crack me up. So creative. Trying to smile. Their kindness and witt helps.20190601_14120820190601_141204walk.. love walkable cities 20190601_13452320190601_14442220190601_13231920190601_12301920190601_14120820190601_14120420190601_13452320190601_144422Bonjour! All I know in French is Ja mepel ?, and bonjour, and well bon apetit! I took French in middle school, but forget. From the moment I stepped into the country via airport, I fell fall this city. I love the vibe. Sometimes, you just know. It clicks. I have been to plaves where it nevee grew on me or took forever such as Chicago, I hate New York, but I loved DC, San Diego, Cusco, Medellin, Cartagena, Mumbai, Leh, Fort Kochi, Interlaken, and some others..I love how Montreal is so diverse and multicultural. I love the French lingo everywhere. It is so pleasant to the ears. I had amazing encounters with uber drivers. I had a Cuban and Haitian driver so far. I had a whole convo of our life stories with Cuban driver in Spanish and with Haitian driver in Engligh as I do not know Creole. I then had amazing thaali today at famous Indian thaali place downtown Montreal. I for 1st time liked their chana masala more than Palak Paneer and I am a die hard palak paneer fan. It is my fav.. yumm spinach gravy with palak cubes. Then I spent an hour at a pharmacy for fun because I am a nerd. I wanted to compare Canadian stuff with US stuff. Here are some pics and videos. As much as I enjoyed being a solo traveler, I see myself traveling the world bckpacking and having hiking trips, exploring new places, renting log cabins in the wood climbing mountains, with a partner or travel buddy. No excuses. I worked so hard to build this life and adventture spirit in me. It is deep rooted in me now. It is therapy for my past. It is coping with my present. It is hope for my future. Travel means so much to me. I envision sharing these experiences with someome. For now, I am enjoying these trips. I make friends. I hope to make new friends this trip too. 20190601_120048waiting for uber to get from hotel to hostel. I am going through something rough, and I have been on a journey of personal growth. I believe in law of attraction and how I manifesting world travel. I always said I am a world traveler, and well my life is a living proof of my imagination. I know what I deserve in life and I belive in overcoming all limiting beliefs and status quo or dogma to have life I dream of. I have suffered enough. I know my worth. I follow several youtubers who have reignited my passion for power of law of attraction. No one know the future, but I can visualize. I visualize my dream partner with me now. From solo traveler to couple travelers and backpackers. I manifested this Montreal trip. Almost did not make it as Delta overbooked the flight and had no seat for me! But I am here! I am blessed. I can choose to be sad, or choose to be happy. I choose happiness and peace. I am over panic attacks for a life not meant for me. I hve hd anxiey ever since I was harrssed at my old job. I was traumatized. I recovered after so much pain. Now I am my own advocate and do not let others walk over me and my dreams. I deserve to be a priority to myself and anyone close to me. It is not being selfish. It is having self respect. My career is a source of burnout caring for others all day. I deserve to be cared for. I need to come home and unwind and travel is a way for me to rejuvinate my soul and mind. Travel is my therapy. I will do a post on LOA later.. my hand hurts. Nap time before I head out again!

Nashville y’all

IMG-20190503-WA0015IMG_20190503_170942_460IMG_20190503_170137_58120190503_144816IMG-20190503-WA0022IMG-20190503-WA0016IMG-20190503-WA0015IMG-20190503-WA001120190503_11041420190503_10485620190503_094607 A foodie and world traveler by profession, and exploring new places, hiking new mountains, and trying new food aka pigging out is my specialty. My mantra in life is, life is too short, so be yourself, grow to be best version of yourself, challenge status quo, and create the life of your dreams! I am a dooer. I like spontaneous trips and making things happen. I hate excuses. Everyone says I am very courageous and brave for a woman. I say I have worked hard to build myself up to be like this. Mostly through solo travel from my early 20s. I learned that people will always stop me and question me. I learned that no one can see my dreams the way I can. All it takes is inner faith and for me, my spirituality and God as my best friend by my side at all times. I am never scared when traveling. Even solo as a woman. Chop chop karate! Don’t mess with me! I am a nurse and can do first aid on myself. I am resourceful and can memorize maps and directions like a photo memory instantly. I learn new languages easily and blend in like a local, which in my opinion, is best way to travel, live like a local! I went from shy little girl growing up with not much money, skipping school lunches due to cost, shopping at thrift stores, to being able to travel the world, a dream many people have. The only.difference, I work hard and make it happen challenging status quo, and others find excuses. I never had the time or money to be honest. I made the time, saved up, go into credit car rewards, stay cheaply in hostels and air bnbs. Only time I stay in hotels is when its free from CME conference allowance when I have to attend medical conferences, or if I get half off with reward points! Or with certain friends and family who cannot adjust to air bnb and hostels. I get it, its not for everyone. I respect that. I just do not find luxury hotels too cozy. I have been in many due to my medical conferences and had $300 per night rooms which I felt like is too much. I had no choice then as the conference was there and I was alone with no hostels or air bnb nearby. I got it all reimbursed though. Other than that, I love cosy rooms and homes, elegant, yet comfy. I love feeling like a local. In Nashville, we stayed in air bnb and loved it. We had cute little room with comfy mattress for a good night sleep. A neighborhood to go walk around at night! I love the food and music vibe downtown and suburb living! Very walkable.

So how do I make travel affordable?

This movie, her character, Shah rukh’s wisdom has been anthem to last several years. What women go through.

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Ok friends, let me let you in on a little secret. shhh.

Well, what is a secret anyway? I think there is a joy in sharing knowledge and experience, so in today’s blog entry, I will write about how I make traveling the world affordable. People always ask me, or “tell me, but it is too expensive?!” blah blah blah.

Here is a recap on my childhood. I am part of an immigrant family that moved to this country when I was only 7 years old. We had a decent life in India, spent my childhood playing with friends, running on the streets, etc. Cannot complain. After moving to this country though, we struggled, a lot. I struggled to fit in as a child who had to learn English all of a sudden, but I managed. I learned Spanish, Somali, Japanese in the process too with my new diverse friends. Our finances, however, were poor. We lived in a bad neighborhood with no safety. I grew up often sleeping on the floor or roll out bed. I shopped at the thrift store, and my family’s idea of dinner nights were at fast food places. We had no family vacations except the free passes we got to local amusement parks from my dad’s job. My mother and father worked double shifts day and night to make ends meet while supporting family in India. I grew up in a tiny apartment with gunshots in the neighborhood, and girls being stalked, robberies, and kids being kidnapped. I grew up not feeling safe in my own neighborhood or home. I got my 1st job at 15 years of age at the school store through personal finance class where I was proud of the $5 per hour wage. I skipped lunch to work, and starved many days. That work ethic never left me. I saw and lived struggle, from harassment to lack of money. My parents could not even afford a house for their family growing up because of this struggle. I envied my friends who lived in houses and I would sleepover and have slumber parties, things little girls love to do! Our UNO and card games, secrets, and pillow fights. I learned to work hard and be my own hero, and learned to value and put my family first. Money was never a reward, instead, I knew if I worked hard, God would give me the money I need and more. I used my 1st paycheck after I turned 18, since I could not do this before 18, to sponsor a girl child in India to get her education. I, myself, growing up poor, knew that giving is the real means of life. Someone always has it worse than you. That childhood, taught me to be the financially savvy woman that I am today. I learned habits and tricks to stretch every dollar or rupee and travel the world for cheap, and free sometimes. I make every dollar work for my advantage, and that of my friends, as I have given my friends free flights too with my reward points.

My life goal is not to be a millionaire. I hate expensive things and materialism. I like simplicity and this less is more. I love walking around in gym clothes, and hate designer clothes. I do not like jewelry, Gold, or silver. I do not waste my money on these things. Instead, I save. I use coupons, and credit cards with travel rewards. The two best travel reward cards out there are Capital One Venture One AND Chase Sapphire. With these, I manage to get free flights, to Mexico, other US states, and free hotel stays. I also got travel expenses reimbursed from my trips to India, South America, Europe. If I spend $1000 on a trip, I somehow get 10-20% back in the long run through these points and miles. I have been upgraded for free in world class airlines such as Emirates from Economy to 1st class due to my miles. It is all about accumulating miles. If I know I have a big purchase coming up, I use the card which will give me more points for every dollar spent. People spend extra money to stay in fancy hotels and traveling excursions, while I find deals and bargain. When I was in Cozumel Mexico, I bargained the cost of zip-lining down to what I thought was OK. Some cases, if I know local people need this money, I will give it to them, but for large corporations or for-profit, I have no mercy. I have a NGO and non-profit mentality. I spent my 1st year as a nurse volunteering for free in India, but it was the best year of my life. Money does not buy happiness; experiences do.

Credit card miles and points are great and all, but also keep up to date with coupons. I recently bought an electric toothbrush for $3, which was originally $8. I used a reward bucks with the local pharmacy and multiple discount codes. I have bad allergies, and know when I will be running out of medications, so I am sure to save up coupons and has HSA aka health savings account to bridge the gap between insurance and high deductible out of pocket costs. Some things are more expensive than they need to be in this country, unfortunately, even healthcare providers have medical bills and expenses and poor insurance coverage. Having a health savings account comes in handy and is very valuable for today’s times. I also have had phases without insurance, and that is when I had gotten Pneumonia and was very sick. I, myself a healthcare provider, treating others daily, had no insurance for 3 months during my new job, and had so many out of pocket costs. I used my old HSA card from previous job and GoodRx app discounts to pay $0 for all of my medications.

Many things are not fair in life. We are not given what we want so God can teach us to grow and turn ourselves into the best version of ourselves. I grew up without vacations, but now travel the world. I grew up shopping at the thrift store, including buying my interview outfit from there for my 1st Nurse practitioner job, to traveling the country for medical conferences being in a room learning from highly intelligent and caring colleagues of physicians, NPs, and PAs. I went from being shy and timid being a victim of harassment and stalking, to standing up for women in the workplace against workplace harassment and any man that tries to control me or display signs of abusive behavior. Money is just money, it will come and go, but our own strength and wisdom, street smarts, and book smarts, knowledge and experience, will help us conquer life. The value of $1 is that of 1 million for me, and will always be, and 1 million dollars, will mean nothing to me. Money never excites me. Adventure does. Growth does. Deep intellectual conversations about life does.

 

La fin dia en Costa Rica

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Last day in Costa Rica. Rico indeed. Rico means beutiful or very good! I learned that word in Colombia during my 2 months South America backpacking trip earlier this year. I use rico to compliment people and food especially when eating out or someone’s cooked meals. Speaking of which, I am staying at a 1915 vintage style hotel called Hotel 1915. I can say that as I am leaving, or else I would never mention name. It is across a police station too! I think this hotel is so cute and elegant! Simple yet rustic. My style. I love the yellow lights, high wooden ceilings, old fashioned doors. The breakfast was free, included technically. Heart healthy! Fruits, orange juice, coffee, fried plantains, and gallo pinto, traditional bean and rice breakfast dish of Costa Rica! Muy rico! My goal is to learn the recipe. I always make it a point to recreate the dishes I fall in love with when traveling such as bean soup of Colombia, potato soup of Ecuador, and now this! A taste of my travels shall stay with me through food and memories. Yesterday, I roamed around until it got dark. After I arrived at Alajuela bus station by the airport from La Fortuna, 4.5 hour bus ride, I called uber using my app. I use uber a lot. It is safer than taxis as it tracks my whereabouts. Crazy story: As I was getting off of the big bus, the lady, solo travelinh with her child, in seat next to mine had a toddler and luggage, so I was like necesita ayuda? I helped her carry her bags so she can carry her son off the bus. Women’s code. Somehow, I bond with women and children all over the world. It is like we have a secret code to look after eachother! Anyway, we got off of the back door, so I did not get to ask the conducter to get out my backbag from the bus storage on the side of the bus. He closed the doors soon as th lady, little boy, and I got off. I ran to the front of the bus and knocked on the door vigorously screaming disculpame. He opened the door, an I was like necesita mi monchilla. I need my backbag. The conducter/driver finally got off the bus to open the storage to get my bag. Close call! I keep nothing valuable in my bookbag anyway. I am a light packer and literally carried my bag on my lap on the bus ride to la Fortuna. Therefore, missed luggage does not bother me, a seasoned traveler. Anyway, then uber driver dropped me to hotel. I just needed by clothes and allergy meds, but I could have bought that in town if needed. I later walked around town to find a good restaurant. Some tex mex with local and central/south American cuisine. Very international and local fusion. It was soo good! I got free desert too! I was so tempted to get Colombian Arepas that I love so much! Instead, I went with enchiladas which were good too! I miss Colombian food! Colombia is one of my fav countries in the world! I made so many friends and memories there! The Colombian cuisine is mouth watering! Costa Rica is very nice too! Each place has it’s own charm and beauty. My backpack is packed and ready to catch uber to airport! Chiao! It is always sad saying goodbye to a new place that starts to feel like home. A piece of traveler’s heart is left in every place he or she lives in. This is not a vacation for me, instead, it is a life lesson and real world education. New streets, food people, finding my way, local public transport, navigating, climbing, hiking, ziplining, rapelling, so many lessons learned. Journey of personal growth. There is no problem that does not have a solution. Anything is possible if one believes. Travel taught me that as a solo female navigating the world on her own, funding her travels and time wisely to make these adventures possible! Si se puede! Yes you can!

Hasta Luego La Fortuna y el Volcan

Screenshot_20181209-083003_Samsung Experience HomeI am so thankful and grateful for what life has given me! The girl who grew up without family vacations, saw Disney only on Disney channel, and too shy, is now metamorphised into a world traveler in the last decade. My youth has been filled with adventure and travels, for education, work, volunteering, and leisure! I am blessed! I do not wait to live life until retirement as tomorow is never guaranteed. Costa Rica has been so lovely and welcoming. I got to know locals. Now, I have to say bye to La Fortuna, cute little town with volcano backdrop! The history of the volcano and town is fascinating! I have to come back.in the future, so much more to explore! At the zipliping company yesterday, I met such kind locals and travelers. I met a sweet rescue dog that was starving for love and affection. I used to scared of animals, but now, I pet cats and dogs, hold snakes.. Travel has made me grow so much! It teaches lessons and opens one’s mind beyond any book. Once a mind is open, it cannot go back to previous closed minded ignorance. Travel is antidote to ignorance. I also went to local park last night after having local choco ice cream, yummy! I love chocolate times 1000000, and Costa Rica is known for great chocolate plantations! I got some off farm for me! I also live off of hot choco here! The 4 traveler guys on my ziplining shuttle bus asked me if I was a consultant, for traveling since I book last min and travel so much for cheap and make it work with my busy work schedule! I was like, no, just my hobby! One of them was a solo traveler like me who travels alone and stays in hostels, an Indian. Very rarely I meet Indian solo travelers. Again, closed mindedness by parents limiting their grown adult children to not live their lives. I broke out of those shackles long ago! My amazing family is never shocked when I travel solo now! They kno how much of travel and adventure is therapy for me and my busy life. Travel is therapy, and I need my regular dose to keep me happy and at peace. I also met amazing tour guides who were so kind. I got stuck on two ziplines. One of them got back out on zipline to pull me to the tree house since I was having hard time pulling my body back with hands. It is a workout! One of the tour guides was saying how a man was planning a proposal for his girlfriend there, and they were setting up flowers at the ziplining place! It was soo sweet! These people won my heart! They truly care about strangers like myself who travel for mere days, yet they leave an lasting impression on me with their kindness and helping others! Beautiful souls! My career leads to burnout fast as you spend all day caring for others, and get mistreated sometimes, and you get no time to care for yourself, mind, body, soul. Travel is soul food! Happy Travels! It is raining! Got to pack soon, want to go to local iglesia aka church and head out of town! I have become friends with waiter at this cafe! I come here all the time!! I feel at home whereever I go in the world, as I learned to flexible and make most of every situation. Travel taught me to get out of my shell! It made me who I am! May be I should be a travel consultant! I love inpiring and motivating others! Young girls and other women look up to me when they hear my stories, and I strive to be a role model leading by example. Do not let status quo or dogma limit your goals and passions. On your death bed, no watch or car will be with you. Only your faith and memories of living  fulfilled life will..