Here we go again. I am sitting at my gate in the airport, waiting to embark on my next international journey, and probably my boldest yet. In eighteen hours, I will be across the globe in a land completely foreign to me… India.
It was India that had consumed my thoughts the last few months, and after countless hours of research and planning I am taking the plunge to quench my
ever-growing thirst for travel.
I have strategically studied blogs, articles and guidebooks for
weeks – trying to plan my journey and the stops I want to make in this colorful yet challenging country. The task was overwhelming – what to see when there is so much to choose from? I can now confidently say I have succeeded… I am ecstatic for the itinerary I have tediously perfected, which will take me to six different cities over the course of 18 days. I will venture to Delhi, Agra, Udaipur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, and Hyderabad. I will be completely solo and traveling via overnight trains with just my backpack, camera, and thoughts. I will strive to see and do everything India has to offer me… from enjoying exotic spices and tea atop a roof in the “Venice of India” all the way to spending a rugged night under the stars beside a camel in the Thar Desert.
Everything is before me and I couldn’t have more anticipation brewing inside. My nervousness is at a high which I expect to calm after the initial shock of a third world country full of contrasts and chaos all around
me. I hope to handle the inevitable annoyances of touts, scam artists, beggars, uncomfortable stares, and extreme poverty with confidence and care… after which
I can soak in the beauty, contrasting cultures, history, people, food, monuments, and overall life in India.
My eyes are peeled and my heart is open. I am surrendering to adventure and diving into the unknown.
…Here we go.
I am painfully aware that it has been nearly a month since I posted a new entry - I know. My bad. It's not that I am being lazy or ran out of material... I just seem to have misplaced the journal I brought to India on which I documented my trip... It is somewhere - I will find it soon. To make sure the blogging world knows I have not given up on Life's Too Short, I thought I'd give a quick breakdown of the cities to be featured soon in new posts...
FIRST STOP: New Delhi, India. Follow me as I explore India's capital city - a mecca of craziness, conjestion, pollution, and beauty all at once. Pictured is me in front of the largest mosque in all of India, the Jama Masjid.
STOP #2: Agra, India - Home to the Taj Mahal! I explored this world-renowned gem at sunrise on a quiet morning and ended up staying all day - the place is magical, and the city surrounding it is a site to see.
STOP #3: Udaipur, India. Soak in the beauty as I travel to this honeymoon getaway dubbed "the Venice of India" - where I take a boat ride through the floating palaces and learn Rajasthan art techniques in a prviate painting lesson.
STOP #4: Jump on "Moti", my elephant for the day - as we walk the grounds of the elephant orphanage I visited in Jaipur, India. See the great forts, meet local friends, shop in the Pink City, and join in a festival to top it all off!
STOP #5: Click the IPod on shuffle and hop on your camel... follow me on my overnight safari in the endless Thar Desert outside of Jaisalmer, India!
STOP #6: Carefully wrap your sari as I experience life firsthand with a local Indian family in the colorful metropolis of Hyderabad, India and see all this city has to offer.
STOP #7:Girls just want to have fun... it's true. My mom, sister and I jet off to the Big Apple for a girls' weekend of shopping in Soho, seeing the sites, and just letting loose on NYC.
STOP #8: Fort Lauderdale, Florida... here we come! Me and three best friends spend a week basking in the sun and tearing up this beachside city.
STOP #9: Another quick trip to New York is written about as my family and I enjoy my brother's NYU Graduation at Yankee Stadium and I buy my wedding gown at Kleinfeld's Bridal among other things!
STOP #10: Me, Tom, and two other couples welcome the year 2013 in style in Steamboat, Colorado! Nonstop skiing, dinners, and natural mountain hotsprings make this trip one of a kind.
So those are the upcoming blog posts where I am still playing "catchup" from past trips... then it will be onto Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (a NEW country for me) - and later my honeymoon extravaganza coming June 2013 where I will backpack throughout Italy and Greece. Happy traveling! Life's too short not to!
I literally just boarded the plane. It's large, and a bit more opulent than my more recent flights. I have a window seat on the left - next to a rather figgity man who seems to have 'flight phobia'. (My seat is 25A). I can hear British accents chattering all around me, as I did for the first time of the trip while waiting at Gate C19 for the last two hours. I can't believe this day is finally here!
My emotions have gone from stressed due to packing issues, incredibly sad and heart-wrenching to leave Tom, my parents, and friends -- to now pure excitement, anticipation, and fear of what's to happen next.
When I arrive, I expect to meet tons of new faces, see the beautiful city where I will be residing for the next four months, and learn all about the university, the people, culture, food, and overall differences in the way of life in the UK vs. US.
Although I am overcome by sadness every time I think about Tom and how hard it will be to be apart for so long, my goal in Europe remains the same. I want to embrace every moment, learn as much as possible, adapt to a culture completely unlike my own, and grow as a person.
I know the semester will fly by in the blink of an eye and I'll be back on a plane coming home for Christmas-time in Chicago before I know it -- so I plan to experience as much as possible and enjoy every opportunity overseas!
People always say, “Life’s too short”, but they don’t do anything about it. At age 24, I know I want to taste all manner in life and live it to the fullest. I am a "normal" girl in many ways, surrounded by normalcy in life. Chicago-born, I was blessed with opportunities to "vacation" in almost every US state as well as the Caribbean, Mexico, and Bahamas. In addition to the great vacationing my family has blessed me with, I have still possessed more… an inner need to TRAVEL. I want to see and do everything humanely possible, while maintaining a steady and grounded life. I have found that many in the United States do not possess such a desire to embrace cultures unknown, rather they are complacent with their everyday lives of work and play.
Well personally, my “travel itch” needed some desperate scratching two years back, so I decided to (somewhat spontaneously) leave my College town seeking true adventure. Thus, in the Fall of 2008, I ventured to Europe for 4 months to study abroad where I experienced London, Scotland, Barcelona, Dublin, the Scottish and UK highlands, Paris, Rome, Venice, Prague, Berlin, and Switzerland. It was AMAZING and life-changing to say the least.
I have since graduated from the University of Illinois in May of 2009 and have had just over two years experience the workplace in corporate America. I have every day pleasures which keep me endlessly happy, but still get that inevitable "travel itch" every few months. I have since ventured to Australia where I explored Melbourne, Sydney, and the Whitsunday Islands. A year later I flew solo to India where I travelled through six cities in just over two weeks. Throughout the year, I travel nationally a bit here and there, and enjoy my life day by day in Chicago.
I discovered the wonderful world of travel-blogging a little over a year ago; I was immediately hooked. I became obsessed with following complete strangers living out their dreams and traveling the world. I consistently read blogs, look at endless amounts of photos, and learn more about the world than I ever have, through the eyes of others just like myself. While I won’t be doing a full-out year or 18 month Round-The-World trip, I'd like to think I am doing the trip in segments here and there. I dream of a place, save up, plan my trip for weeks, and GO.
The stories in my Blog are of both international and national trips, complete with photographs, anecdotes, and sometimes videos. They begin on my flight to London in September 2008, (at the lovely age of 21), where I began my journal of experiences. I have my most cherished possesion, a hand-written book of writings and scraps from all of my travels, which is what I hope to transport into the virtual world here. My goal is to share my experiences with friends, family, and hopefully strangers like myself. I hope people enjoy my blog and are not only entertained but maybe even inspired to follow their dreams.
After all, life’s too short...