Month: February 2016

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An Experiential Guide to New York City.

There’s something about New York City that is easy to love. Maybe it’s that you can hear four different languages in the span of one short metro ride. Or that you can find restaurants serving the rarest of cuisines. Or that you never feel judged, no matter who you are, what you look like, what you wear, or how you talk. I’ll be honest. Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and other flashy New York sights didn’t evoke in me what they possibly evoke in other travellers. But being part of the city even for a few weeks (again and again) is what I came to love. Behold, my humble attempt to put together a New York guide beyond the touristy sights and sounds, scratching a little below the city’s surface in fall and winter: Slow travel in NYC Fall colors along Riverside: I vividly remember the moment I knew I wanted to stay longer in the city. It was a crisp autumn afternoon, and I was sitting under a tree – its leaves bursting in shades of …

dominican republic

Unexpected Friendships in The Dominican Republic.

Porque viajas sola? Why do you travel alone? Some questions don’t change even on the other side of the globe. I was sitting in a cave under a waterfall, beer in hand, in the Dominican Republic – a Caribbean nation that hadn’t been on my radar until I found a cheap flight and two unplanned weeks in New York. I was sitting in a cave under a waterfall, beer in hand, with Juanin, a newfound friend who had quit his job in a golf resort to become an independent guide – leading curious travellers to secret waterfalls and pristine villages near the north coast, one of which he grew up in. I wanted to tell Juanin that I travel alone because if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be sitting with him in a cave under a waterfall, beer in hand, chatting like long lost friends. Even for an introvert like me, solo travel lends itself to unexpected friendships all the time. And so it was in the Dominican Republic: Una vida: You have one life. When the folks at my sweet abode …

Airbnb sri lanka

7 Epic (yet affordable) Airbnbs to Stay in Sri Lanka.

As the first rays of sunlight streamed through my window, I drowsily opened my eyes to a panoramic 180-degree view of Knuckles Mountains. Victoria Lake shimmered below, as though waking up with me, and my infinity pool beckoned for a morning dip. Laying in bed, I blinked a few times to convince myself this wasn’t a dream in which I had become a billionaire – it was just my incredible (yet affordable) Airbnb in the paradise island of Sri Lanka. Three years ago, on my first trip to Sri Lanka, I wrote: “It’s not a country for flashpackers: Our moderate budget only seems to afford drab guesthouses / budget hotels – average accommodation quality, no local insights, nothing memorable.” Airbnb changed that. I found homes with million dollar views, the design quality of luxurious boutique hotels, and infinity pools that could easily make the coolest infinity pools to swim in before you die list. I got a chance to sample traditional family recipes (adapted to my vegan preference) that feature in no restaurant menus. And I left the country with treasured friendships with local hosts I wouldn’t otherwise have met. All this while staying kind to my …

Gujarati thali, Gujarat food

Why I Turned Vegan – And What It Means for My Travel Lifestyle.

I had no idea that an ordinary ‘chicken bus’ ride in Nicaragua was (sort of) going to transform my life. But that’s how it is with the road; it changes you when you least expect it. I no longer remember what our destination was, only that the chicken bus – so called because people are crammed in like chickens – was far more crowded than usual because it was the day before New Year, and locals were heading home to the rural countryside. An old Nicaraguan lady kept her sack next to my feet, and I felt it move! When staring didn’t work, I asked her in polite Spanish to move it. Minutes later, I felt something poking my back. Much to my horror, inside were three little squeaking chicks trying to survive in a sack without a hole to breathe. I breathed a sigh of relief when the lady got off at her stop. Clearly she had taken the ‘chicken bus’ literally. Read: Isla de Ometepe: Where the Streets Have No Name A month or so later, while making myself an egg in …