All posts filed under: Reflections

How Responsible Tourism Can Challenge Patriarchy in India.

Over the course of my travels in India, I’ve found myself in some strange predicaments. Once, I was in the home of a middle class family in the mountains, ready to pounce on delicious local food after a long, back-breaking journey. But when I arrived in the dining area, I found myself joined only by the men of the family, as the women served, and then waited on us from a distance. I sat in awkward silence, not sure if I should join the women in the kitchen and further the house’s patriarchal traditions, or eat with the men as the women waited. I could imagine the same scene playing out in hundreds of households across the country. At the end of the awkward (though delicious) meal, the elderly male head of the household said to me with a disconcerting confidence: I think I’ve figured out why you ate so little, it was probably because you were eating in my presence. As much as I hate to admit it, India is a country with a deep-seated patriarchy, that reveals itself …

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 …

Sri Lanka airbnb, Shivya nath

My 15 Most Memorable Moments of 2015.

I fell asleep with local rum and Spanish music in Nicaragua when the calendars flipped to 2015. The year feels like a racy dream – from the Himalayas to the Caucasus, from working on a vineyard in Germany to going vegan in New York, from living with nomads in the Mars-like desert of Jordan to watching a meteor shower in the cracked salty desert of Gujarat. These moments of incredulous beauty and serendipity filled me with an inexplicable love for the road. Behold, my 2015 in a nutshell: The Caribbean spirit: Trinidad & Tobago I knew nothing about the West Indies (well, except cricket) until I actually landed in Trinidad, thanks to an incredibly cheap flight from New York. And it was an instant love affair. Trinidadians have the coolest accent I’ve ever heard. We had pristine white sand beaches all to ourselves, pigged out on Caribbean-Creole-Indian influenced food like “Buss Ab Shut”, and hiked in the mountains of the indigenous herb-growing Paramin community. Giraffes in my backyard: South Africa I was a bit bummed out when my first South Africa trip, planned by South …