A Love Lost; A Love Gained

storms on jumeirah beach dubai uae

When I first thought about writing this story, I envisioned it’d be the kind with the happy ending. You know the one I’m talking about: where the guy and girl end up together happily ever after. But, life happens.

Picture it: Austin, 2013.

I was six months out of a four-year relationship and heartbroken that he’d moved on so quickly and I was floundering. I’d moved into my friends’ house; then moved out of their house into another friends’ house. I spent most of my days at work or going to grad school; trying to build my blog; and planning my escape from work.

My first relationship after the “big one” was with a guy I’d known for several years and I was feeling happy again; excited about a future with him. Until one day, he texted me (yes, texted) that he ran into a girl he used to hook up with and decided he wanted to be with her instead. That whole, “sorry, I didn’t mean for this to happen; you’re a great person and I still want to be friends” bullshit that you know is never going to work.

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Autumn Activities in New South Wales, Australia

Autumn is one of those magical times in the year when landscapes start to change, with colorful reds, and warm yellows in bloom it is hard job to stay indoors. Enjoy six events around New South Wales, with a lineup of art, culture and entertainment there is something for every kind of traveler, adventurer or wine connoisseur.

Image found here.

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7 Lesser Known (Yet Mesmerizing) Destinations in Goa

Image found here.

Goa is India’s own Las Vegas. We tend to ignore the hidden beauty of this place and only stick to parties and destinations which are visited by most tourists. The city is the home of many adventures and mysteries. Goa is not only the dream travel destination for the people in the country but is also popular among tourists worldwide. Escape the crowds by visiting unexplored destinations which will take your breath away.

Let’s go on the journey of the secret attractions which Goa has in store for us.

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Explore Pakistan with Me

I’ve been a bit quiet about my trip to Pakistan because I’ve been busy working on this! I wanted to give you all a visual of the trip. This 7-minute video covers almost every single stop I took during my few weeks in Pakistan–all the adventure, fun, peace, and culture.

I hope you’ll stick through until the end, which is my personal favorite part. Enjoy! And let me know if you’re ready to book a flight there after.

I took this trip with my friend’s (Ghayyur) company, Travelore Adventures, and all videos are either mine or Ghayyur’s. If you’re interested in visiting Pakistan, I recommend reaching out to him as he helped me design exactly the trip I wanted to take in Pakistan.

2016 Travel Recap

once a year go someplace you've never been before

found here

Now that 2016 has come to an end, a lot of people are reflecting on the year and making resolutions for the new year. My main resolution/wish for every year is to continue leading a life of adventure, in whatever way I can. Some years are more adventurous than others, but I always manage to sneak in a few trips!

While 2016 will go down in the books as “the worst year ever” for a lot of people, it will go down as a pretty good one for me. I had some pretty awesome travels; got to spend some good quality time with friends and family; worked out some personal things; got a promotion at work; and have some good ideas for what I want out of life in 2017.

But since this is a travel blog, let’s focus on the travel! (And I know I haven’t written about some of these trips yet–I failed pretty miserably at blogging in 2016.)

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The Long Road to Shogran, Pakistan

Siri Paye Pakistan

We packed into the van at 2am and found our “beds” for the 8-hour drive to Shogran from Islamabad. Because there were only five of us, I figured this would be a pretty cushy ride and I might actually get some sleep. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was bad enough that one of the two seats I had to sprawl out on wouldn’t actually tilt up, which didn’t allow for a sturdy base to sleep against, but the roads were so bumpy that actually staying on the “bed” was difficult. At some point in the night, I pushed the 16 one-liter bottles of water against my seat row and put my pillow on that to give myself at least a bit of extra room; then I put my foot against the engine hump in front of me to keep myself from falling off the seats as we bounced around.

Quickly though, the night sky lifted and the sun was coming up and I realized there was no slumber for me. Two hours of sleep on my second night in Pakistan was about all I was going to get to enjoy. I sat up and watched out the window as the sun rose and turned everything pink for a while. I felt like I was finally getting to see some of what Pakistan was really like.

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My Arrival in Islamabad, Paksitan

faisal masjid mosque islamabad

After 20+ hours of travel, most everything about landing in Islamabad, Pakistan is a blur–the gathering of my things, deplaning, how did I even get into the terminal? It’s 4am local time and my only feelings are anxiety about finally visiting Pakistan, and discomfort–I want a shower; it’s hot; I’ve been wearing the same clothes for longer than I like; my legs are swollen; and I’m dying of thirst.

I approach the short foreigners’ and diplomat line, wondering how long it’ll take me to get through as a first-time visitor to the country, and pull out my phone to text my friend that I’ve arrived. He said, “I know. I’m watching you. You’re wearing a red sweater.” Apparently there are cameras recording and displaying our images to the entire arrivals area, and I can’t decide how I feel about that.

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Post-Election Commentary: Why I’m Sad and Scared

Smith kids vote

In 2008, I shed tears of genuine elation that we, as a nation, had finally come together and progressed to a point where we elected our first black president. For eight happy years, I lived in relative bliss knowing that this man had my back because he had my nation’s best interests at heart. His administration ended the Reign of Terror enacted by George W. Bush, and it was nice to be able to travel abroad without people asking me essentially, “what the fuck is wrong with your country and your president?”

Two days ago, I shed tears of sadness, fear, anger, and frustration when Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump. All of the hope that I had for continued progress was dashed in that moment. We, as a nation, elected a man who is not fit to run our country.

A lot of people have been posting that it’s “just an election” and that the “liberals” and “elites” need to get over it, there’s no reason to cry. Obama himself said, “the sun will be up tomorrow.” And yes, the sun has come up, and it is “just” an election, but it’s so much more than that. I’ve never been comfortable with people telling me how to feel or to stop feeling a certain way. So I’m here to tell you: feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Cry, if you need to. I’ve cried several times. I know it may seem melodramatic, but I’m mourning the loss of the progress that we’ve made for eight years under the Obama administration. I’m mourning the hope I had for our first woman president–for a president who would advance this country in so many ways and continue to make us a great nation.

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How to get a Pakistani Tourism Visa

upper kachura lake pakistan Getting a tourism visa for Pakistan was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I was really discouraged after the first visa application was rejected. I spent weeks getting together documentation, filling out paperwork, and more. I spent $192 on the visa application, plus the cost of return mailing in express envelopes. And on top of that, I spent a lot of time, anxious about the status. Did I want to go through all of that again?

I gave myself a couple of days to be sad about it, wrote a blog post about it, and decided to try again.

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I’m a Traveler and a Trump Presidency Scares Me

new yorker donald trump

New Yorker

The upcoming US Presidential Election is not just a huge deal for those of us who live in the United States. It’s grabbing headlines around the world, and most everyone is watching to see what will happen on November 8th.

My travels over the past few months have seen the topic of politics come up numerous times–foreigners wanting to know both my political stance and what I think will happen to the United States and the rest of the world based on the election results.

It’s no secret that I’m a Democrat. I’ve brought up politics and my bleeding-heart liberal ways on this blog before. I don’t hold people’s politics against them; and I hope no one will hold mine against me. My feeling is that politics are exciting to talk about and debate over, and as long as we can have intelligent conversations and discourse about them, we’re all good.

While I’ll be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton in a couple short weeks, the outcome of the election is still one big question mark, and that causes me much anxiety. Why? Because I’ve thought about a world in which Donald Trump is president of our country and that scares me beyond belief.

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