The Charm of Paraty, Brazil

paraty brazil

Eleven years ago I took my first trip abroad to study in Rome, Italy. I’ve written pretty extensively about how that trip changed my life in a variety of ways, but one of the best ways is that it brought some amazing friends into my life. One of those friends happens to be a handsome Brazilian, Erico. Over the years of our friendship, I heard many stories from him about this dream of a place where he grew up–Paraty–about halfway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The way he spoke of it conjured up so many images in my mind, to the point where I was already fantasizing about living in this small town in a country that I’d never even stepped foot on.

For years, Erico tried to get me to visit him in Brazil. Every time I’d start to plan for it, something else would come up. The timing never truly aligned for us, such is the case for most things in life. Finally, in January of this year, I agreed that I’d plan a trip to see him, and that this time I was serious and would go no matter what came up. So, at the end of June, I boarded my flight to Brazil to see Erico for the first time in 10 years, and to finally see this beautiful country (and town) that he spoke so fondly of.

Continue reading

Top 5 Attractions in India that will Motivate You

The land of civilizations and the cradle of ancient cultures, India has had a long history. Many battles have been fought and lands have been claimed, religions and cultures have been shifted and spread. This country that claims unity in diversity has a large number of monuments ranging from religious structures to the buildings that stand for patriotism and freedom.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the charm that these monuments have holds a special significance for anyone who has ever seen them. Yet, there are a few that stand out. These special monuments have the power to shake our most long-held beliefs and motivate us beyond our imagination. Here we present to you a list of the top five attractions in India that will motivate you.

1. Taj Mahal

taj mahal

The Taj Mahal in Agra is one of the seven wonders of the world. Built as a mausoleum, this monument is usually what comes to people’s minds when they think of India. Taj Mahal is the undisputed symbol of love and presents to visitors of Agra the awe-inspiring beauty that man is capable of bringing to life. To know more about Taj Mahal and city of Agra, visit this link.

The faultless symmetry, delicate designs, and beautiful wall carvings of the Taj Mahal have been paid attention to. Twenty thousand workers were brought to Agra and they created this stunning marvel in the seventeenth century. If looking at the Taj Mahal makes you feel inspired to do something great for your beloved, or makes you feel passionate towards working for your future with the same desire that the artists of this monument had once presented, you are not the only one!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.)

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading