What’s inside my backpack + Packing tips

What’s inside my backpack

+ Packing tips

Every time I travel, I always bring my handy dandy backpack! I have been asked so MANY times how the heck I fit everything for a trip inside there!?! I will get to that.

 

Picking out the right outfits for your trip

I’ll be honest, I love wearing pajamas almost as much as I love dressing up (I said almost!) You can usually find me wearing comfy clothes while hanging out around the house, running errands too! So when do I get the chance to give my “pretty clothes” the time of day?! I would hate for them to feel left out, ya know? Well, traveling is the answer!! I already love traveling for 8 million reasons, which makes getting to wear creative outfits the cherry on top!

I consider it a great joy to pick out outfits that “match” the theme of the place I am traveling to! Going to Scottland? Wear Plaid. Going to France? Pack a beret! Etc. It’s so fun!!! It’s like playing adult dress up! I don’t always wear what that place is known for, sometimes I just wear what I think will look good in the pictures I plan to take there!

 

 

To start this outfit planning process, I blast music and put on a fashion show for myself! (You heard me). I pull over the extra clothing rack I have and set it right next to the body mirror. Next, I rummage through all of my clothes, pulling out and hanging up anything that might be a potential fit for the trip!

 

 

Next, try everything on!!!

Check every outfit combination along the way in the mirror and ask yourself these questions.

  1. Do I feel confident in this?
  2. Will this look good with a particular monument or place where I am traveling to?
  3. Is it comfortable enough to wear all day and do a lot of walking in?

*Don’t fret! If you are just dying to get a picture in a certain outfit and it just ain’t that comfy? Plan to wear it for a quick pic and bring a change of clothes with you that day to change into afterward! Yes, this is as extra as it gets, but sometimes it is just worth it!

Go through each day in your mind and find an outfit that works for the events you have planned for that day! For example–> A fancy event, a hiking day, a rainy day, a swimming day, etc. These are all things you need to think about while packing for THAT day. If you do not have set plans for your trip, just try your best to plan for a variety of potential activities and weather.

Don’t forget the add on’s! With the outfit on, take note of what else you need to complete that outfit. Don’t just guess what you think will go with it, try it on to be sure! Nothing is worse than packing blindly, thinking something will look good together and then getting there and realizing it doesn’t! Gasp! Try it with earrings, a belt, a hat, special socks, a certain style of bra/underwear, anything you need with that outfit! You don’t want to show up with a strapless dress and realize you didn’t think to pack your strapless bra! I’m sure you see my point.

Take Pictures

After you have pulled everything out of your closet and have a set idea of what you’re going to bring, put each completed outfit on (accessories and all) and TAKE A FULL BODY PICTURE in the mirror! Do this for each outfit you want to bring. Why you may ask? Simple, when you arrive on your first day and you can’t remember what the heck you packed and everything is all rolled up and hard to see in your backpack, you just look at your outfit planning pictures! Like this, “Oh yeah! I forgot I packed that amazing outfit with those earings. Cool!” It may sound ridiculous, but it works!! You can thank me later.

Once you have designated the correct accessories, underwear AND have taken your final picture of an outfit, set all of it aside in a “ready to be packed” pile.

 

The art of packing

Yes, it is an art. Packing it all in a backpack does require you to be somewhat minimalistic. But not as much as you would think!! People always ask me how I manage to fit cute clothes in my backpack… Like I’m sorry, what? Cute clothes fit in just the same as grungy clothes! Haha, silly people! Yes, you have to get creative with certain things though. Like maybe try not to pack heavy duty jeans with every single outfit! That would take up a lot of room! Try throwing in some lightweight dresses that roll up really small into the mix! You could also do leggings! OR, just be ok with wearing the same pair of jeans more than once.

 

 

I have mentioned this “rolling” thing a few times now. I think most people know this packing trick already, but just in case you don’t, I will go over it. ROLL all of your clothes tightly and then pack them in as tight as possible! This is a more efficient way to pack compared to regular old folding! The bag will fit way more items in this way!

 

What’s Inside?

As for my actual packing list, it looks a little something like this.

Main Carry on Backpack:

-Day 1-7 outfits (including accessories and underwear)

-Laptop

-Electronics pouch (Holds chargers, SD cards, earphones, camera battery, etc)

– Shoes. Pack the flat ones into the side pockets, wear the chunky shoes on my feet for the flight.

-Hats. Giant one goes on my head for the flight, smaller/compactable ones go in the bag.

-Minimal makeup (powder, brow shadow, blush, lipstick)

-A couple meds. -A few Ibuprofen, Sudafed, anti-acid chews, etc. Just in case.

-Mini liquids. (Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, hairspray, dry shampoo, face lotion)

-Neck pillow (hangs on top of the backpack)

-A mini camera tripod (put inside the other side pocket)

-My camera (although this is actually hanging around my neck, not in my bag)

Side note- I try to never bring hair tools. Well, I do bring a brush actually! But most hotels & Airbnb’s will provide blowdryers though! Luckily my hair does fine just air drying. But if yours doesn’t, you can get creative with your hairstyles that don’t require heat! OR….just shove it in the bag.

 

 

Next, there is the “personal item” as it is referred to on the airplane. This can be a purse or a small backpack! But keep in mind, this is another thing you will have to carry around from place to place, so don’t make it too heavy! (Been there, done that!) For me, this looks like one of two things- a small backpack or side satchel that carries a small number of necessities to go out for the day with.

An alternative option that I try not to do too often (because it can be a pain in the butt) is to bring one of those sturdy produce bags! I will use this if I am planning to do a promotional photo shoot in certain items that don’t fit in the main backpack. Ex- giant hats, multiple purses, big jackets, etc. It works if you need to do it, but if you don’t, I suggest making your personal item as light and small as possible.

In the small satchel version of my personal item, this is what you will find inside:

-Passport

-Credit card

-Chapstick/lipstick

-Band-aid

-Pocket tissues (necessary because other countries don’t always provide toilet paper in their bathrooms!)

-Feminine products, because you never know!

-A little cash

-Phone battery pack

-A couple Ibuprofen

 

Why a backpack?

Lastly, I would just like to clarify that I am NOT lugging my backpack around with me all day every day. Wherever I check into for my stay, I leave my main backpack there for the day while I go out and explore! All I bring out with me is my small day bag (satchel or fanny pack) that has the small things I need while out and about. Oh, and I bring my camera everywhere with me of course! This means I only have to “lug around” my backpack in-between changing hotel/Airbnb locations. It’s really not so bad!

I prefer backpacking compared to rolling around a suitcase because it’s just more convenient for me to have something strapped on my back rather than it dragging/rolling behind me on the floor! Especially when you are in a huge crowd rushing through metro stations. The rolling ones tend to trip people…

 

Answering IG Story questions about Backpacking:

(There are a ton of similar questions, so I will condense and answer)

Q: How do you fit everything you need into one backpack?

A: Outfit plan with precision and be sure to roll up everything! Bring mini and compact items. Not huge, chunky ones!

 

Q: What is better, backpack or a roller suitcase? And why?

A: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I personally love having the backpack. It just feels more efficient to me. Plus it doesn’t get super in the way like a rolling suitcase does! And stairs!!! I would much rather have a bag on my back for walking up all those steps in the metro station!

 

Q: Do you get tired lugging the backpack around everywhere?

A: Sometimes, but if the backpack fits correctly, it should have a buckle latch that connects in front of your stomach that holds most of the weight of your backpack on your waist (which is not as tiring). Also, you shouldn’t have to bring your backpack everywhere. Just bring it when you are changing hotels and whatnot. Don’t bring it out with you every day.

Also, if you are not able to check into your hotel right when you arrive, or maybe you are at a hostel that doesn’t have big enough lockers for your backpack, you can usually google “coin lockers” in the area you are staying and that way you have a place to drop your bag safely for the day. You should never have to carry it for too terribly long!

 

Q: Do you have to do make due without some stuff that you might normally want to take in a regular suitcase?

A: I don’t! A lot of people overpack when they bring suitcases…which is fine, just a personal preference. But when I put the proper time and planning into my packing, I always have everything I need!

 

That’s about it, folks! Hopefully this helps the next time you are packing for a trip! Thank you all so much for your questions. I hope I answered everything you wanted to know!

Enjoy your travels!

Xoxo,

Sj2themoon

 

[ALL pictures edited with my personalized sj2themoon presets. You can purchase those here.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s inside my backpack + Packing tips

Road Trip Tips- 3 ways to save money

Roadtrippers

My husband and I are moving all the way from Arizona to Georgia! We got all of our belongings packed in the car and ready to make the drive! But of course we didn’t want to just drive from point A to point B, so we decided to make a huge cross country road trip out of it! Here is the picture of all the stops we made.

 

Throughout the trip, we had some amazing adventures along the way with family, old friends, and new friends! On this trip we attended a wedding, went on a double date, attended a New Year’s Eve party, went on a mini Roadtrip within our road trip, got stuck in the snow, snowmobiled at Yellowstone National Park, waited out a snowstorm, made a surprise appearance, got a flat tire, ate some gumbo in New Orleans, took a photo shoot for a singer in Nashville, and eventually made it all the way to our new home in Georgia 🙂

As you can see, we now have some serious experience under our belt in the road tripping department! Now I have some big ol’ tips for saving you some time and money while on your road trip!

Road Trip Tips

#1 Gas Buddy. An App/website. This is a community that reports gas prices. With Everyone continually updating the gas prices around you, it makes it simple to know which gas station to go to. Not only is it good for your hometown, but I use it for road trips to find out which ones are cheapest to fill up at along the way. In average, I save anywhere from $40-$60 on road trip gas money now because of Gas Buddy. A perk of looking this up on their actual website (as opposed to the app) is their “Trip cost calculator.” That option isn’t currently available on their app yet, but it is worth going to their website to use. That is what helps me while planning my budget for the whole road trip.

#2 Waze. An app with a community that updates each other on the fastest routes, cops, speed traps, objects in the road, etc. and it has a “real time” fastest route checker. In most places where there are a lot of people using it and putting in updates, it can even be more updated than google maps! This is particularly useful when avoiding traffic, accidents and construction work.  Recently they added a gas price feature, so we will see if it replaces gas buddy in the near future!

#3 Couch Surfing. A community of travelers which help each other to experience the world by opening their homes to each other. Whether it’s a private room or a couch, it is offered for free! But, it is important to build up your reputation for being a good host/guest so that others will be more willing to open up their home to you too. All of the reviews are recorded on the app/website so the community knows. It’s a way for travelers to give back to the traveling community. It’s not a place for freeloaders, it’s crucial to really play a role in the community. They also have “Couch surfing events” in many cities throughout the world. Seeking out and attending these events will help you make new friends and build up a good reputation as part of the community.

Bonus Tip

Because I love ya’ll, I will share one more small tip! It’s pretty simple, but most people don’t think to do it. Pre-pack meals for the road!!! Half of the road trip expense is from buying fast food all along the way! If you have room, bring a cooler and stuff it full of meals made from home! You might as well bring it all because by the time you get home, all the food in your fridge would have gone bad anyway! Take the time and pack it all up. If you are anything like me, I enjoy eating out while on the road, but I quickly get tired of fast food! It is nice to be able to reach in the back and grab out your next meal! Saves time too, since you aren’t stopping as frequently!

Ya know what else? Recently we have been getting asked, “What the heck we do for a living to be able to afford frequent traveling?” And to that I say, there is an efficient and inexpensive way to do almost anything, but you do have to prioritize, of course! I know you too can make road trips cheap, easy, and enjoyable if you follow these tips that I provided! I will continue to give more tips on easy and cheap travels in the future!

Have fun road trippers!

Here is a small example of my prepacked food to save money.

 

Here are some pictures from all along the way of our grand road trip 🙂

Stay Wild, Moon Child

#becomingbohemian

Road Trip Tips- 3 ways to save money

West Yellowstone, a Winter Wonderland

Exploring West Yellowstone

As most of you know, Kent and I have been on this extravagant road trip all across the states! We are actually moving from Arizona to Georgia. Lots of new things to come this year! Can’t wait to share it all with you.:) Amongst this glorious road trip, we got invited by Kent’s relatives to join them on a snowmobile ride through West Yellowstone. Of course, we said yes! That is something I had never done, and you know I’m all about that! So, instead of going straight to Georgia, we decided to go up and over through Montana so that we could join for the Yellowstone trip along the way. 🙂

Driving up through Idaho was intense! Slipping and sliding everywhere on the ice, yet somehow managing to stay safe! At one point we were nervous that we wouldn’t even be able to pass through, due to all the snow. The thought of that was devastating because we would have missed the entire snow trip! Luckily we still made it to Yellowstone and met up with the family soon after. It was so fun being all together for this adventure! Pretty soon we were all lined up in a row of snowmobiles, decked out in full snow gear get up and all! We looked pretty cool, not gonna lie!;) But you know what’s even cooler?! Kents GREAT grandpa (Papa) is the one who organized and attended this whole amazing trip! He is 93 years old and he is as active and adventurous as can be! He rode that snowmobile like a champ! I want to be that awesome when I am his age! You rock Papa. 

Where do I go in Yellowstone?

Visiting Yellowstone was as snowy and gorgeous as ever! It was literally a winter wonderland. We rode through on snowmobiles, made possible through a business called “Two Top Yellowstone Winter Tours”. I highly recommend paying them a visit to schedule a trip! It was the most beautiful winter scene I ever set my eyes on! Adrenaline rushed through me as I rode through there on our snowmobile! I can already tell, this year is going to be full of trying new things, and I can’t wait!!

At Two Top, they really hook you up! They provide the full snow attire, which includes snow boots, snowsuit, gloves, face mask, and helmet! Ok.. pretty sure I looked like an astronaut but I’m totally ok with that.

During our ride, I had the opportunity to see “Old Faithful” erupt! Old faithful is one of the many geysers in Yellowstone. It erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for 1.5 to 5 minutes, and it’s maximum height of water shooting out ranges from 90 to 184 feet! It is an incredible sight!! I had never seen anything like it before! Oh, and for anyone who has absolutely no idea of what Yellowstone even is, it is a National park that is atop a volcanic hotspot! Technically, it is the biggest Volcano of all time that happens to be underground. This park is full of alpine rivers, forests, hot springs, canyons and erupting geysers, with “Old Faithful” being the most famous! It’s also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope. Some of these animals got right up close to us! Yellowstone is seriously huge!! It is mainly located in Wyoming but flows over into part of Montana AND Idaho. If you haven’t heard of or been to Yellowstone, I hope this paints a beautiful picture in your imagination of just how incredible it really is! But, you will only know when you go and experience it for yourself! Make it happen! It’s one worth checking off the list. 

Time for pictures. 🙂

 

Stay Wild, Moon Child

#becomingbohemian

West Yellowstone, a Winter Wonderland

Train Lifestyle & How to Book a Ticket- India

How Do I Book a Train Ticket in India?

Well that, my friends, is a loaded question! Let me tell you why. There is a way to book a train ticket in India on your own, however, it is such a hassle!! After booking it ourselves in attempts to save money a couple times, we decided to give a travel agency a go! And OH MY! They were wonderful. They made our lives so much easier, not to mention, they ended up becoming some of our greatest friends from our trip! I highly suggest booking your tours, trips, and tickets through Invicta Travel Agency in New Delhi, India. You can get in touch with them here. Now, that being said. It IS possible to book your train ticket on your own, but there is some risk! If you purchase it as a tourist, they put you on a waiting list and don’t tell you until last minute if you are able to be on board for the trip or not. When you book through an agency, they are able to get you a for sure confirmation of your ticket and seat on the train. So worth it! If you are anything like we were in the beginning, we wanted to give it a go on our own. For that to be done, you need to create an account at www.irctc.co.in  There, you will choose your location, destination, departure date/time, and class. In the end, we loved working with the travel agency so much better, so if you want the easier route, try Invicta!

Class Comfortability

We personally chose class 3AC, which is technically third from the best. 1AC has four people in a cabin, giving you more of a personal bubble, 2AC usually has 8 people per cabin, but there are sheet curtains to have a little privacy and separation. 3AC, the one we chose, also has 8 people per cabin, but no curtain. However, it is significantly cheaper than the other two and it has air conditioning in that class, which is basically all that I need. 🙂 We checked out the other classes, and they didn’t seem much better! Choosing 3AC seemed like the best way to go!

Train Lifestyle

There is a lot! It may seem complicated on your first go round, but these tips should help prepare you! Once you figure it all out, it is quite enjoyable! I actually think train rides are my new favorite means of transportation, especially in India! For starters, don’t be afraid to ask workers or friendly locals for help and advice. (It would be wise to ask more than one person though to be sure it is accurate). The signs in the train station are primarily in Hindu, so you obviously NEED to ask for help/guidance. (Google translation can usually do the trick too!) Make sure you know which side and platform your train will be arriving at so that you are prepared to jump aboard quickly. The train won’t wait for you! It is important to arrive early to be sure you won’t miss the train.

On board, get to the correct class section if you are not already there. (Each class section is all connected and accessible through swinging doors, so no worries) Find your seat, put your luggage under you, and get situated. Depending on if it’s day or night when you arrive on the train, someone may already be in your seat/bed, and you will have to find another one! The seat benches are somewhat free for all until the night comes around, then the benches pop out and suddenly you have your sleepers! Sheets, a blanket, and pillow are provided for each person. The beds are not soft or comfortable in any way, shape, or form, but after my second time on the train, I actually got used to it!

During meal time(s), you will not starve! Unless you are a picky eater, of course. There are workers who walk up and down the aisles announcing which food they are offering to you. However, they are speaking in Hindu and they pass by really fast! You have to be quick and either take a risk at what you are choosing to eat, or you can go in prepared and KNOW A FEW HINDI FOOD WORDS. Food on the train is not the freshest…but it is better than starving, especially considering all of our train rides were over 20 hours long! On the bright side, the food they offer is very inexpensive!! Mainly because they are offering “Local prices” which are very reasonable. Ok, actually it’s dirt cheap!! They are catering to locals, but because of that, it also means spicy spice!! Yikes!

Bathrooms on the train are sketch, of course. Indian toilets are basically a whole on the floor where you squat and aim. HAHA. There is a little bucket and faucet to rinse your bum bum! I don’t know about you, but that is not the method I prefer!! Be sure to always have your own, personal toilet paper or pouch of tissues on hand if you don’t wanna get stuck in the bathroom with a bucket of water and your hand! …Let’s move on from this topic, shall we?

Keep track of your estimated time of arrival. It was personally hard for me to see the names of the train stops along the way, not to mention they usually weren’t in English! Again, find a local near you who speaks English and will help you get off on the right stop! Don’t be afraid to ask! I can honestly say that we would have missed our stop all 4 times of riding the train if it weren’t for the help of the locals on the train! Grab your luggage and jump off quick!

Hope this paints a clear picture of what to expect on your train ride in India! Don’t stress, you’ll figure it out as you go! Enjoy the ride!

 

Here is some footage of our experiences on the train!

Stay Wild, Moon Child

#becomingbohemian

Train Lifestyle & How to Book a Ticket- India

India Fashion- Lookbook

India Fashion- Lookbook

In movies I had seen in the past, Indian women wore these gorgeous, colorful, even sparkling outfits! As I got older, I wondered if that was a culture fashion tradition followed in the past, or if it remained their current fashion of today. I thought about those old movies as I prepared for my trip to India, and I hoped to see those beautiful dresses while I was there! And guess what? I did, they were GORG! 

So for my pleasure, and for anyone else who would like to take this time to admire Indian women’s fashion with me, I put together a simple lookbook! Below I included some typical casual everyday attire, ethnic jewelry, bindis, henna (mehndi), and wedding attire! Saris are a garment worn by Hindu women, consisting of a long piece of cotton or silk wrapped around the body with one end draped over the head or over one shoulder. A Bindi is a decorative mark worn in the middle of the forehead by Indian women. It is said to be the third eye in Hindu religion, and it can be used to ward off bad luck.! Mehndi is the application of henna paste in an intricate design to decorate the body, often for wedding celebrations and other festive occasions.

Hope you enjoy!

I was very intrigued by the designs of the woman’s clothing, so I set out to find a factory where they hand dye and stamp the clothing! Here is some behind the scenes footage of the factory.

 

sj-moon-logo80x80png-01

Stay Wild, Moon Child

#becomingbohemian

India Fashion- Lookbook

Fish Market in India

Fish Market in India 

We showed up at Marari Beach in India, not knowing what to expect. It was a middle ground between our last location and our desired destination. Little did we know that it was completely undeveloped at this beach! To be honest, a lot of the places Kent and I have enjoyed the most involve great food. Sounds ridiculous, but for us, the food can really make or break a place! Can I get an amen?! Let’s just say…. we are definitely foodies! Needless to say, when we discovered there was.. well…nothing much around, obviously we were like “Dude, what are we going to eat?”

Suddenly we were at this location with nothing in sight, except the beach. Basically in the middle of nowhere! We asked around for a place to eat, and apparently there was only one restaurant in town! (Better than none!!) It was called “Grandma’s”, or in other words, “Some guys house that cooked for randos coming through.” Not sure where he got the name “Grandma’s” from, but ok! This may come as a surprise to you, but there was no Grandma anywhere to be found! 

We were the only ones who were there at Grandma’s that night, so he cooked for us! And let me tell you…. it was one supa spicy Indian food dish that our taste buds could hardly handle!!! Couldn’t even eat it really! It is bad etiquette to deny food that Grandma gives you, ya know… so obviously that put us in a bad situation!

Meanwhile, we were staying the night in a home stay near by. The owner discovered we weren’t exactly stoked about “Grandma’s Restaurant”, so he thoughtfully invited us to dinner at his house instead! Yes pleasee. Anything besides Mr. Spicy Grandma’s house. We accepted his offer! He told us to meet up with him at 7am to go to the fish market at the beach the following morning. There, we would pick out and purchase our seafood for that evening’s meal. Alright cool!! A new experience for me and I was excited to learn how to do this whole fish market thing!

The fish market was quite the sight to see. I had never been to a fish market right on the beach before! Indian men filled the shore! Everyone had a role, whether it was bringing in the boats, carrying buckets of fish on their heads, selling the fish, purchasing the fish, and everything in between. At first, I just felt like I was getting in the way of their routine of organized chaos, that is until a few nice and rather smiley men started taking a million pictures with us. It felt nice to make friends and feel wanted in that particular circumstance. After picture taking, we found our home stay owner and he began to teach me a few things. This is how it went down.

  1. Decide which kind of seafood we were wanting.
  2. Search for the biggest and most undamaged fish.
  3. Ask how much. (The more you buy, the more you can haggle the price down per item)

Luckily, our new friend helped show us the ropes! It all happened so fast but suddenly we were headed back with our fresh seafood! Yasss.

He refrigerated it until we were ready for dinner that night.

Next came cleaning and prepping the fish. I had NEVER seen this before. 

We decided to cook the Calamari “Our way”, and the fish would be prepared “Indian style” by our homestay owner. Kent showed me how to chop up a Squid because I had never done such a thing before! We cooked it up with butter, lemon, and garlic. Yummm. Our friend used Indian Spices to cook the fish, but he made sure to make it NON spicy. Halle-freakin-lujah!! (Trust me, I love spicy food, but Indian spices are just unreal). It ended up being the best fish I have ever eaten! And of course, we were very thankful that we didn’t starve out there! 😉

The whole experience was such a great one for me. I love learning new things. It is significantly cheaper to buy and prepare a fish meal from a fish market than eating out at a fancy seafood restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, it is way more work to do yourself, but SO satisfying. I hope you get to try it one day! Remember, never miss out on a new opportunity or experience, that is the Bohemian way!

Here is the vlog from that day at the fish market 🙂


Pics from the fish market and homestay. 

 

sj-moon-logo80x80png-01

Stay Wild, Moon Child

#becomingbohemian

Fish Market in India

Taste of India- A Visual Food Guide

Taste of India- A Visual Food Guide

I’ve always liked Indian food restaurants that I have eaten at in America…but when something is Americanized, who knows if it’s anything even remotely close to the ACTUAL food in the real place? I realized this before traveling to India, so I was ready to bring on the authentic Indian food!!! Well, maybe I was a little nervous at first…like “Hmm…I wonder if I will get tired of eating curry and masala dishes every day for three months?” You know, sometimes I did get a little tired of it, mainly because I am a big lover of Mac N’ cheese and pizza! Who’s with me?! Overall, Indian food has been exciting and tasty! A new experience for sure. Our loyal friend/driver has taught us MUCH about what to eat and what not to eat while here. We also learned Hindi names of foods so that we know what the heck we just ordered! But don’t worry, not everything is in Hindi!

I would like to share some of my favorite dishes and tastes of India that I have experience!! This will be a great visual reference for you if you are planning to take a trip to India yourself!

Below the pics, I will include a list of Hindi names for food and their English names so that you too can know what you are ordering!

Food Translation: Hindi to English

Hindi English
Aloo Potato
Dal Lentils
Paneer Cheese
Rajma Red Kidney Beans
Sag Spinach
Samosa Deep-fried pastry filled with vegetable or meat mixtures
Rice Chawal
Onion Piyaz
Sugar Chini
Lime Nimboo
Chicken Murghi
Mushrooms Khumbi
Butter Makhan
Water Paani (When looking for bottled water, ask for “Mineral water”)

Before I go, I wanted to share a basic rule of thumb! While traveling to other Countries (depending on which ones), remember…. Don’t eat anything unless it is baked, boiled, or broiled! Just make sure it is cooked so the germs are killed. Otherwise, it needs to be something that can be peeled! Also, don’t drink their “Filter water”, only drink mineral water from a SEALED water bottle! Preferably Bisleri, Kinley, or Aquafina. This will help you avoid getting any parasites, worms or stomach aches!

Now go out and try some Indian food!

cropped-sj-moon-logo-1.png

Stay Wild, Moon Child

#becomingbohemian

Taste of India- A Visual Food Guide

On Wednesdays, We Hand Wash Clothes!

On Wednesday’s, We Hand Wash Clothes!

Traveling long term is a whole new world. My husband and I are currently backpacking through India for a few months. Vagabonding is a magical experience! But with it, comes certain challenges that we now realize were luxuries back in the states! One prime example…..a washing machine!! We have chosen to experience this trip as backpackers, which requires VERY simplistic living. I love it. So three months, with a small/medium sized backpack to hold all of my goods! This means not much room for clothes….time to get creative! There haven’t really been any washing machines here in the places we have been staying! Most folks here wash hand wash their clothes, sometimes in buckets, sometimes in the river. So that is exactly what we will do too! (Well, the bucket method at least) And often!! Considering it is quite dirty here and we are going through our clothes real quick!

Below I will list the supplies and directions for washing your clothes by hand.

NEED:

  • Bar of Soap (sold in most markets or supplied in hotel)
  • Bucket(s) (sold in markets or supplied in hotel)
  • Tide powder (some markets will have this, if you’re lucky)
  • Nylon or Synthetic rope (brought this with us from home)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-tie rope up. Get creative looking for a place on each side of the room or patio to tie rope to. Know that wherever you hang your clothes, they WILL drip. So, make sure they are hanging in a “drip safe” place! Also, nylon and synthetic rope do not easily get moldy when wet, so I suggest using one of those types. I did a double half Hitch knot on one end and a Taut line on the other end so I can tighten it.
  2. Fill two buckets with warm water. One for soapy water, one for rinsing soap out. (There are many ways to achieve this, but this is my way)
  3. Dump in desired amount of Tide powder into one bucket. (I have done it many times without tide too, only scrubbing with a bar of soap. Either way works)
  4. Place about three clothing items in soapy water at a time. Stir clothes around in the tide water.
  5. Use bar of soap directly on “problem areas”. I use the soap to spot check stains and particularly smelly areas on article of clothing (armpits area or pant leg cuffs that drag on the ground, etc).
  6. *Pick up soap you dropped, lol
  7. Scrub article of clothing all together outside of water. This will make it suds up and then you can continue to scrub it inside soapy water.
  8. Rinse item in soapy water till all noticeable soap film is gone.
  9. Squeeze out soapy water from item and transfer to “Clean water bucket”.
  10. Rinse item thoroughly in clean water.
  11. Squeeze out as much water as possible and then hang to dry. I usually just hang the item right over the rope. Carrying along clothes pins takes up way too much room in my backpack, so I avoid them.

And so on and so forth!! Of course, I had to change out the dirty water a few times throughout the process of washing all the clothes! Oddly, I have enjoyed washing my clothes by hand. It can be a fun process if you have a good attitude about it! If anything, I know for a fact I will not take my washing machine for granted back at home!

So before, I mentioned the word “Vagabonding” (long-term travel or nomadic lifestyle). Some people get it, some people don’t, and that’s ok! Everyone has their certain desired way of traveling, ours just happens to be long-term. I have had a few people ask me, “Why the heck are you going to India for that long?!” or… “Don’t you think you will get tired of being there so long and want to come home?” Here, let me explain. I do not prefer short term travel. Of course, I will always take what I get, but we do strive to make our trips as long as possible. There are many reasons for this. I do not like being rushed when I am exploring a new place. I like to take my time and see as much as my heart desires!! Without cramming it all into one day! It is more enjoyable for me to travel to a new place and not have any plans set in stone. I get there, I ask the locals whats good to see/ do, I ask the other tourists the same. It is wonderful, each day brings a new experience this way and you never know where these new adventures will lead you. Another HUGE reason I love long term travel. I love soaking in the culture of the place I am in. Not just experiencing it as a tourist, but as a person who lives there. Who eats there. Who abides by the customs and traditions. Who knows their way around. Truly becoming “One of them” in every way possible. Etc:) I want to be culturally well-rounded. If this sounds appealing to you, I suggest you go for it! Hopefully these step by step clothes washing directions will help make your travel experience more enjoyable! OR, if you never need to use this particular technique, I hope this post can inspire you to learn how to do something else that you wouldn’t normally think to do!

sj-moon-logo80x80png-01

Dream Wild, Moon Child

#becomingbohemian

On Wednesdays, We Hand Wash Clothes!

There’s a Woman in the Men’s line!

There’s a Woman in the Men’s line!

What happens when a woman goes into the men’s line in India? Well first of all, for anyone who doesn’t know, the lines in India are often separated between women and men! I am definitely not used to that and have to remind myself that it’s a thing here! But of course there are moments where that sort of… ya know, slips my mind. But before I go there, I will give a little background detail! Each day on this India trip has been completely unplanned and go with the flow. Every day brings new adventures and new places to see. While living this way, an opportunity presented itself to us!

Our friend invited us to stay in his houseboat on this lake in Kashmir, (North India) so we hopped on a quick one hour long airplane ride and headed there from where we were, New Delhi. So back to the story! We were going through airport security on our way to Kashmir, and you might think that I would be used to the separated lines by this point on the trip! Ama right?! Well the answer is no. Also, I must say, this airport has the most obnoxious airport security checks ever to have been created! I think I counted like 6 different security checks! I mean give me a break! On the sixth security bag check, I hopped in line with Kent (obviously forgetting the gender separation). I tend to stick close to him for safety AND because I love him so darn much:) So Kent gets his bag checked by two men. VERY. THOROUGHLY. I’m just impatiently thinking to myself, “You guys, our bags have been checked 5 times already! What do you possibly think y’all are going to find on the 6th try?!” But wow, their bag check game was strong! Of course they thought our vitamin C powder was drugs. But oh well. So next was my turn. These dudes take Every. Single. Item. out of my bag!!!! Every item! Each makeup item, pair of underwear, hair product and tampon!! Taken out! Not only did they unload my bag all over the counter, but they opened up every single thing in my bag to see what it was! (Takes cap off pen to “check”, opens up shampoo to look inside, opens and smells bottle of doterra oil) Like wow. It was a good thing we got there early because this was obviously going to take all day. Ok, but here comes the best part. Every single time they pulled out a new item from my bag, they would bust up LAUGHING, hysterically!! Imagine two very serious looking men in uniforms, blushing and cracking up while looking through your stuff! (Holds up mascara..*laughs. Opens up tampons..*laughs. Holds up undies.. *laughs. Etc) What a sight! And you know what? I could not contain my laughter either!! I honestly had no idea what was so funny, but that alone was enough to make me laugh with them! (Obviously it doesn’t take much to get me laughing) But all I kept thinking was ”Don’t these guys search bags all day, everyday? Why the heck is my stuff rubbing their funny bone? I know I’m not the first one to have makeup and feminine products in my bag!” But just as I thought that to myself, the man says to me, “Hahaha girly items! Is this YOUR bag?” …….Uh. Yes. Yes sir, it is. (Like he JUST now figured this out?) Then simultaneously both men attempt to hold in their laugher and point across the room to..*dun dun DUN! THE WOMAN’S LINE. Yes, that is right. I was in the men’s line and apparently that is the most hilarious thing in the whole wide world to them! I realized in that moment that this was most likely the first “Woman’s bag” they ever did look inside. They finished up the check and attempted to shove all my “girly items” back inside the bag.

Congrats to me, I made it through the 6th bag check whilst being a woman in the men’s line! A priceless memory that I will laugh about for many years to come. I’m glad my personal items could bring someone so much joy and laughter! All I can say is thank goodness I went into this trip with a go with the flow attitude because life’s too short to be uptight! Gotta enjoy the moments with a sense of humor 🙂 Especially when it involves cultural differences and language barriers! Those are the best kind. Bring on the awkward situations, world! I can take it 😉

Here are a few pics from our trip to Kashmir in North India, on our friends house boat.

 

sj-moon-logo80x80png-01

Stay Wild, Moon Child

There’s a Woman in the Men’s line!

Taj Mahal Tour

The Taj Mahal

Walking up the long path to the Taj Mahal….the anticipation was killing me! Was I really about to have the most beautiful architecture right before my eyes? The hassle of the locals was out of control on our way there! But I understand, that is how they make their living. They offered their services and tried to sell us souvenirs every step of the way. Luckily, we were warned by our beloved friend/driver that we should not allow any of them to “help” us because you never know which ones are trying to hustle you and rip you off. We worked our way through the line and security. Here comes the big moment, walking through the huge gates and onto the Taj Mahal property! The actual building was still far away, but I could see it clear as day considering it is taller than a 20 story building! It looked like a big picture was in front of me! The closer I came, the more I began to realize this WAS in fact the real thing and not some giant picture. But I could hardly seem to grasp it! It’s glow and beauty was immaculate. I told myself I would not believe it was real until I walked up inside and touched it. So that is what I did.

Taj Mahal Facts

The Taj Mahal was built in Agra India 1631-1648 by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan. He had it made in remembrance of his favorite wife who died in childbirth. Inside the Taj Mahal, there is a tomb that Shah Jahan and his wife, Arjumand Banu Begam, were buried in. Along with that, there are also other tomb chambers and different rooms that are closed to the public. The inside is beautifully decorated with carvings and gemstones.

 

  • To the left of the Taj Mahal is another gorgeous building called the Mihman Khana (assembly hall or guest house).
  • To the right of the Taj Mahal is the mosque, a place to worship.
  • Both buildings are almost identical and face each other (with the Taj Mahal in between).
  • When you look over the balcony behind the Taj Mahal, you see the Yamuna river.

 

Seeing the Taj Mahal has been on my bucket list and man it felt good accomplishing it! I know not everyone will get the chance to make a trip to India, so I wanted to share my personal experience and Taj Mahal tour with you! I hope you enjoy and let it inspire you to travel and chase more adventures! Now go out and follow your dreams 🙂

 

sj-moon-logo80x80png-01

Stay Wild, Moon Child

Taj Mahal Tour