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.
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.
Decide which kind of seafood we were wanting.
Search for the biggest and most undamaged fish.
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 🙂
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
Red Kidney Beans
Deep-fried pastry filled with vegetable or meat mixtures
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!
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
Place about three clothing items in soapy water at a time. Stir clothes around in the tide water.
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).
*Pick up soap you dropped, lol
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.
Rinse item in soapy water till all noticeable soap film is gone.
Squeeze out soapy water from item and transfer to “Clean water bucket”.
Rinse item thoroughly in clean water.
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!
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.
I never really understood the purpose of meditating….that is until I hit a certain point in my life where my mind was crowded with worries, self doubt, and just flat out too many things all at once. It was affecting me negatively, big time! I began to do some research on helping/healing these struggles. It seemed that everything lead me to the practice of meditation. So I began learning about different ways to meditate, I even went to a class or two. It felt good, but I wondered if there was a more personal routine I could create for myself to fully take advantage of my meditation time and access full benefits. I became more aware of what my mind was doing..the common, recurring factors in my everyday stress. I was studying my own mind. Through that, I came up with my personal meditation routine. It could potentially work for others too, so I would like to share!
Start be choosing your place to sit and meditate. If you are traveling, it might be somewhere picturesque. If you are at home, it might be a dedicated corner or nook of your room. Both work just the same if you are in the correct mindset.
How do I start?
Close your eyes and get relaxed. Begin allowing thoughts to flow into your mind, welcoming anything that comes in. Start to notice what kinds of things appear.. they might be worries, anxieties, or possibly thinking about all the things you need to get done that day. CommonEx. “I am stressed about my job”.
Now acknowledge and pinpoint the individual worries or stresses you have and ask yourself.. “Why?” Ex.” Why am I worried about my job? Well…probably because I am not making enough money to cover the bills.”
Now you can answer to that worry. Talk yourself through it. Find a solution or remind yourself why it’s all going to be ok. Ex.”Yes I am stressed about my job, so today I will ask my boss for a raise or look for another part-time job”. (I realize there are not immediate solutions to everything, but you will be surprised at your ability to problem solve while being open minded to what the resolution could be, and willingness to do it.)
Continue this pattern until you have addressed/resolved the worries that fill your mind. (You could probably spend all day doing this if you choose to, however, I usually address about three of my strongest worries/concerns on my mind per meditation.)
Now Pause. Give yourself a chance to soak in the fact that you have just put your worries to rest. Allow your mind to heal from it and be at peace with it. (Now let your mind go blank)
Next, I “Self talk” or uplift and encourage. Ex. “I am motivated. I am hard-working. I am beautiful. I LOVE myself.”
*It is extremely important to tell yourself positive things, even if it’s hard to do at first. You might not believe the words right away, but after a while, this magical thing starts to happen! Your subconscious starts to accept it as FACT. You begin to believe it.. and it really shows in your countenance! Tell yourself these things, and truly begin to believe them. You will be amazed at the confidence you will gain. (Pause again. Let your mind go blank.)
Now I take time to pray and give thanks. Whether you pray to God, or give thanks to the Universe… think of all of your blessings and things you are grateful for. Even when times are extremely rough and you feel like nothing’s going your way, a grateful and positive heart can change your day drastically! So, put out your gratitude into the universe! You will feel a difference. (Pause. Go completely blank.)
At this point, you have gone through a lot in your mind. Take the time you need to stay blank, and at peace.
Now, I realize with the full detail description and examples, it may seem like a huge daunting task just to meditate!!….. That would be counter-productive. So let me do a quick rehash in simple terms, now that you know how it works.
Pinpoint your worries, correct them by thinking of a resolution. (Pause and be at peace.)
Tell yourself positive & loving words and BELIEVE them. (Let your mind go blank.)
Pray and give thanks. (Let your mind go blank and stay at peace.)
This is personally how I turn my negative thoughts into positive thinking in the most healthy way I can. Give this form of meditation a try, it may do wonders for you as it has for me!! OR share some of your customized meditation routines with me! Either by email, or in the comments below for others to benefit from as well. I would love that!
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 🙂
Check ALL the shops in the area first to compare prices on the same item.
Haggle down the price until you are satisfied.
What Makes a Perfect Souvenir?
Today is the day for finding the perfect souvenir! My husband and I collect a rad souvenir from every country that we go to! In my opinion, there is a certain art to picking out a great one. Personally, we like to buy something that we can USE in our home. We kind of abide by that “rule” when we are picking out our souvenirs. It could be used as a decoration, or maybe a household item. But, whatever we choose will be something we use or enjoy everyday, knowing that we got it in India! (Or wherever we are buying our souvenir from at the time) I think that a lot of people just go and spend money on a bunch of different things when they travel. Potentially looking back like “Why did I even buy this stuff?”… So it’s important to pick out one or two things that you absolutely love! Kent and I have been looking around to see what catches our eye. Now, not to get confused with REGULAR shopping. Clothes, accessories, etc. I’m not referring to that kind of shopping, I’m only talking about life long souvenirs here. However, some of these same tips may still apply.
Where do I look?
Never buy an item at the first shop you stop to look at! All the shops in the area are usually selling similar/the same things, so you should try ALL of the shops first to compare prices. In one of the other stores, you will likely find the same item, but for a cheaper price. If you buy it the first place you see…you are probably getting ripped off. For example, Mexico!! You see several shops along the street, almost all of them have the same items inside! Including a few varieties here and there. See who is selling your favorite souvenir for the cheapest! You could potentially get the price very low because of the competition from the other stores! It is definitely tempting to buy something right away in the first store because you are excited about it, you like what you see, the people are nice, or maybe you just feel obligated!! But this is important! Check all the different stores first, and then you will get the best possible price! $$$
How Do I Get More Bang for my Buck?
It’s very necessary that you haggle down the cost of your souvenir. No one likes spending more money than they have to! Choose an amount you are willing to spend on your item (lower than THEIR cost of course) and be firm with your set price! Work with them on getting their price down. Tell them your budget and hold your ground! After a while of trying to lower the price, don’t be afraid to walk away if they don’t comply. Often times while you are walking away, they will change their mind and allow you to buy it for that price! Heeyyyyyyy. I think in most places they would rather make the sale than let you walk out the door empty handed (making them zero moneys). This haggling technique takes a little practice. It is different in every country, but throw in a little confidence and they’ll never know if you are inexperienced or not! *Now that being said, I will admit that when I am shopping somewhere that is particularly poor and run down in other countries, I use my best judgement for haggling. Honestly, sometimes I would rather pay more just because I know they need the money in certain areas really badly. So I encourage you to use your best judgement too! They obviously need to make SOME kind of profit from the sale. It’s considerate to figure out what’s best for you and for them. Hopefully this helps you out the next time you need to pick out the perfect souvenir! If you have any other tips/advice from your personal experiences, please share on the community page! I would love to hear! Enjoy your shopping!!!
*update on the perfect souvenir we chose in india! Elephant wall decor. Going up in family room!
Hey guys, so obviously I am new at talking to/interacting with the camera, if you couldn’t tell. Haha!! It’s a work in progress. But it can only go up from here! Right?! ….Here’s to trying new things!!! I’m gonna be doing a lot of that on this blog. 🙂 And I want you to know that I meant every word of what I said in the vlog above! ^^
So incase you missed any of it, I’m SJ! And I am all about becoming bohemian…or working to achieve that lifestyle. Yes, I adore boho fashion, but I’m about to take this to a whole new level! Curious what I’m referring to?
Back in the day, the word “Bohemian” was used to describe someone who challenged the “norm”. Such wanderers were known to be unconventional, adventurous, and creative. In every aspect, they seem to always be eager to progress. Finding opportunities to observe other ways of life and learning new trades was often an interest. On top of all of this, a bohemian lifestyle commonly contained elements of Theology, Ideology, Mythology, and Spirituality. They were know to leave their mark upon other human beings and the world. It is said that they will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of the humans touched by them.
How do we become bohemian?
I personally think bohemian, or “boho” has continued to take on even more of a modern meaning as time has gone on. I’ve had some ideas come to mind as I pictured a modern boho lifestyle. Someone who is an opportunist, free spirit and adventure seeker. Or, there’s learning to take care of yourself spiritually, mentally and physically. Embracing hard things and learning from them. How about learning self reliance, self awareness, self mastery… And most definitely self discovery! There is so much we can do/learn in this life if we set our hearts to it! I want to be a “Jill” of all trades and enjoy myself as I do!
To clarify, this blog for me, is a way to keep myself accountable for my progress as I achieve the Bohemian lifestyle. I know, I won’t always have a boho fashion style forever, BUT, I know I will feel accomplished looking back, having lived a life full of adventure as Bohemians once did. I will be grateful that I took every opportunity I could and made the most out of it. This blog will be a place to share things that I have learned, and also a place where I can learn from you as well. Let’s come together as a Bohemian community and help encourage each other as we all set out on this journey!
So, if you want to achieve this lifestyle with me, follow along as I embrace my path of Becoming Bohemian. Help me turn this trend into a movement! Because every time you learn something new, it can change your perspective and interpretation of the world.