As much as I love India, it’s not for everyone. I’m not just saying this – Indians have told me this (specifically my fiancé and his family) as a forewarning to prepare me for my first trip which occurred in March 2022. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the people – ALL of these aspects differ greatly from those of the United States, the environment that I was born and raised in. Monish’s sister actually told me that she’s had friends come visit her in India from different parts of the world, and that some of them are just overwhelmed by everything this incredible country has to offer. Understanding this, Monish began preparing me for my first trip to India back when we first started dating, which happened to begin right before the 2020 pandemic lockdown occurred.
We woke up a little before 5am to begin getting ready to head to the Taj Mahal! Of course, Moni and I not only woke up late, but we also took longer to get ready than everyone else, meaning that we left later than we had originally planned for. We were hoping to arrive right at 6am when the gates opened so that we could beat the crowds and watch the sun rise over the magnificent Taj Mahal.
Planning a trip to The Grand Canyon? Trust me from experience, it’s a worthwhile trip! My friend, Maddy, and I crossed this item off our bucket lists over an extra-extended Memorial Day Weekend, so I’m here to share tips, must-do’s and don’t-misses to ensure that your experience exceeds mine!
We made our way up the steps and as we walked through the entrance, which was shaped like the mouth of a rakshasa, my eyes became filled with wonder and grand curiosity. I was in awe that I was finally entering a temple in India, especially one so iconic! As we made our way through the narrow hallways of the temple, we found many different colorful idols as well as art forms which depicted stories from the Hindu epics. Dad briefly explained some of the stories to us, which I plan to learn more about via the Hindu books that I bought days before in Mumbai.
As Moni and I laid there for a moment, allowing ourselves to fully become awake, we began to notice sounds from the streets below as Mumbai was also beginning to wake up. We ate breakfast in the house prepared by Auntie, then Tanvi walked us down the apartment building and up the street so that we could catch a ride in an auto (also known as an auto-rickshaw) to take us to Westside, a clothing store local to India.
I’d like to start by saying that I’m from Texas and I have never, ever thought to myself “let’s go to Arkansas!” when planning a trip. I mean, what’s there to even do in ARKANSAS?!
About a month ago, my boyfriend and his friends decided that they wanted to go somewhere over Labor Day weekend (and include the girlfriends and wives this time, finally!) but with the holiday weekend being only a month away, our options were extremely limited. The group consisted of people living in Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee so with such short notice, we decided that we wanted to go somewhere drive-able in order to avoid ridiculous airline prices. We also wanted to go to a state that none of us currently lived in so the only option seemed to be Arkansas.
Let me just tell you, this trip took my by surprise – and the good kind of surprise! We had such an amazing time while never once being bored or running out of things to do. Also, excluding the cost of the lakeside Airbnb, we really didn’t spend a whole lot of money – an added bonus for this budget-conscious girl!