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    ... where shit gets real and you are magically motivated to explore this world and more importantly-- what life has to offer. Here you can follow my random adventures and learn that you too can Forrest Gump your way through life with no particular destination besides happiness and fulfillment.

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March 4th, 2015

So—apparently EVERYONE is capable of making airheaded mistakes.

So—Sean and I just finish shooting this most amazing wedding in New Orleans (view images here) and I’m sitting on the couch hanging out with him and Sophia at their AirBnB place (sean is my friend/second shooter and Sophia is his adorable girlfriend who I like to claim as the little sister I never had—she’s this tiny little Vietnamese girl with this new growing hunger for travel. I love them!)

Sophia asks me… what time my flight is. OK— I knew it was around 7am-ish the next morning but wasn’t exactly sure of the specific time… So I decide to go ahead and check in and find out for sure. Well… I search all of my emails, delta.com, the delta app, you name it. No upcoming flights. So then I check my Amex account b/c I KNOW I saw the charge on my card. I find it… it says my flight was to depart… oh ya know one exact month prior from when I am actually supposed to leave.

To my defense— The days fall exactly on the same day of the week—i.e I was supposed to leave March 1st on a Sunday—and it so happens Feb 1st falls on a Sunday as well.. not to mention Delta’s calendar is kind of a bitch b/c when you click on the date you want to leave… it pushes the calendar forward or backward. Well… my dumb ass purchased a $700 ticket for the wrong date and when I called to at least change my flight—the entire flight was booked out. So after staying on hold with Delta for 45 minutes before anyone actually picked up… and chatting with customer service and management for another 2 hours. 5 am and $120 later—I purchase a flight that arrives in SLC at midnight instead of 1:pm earlier that day. I will say—asking to speak to a manager got me out of the $200 cancelled flight fee… which I was fortunate for.

So—the next morning I get to the airport… my flight is 45 minutes late. I have a 1 hour layover in Atlanta before catching my connecting flight. I chat on the plane with this really nice guy who is a lawyer in west palm beach- He was in NOLA for a bachelors party. He kind of a reminded me of Alek and also that guy from grandma’s boy that sleeps in the car bed. Not sure why….

So anyway… we land and I only have 12 minutes to get from gate B3 to A1 before my flight was to depart. I haul ass with all of my luggage down the terminal. If you’ve ever been to the Hartsfield ATL airport… it is HUGE. MASSIVE compared to all other airports. It’s actually the largest in the world. I then haul ass down the escalator which much be at least 2-3 times as long compared to a mall escalator. catch the train… then haul ass up the escalator…|| Gear shout out:: with my packed–heavy ass Patagonia Wheeled Duffle on my back (which I am very thankful for it’s versatility when on the move) and my packed Think Tank laptop/camera bag. ||  only to realize gate A1—isn’t at the beginning of the terminal but at the very end. So I haul ass down that terminal. All that said— this is why exercise is important. To catch flights. Needless to say—I made my flight by the skin of my teeth. Huffing, puffing, and sweating my ass off.

I set up an uber to pick me up… the guy was super nice…. He kind of looked like a real live version of Peter Griffin from family guy. He said I was pretty and that I looked like I was 19… and he also told me that both of his sons ages 18 and 27 were single. He then showed me a picture of his fiancée—who was a lovely Philipina lady. He definitely wanted to clarify that he wasn’t a creeper with an Asian fetish… so he gave me a quick rundown of how he and his Fiancée met. Not a mail ordered bride as I maaaay have assumed—But they met on ChristianMingle.com and have been courting for 4 years before he proposed. They were getting married in the Philippines. Apparently you can plan a wedding with 150 guests for only $800! All these life lessons!

Finally… dropped off at our hotel—which was the Grand America Hotel… WTF. It’s so nice. Alek warned me that it would be nice and to let bellboys help me carry my bags… So I definitely tightened my grip when I walked through the doors. I’m not a huge fan of people carrying my bags… unless I’m struggling anyway. The place looks like a museum! It’s BEAUTIFUL! I can definitely say I feel like lady Grantham from Downton Abbey. I could get used to this… But alas. I am a backpacker at heart… and less than suited for this type of audience. I more or less felt like pretty woman… minus the prostitute part.

Below are parts of our trip— taken with my iphone b/c I regrettably did not take my camera…. like a dumb ass.

Our failed attempt to go boarding. It was soooo foggy the higher we drove. We could barely see 20 feet ahead of us. Which means a dangerous boarding experience… After breaking my neck snowboarding before… we decided to not take that risk.
Salt flats in the winter– there’s about an inch of water. BEAUTIFUL. I ‘m so mad that I didn’t bring my camera. To my defense… I thought I as just going to boarding and I didn’t want to crash with my camera gear on me. Never again.
Seemed like a good idea at the time. But the temperature was 32 degrees and the salt flats actually felt like shards of glass. This is alek— piggy backing me back to the car. SO much pain. Not recommended.
It started blizzarding on our way back. Mesmerizing.

this is at the Coffee Garden– Check out my yelp review here.

Sometimes, you meet a person– and a minute later you forget their name… and other times, you meet someone and they leaving a lasting impression on your soul.

I know it sounds very Kumari to say that— oh I went to India and found a guru whom I will follow anywhere he goes…  but really. After taking one class with Surinder I felt like a stronger, more precise yogi, but I also felt like I had a clearer understanding for what yoga means. He will push your practice if he sees slight improvements you can make. He has a very hands on, but clever way to adjust postures, and he will guide you into positions you never thought you could do… Not to mention the fact that he has a very warm and nurturing spirit that seemed nourish my heart.

I guess growing up, my parents were always providers. I always got what I physically needed, but emotionally, I’m not sure if it’s an Asian thing– but they were emotionally aloof. Not the kind of parents that would pat you on the back if you did a good job, or encourage you to chase dreams. It was a very— this is what we think you should do. If you don’t do it, you’re a disappointment. If you do accomplish what we’ve asked of you– it’s because it is expected and nothing more. And affection– absolutely not.

So– to take a YTTC course with Surinder– I can’t deny that he made me feel… supported. I don’t want to say… like I was worth something… or special… or loved. Because I should just feel that anyway… but to actually feel that for the first time– that acceptance from a complete stranger— like I mattered, like somebody believed in me…  you never want to let that go.

So naturally, since I’ve always wanted to take a YTTC– I figured what better place to take it than in India and with Surinder.

Below are a few images during my journey. I met several incredible people. Some I got to know better than others. I can definitely say living and seeing the same 15 people all day every day for 30 days…. can be a learning experience. I learned a lot about myself and how I handle situations.

When being taught certain ideologies and Sutras– you start to micro analyze who we are and our behaviors.  I became hyper aware of how I process information, how I react to said situations, and I can be the first to say that there were a lot of internal conflicts arose. “Am I good person?” ” Am I selfish?” “I’m a terrible person!” “I wish I wouldn’t react this way… ” etc..

But I’ve learned–  it’s all a learning and growing experience…. and much of what I learned was to more or less accept myself and my perceived faults than to constantly judge myself and my shortcomings. But– I will say– its good to take step back and audit and be more aware because nobody is perfect and we are all a work in progress.

Tech-Related

As a photographer and blogger—I carry a lot of tech related items with me so I can continue to work on the go—these are a few things I can’t live without while on the road.

  1. Iphone– Great for music, checking emails in a wi-fi zone, taking photos. I go no where without it.
  2. Ear Buds
  3. Camera—5D Mark III, 50 1.2 Lens, 70-200 Lens, 16-35 2.8…. But I think I’ll be adding the 24-70 2.8 to my list in lieu of the 50 and 16-35.
  4. CF/SD card reader with extra USB ports
  5. Phone Charger Cable/additional USB cables for the gopro, etc.
  6. Solid State external Harddrive. – I don’t recommend a disk hard drive b/c the possibility of it failing is much higher…. And since I use it as a backup for my photos… I can’t risk losing all of my images
  7. CF Cards/SD Cards. 3 16 gigs and 2 32 gig cards. I prefer the Sandisk brand.
  8. Travel Charger converters.
  9. I travel with a Symian Step down converter. It’s a heavy brick—but I can’t seem to travel without it.
  10. Journal—I prefer unlined and 8×10 size or larger.Larger paper sizes makes me feel like I have more room to be creative. Lines make me feel confined. since I doodle a lot… so I generally go with the moleskin 8×10 unlined or gridded. Not to mention the little back pocket is great for organizing stubs, loose pieces of paper.
  11. Superfine Sharpies… in multiple colors.

Comforts of Home/psychological necessities/Randoms

  1. Silk Sheet/Sleeping bag Liner and pillow case. Most people assume rooms are outfitted with sheets, pillow cases, etc. They are wrong. In India, not one guest house I stayed at had sheets. There was a fluffy, warm, but questionable blanket… that I used but only because I had the comforts of my own personal sheet to snuggle between. The silk liner takes up less space than a tennis ball and is well worth the money and space.
  2. I prefer in-ear. I would not recommend the apple-white ones or super expensive ones unless you want to be a target for petty theft/pick-pocketers.
  3. Titanium Spork. Because you never know when you need an eating utensil that is clean and sturdy.
  4. Eye Mask
  5. Ear Plugs

Toiletries— I’m a very low maintenance female when it comes to hygiene. That could be considered good or bad… But this is about what I take with me every trip.

  1. Floss and Toothbrush with suction cover. It’ll stick to mirrors… and you don’t have to worry about a dirty toothbrush if it happens to fall on the ground.
  2. Deoderant
  3. Toms makes tubes right below the carry-on limit. I hate travel sized tubes. It pisses me off.
  4. Bronners 3oz bottle of hemp soap. It acts as shampoo, body wash, face-wash etc. I use peppermint, but learned quickly that it is not smart to bring to a cold country… where warm water is sparse as peppermint has a cooling effect…  I’ll try lavender next time. Oh—and you can also use it to brush your teeth if push comes to shove, washing dishes, etc. It’s biodegradable so it’s nice on our environment.
  5. Shampoo/Conditioner. I travel with lush shampoo and conditioner bars. Mainly b/c on several occasions, shampoo bottles have leaked in my bag and it drives me nuts. Plus I love the way lush shampoo smells—like a clean hippie. {and yes that is an oxymoron… }
  6. {for the ladies} Diva Moon Cup. << No tampons. It’s amazing. I bring this with a small pack of panty liners and I’m set for several months. It rarely ever leaks and I only have to change it once maybe twice a day. And this alternative is also nice on our environment. This is especially great if you plan on being in a bathing suit or for travel days where you may or may not have access to a bathroom.
  7. Extra Dr. Pepper Chapstick – because I’m obsessed. Hair ties/bobbypins, tweezers, bandaids, nail clippers, razor. Scissors they will not allow on an airplane so I had mine confiscated… and lastly a bottle of nail polish. Just… because. Sometimes you look down at your feet and you feel like a homeless person and a nice refresher coat of nail polish will surprisingly make your day.
  8. Sunscreen moisturizer.

 

Things to Pack:

Clothes

  1. 3-4 pairs of pants.
  2. Yoga Pants—to wear alone, or under skirts, dresses, shorts, for extra warmth, etc. I’m in love with the reversible Wunder Unders from lululemon. They hold their form, compress, and provide 2 options when only packing 1 item for a win!
  3. Prana Monarch Pants. These are also versatile as the bottoms zip off into crops. These are still somewhat flattering, have sturdy but comfortable and slightly stretchy material, and best of all they dry fast. I’m pretty loyal to certain brands—and Prana is one of them. They always have great designs and fabrics. And no. They are not paying me to say this.
  4. Lulu- Studio Pants black. These are light and comfortable. They dry quickly and they roll up into crops as well.
  5. Jeans—often but not always. If I have enough space—I’ll pack jeans… but not always. Mainly because they don’t keep their form as well… and it takes forever for them to dry. This time—I packed Prana Skinny pants in Gray.
  6. 2-3 Long sleeve Over shirts for layering
  7. Patagonia Capilene 3 half zip in black. This is quick drying, great for layering, sweat wicking, and an overall versatile piece.
  8. Light Gray Aerie crew neck terry popover. I love this. It has a wide neck which works great over tanks, sports bras, t-shirts, etc. It layers well over and under just about anything and is a casual piece that is loose fitting and covers my bum, but doesn’t look sloppy.
  9. Chambray/Jean Shirt. Great for layering—goes with everything.
  10. 5-7 T-shirts- with different fits, sleeve lengths, colors, some with and without logos. I like blended shirts that aren’t entirely 100% cotton. Mainly b/c these shirts dry quicker, are a bit softer, and they hold their shape better when drying on a line… or after a few wears.
  11. 2 racerback tunic length tank tops that cover my bum
  12. 1 ¾ sleeve dolman shirt
  13. 1 black men’s fit black v-neck
  14. 1 burgundy body skimming fit v-neck that is a slightly longer length.
  15. 2 t-shirts with logos
  16. 5 pairs of underwear— usually dark colors in a non cotton fabric … b/c they dry fast.
  17. 3 sports bras. I HATE regular bras… especially for traveling and I prefer to not draw attention to my chest… Plus sports bras have fun colors and patterns… I prefer Lululemon’s line of sports bras because they have funky patterns on the back and don’t stretch out over time.
  18. 2 pairs of Smartwool socks. I like the kids hiking socks b/c they have a better fit, they are slightly thinner, and keep their shape after several wears. Otherwise… my socks always look like those of the grinch’s socks dr. seuss books… saggy. Also—these wool socks don’t smell funky if you wear them more than once or twice or 50 times (don’t judge). They wick sweat, and they’re very warm… even if they get wet. They also dry quickly.
  19. Fleece or hoodie—make sure you like this piece because I find that I wear this almost every day. This time around I packed a gray lole fleece. I used to pack a purple American Apparel hoodie…
  20. Warm Compressible Jacket. Depending on the weather—This time I packed a Nano-Puff. Mainly b/c I was expecting possible rain and wind in Nepal… and wanted something that would hold up even if it gets wet… plus a lighter, smaller packable option. Last time… I went to India in Jan/Early Feb and I used my Bigger Down jacket EVERY DAY. I’ve only worn my Nano-puff once this time. So luckily it packs down small otherwise I would’ve been annoyed if it occupied more space
  21. Scarf—Make sure you love this. I wear mine almost every day. You can buy others wherever you go down the road… but it’s a key piece during travel on planes, trains, buses, cabs, etc. Last time—I planned to go to beach areas… so instead—I packed a sarong that doubled as a scarf, beach skirt, dress, blanket, head covering etc.
  22. 3 Pairs of Shoes—I’m die hard loyal to these shoes… but something similar I’m sure would be helpful. When deciding on shoes—I always ask myself… Can these be worn with EVERY outfit that I packed? If the answer is no… you gotta REALLY dig deep what is important and what you intend on doing on your trip. Ankle boots are cute.. but is it a necessity or just an accessory? B/c lugging shit around that you don’t wear or need SUCKS.
  23. I’m on my 6th pair… since the 5th grade. As a soccer player as a kid—and a pseudo hipster in high school— I’ve had an everlasting loyalty that began at an early age. They’re super comfortable and versatile. They are black and can be worn casually with pants, shorts, or crops…. And I can also be active in them.
  24. Chacos z2. Another Die hard loyal fan… I’m on my 3rd pair in the last 12 years. These have lasted me for the past 6 years. These are comfortable, sturdy, and versatile with a rugged tread. I can hike and do water sports in these. Plus they’re more streamline than Tevas or similar brands so they can even look decent with skirts and dresses.
  25. Shower Flips Flops. Cheap, light. I always bring a pair for public showers… Nobody lights foot fungus. I don’t wear Chacos in the shower because soaps and shampoos cause a mildew and bacteria buildup in the webbing and they start smelling funky. If you don’t care about smell—you can just bring chacos for this purpose… but I have a ridiculously acute sense of smell. If I can smell it— it is probably offensive to others… and nobody likes a walking pig pen.
  26. 1-2 compressible/reusable shopping bags. I prefer patagonia’s… because it zips into it’s own pouch. But—I often use this for a day bag to grab groceries or just buying things around town, a beach bag, separating dirty laundry, compression bag for easy packing. Plus if I buy souvenirs… I’ll often cram as much stuff in my other bag and check that… and use this as my carry on/personal item.
  27. 1 hat or beanie. For warmth, and to cover up bad hair day or unwashed hair.
  28. 1 bandana. To accessorize for my hair, or around my neck, and over my face if I’m traveling and pollution is particularly bad. Plus it doubles as a handkerchief, napkin, eye cover if I’m trying to catch some zzz’s in transit.
  29. Layers – I generally always bring a fleece, a rain jacket, and an insulated layer… that is windproof.
  30. Bathing Suit.