(Hello readers – today I have one of my very favorite posts ever to share with you all – Marlen sharing how she has made travel possible and some amazing stories and absolutely gorgeous pictures! Thanks so much for your wonderful post Marlen!)
Hello all! Marlen from Messages on a Napkin
here, popping over and guest blogging about my recent India and Nepal adventures! One thing that me and Dus have in common (other than fashion, of course!) is our love for travel. She has lived in both Spain and Mexico, and goes on amazing European trips like Belgium, whereas I have been making my way slowly through Asia, getting culture shocked and falling in love with all the crazy beautiful villages and people.
One common misconception I’ve run across with people’s wanderlust is that it’s so impossible to do. Wrong, wrong! All it takes is buying a plane ticket- literally, that’s it. I’ve been to Thailand, Cambodia, India, and Nepal; and each time I was planning the trip I’ve always had a “yea right, like this is going to happen” thought in the back of my mind. Right up to the point when I’d log onto Expedia and click on my ticket- and then it was really, truly, excitingly happening! And travel isn’t as expensive as we’d all come to believe. Sure, if you live in the States like I do that plane ticket is a pain, but Asia is ridiculously cheap. I was in India for 6 weeks and I traveled from the South alllll the way to the North, and my total cost for all the adventuring was a little over a thousand bucks. For six weeks! In Thailand I had hostel rooms that cost $1.50 a night, and delicious meals that were only $3.00. Heck, in India my 6 hour bus rides cost a little over $1! The world is such an incredible, beautiful, shocking place and it’s here for us to explore. So don’t buy those extra pair of shoes, or that really cute dress. Instead put that dough into your travel jar- you’ll be so thankful you did ;)
Being there six weeks makes it really hard to choose just one story for you, buuuut my favorite town there was Varanasi. It’s the holiest city in India, and this place was nothing short of beautiful. Much like the rest of India, Varanasi decided to kick the idea of an organized grid system for streets, and instead chose to lay out the roads much in the same way a tangled ball of yarn would look like on the carpet.
A mess. A beautiful, frustrating mess.
When walking those roads there’s usually some deep, echoing chant coming from one window or other, with heavy drums dancing with the almost mystic sounding mantras drifting through the alleys. My favorite piece of the town, though, are the ghats, or the stairs that lead into the Ganges. Spanning about two or so miles along the coast, you can spend an afternoon walking down them and blatantly and curiously people-watching.
Specifically, people watching the half-naked Indians washing their bodies and doing leaping cannon balls into it all in the same spot. I can’t tell you how many old lady nip slips I’ve seen. Perched along those same stairs were the Sadhus, the wandering monks and the Holy Men of Shiva that lived in tents pitched up from tarp and shrines and relics built in front of their, er, doorways. They sit completely naked inside, their dreadlocks in a top knot and their whole bodies smeared in the ash from fire, symbolizing that we are born from the ashes of the destruction of Shiva. While we were walking down the ghats we passed one of those tents, and one of the sadhus stuck out a hand and called us in. There we sat for a while with them, learning about their religion and drinking 7up with them, haha! I’d love to tell you more about it, and if you’re interested read my posts in tumblr right here! I was blogging about all my stops there :)
“Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms. It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections. Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers becoming the most interesting people in the world. It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter. It’s McDonald’s being a luxury. It’s the realization that you may have been born in the wrong country. Travel is a smile that leads to a conversation in broken English. It’s the epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world. Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it. Travel is the same white T-shirt again tomorrow. Travel is accented sex after good wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes. Travel is flowing in the back of a bus with giggly strangers. It’s a street full of bearded backpackers looking down at maps. Travel is wishing for one more bite of whatever that just was. It’s the rediscovery of walking somewhere. It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a new friend. Travel is “Maybe I don’t have to do it that way when I get back home.”
||Nick Miller, Isn’t It Pretty To Think So?
I have a ton of more posts with pictures from my travels, so if you’re interested come visit me on Messages on a Napkin
! I hope this inspired you to travel, and I’d love to hear some of your own personal adventures!!