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Interview with Jozu for Women

Solo Female Travel in India – An Insider’s Perspective

New Year started on a good Note. My favourite community promoting women travel , yoga and meditation globally published my interview on their site. Not only I am honoured but I feel more engaged and responsible for my written opinion online. Because what I say might influence many.

I would highly recommend this site for all Female travellers as I recommend this Ebook , to inspire , collaborate and have safe and fun trip.

As a woman traveler from India who has been to many countries in 5 different continents , my opinion are rational and fact based, keeping in mind foreign travellers . India is wide and vivid , colourful and inspiring. It is a country you can’t miss if you love to travel and  enjoy exploring different cultures , spicy food , architectural marvels , pristine beaches or mighty mountains :there is something for everyone . If you Love yoga and meditation, this is the place where it all started.

At the same time , India can get a little dangerous , specially for women travelling solo. A little caution and smart planning can help you avoid the dangers and enjoy your trip safely. People are friendly and helpful in most of the places and if you can speak reasonable English you can survive the trip without much hassle. Cabs are available at cheaper rates if compared with western countries and good fresh food is also cheap.

I couldn’t possibly list all amazing places in India , which I will cover in a series of blog posts soon.

Till Then wishing everyone a fabulous 2018 . More miles and smiles to you .

 

The Power of Thoughts

Once a learned traveler I met on a long flight to Brazil told me ,” we have no idea how powerful our mind is ” , and the way he said it , it stayed with me for long. We stayed connected for many months thereafter and most of our conversations were around controlling mind to control life. He taught me some techniques which I have used successfully to change the course of my life. I wish I could practice them more and be more aligned with the energies of my inner-self . I try sometimes , though.

Spirituality is an interesting science.

I am sucker for simple doable tasks instead of complex theories . So , let me break it down for you ( and for own reference)

5 min meditation to channelize thoughts 

Now , what I am sharing here is the simplest of techniques that we can all try at anytime , preferably first thing in the morning or last thing in the night. put your phone on silent mode and ensure that you will get peaceful solitude for next 15 minutes.

  • Sit comfortably , on a chair , bed or on  ground , in whatever position , cross-legged , in yogic Asana or just laid back with support.
  • Close your eyes gently.
  • Relax your body and mind by concentrating on your breath .practice  conscious breathing for 30 seconds to get your mind in meditative state.
  • Instruct your body starting from toe of the foot to tip of your head , one by one to relax . It should take around 1 minute to get through it. You will actually feel the muscles relaxing .
  • Practice gratitude : For next one minute , in elaborate positive sentences be thankful for your blessings . Start with generic ones and then focus on specific current blessings . For Example, “I am thankful for my family and good health.”
  • Bring positive change through positive thoughts. If you have any specific area that needs improvement , in affirmative words say that it’s already improved . Use present tense. For example, If you are insomniac , say “My mind is totally relaxed , I get good sound sleep at night and when I wake up am so fresh “. Focus on one or two things in every session. Repeat it as many times as you want to create positive impact.
  •  Last one minute , just let the thoughts flow . Don’t try to stop thoughts , don’t mull over them , let them come and leave your mind. You will be surprised how mind will wander , let it come back to nothingness quickly by letting the thoughts flow.
  • Run your hands rigorously for 10 seconds to generate heat. Place your palms over eyes and then on face . Place them over any area which needs physical healing . Let the body absorb heat for a few seconds
  • slowly open your eyes.

Sending positive Vibes 

Another very effective technique to tackle negative energies in life is to lower their impact with positive vibes .

Let’s take an example , you get to know that an acquaintance is talking rubbish about you to your friends and you feel low hearing all the negativity. Now , our immediate reaction is to bicker about this with our close friends or even in our mind send negative thoughts to the person , wish him/ her ill and find faults with their lives and character. we want to get even and in return attract more negativity in our lives.

Alternatively , try to pick one or two good things about this person and say it out in your mind and to anyone who wants to talk to you about him/ her . Only say positive things about them. Forgive their bad behavior and send out good vibes to them. Repeat that they love you and you love them and it’s all cordial and good between you two. You will be amazed to see how things turn around.

Now , I do not mean that you let this person continue with whatever they are doing and pretend to be their friend. If you have to speak to them and say as you don’t want the negativity to hurt you , you are cutting down your interactions with them and then daily send positive vibes to them till your mind is free to any negative thought about them.

It’s not about them , it’s about you.

Practice Gratitude  

Many books have been written to emphasis on this simple yet difficult practice . Want to make it a habit ? keep a small dairy near your bed and before bed time and meditation take it out and write about one thing you were thankful about that day. elaborate and get into specific details when you can . If you can’t even a line is enough for some days.

Another method is to keep a big jar in a shelf where you are daily and small pieces of paper near it . Daily pick a paper and write something you are grateful for and drop it in the Jar . End of year or during your birthday or during thanksgiving take it out and read about all your blessings.

Thanking the universe for the blessings is a way to attract more blessings in your life.

I would love to hear your opinion and experiences after practicing these three simple things in life . Please share them on the post or through an email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SSSU -Start Small & Scale Up

Do you have some big goals and don’t know where to start from ? You are not alone . We all dream and aspire for a few great things in life and some of us achieve some of the dreams , some give-up half way . Many don’t know where to start from.

Dreams and intent without a plan means nothing ,and 

Everything worth achieving needs hard work and persistence

So , here is an effective way to start your journey towards the big goal. It’s called Start Small & Scale Up ( SSSU ). Before we dive into the details on these two steps , I would like you to write down those top 3 goals that you want to achieve . For the sake of illustration let’s take my top three here

  1. Write 2 Books every year
  2.  Build a healthy workout routine
  3. Travel to 100 countries
    How do we imply the principle of Start Small & Scale Up in achieving these three goals.

Start Small (SS)

Starting small is like doing a proof of concept  (PoC). You have an idea which you think is viable . why not give it a try ? you don’t want to invest too much time and effort in a proof of concept , it’s not a start actually , it’s a step to validate whether you should start in that direction or not. It’s also a step to analyse your work style and your capabilities in achieving the result you want.

Want to publish a book ? write blog , post on Quora daily , start with a short story and publish it on Facebook 

Want to get fit ? Start with 10 min of walk everyday or take a sport for a month ( instead of 1 year gym membership which you would never use)

Want to travel the world ? Take that first solo trip to the neighboring country 

Starting small is based on Low risk and High response principle. People will not have time to provide you feedback on a full fifty thousand words novel , but most of them won’t mind reading two thousand words short story or a blog . You would also know if you enjoy the process and how good or bad you are it . All of us have stories , not all of us are writers . One solo trip will expose you to the realities of travel – expenses , flights , food , people , risks and joys . You will know if the reward is worth the pain or not.

Scale Up (SU)

Once you have tried and tested your plan for a while and made a note of what works for you and what doesn’t , it’s time to make a detailed plan on scaling up , not at once but in small  increments.

Set a small achievable target and maintain it for a year .Write a blog post per week for a year to build audience and user-base . Write 250 words of your book daily on weekdays and edit every Sunday . Break it down to details. Stick to the routine for a year and you will have a Book and 50 blog posts after a year with a very little daily effort.

Consistency is the key here !

Every month increase walk time by 10 min. In 6 months you will be walking for an hour daily . After that add half an hour of yoga per week , for a month. Make it twice a week on 8th month . So on and so forth . By end of a year ,you will have a good workout routine. Sexier body will be a bonus

If you enjoyed your first solo trip , you can try planning two trips per year ( summer break and winter break ) . Short trip if planned few months in advance is quite affordable by saving a small amount every month. 3-7 days every 6 months to begin with is a very achievable target. You can always cover 3-4 European countries in a 15 day trip when you are comfortable with your routine. And while you are on it , don’t miss exploring the beautiful places in your own country , once in a quarter a short weekend trip to a new city adds to your travel experiences. Want to know more about travelling , might find my ebook useful.

 SSSU , if you want to achieve something big with minimal risk , little incremental effort and smart planning.

 

 

 

10 things you can’t miss this winter

I woke up feeling cold a couple of days back . It was early morning by my standards , around 7 am ,when I hesitatingly dragged myself out of the comfort of my cozy duvet and forced myself to open the balcony door to peep my neck out and check the weather.

A gloomy grey covered the sky. There was slight chill in the air , but then may be all mornings are like that . How would I know ? I usually wake up after 8.30 and then it’s a rush to get to office. That reminded me I still had another one and half hour to go back to sleep . which I did .

 When I woke up a couple of  hours later , scenery and temperature didn’t change much , I happily declared winter has arrived in Bangalore – If you call 20 Degrees cold , that is.  Almost everyone who know where I am from ( we have 5 month-long winter and it often snows there for 2-3 months ) , they roll their eyes as if a person born in hills can’t feel cold at 20 degrees. well I do and I am unapologetic about it.

Now, that the winter is here, it deserves some changes in life –  get your woolens out , boots dusted , and order extra eggs , meat , popcorn ( for those in the bed movie marathons) and don’t forget chikki. Thank God I am well stocked on Rum .

So , here I am 2 days later , enjoying first cold Saturday of winter in Bangalore , happily skipping a bath , covered in woollens ( socks , sweater and cap et all ) , with frequent intakes of  green teas , coffee and rum and making plans for what should be done to make winters more fun and productive.

Here is my  list of 10 absolute to-do things this winter

  1. Gajar Halwa tops my list of food you should have in your fridge all the time in winter . I don’t like what we get here and I prepare it at home with all love and affection. Dig in .
  2. Did I already mention Rum  

    pic from net
  3. workout – keeps you warm and burns up those calories so that you can indulge a little more . when it comes to workout remember two things

– – Summer bodies are made in the winter

— Sex is the best workout for winter ( wink wink)

pic from net

4. soups – Try swapping your dinners with soups and see the difference in 2 months . Go crazy experimenting with various veggies , meats , add potato and run it through a mixer to get thick soup , add rice noodles , quinoa and other roasted grains to enrich the taste and nutrients . you can always add lentils and greens to a soup . let your imagination run wild here

5. Hike , walk , run , Explore – Because it’s easy to be out and about without sweating in winter . Go to the places where you have to walk all day .

6. Pamper your skin with some rich oil massages and luxurious long hot baths. Soak in the goodness of essential oils , beauty rituals and relaxing bath salts . Indulge !

pic from net

7. Satiate those grey cells by reading , Theater , art exhibitions . Attend or participate – be part of it anyway. you might make some new friends and discover a new talent in you . Let yourself be surprised.

8. Sleep – Winter is the best time to catch up on the sleep that you deprived yourself of all through the year. Add at least an hour to your usual and if your lifestyle permits , take a nap in the sun every afternoon ( if you get some winter sun ,that is ).

9. Visit a snow-laden mountain to see how beautiful snowfall is . Those pristine white peaks , and bone rattling cold is fun for a few days, even for a person like me who dread winters . Ensure that you have proper  winter clothes and warm place to stay before you get too adventurous

Pic from Net

10. Celebrate Life . It’s end of the year or starting of a new one , take some time to sit down and calm your mind . Introspect, appreciate the good life and practice gratitude. we hustle all through the year , we need to slow down and appreciate life at some point. what better time than new years . Be with family and friends . Eat , drink and be merry ..celebrate life and your being , love and all the blessings .

Pic from net

Happy winters !

 

 

Skin care while travel

Am off to another trip tomorrow and I packed these small treasures in my travel bag to ensure I have great skin in spite of hectic travel and work schedules . I picked these amazing products from 7th Heaven during my last trip to Mauritius . I picked a lot of black seaweed masks and gifted them to friends and family. My best friend asked me to spare another one for her as she loved them. I had to go search for their availability and thankfully they are available at  amazon India

 

So before my travel , I decided to give it a try as well.

what to expect in the pack : One pack contains enough liquid black seaweed pack to generously apply on your face and neck , avoiding lips and eyes . It’s a 4 step process as mentioned in the back of the pack.

Cleanse – wash you face with a mild face wash before applying the mask . pat dry your face

Apply – Evenly apply the content of one pack on your face and neck avoiding  eyes and lips .

Relax – Lie down and play some soothing music for 20-30 min. let the pack dry. Do not attempt to remove it in hurry , unless you feel severe itching and think something is irritating your skin. I have very sensitive skin and it was super smooth on it .

Remove – peel off the mask slowly , starting from one end of the face till it comes off as one masque. if the masque breaks , hold on for another 5 min . You will notice whiteheads and black heads in the peeled off masque.

Result – Supple , soft and clearer skin .

Recommended once in a week along with good hydrating products for clear , young looking skin. specially during travel when there is very less time for elaborate skin care routines , it’s a quick fix for great looking skin.

Don’t we all love beautiful pics from our travels !

Bon Voyage Lovelies !

NaNoWriMo -2017

I attempted NaNoWriMo almost 8-9 years ago under a different name and wasn’t able to achieve much that year. Though the idea intrigued me and this year am back at it with a clear plan and oodles of enthusiasm.

Am dabbling at an Erotica this year. Till now ,I have written very short books , not more than 12K words but this one is going to be over 40K words  . Now , am all for romance but Erotica is a new genre for me. I am taking this challenge to write something that will evoke senses and emotions through words . The story has been in my mind for a while now , In fact the character is so real in my mind that I can’t wait to give it life in my book.

Here is a the synopsis of the Novel . I am sure it will undergo some changes as characters take form.

Princess Maya is the heiress of Rajangarh , a very influential and rich princely state of North India. Born of an Indian prince and a French duchess , she got an upbringing unheard of Indian women in that era . By 17 she is educated , well traveled and has a mind of her own.

While men , specially Royal men are not guided by usual moral compass , for women there are always limitations and restrictions.

Smart and savvy Maya knows how to have a secret life during her many travels across Europe while maintaining a very different persona in India . She is determined to sample men and indulge in some guilty pleasures of flesh , wine and other sins ; use her money and lineage to push it all under the very lush carpets.

Till it’s time to marry !

Why a blog post for this? To commit on another platform . I want to be disciplined in this . This is an ambitious project and like a seasoned project manager , I want to ensure I run till the last mile within stipulated time . Planning and sticking to it , am learning it for non-office related projects.

I will publish the updates by end of Nov. Happy writing to everyone who is participating .

Solo Travel and the art of rejuvenating

It’s no secret that high paying , high-profile corporate life is synonymous to high-stress, high weight and high chances of getting a chronic disease. Many professionals contemplate early retirement ( as early as 45 ) because they don’t want the stress for too long. This in turn add to them extra pressure to earn more and at a faster rate. It’s a vicious cycle and they know it , but they volunteer into it .

It’s a common belief nowadays that you want to get out of 9 to 5 rut and stress , own a business .If you think entrepreneurship is a cakewalk , you can’t be farther from the truth . I have seen my friends working 38-46 hours non-stop on their own ventures . Not just once or twice a year , but many a times in a month .Some even have a makeshift bed in the office , to get some shut-eye in between. It’s not impossible to do this in 20’s but add to this a potent mix of coffee shots ,alcohol , weed , cigarettes and take away food three times day , 7 days a week you get 30-year-old in the body of 45-year-old. They are exhausted , drained and sometimes rich by the time they reach 30.

I have seen them ignoring their personal relationships , not meeting family or friends for months. Diwali is spent with colleagues or at office party . New year is a company affair .Add to it the pressure of marriage , children and looking perfect , specially for women.

But honestly what are our options ! I agree it is a rat race in the mad concrete jungle but what is the alternative . Go back to a small town or downgrade your lifestyle. Or get married for money ( rich groom or big dowry ) or accept that you will have a mediocre life and live with it and it’s struggles. I am not against any of these , but it won’t work for all. A person who know she can lead a large enterprise won’t be happy being Mrs. someone and attending kitty parties.

That’s when the art of rejuvenating comes handy. Sadly ,it’s not everyone’s cup of tea . In fact most of us fail at it miserably. We think rejuvenation is drinking with colleagues after 12 hours at work. we are adding toxins, stress and more of what’s not required into our body turning it into a trash bin. Is it a surprise that all we hear around us are snide remarks , sarcastic comments , negative gossip and frustrated complaints.

There is a golden rule for happy life – Don’t mix work , friendship and romance. keep them all in different pockets . when we end up with dating and making friends in Office , our 24 hours are a big blur of missing lines between all three. We are always talking about work , even with family. There is no mental break , there is no pause.

We don’t know how to relax , unwind and conserve our energies for most essential things in life so that we can excel without compounding stress. Rejuvenating is like re-starting your life’s computer with all the important stuff still saved for your use when you log in again. But to re-start you need to shut-down.

I love my job , but it is a means to an end , to the life I want. What good is a great salary if I spend my birthday in meetings , my New year with take away dinners and my holidays trying to login to my laptop to get that important email through.

So , I take a break every year , sometimes twice a year to a place where I have no internet on phone , No WiFi till I enter a coffee shop of a mall or my own hotel , only a basic phone with international calling facility is enough. I don’t carry a laptop. I disconnect !

I don’t travel with my bf or friends when I have to unwind , I travel solo as I need to shut those conversations . I need to sit down and talk to my own self about what I love doing rather than what I should be doing. I talk to strangers about their lives , collect precious new experiences and new perspectives.

I stop at random places , I relax at quiet corners , usually I just sit down or lie down for hours and enjoy the stillness of the sea or mountain stretched endlessly.I search for patterns and people in clouds and watch kids play in the mud. I aimlessly walk for hours, do yoga during sunsets and take relaxing massage almost every alternate day.

I eat what I like and try different kind of drinks , everyday trying something that I haven’t tried before. I am quite fond of watching local dance and musical performances live . If someone is willing to teach , I even learn some dance moves. Locals are best at giving recommendations for food and places to be.

I wander into old local shops in search of cheap trinkets, antique pieces with stories and for handmade silver jewelry. I love getting photographed but I keep my camera / phone away for 95 percent of time.  I don’t want to live my travel through pics later.

I carry books with me almost everywhere. I end up reading 2-3 books in a week when I am travelling. Reading and walking are my greatest stress-busters.

When am back home after such a trip , I feel like a new person , totally rejuvenated and fresh.

If you are feeling tired,exhausted or stuck right now , take a short solo trip , even if it’s for 3-4 days to a near by quiet town. For more tips , tricks and experiences my Ebook

Solo Indian woman traveler

 

Diwali comes full circle

I fondly remember Diwali of yesteryear when we would buy new clothes , sweets , some crackers and visit relatives all day long exchanging more love and some gifts. At the end of the day we would take some pics . we are not Hindus so there is no specific puja at home , but there is festivity and there is a positive energy . I loved candles and Diyas and would decorate all house with Ghee-divas. Diwali sweets would last for days and usually houses are kept lit with lights till Gurupurab.

From last many years I dread the festival , noise of crackers and the associated pollution is unbearable . Add to it multiple Diwali parties we need to attend , from office to relatives to friends , each trying to outdo last party with more alcohol and varied cuisines. There are no ladoos but french desserts . Only thing traditional is the attire , which is specially bought for the occasion. Nothing against it as such , I enjoy parties and my occasional sari but I feel the essence of Diwali is lost.

So , I started staying at home and celebrating only with close friends . Doing a bit of prayer and dressing up and sharing laughter and happiness with loved ones. I am not going to attend back to back parties so that I can update my Facebook and twitter feeds so often. I am not buying anymore of saris that I wore only once and then it’s forgotten. I won’t buy crackers worth thousands to show my neighbor , I am noisier than them. I do miss that ladi and anaar though and every year I either visit my friend in her big society where they celebrate as a community  or buy one Anaar and one sursuri and celebrate at my balcony. I sometimes make ladoos or gulabjamun.

Life is coming full circle I guess.

I won’t tell anyone how to celebrate their festival, all I hope for is we stay in touch with tradition while making environmental friendly choices.

Happy Diwali everyone . stay safe and lighten up your hearts with love and kindness.

#TrollFree Internet

You can’t ignore trolls and their senseless derogatory ,full of spite comments on the internet . Also popular as faceless keyboard warriors, they attack everyone and anyone who has a viewpoint that they don’t agree with. It’s almost impossible to read or watch anything on social media without the trolls taking over the discussion and converting it into attack on people , religion , race , sex or even body type. It doesn’t stop at name calling or abuses , they threaten to kill , rape and throw acid on their targets.

Today when I saw #WomenBoycottTwitter trending on the internet, my first reaction was why are we asking victims to quit and not fight with them . I am quite sure that trolls can’t outnumber sensible people on internet .We can outnumber them ,report them and have the clean, safe social media where we share opinions , gain knowledge and enjoy discussions.

I propose we use #trollfree to tag any troll post, whenever we see anyone harassing others on internet we all join hands and report that post and person. let’s fight with them together .

There is no point in indulging in abuses and mud-slinging with fake profiles and extremists who trash every opinion that’s different from theirs. Let’s peacefully report them and tag them so that we all can follow the tag and report all genuine cases.

we must refrain from tagging posts we don’t agree with and only focus on posts that spread hatred , talk about violence against a community , person or race  , threaten to kill , rape and maim anyone , use derogatory language and indulge in racism or sexism.

I would happily ignore anyone with contradicting views as long they discuss like civilized people . On the other hand if someone is abusing on the internet in support of the cause that I hold close to my heart , I would Tag and report them.

I am not trying to shut anyone whose views are contradicting to mine but want internet to be a safe place for all to put forward their views without fearing for their lives or getting into depression.

 

Location Independent Work

No matter how much you love your 9 to 5 job ,there is always a time between promotions,pays and deadlines when you want to quit it all and get out of the mad rush of cities.Whenever you scroll through the Instagram pics of travelers stuck in the traffic Jam , you wonder why you are there and not in one of the places in the pics. With every breath of heavily polluted air , your lungs gasp for fresh air.

It’s not an easy decision when you have commitments , EMIs to pay and a luxurious lifestyle to maintain. Most of us start earning reasonably well only after grinding it for a few years into the corporate . Ironically it’s easier to quit when you are earning less. There is a kind of physiological cycle of spending most of your salary in maintaining your lifestyle. There is always a bigger car , better house and longer vacation in the pipeline that keep us going. Let’s admit it ,unless you are one of the top executives or someone who is living off 20 percent of your salary you can’t quit job easily. In the current economy I wouldn’t advise you to do it as well.

It’s not a gloomy scene all the time and I am most definitely not suggesting that it’s a horrible thing to be in a 9 to 5 job. In fact , I think it suits most of us . As one of my cousin insist ” we all need discipline and structure ‘. This routine albeit boring provides that basic structure to operate. I even would go on to say ‘Everyone should get into the corporate grind first and then think of branching out as per capabilities and opportunities ”

I stared travelling for work and as the stamps on my passport increased my wanderlust was insatiable. Even after a back-breaking trip with sleepless nights ( partying , Jet-lag , flights etc ) , I often found myself looking forward to the next one within a few days. I got connected to other travelers and heard stories of gypsy-hearts who left their boring jobs ( not all well-paying) to follow their heart where ever it took them. Some made it big and earned name, fame and moolah while on the go. some got back to work after a few months of unsuccessful adventures. some , looked for a middle ground and options to

Travelling as an extended holiday for life doesn’t appeal me. To treat yourself to a well-earned vacation after weeks of never-ending work is something that I love. People like me can’t stay away from work from more than few days.

So , few years ago when I started thinking about how to work and travel , explore cities and live their for longer periods without burning a hole in my small savings. How to safeguard my old age , pay for my insurances and be able to buy those high-end clothes and shoes which I absolutely love. I am no backpackers .

If you earn in INR (Indian rupees)and spend in Euros or Dollars you know how fast your savings evaporate. Still many people are balancing the act by working on the go . This is also known as location independent work. The concept has been catching up in Indian subcontinent in the last few years specially among the under 40 age group.

A subset of it is digital Nomads – set of location independent workers who are mostly into internet based jobs. Many programmers , project managers , website designers , digital marketers work as freelancers.

Volunteering for small tasks like farming , teaching in exchange for food and accommodation is an excellent way to travel when you are on strict budget. It’s an outstanding opportunity to learn about cultures , life skills and share love and strong bonds with people.English teachers are in high demand in many south american , Asian and African nations.

Yoga and spiritual teachers can work from any location and earn while following their spiritual pursuits. Once you have some footfall , you can organize retreats at exotic locations, collaborate with other yogis. it’s recommended to get certified in a yoga trainers course if you want to pursue this side.

A writer/ blogger can chose to be location independent . Travel bloggers club

Some of the links that can be explored to search for location independent jobs / digital communities / international volunteers

https://www.workaway.info

https://digitalnomadsforum.com

Flexjobs.com

Outsourcely.com

Workingnomads.co

http://independentjobs.independent.co.uk/

http://www.cisv.org/volunteer

https://www.freelancer.com

www.yogaalliance.org

www.internationalyogafederation.net