Exploring Utah's most beautiful National Parks was a non-negotiable part of our road trip from Southern California to Colorado. Only slightly out of the way off Interstate 70, we couldn't miss Zion, Arches, or Canyonlands National Parks.
Before we made any plans, we asked ourselves this one simple question: do we want to spend our limited budget on one single wedding day, or spend it on many, many days of adventure and discovery? Duh! We chose the latter and couldn't be happier we did.
Here is the story of our inexpensive, 13-person wedding and we stretched our budget to include a 4-month honeymoon to India and Thailand.
Alaska, the last frontier! This gigantic chunk of land that's twice the size of Texas and far removed from the lower 48 should be near the top of your travel bucket list. The days are long in the summer, never really getting dark, the terrain is lush, the air is cool, and the people are so friendly!
Atlanta is booming right now! Not only is it growing as a top trip destination, but people are moving there in droves. With so much to see and do in Atlanta, I'd like to offer my suggestion of the top 2 things you absolutely must make time to see while you're there.
Unless you're from that part of the U.S., you probably haven't given much thought to visiting Kentucky. Home of the Kentucky Derby and the Louisville Slugger of course, but Kentucky is most notably famous for their smooth, sippable bourbon.
We've had an adventurous 2016, with trips to exotic places like India, Thailand, Alaska, and Las Vegas (maybe that's not "exotic" but still), and yet, ending up spending the summer in Illinois is something I can't quite wrap my brain around yet. And we've been here for 10 days already.
Day and Night number one as full-time RVers could've gone a lot worse than it did, if not for Nicks incredible power to calm his panicking wife.
It's a strange sensation, downsizing the years of accumulation inside our 2200 sq/ft home, into a 29ft fifth wheel travel trailer.
As I type this, we are sitting at a beachside hotel in the south of India at the half-way point of a 15 week journey through India and Thailand. That sounds amazing doesn't it? Well it is, but it's also incredibly challenging. And our direct experience of backpacking with months of medical supplies on our backs through a country that has no concept of "handicap accessible" probably looks a hell of a lot different than the dreamy vacation you might be imagining. We travel for so long at one time because we move so damn slowly.
Goa is an amazing place. Wild and free, with just about anything on offer you can possibly think of. It's a small coastal state with beach towns as varied as what you might find in California. The trick is to research according to your tastes and then not be attached to the outcome.
India is an ideal location for budget travelers to explore and spend time in. My goal with this post is to give you an idea of what to budget for a trip to India, and what is possible for you to experience.
Rishikesh is beautiful. A bustling little town nestled in the foot hills of the Himalayas, the Ganges river runs right through it on the way to Varanasi, and beyond to the Bay of Bengal. It took us 19 hours, and six modes of transport to get up to Rishikesh from Varanasi. It was totally worth it!
Intrigued by the worlds most peaceful religion, we traveled to the site where Buddha gained enlightenment and found a unique adventure we weren't expecting.
I was just lecturing Nick about how we need to stay in control when dealing with locals. How I want to be kind, but not allow them to sway me when I have a plan, or an idea of what I'm doing. In fact, Nick was unhappy with how I snapped at a nice local man while waiting for the train from Gaya to Varanasi, so that's how this came up.
The sad truth is you have to be hard here. Kindness is quickly mistaken for interest and people will follow you for blocks trying to convince you to buy something. Just about everyone has an agenda here in India, especially if they approach you out of no where.
So when we arrived in Varanasi late at night and our auto rickshaw driver talked us out of our decided-upon hotel, and took us to another place (inconveniently located on the opposite side of town) where he earned a commission and somehow even managed to get a fucking tip out of me on top of the previously negotiated price, I beat myself up about it. How did this happen!?
Nick and I both desperately want to believe that all humans have good hearts and intentions. We want to trust people. We want to be loving and compassion, but in India, you just can't. Or, at least you shouldn't. Otherwise you will end up somewhere you didn't want to go.
But I didn't learn from that experience, because within 30 minutes on the street the next morning, we were following a friendly local in the complete opposite direction we wanted to go as he led us to see how textiles "he designed" were made. I told him twice, "No shopping!" and as we walked further and further, I got wearier and more frustrated feeling like we were about to get duped. Oh and Nick sure didn't need to walk two extra blocks on top of all the walking he would be doing later.
Next thing I know I'm walking into a sari show room and being shown fabrics by a pushy sales man. I was so fucking pissed, at the local guy for being so nice, helping us, talking to us, and then taking advantage of us, but I was more mad at myself though, for knowing better but feeling timid to stand my ground and firmly saying no to his invite. I can't believe it happened, again! I'm so tired of not being able to trust anyone here.
He redeemed himself though, by walking us back to the main road, hailing a cycle rickshaw for us back to where we met, negotiating a "locals" price for it, following us there, apologizing profuseley, and personally guiding us down to the burning ghat. He spent 45 minutes with us there telling us all about the process. He was very gracious and more than won us over, even after an attempt to take advantage of us. Such is India. Ahhhhh, incredible India.
I'll admit, I'm not much of a planner, but planning travel is something I can actually get excited about. Excep for when the planning stage lasts for half a year. I consider that to be torture.