Zum Chick Joy did some big things this summer! We missed her and her great style around the Zum Factory, but are proud of all the things she has accomplished. Enjoy her story!
It all started with an application to a yoga school in India that I sent back in December 2016. I didn't think I would be accepted because they only offered ten slots, but I promptly received an email saying my application had been reviewed. After a few emails back and forth telling them about myself, that I was half Indian (brownie points) and why I wanted to join the program, they said they'd love to welcome me in July 2017. I hadn't been to India since I was a kid with my mom, so this was terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I immediately told my cousin about the program and asked if she wanted to backpack around India before or after my training. We then ended up spontaneously booking one-way tickets to Bangkok, Thailand. We gave ourselves two weeks there which allowed us to cross the border into Cambodia to see Angkor Wat - something I've wanted to see for years.
Oh, did i mention we got stranded on an island our first night in southern Thailand? 'Cause that happened. I was able to use the SOS feature on the portable charger Collin bought me prior to my travels. It was very much like an episode of Survivor.
Thailand was enchanting in every sense of the word. We climbed caves, hiked up cliffs into secluded lagoons, visited a national park equipped with waterfalls, saw some jaw-dropping temples, and snuck into infinity pools at fancy hotels. Those two weeks flashed right before our eyes and it was time to head to the motherland.
My cousin's mom and my mom are sisters who were both born in India - our family is from the state of Punjab which borders Pakistan. They grew up in Delhi, the capital, which is right where we flew into. Delhi is extremely overwhelming and I was ready to GTFO as soon as possible. I felt horrible because my mom was so excited for me to see the city she had grew up in and I very much hated our first day there.
We then headed a little west to the state of Rajasthan which was BEAUTIFUL. We took trains all over, waking up in new cities every few days. This was probably my most favorite part of my backpacking. Rajasthan is known for its markets and textiles and abundance of forts and palaces. The people of Rajasthan are also some of the most beautiful I've ever seen - bone structure galore.
Once we reached the end of our Rajasthan itinerary, we headed south to Kerala which is where my mother was born and also where I was studying yoga for a month. It was so polar opposite from the rest of India it almost felt like I had left the country. My training was amazing and exceeded my expectations though. Making sure it was authentic and not some resort pumping out a bunch of yoga certificates was extremely important to me. At the risk of sounding cliche, it was very much lifechanging and so difficult to put into words.
As a post-yoga training gift to myself, I booked a flight to Sri Lanka. My cousin and I had parted ways once my training started so I was excited for some solo travel. Sri Lanka is possibly the most beautiful country in the world and should be a vacation destination for everyone. With that being said, it's quite touristy, but the locals can help you get away from that for more authenticity. It has the BEST food, and is so abundant envionmentally. You can be in the tropics gazing at jaw-drapping beaches and then take a five hour train into the mountains and tea fields. I was like, "Where are the mermaids and fairies because this CANNOT be real."
We loved hearing about Joy's travels and hope you have, too! Joy said many were worried and offered advice about the "dangers" of India and told her, "Those Indians just do things differently over there," to which she replied, "Well this Indian knows." An avid adventurist and optimist, Joy said she felt completely safe the entire time and was happy to prove them wrong. We are happy to share her story and help her give that beautiful country the reputation it deserves.