What’s in a bag? Travel essentials 101

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Now that we are wrapping up the year, it’s time to reminisce the last 12 months. 2017 has been special because I experienced living in another country and traveled to my heart’s content (Also, spent to my heart’s content!). So as I hopped from one place to another, I have self-upgraded my status to a Travel Enthusiast. And given this status change, I am now allowed to share with you two bits on some travel essentials that has made the road more delightful. Presenting the budget series below:

Backpack cum duffel bag: Suitcases with their bulk and form are not my style, and a trekking bag is too deep and messy. The Gods were willing to hear me and I finally discovered this duffel cum backpack that is not only slick, but is also spacious, and has a dual feature with great design, comfortable straps and practical use for it can be used for trips upto 10 days or slightly more. On my way to India, I managed to skip spending additional dollars for extra baggage when I snuck out this bag and filled it vigorously to balance out my overflowing suitcases.  My love meter for this bag is currently at its highest.

What I have: Bago Duffel Bag Convertible to Backpack
What it costed me: $ 54.94 on Amazon

Water Shoes: I don’t know how I walked the Earth without this. This lightweight shoe is great for easy and slightly hilly treks, waterfall hikes, and beaches and was perfect during my recent Costa Rica trip that boasted of all these terrains. The specialty is its grip and quick dry feature. Believe me – you want this!

What I have: Aleader Women’s Mesh Slip on Water Shoes
What it costed me: $ 26.99 on Amazon

Binoculars: I took up bird watching as a hobby last year and learnt that 10 x 42 is a good size lens to start with. Once I started using them, I realized how useful they can be for travel. I have spotted beautiful treasures not only during travel but also my own backyard and it has been a loyal companion since in New York City streets and beyond! I also keep this on my bedside in case I need to zoom in on an uninvited alien or ghost.

What I have: Celestron 71347 Outland X 10×42 Binocular
What it costed me: $ 49.99 on Amazon

Lightweight jacket: My broken body thermostat requires me to ALWAYS carry a jacket and a compact buy can be a life saver. A big plus is that they look fragile but just like a tiny pup they have a loud bark and can bully the cold. I have multiple colors and continue to replace them as I lose them along the way.

What I have: Women Ultra Light Down Jacket
What it costed me: $ 69.90 on Uniqlo

Waterproof mobile case: If you still don’t have a waterproof phone like me, and want to plop that phone to take pictures in water then here is the answer. I saw these cases dive with its owners in the Mexican Cenotes for the first time, and I admit I was very jealous.

What I have: Fit Fort Universal Waterproof Case
What it costed me: $ 7.90 for two on Amazon

Mosquito repellant: Have you seen movies where mosquitoes with their sharp noses swoop in and pierce you out of nowhere on your back? This image constantly moves with me and so do fiercely strong repellants. But thankfully I found a natural repellant that is as effective and makes me feel better about the products I am using in this environment.  

What I have: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellant
What it costed me: $ 4.97 on Amazon

May your New Year journey be filled with these treasures, and may you have a safe road ahead. Happy New Year Y’all!

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Birthday ‘wisdom’

Since my 21st birthday each year, I have complained about how “OLD” I am. I really believed that time is running away leaving me behind. I had no control and each year my birthday was a constant reminder – exhausting! After a decade, I have finally come to shake hands with my age, among other things. And now that I am in my 30’s I feel obliged to share my ‘wisdom’ – which is more my journey than advice.

Age is just a number: Also, I learnt that clichés are oodles of wisdom and experience packed together in a tiny sentence; unfortunately they are also like this sudden flashbulb that is sparked only when you are ready.

“Never say Never”-  I believe that more each time I finish a tub of ice cream, setting a new record.


Don’t let others tell you what is good for you: Only you know yourself best. Period. Whether you make good or bad decisions, you’re the only one who will be living it. Life is too long to have zero misses, but I hope there are a few you can look back and laugh at.

.. like when you intentionally walk over a banana peel and fall with a thud. Hey, in India they have magical powers that draw you closer.

You have more questions than answers: If you introspect, you will realize how your opinions about the same things have changed in the last 2, 5 and 10 years. This will happen and you’re not alone, so don’t kill yourself over it. But be open to it.

I recently learned that potatoes can be blue, carrots can be purple and bananas can be pink. As if life was not complicated enough!


Everyone is different: Whether it’s your mind or your body, spend time knowing your strengths and boundaries. Stop having a timeline to dictate your life decisions – I know people who married at 20 and I know those who married at 40 and I know myself who is not married at 30. And, that’s fine.

Some of you were only waiting for me to finish this sentence, and now can go back to your lives.


Believe in yourself: I know you’re thinking “I already knew that.” As you get older, the confidence you gain in your own self is pure joy. “What will people think” does not drive your decisions. It’s almost like getting rid of the dead weight.

Although, let me admit that I start regressing on bad hair days.

Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Sunscreen’ is one of my favorite songs. He gives you a slew of wisdom but concludes that he can only be sure about one thing – wearing Sunscreen. Unfortunately you can’t even rely on that anymore. My advice is to read this excerpt keeping the beats of the same music – you won’t learn much but it will still be fun!

Get caught up:
Calm in the (Windy) City

Namast’ay New York


*Drum Rolls* for our first post 

Disclaimer: We come from India where everything is a celebration

however, let us introduce ourselves beyond that…

What is the best advice a New Yorker gave you?

Tanvi: If a subway car arrives mysteriously empty, it’s empty for a reason (more on this later).

Radhika: Don’t stand close to the subway tracks as someone may just push you over!

What is the weirdest thing you’ve seen in the city?

Tanvi: A homeless person holding a sign that said “Need money for weed”. Talk about being honest.

Radhika: During my house-hunting days, an agent tried convincing me to rent a house with a 6’3” space that would have multi-purposes as a room, gym and a living room. He even did push ups to prove it – that image still haunts me.

One thing you miss about India?

Tanvi: I’m going to be a total jerk here and go ahead and say the house help. On the other hand, because of having to do everything on your own, I’ve gotten better at managing my time.

Radhika: Coconut water. Yes, you heard it right. Drinking ‘Pure coconut water with Peach & Mango’ does not seem to cut it!