Travel Diaries V — Many of them are in the Middle East
Being the only girl on the trip is definitely a ‘thing’ and it’s not because I point it out all the time, it seems to be in line with the way society here rolls. Our third day in Kathmandu we joined Hira and his friends to celebrate a local festival in their village and out of 25+ guys at most times, I was the only female.
On our way to the festival, I wobblingly demounted the bike high from the ride, and walked into a small room packed with 15 guys chatting and smoking and preparing for the festival. They all shook my hand and acknowledged me like the other guys and I am pleased and impressed to get the same respect and acknowldgement as everyone else. That doesn’t always happen in Lebanon, fyi.
Hira tells us fights will most likely break out but not to worry, because we’re foreigner... [more]
Travel Diaries IV: He may look like a hippie, but he’s got business in his blood
At 8’oclock in the morning I was soundlessly asleep in my white sheets dreaming about something fantastic when a sharp and constant rapping on the front door shook me out of my slumber. I punched my love in the face and he got up to see what was up. Our landlord was at the door.
“Wake up! You have one hour before you are going paragliding.”
It’s not the most horrible way to be shocked out of bed, that’s for sure. Just the night before our landlord and owner of Blue Sky Paragliding came to check up on us when Matias, the ever-clever businessman, proposed a deal.
Matias suggested that in return for not having WiFi as promised, we could paraglide for a deeply discounted price with our landlord’s company. Going to bed that night we weren’t sure what the future held, as he seemed very hesitant and didn’t give an answer. But only an hour after the sun rose the next morning, the deal was sealed.
I probably would ... [more]
Travel Diairies III – Step 2: Suntan my A**hole
Until I was 20, I had never left the United States of America (with one short trip to Antigua), so you can imagine how deeply embedded I was in my middle class educated American mentality, some of which includes the prescripted: graduating high school, going to college, getting internships, boosting your resume and getting a job. One thing I noticed after I had graduated college and left the US while living in Beirut for the first time was how difficult I found ‘doing nothing’ to be for me, what with all those summers not idling and those winter breaks squeezing in pointless museum internships.
It was summer and I only worked three nights a week. I found myself stressing on those four other days: “I have nothing to do and I don’t want to do anything particular at the same time” was my dilemma. Plus it was such a hot hot summer and hard to even move. A friend said to me “Adrian, it’s ok to do nothing sometimes. It’s called resti... [more]
I’m almost 25, will I have a breakdown?
April 21 I energetically told the guys it was my half birthday; I turned 24.5 years old and thus in six months I will officially reach my quarter-century milestone. I tried to reflect on the occasion and pondered whether I’ll be experiencing any quarter-life crises. Then I wondered if it only happens to men and only on the HALF-life occasion. Anyways, will I have one? What should I expect?
First I tried to think what it meant to me by using a comparison to the traditional predicament. Men fall into crisis because half of their life is already spent; They buy fast fancy cars, ditch their commitments, and try to snag hot young girlfriends, right? It all boils down to sucking up as much youth and freedom as possible because those things are essentially gone. Well, I feel like I’m still in the middle of those things and so a quarter-life crisis for a female must be different.
Here is a list of 5 triggers that could possibly start my crisis:
I flipped out — on the Norwegians!
II Flipping Out
If you’re reading this you already know that my 3 companions are Norwegian, men, and extremely well-traveled. Not like Euro-backpacking trip travelled. Like Matias has hitchhiked across the globe every which way (with no money), Jorgen has explored most of the Middle East and Asia, and Knut has taken 2000 km motorcycle trips in Southeast Asia (not to mention he came to Nepal with a bag smaller than many women’s purses) for example, and more.
So ok, I knew they were experts. But I started to freak out when the three of them would only converse in Norwegian for the first two days. For me, traveling to Nepal in and of itself was like being thrown into a whole new universe. As soon as we left the airport I was bombarded by endless dust and dirt coupled with the chaos of motorists, locals, peddlers, and beggars.
But when ... [more]
-My first real ADVENTURE (started off a shitshow)!
I First Impression
Here I am in Nepal! Although I’ve lived in Lebanon, Italy, and travelled around the US a bit, I still feel like I haven’t truly adventured and the concept of traveling for travelling’s sake has never been a part of me. So when Matias suggested our vacation of undetermined length be in his former host country of Nepal I was more than excited! I mean, it’s 3rd world, farther east than I’ve ever been, mega cheap, and full of the world’s most incredible natural wonders (hello Himalayas!).
Getting here was no problem, considering we spent a night in Dubai and hung out with MY internet best friend and our 2Famous Beauty Editor, Meghan O. for the first time IN REAL LIFE! She’s as badass as she is sweet and more beautiful than the midnight moon. Our friend Andrew (and my former coworker, yes I had a job once) hosted us. Let’s just say Andrew is the dream host and knows exactly how to make Dubai an exciting... [more]
It Happened to Me: I was published XO Jane and wanted to die but now I just want to be a better writer.
I originally brainstormed my redemption with a cloud of doom hanging over me. I had just been published as a contestant on XO Jane’s It Happened to Me Contest and before I knew it I was doubled over in pain and shame as a result of the comments my submission created. You MUST have noticed an absence in my writing, right fans? Here’s why.
It all started when I was reading my daily dose of said women’s lifestyle website when a blaring yellow highlighter at the top of the page burned my eyes. It Happened To Me Contest – Win $1000!
Contest? Money? IHTM!? I loved all of those things! In my pre-publishing happiness and bliss, I scoured my brain for stories tha... [more]
I spent some time Tweeting the organizers of a fancy open food/open drink event to try to get in for free, but when they totally ignored me I distracted myself with some chores. On my way to wash my clothes at Layal‘s house, she said she was going to that exact event to cover a story for her audio show and had an unfilled +1. Naturally she’d have to bring me along.
Tawlet, Beirut’s pricey organic and local farm-to-table restaurant, hosts an open beer, wine, and food event every first Thursday of the month. I had managed to get in for free, now I had to find out what the event was for. But first,I warmed up to a big fancy glass of red wine and chatted with the chef du jour.
I managed to spend the first two-thirds of the evening swilling back red drink while Layal shmoozed, so the cause of Tawlet’s event was still unclear to me . ... [more]
Everyone who lives in a city feels like they have a special relationship with the cashier of corner shop they frequent the most, don’t they?
In New York you call the corner store a ‘bodega’ and buy all your immediate essentials: snacks, drinks, toilet paper, and sometimes a quick coffee. In Lebanon we call it a ‘dekane;’ it’s usually owned and run by a family.
In New York I’ve made friends with Arab shop owners and gotten free 40’s. In Lebanon I can to buy groceries on loan when I don’t the have cash. Different places, different perks — or are Arabs just incredibly hospitable all over the world?
The dekane below my building is Tony’s Market, owned and run by Tony. Usually the framework of employment is the same for these dekanes: one man owns the market, a family member assists or works the register when the owner isn’t there, and then there’s a foreign worker (usually Egyptian or S... [more]