7 tips to travel like a local

How many of you want to travel to a place feeling more like a local? How many of you want to know how different people chill in different parts of the world and also want to experience that?

Well, there are many ways to travel and many places on the universe to go. If you are a person who likes to dress up and click photos and just walk around a city in herd of people, there is no shame in that. But if the thought of an obvious tourist makes you cringe and disappear, than you have come to the right place.

Setting aside the fact that you are never really a local if you are just visiting, but trying to do things to blend in more and getting a sense of what life is like wherever you are is always possible. I have realized that doing this extra effort will help you have a better travel experience and lifelong memories. Here are a few tips that I have learnt taking different trips:

  • Ditch the local tour

Do not sign up for tour packages if you want to explore more. I am not saying that tour packages are bad but they only show you the typical tourist destinations. It has an assigned schedule and you can’t simply extend to stay at a particular place if you feel like, whereas if you plan your own schedule you have a lot of flexibility and you could travel according to your mood. (I guess that’s what holidays are for…to give priority to your mood ;)). Also, this means you get to stop anywhere and click pictures and selfies (kudos to that).

goa-baga
just stopping in the middle of nowhere is super fun

Like recently I went to Goa with my friends and we rented two-wheeler and had the liberty to stop in amidst of this beautiful landscape to click pictures and admire the beauty.

goa
we were just driving to a beach in Goa and we found this on both sides of the road 🙂

 

  • Research

Make sure you research well enough. Make guidelines. Read articles. Read some more. Talk to a friend who is living there and inquire (if any) or a friend who has already visited that place. If you are travelling abroad, make sure to learn some phrases in the local language of that particular place. People generally love this and they instantly become friendly.

flight
travel is exciting

Also the whole research process is super fun. It gets you excited and also you understand better that what you can expect out of your holiday.

 

  • Talk to cab driver

I can’t stress this enough but this is the best help you will ever get (talk while you book a cab to your stay form the airport). They usually have the best information to give, as to which place is better to visit and also what time of the day is suitable to visit a particular place. We do get this information on the net but sometimes certain things are not updated properly and this tip will help you save time. They can literally tell you local restaurants and also guide to good shopping markets. Take their number down because it becomes helpful for the rest of your trip if you want to book a cab for the whole day.

somewhere in coorg
this was the place where the cab driver took us.

This tip has helped me book cabs for the whole day at much lesser price and also while I was in Coorg, the cab driver took us to a beautiful place which was so peaceful and had no crowd. Now, this is only possible if you have some local with you.

  • Eat local

This is the best travel experience of all. Don’t go to McDonald s or Subway while travelling. Make sure you try the local delicacies because you are certainly not going to get that local flavor back at your home. You will also remember this flavors (like dal-baati in Jodhpur is the best I have had till date, I do get it in my hometown but that taste there was different….aah I feel hungry already) and you will feel more like a local. Also don’t forget to try street food because every place has a different taste.

coorg
  this was pani puri that i had in coorg. this had an extra chutney and instead of potatoes there was carrot and peas in it.

I can tell you this through my experience because I make it a point to try pani-puri wherever am going in India and it is so different everywhere (very tasty but different). Also I discovered some new dishes in different regions which I had no idea existed.

south indian cuisine
this was traditional south indian breakfast in mysore

 

  • Stay local

A fancy hotel is a good option for sure but living in a hostel or homestay is going to be a lifelong experience. If you stay in a hostel, you meet different travelers and get to know their stories. You learn more and also get to know more about how different is somebody’s daily routine from yours. The hosts of the hostel are also fun to talk to and they give you a guidelines to travel and also give you information about non touristy places.

mysore
this is the mysore hostel and its worth the stay

My friends and I simply love staying in the hostel. I have stayed in hostels in Jodhpur, Mysore and Goa. Firstly, it is super cheap and secondly it has an amazing ambiance and great vibes. I strongly recommend you to try this because you are going to love it. It is also safe, neat and you get freedom to chill. We are so addicted to staying in hostels that we barely book hotels when we travel.

goa-wonderland
this is a hostel in Goa and it is full of cottages

 

  • Wander and slow down

Wander to places. Go to the old city or explore the area near your stay. Just go for long walks mindlessly early in the morning or evening. Be spontaneous. Try that small local coffee shop or a street food vendor. Absorb the vibe of the place.

coorg
just syncing in

I do this a lot. I remember going early in the morning for a walk when I was in pushkar and the whole feeling was soulful. Pushkar being a religious place- I could see priests praying in the morning near the Ghats and I still remember there was this calm silence in the whole place because all the shops were closed and all I could find is a tea stall vendor to which obviously my friend and I sat and sipped our morning coffee and synced in.

 

  • Be a tourist.

I mean by wanting to travel local don’t miss going to check the Eiffel tower in Paris or Taj mahal in India. You want to go see those places because you haven’t. So also be a tourist but don’t forget to try these things to enrich you travel adventure.

train journey
train journeys are soulful

Hope this post helps you in planning your next trip. I also hope you be courageous and wander overcoming all the fear and taboos you have.

If you like these tips and want more tips like these, let me know in the comments section below and I will write a part 2 type of post for you guys.

Also check iternaries for Mysore and Coorg here.

Don’t forget to sparkle.

Sanjani Shah

xoxo

What if I want everything?

what if i want everything

Hey lovelies!!! Its a beautiful day and I hope you all are charged up with your work and also for the rest of the week. I sincerely apologize for taking a very long break but I really had a lot of CHAOS going on in my life itself which i had to declutter :p. But all is well now and I am back because of your motivation (hehe…assuming that you were waiting for a post). This time I sincerely promise that you will have a new post every Tuesday and a little extra “my thoughts” kind of a post every Friday :).

So, the chaos within me was all about choices. CHOICES-that our world gives us as to what to eat, what to wear, what to become, whom to talk and what to do (haayee…so intimidating). Sometimes when you have more options it gets a little difficult to decide. It has been difficult to focus on one thing lately because I want everything.

what if i want everything

So here is a little something “my thoughts” on the chaos and confusion (well you are wondering that today is a Tuesday and I just mentioned that such posts will  be on Friday, but I felt like posting this, since its been long 🙂 ).

WHAT IF I WANT EVERYTHING?

What if I want everything?
They say I can’t have it all but
What if I want to go clubbing the one night
And do yoga the other morning
What if I want to have wine the one night
And drink green tea the other morning
What if I want to eat cake the one night
And eat salads the other morning
They say I can’t have it all but
What if I want a busy city life
But also want to live in a small town
What if I want to travel abroad and stay there
But also want to live in my hometown
What if I want to ride a Mercedes
But also want to use the local transport
They say I can’t have it all but
What if I want to travel a lot
But settle in one place too
What if I want to answer all the chaos in my head
But also meditate and calm it down
What if I want to go party the one night
But go to the temple the other morning
They say I can’t have it all but
What if all I crave for is BALANCE?

paradox

 

I am a Paradox.

I think we are all confused because we are asked to choose one thing. Our world has given us a lot of options but often asked us to either be devotional or worldly, emotional or practical and so on.

life is all about balance

Well, but you know what I choose to be both.  I think its time we all crave for a balance because balance is both the key and secret to happiness. Its important to experience all sides of life. Choose happiness and live, don’t just breathe.

This was my take on life and its options. Do let me know what you think about it or also if you have a different take on it, I would love to know.

I also have to tell you that one of the bloggers took my interview (since she liked my work…cheers to that). You can check it here  if you want to know more about me.

Also make sure you are following us on all the social media channels to not miss any of our latest updates and fun.

Sanjani Shah                                                                                                                                              xoxo

The Contrasting Thought

Hello lovelies! I hope you are having a great working week and weekdays don’t seem like a big deal for you. I recently had an amazing holiday and I am so much in that zone that I am actually looking forward to another one. (Haha kidding, well no I actually want one more).

contrasting thought
flight journey

Well, so you know that I basically shifted to Dubai for work and opportunity to explore and travel like any other 20 something. And for obvious reasons everything has been so different here than back home. I am still trying to connect with the pace this city has and am like managing my routine and mostly surviving. I still don’t find anything familiar here and I still feel like an outsider (lol because I am one…as my soul only belongs to India). But am trying to fit in and accept the fact that this is my home, at least for now.

contrasting thought
burj khalifa

Hence, I decided to take a short trip to India because six months is too long and all I needed was a familiar horizon. I could have traveled to a different country and explored more but I wanted to be back home.

So yeah, I was all set and excited for my holiday. The wait was long and I was longing to be back home and feel like home. The feeling was beautiful yet contrasting. A lot had seemed to change in the past few months. I saw new cafes opening up, new stores and a lot of things were not like how I left it. Street hawkers were no more at the same place. I was searching for the hawker from whom I used to eat vada-pav and panipuri. A mall opened near my house.

contrasting thought
soul brew

 

I actually live a little in the outskirts and it used to not be much developed there. I used to love going for drives on that road as the beautiful lush green trees and clear skies used to greet me. But it was not the same this time. I saw so many building sites coming up and things seemed so different. Not only that, I found some different arrangements at my home as well. The maid was changed for instance and so was my room arrangement (mom is basically using all the space up because you know how Indian moms are…they always have stuff to fill up an empty space teee hehee).

contrasting thought

Suddenly, I felt like I wasn’t a part of this ever changing city. I was trying to fit in but I was only a guest there for some days. The place where I grew up, studied, went to college and basically is a proof of my existence didn’t seem to feel like familiarity. I was trying to recollect my old memories and how my routine used to be before I left. But still it at least felt like home because it is always going to be home and I guess nothing would ever change that.

contrasting thought
jumeirah lake towers

But, I definitely realize one thing that home is not the same place you left and the new place you are living is still not familiar enough to call home, leaving you not being enough for both. The contrast is definitely intense but my grandma used to always say that: “All that is constant in this world is change and we must learn to embrace it no matter what”.

contrasting thought
atlantis

So am trying to live up with these contrasting thoughts in my head and as I always say what is life without its glorious chaos.

Sanjani Shah

xoxo

To Mom, With love.

Hello folks! I believe you are having an amazing Sunday. Well, but this Sunday is not like any other normal Sunday. Today, as we all know is mothers day. A day dedicated to our main woman, without whom our lives and rooms wouldn’t be so sorted.

happy mothers day

A mother is somebody because of which this world looks like a better place to live in. Somebody because of which living seems so easy. Somebody, whom you can trust blindly because you are sure of no conspiracy happening here.

happy mothers day

So, today when we are celebrating mothers, I just want to write something which needs to be said again and again.
To all the mothers out there:

Thank you for giving me life and bringing me in this world.

Thank you for teaching me how to walk and speak.

Thank you for helping me with my homework and long assignments.

Thank you for all the delicious food to eat.

Thank you for the cleaning all the mess I make.

Thank you for staying up with me during my exams.

Thank you for being there with me when I was confused about everything in life.

Thank you for helping me deal with failures and heartbreaks.

Thank you for always supporting me for the right things and stopping me for the wrong ones.

Thank you for giving me so much of security because of which I am a successful and confident individual.

Thank you for teaching me to live a life on my own terms.

And most of all thank you for being there whenever I need you.

But

Sorry

Sorry for all the sleepless nights I put you through when I used to cry as a baby.

Sorry because you paused your life when I was growing up.

Sorry to fight with you because you refused to give me all the stupid permissions I asked for.

Sorry to choose my friends over you, when I was a teenager.

Sorry for doing the mess again and again, not realizing how much effort it takes to clean it.

Sorry for throwing tantrums for food, not realizing how much love and time you put in it making for me.

Sorry because you had to sit worrying whenever I was out late for a party not answering your calls, because I was too busy dancing with my friends.

Sorry for arguing with you on silly things because I was too immature to understand what you were trying to explain.

Sorry for not realizing that you totally forgot your desires and dreams fulfilling mine.

Sorry for not realizing that you get tired too and you need support too.

Sorry.

Your stubborn and dramatic daughter.

happy mothers day

These thank you and sorry are just not enough to raise up to the standard of a mothers love. So this mothers day lets persuade our mothers to fulfill their demands and ambitions. Lets talk about their dreams instead of ours.

So,

Dear mom,

Its high time that you start the play button of your life. Start thinking about yourself. Because you have done your part. Now let me do something for you.

happy mothers day

As Washington irving once said, “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

Because in my opinion not only today but every day is MOTHER’S DAY.

Happy mothers day.

Tell me what you feel about your mothers in the comment sections below.

Thank you instant image for all the lovely photos.

Sanjani Shah

xoxo

 

 

 

Mysore-the city with sunshine

Hello beautiful people. I hope your weekend went great and you all are enjoying work. Well, am back with yet another travel story and also with the right inspiration for you to book your next holiday.

Mysore, famously called the palace city of India is a beautiful and mesmerizing place down south. This wondrous place takes you back to your malgudi days (story times) and also has a glimpse of the royal and lustrous history of its own. The vibe of this place is super chilled and you can expect yourself to laze around in some of the most amazing cafes this city has to offer.

mysore

I went there with my two best friends (obviously whose mentions have been like a routine on my blog now , and well you guys need to get used to hearing more of them priyansha and keerthi :* ). We were in Mysore for two days and the city definitely surprised us in a good way.

mysore

We started our day with traditional south Indian breakfast which was lip-smacking and downright delicious.

Then we were off to watch the royalty of the Mysore palace. It was everything that you expect a palace to be: huge, beautiful, mesmerizing, magnificent and honestly I can go on and on. I love palaces. I have always been curious to explore the lives of ancient people. I am inquisitive of knowing that how it is to be calling a huge place your home and how people used to live before all the technology took over.

I love the feeling of being in a palace and going through the beautiful chandeliers, floor carpets, carvings and paintings. It’s a proof of how much we humans used to and still love art forms and how incomplete our lives would be without them.

Our next stop was the mysore zoo. It is a humongous place filled with all kinds of species of birds, reptiles and animals. It is a treat to watch, especially the giraffe and elephant. Animal lovers should definitely visit this place.

Then we also visited the chamundi hills. It is a temple on the ghats and usually a lot of people visit it during dussehra (indian festival) to please the goddess. The view uphill is prepossessing. We actually reached around evening so we could also see the sunset there.

One of my friends actually had some local friends from mysore, who took us to chamundi hills at night in their car once again. That view was mesmerising. The cold wind with those distant city lights evoked a feeling of bliss. It left me speechless and I still remember that view and the comfortable silence I felt there.

Well, that is how our first day in Mysore was over and we headed back to our zostel, which reminds me to tell you guys about this beautiful sharing accommodation in Mysore. Its an amazing place to stay where you get sharing and also private rooms. It is very pocket friendly and you also have a chance to meet some new interesting travelers.

You can also book yourself a nice spa treatment or a yoga retreat session. Also, don’t miss to just gaze around the beautiful yellow colored houses around the city which will just add more sunshine to your soul.

Mysore is connected through Bangalore by road and rail. There are a lot of government buses also which take you there from Bangalore.

You can also take a long holiday and go to Coorg as it is nearby from Mysore. Need an iternery for Coorg:  https://wp.me/p8uPyn-2I

Tell me if you like my travel stories and want to hear more from me in the comments section below.

NEVER FORGET TO SPARKLE

Sanjani Shah

xoxo

 

 

5 reasons to go to COORG right now!!!

Hello beautiful people!! I completely apologize for not writing for a long time but I was really caught up with some work and sometimes finding an inspiration becomes a little hard, especially while you are adulting and have tonnes of chores to do (without your mom because apparently you wanted to stay alone). But since, I am back on my blog, am loving it.

Well today all I want to do is inspire you to pack your bags and go on a vacation because travelling is one thing that is so blissful and stress free. It is such a wonderful experience when somebody’s routine becomes your leisure.

I, at any given time of the day, month or year would look forward to exploring a new place. As said by the greatest traveler and inspirations of all time Ibn batuta that, “Travelling- it leaves you speechless, and then turns you into a story teller”.

So, here is my story when I travelled to Coorg with my two best friends and travel buddies (priyaaansha and keerthii i just love you guys) . I am just going to give 5 reasons to pack your bags to Coorg right now:

  1. Who wants to miss scenery like this.                                                                                     Not only does this hill station have special tourist spots but the beauty is seen in and around the hill station while walking or travelling in the car.      Raja’s seat is a jogging park with a view and also a sunset point admist the city. I would actually workout more with a view like this!
  2. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee                                                                                                                       If you are a fanatic coffee fan like me, you have to visit this place.Take a coffee plantation tour for 150 rs and get to know how this amazing drink is produced. Also the freshly brewed coffee beans will make you go wow with a wave of energy.          Ask any local tour guide people and they will arrange the tour for you in any of the coffee estate. The tour takes 1-2 hours but it is totally worth it because you get to taste the fresh coffee from the estate at the end and also be more intelligent at the end of this.          Also don’t forget to try coffee at beans n brews at Madikeri. They have lot of varieties and coffee there is amazing. You will definitely visit coorg again for this place. The rates are also very cheap.

    Well, I am already nostalgic about the coffee I had there. I guess its time for me also to pack my bags and leave for coorg 😉

  3. Namdroling monastery                                                                                                                 This place is magical. It has so much of peace and it will help you reconnect with your inner self. The statue of lord Buddha is mesmerizing and the vibe of this place is different.               You will be amazed by how peaceful and beautiful you will feel here. You could also see the monks there and get some inspiration to sort your spiritual life.    The monastery also has a small shopping place where you can find some amazing stuff like incense sticks, soaps, fragrances etc. they are totally worth a buy.
  4.  Cauvery nisargdhama                                                                                                                 This place is insane. You will be nostalgic as it will give you total jungle book feels. Don’t miss this!!                                    We were so lucky that when we went it was drizzling and we actually saw deers playing around. It was just worth a watch.   Also, don’t forget to buy some amazing chocolates right opposite the market. We also tried the panipuri and other chaat items as it was so different from the ones you get back at your home.
  5.  Ayurvedic massage center                                                                                                          Getting a massage here after a long day of sightseeing is going to make you feel like a queen.The experience is beautiful because they use the natural ayurvedic oil and after massage you can take a hot water bath with their ayurvedic soaps which will make you smell wow and calms your whole body.

They have a lot of packages suiting everyone’s pocket and also don’t forget to bargain. It is in Madikeri district.

Well. there is no doubt that why Coorg is called the Scotland of India and I dont see any reason for you to not go and visit this magical land.

 

Coorg is well connected by road through Bangalore and Mysore. There are government buses also that run very well and of course private cabs are available too.  The best area to stay in Coorg is Madikeri which is the town center.

What are you waiting for?? Go type a leave letter already 😉

Don’t forget to sparkle.

Sanjani Shah

xoxo

You are BEAUTIFUL

 

Have you ever wondered that why do we take others much more seriously then we take ourselves? We get so much influenced by other people’s opinions that most of the time we torture ourselves with self judgement and analysis. We try to fit into the society’s version of being “beautiful”. We try and do things we don’t want to or just push ourselves to our limits.

Most of the time all we do is hate ourselves. WHY?

So, lets just chill and forget for a while what the society thinks and be ourselves, because when you are yourself I think you are more than just beautiful.

So, this it to everyone out there who thinks he/she is not enough

To everyone out there who ever inflicted a self doubt, and

To everyone who ever lent an ear to the society:

You are beautiful with that scars on your legs

You are beautiful with that stretch marks on your body

You are beautiful with that extra weight you carry

Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

You are beautiful with all the love you give away

You are beautiful with all the rumbling thoughts in your head

You are beautiful with all the mood swings you face

Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

You are beautiful with the colour of your skin

You are beautiful with the laughter on your face

You are beautiful with the way you see the world

Don’t let them tell you otherwise

You are beautiful with the way you dance

You are beautiful with the way you fight

You are beautiful with the way you never give up

Don’t let them tell you otherwise

You are beautiful with all the dark shadows in your soul

You are beautiful with all the struggles you face

You are beautiful with all your flaws

Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL WITH ALL THE CHAOS

Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Well, as someone once said that,” Be the best version of you” and just forget about everyone else. Embrace your flaws and love yourself and breathe through the magic of life.

Don’t forget to sparkle.

Sanjani shah

xoxo

I want to extend a big thank you to all my friends (priyansha, keerthi, kiran and tapsi ) for letting me use their personal images.

The Expat Life

“Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was”, said the famous writer Jodi Picoult in one of her books.

I really quite didn’t understand this before some time but now when I stumble upon, it makes complete sense to me. Its been almost 5 months that I just packed my bags and moved from India to Dubai as an expat. I really wanted to live somewhere like a foreigner and encounter the life in a different cultural horizon then mine.

I have always loved wandering. Being a citizen of the world is still something I hold on to very strongly.

But living a life of an expat, is really different from being a traveler in a place for some days. It is exciting and fun but also at the same time its more of a roller coaster ride of your emotions and everything in general.

. I finally realize that how dear my hometown to me is and also how much I love my friends and family. So when I sit near the window of my new house juggling with the little voices in my head, all I can pen down is:

 

When am walking in this new country with thoughts of freedom and independence

Why is it that I feel lonely

When I walk this new streets with tall skyscrapers and different kind of people

Why is it that I want to go back to the familiar skies

When I come back home after a long day of work

Why is it that I miss my brother telling me to take him for a drive

When I see a daughter fighting with her mom

Why is that I want to call my mom

When I go to a coffee shop and see friends laughing

Why is it that I want to go running back to my best friend

When all I do is use all different apps on my phone to stay in touch back home

Why is it that we have really progressed but technology doesn’t really help me feel near to home

 

With understanding  what home is

A homesick

 

Well, it is  definitely a different experience on its own and it teaches you a lot of things, making you wiser and smarter but at the same time it may make you homesick for a while. (well everything has a reaction)

I believe everybody should experience this as when you head back home, everything remains the same but it is you who will be changed and that surely makes a lot of difference.

So go on and take some courageous steps because whats life without all it glorious chaos.

Don’t forget to sparkle

Sanjani shah

Xoxo