November in Review
CAPTURING MOMENTS || November 2015
11.1-11.5 (Udaipur and Jodhphur, India) → 11.5-11.7 (Mumbai, India) → 11.7-11.14 (Goa, India)→ 11.14-11.22 (Chennai, India)→ 11.22-11.23 (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)→ 11.23-12.2 (San Jose, CA, USA)
- Ziplining across a fort perched on a hilltop overlooking the Blue City of Jodhpur
- Taking two back-to-back overnight sleeper trains from Agra to Goa and feeling like backpacking gods
- Spending a day with the BITS Ultimate Frisbee team and being treated to the famed Indian hospitality complete with fifteen flavors of soda taste test and Bollywood movies galore
- Meeting up with my friend from home, Alyssa, for a four-day Indian wedding extravaganza in a flooded Chennai complete with a full-day sari shopping experience
- My first time riding on Etihad Airways and being wow-ed by its amazing service and friendly flight attendents
- A 12-hour layover in Abu Dhabi ended with a new friend Farrukh who took time out of his busy schedule to show us around the city
- Meeting Tim’s family and friends, touring around his hometown and enjoying my first real Thanksgiving in San Jose
PLAYING TOURIST, The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco @ 12:10 pm
LITTLE PRINCES: ONE MAN’S PROMISE TO BRING HOME THE LOST CHILDREN OF NEPAL by Conor Grennan
“If walking into the responsibility of caring for eighteen children was difficult, walking out on that responsibility was almost impossible. The children had become a constant presence, little spinning tops that splattered joy onto everyone they bumped into.”
Synopsis: What was supposed to be a short-term volunteering stint catapulted into a lifelong commitment to the children of Nepal. At the age of 29, Connor Grennan set out on a yearlong adventure around the world. He began his year volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal but after learning the distressing truth that the “orphans” were not really orphans at all — but children stolen from their homes by child traffickers — he embarked on a life-changing journey reuniting broken families. Facing seemingly insurmountable odds, Grennan braved the dangers of political turmoil and the treacherous Nepalese mountains to bring the children home.
I’m not one to knockdown preparatory reading before heading off on a trip but for me, had I read this book prior to visiting Nepal, I don’t think I would have appreciated as much. I began this read two weeks into my Nepal trip, after ten days of volunteering in a remote hilltop village outside of Kathmandu. Everything Grennan wrote about Nepal stands true. His choice of the words, though base, provide an in-depth look at the reality of the situation at hand. It really felt as if he was there narrating my own time in Nepal, especially with his shtick about getting served mountains of rice at every meal and having to force-feed himself for the sake of not appearing ungrateful in an environment engulfed in poverty. The narrative tackles the origin story of how he came to develop Next Generation Nepal, a non-profit that reconnects trafficked children with their families. What I enjoyed most about the story is that never loses its humanity. I mean, most memoirs about volunteering usually don’t cut it for me. They end up being too evangelical or embellished or even end up romanticizing the act of doing good. Then here’s an endearing story about this average joe who decides to sign up for a volunteering gig who unbeknownst to him, will end up turning his life around. He’s one of the few who does more than what is asked of him and ends up dedicating his life to attending to this great need of reuniting stolen children with their long-lost parents/relatives. There are so many obstacles against him and yet he never falters. You (as the reader) applaud him for his resilience and courage to fulfill his promise at all costs but one can’t help but empathize as he faces the reality of uncertainty in the undertaking of carrying out rescue missions in war-torn, destitute Nepal. I love how this one instance of goodwill resonates to the world-at-large in that the doing good is not as easy of a choice as people make it out to be. Read it and weep.
ON THE INTERNET
- A round-up of New York’s over-the-top, glittering department store window displays which are the high point of the Big Apple’s holiday season can be found here at the Ultimate Guide to NYC’s Holiday Department Store Windows.
- Thinking about a destination wedding in Iceland? Maja and Patrick’s Icelandic Winter Wedding will make you fall in love with the dreamy sights of the natural, brooding beauty found in Iceland’s sweeping landscapes.
- Aer Lingus put the ho-ho-ho in homecomings helping fellow countrymen abroad reunite with their families back home in Ireland for the first time in years… bring on the kleenex.
- Broke from yuletide spending? Here are some tips from the Adventures of Will to make your upcoming year of travel a little more budget friendly.
- #PictureGreece series from Savoteur World (formerly Daily Secret) takes us on a tour of Greece from the eyes of four types of traveling bloggers: the Culture Buff, Nature Enthusiast, Urban Explorer, and Island Hopper. Have a nice trip!