Here is the second part of Robyn’s travel adventures. I hope you enjoyed reading the first part. I never thought I’d one day would be curious about going to India, but her pictures and stories are making me wonder what it’s like to travel to that destination. Thank you again Robyn for your time. x
Thoughts on food/eating habits, a favorite of dish or ingredients that you’ve discovered or wish you could eat again
This has been the hardest question to answer as food is probably the best cultural experience that can be shared with friends. Asian food is extremely diverse and delicious. I could list off a million meals that I would love to eat again, but let’s just say I dream of chai and I miss eating kimchi with every meal.
My favorite part about meals in South Korea was the communal aspect of eating out. Everything is shared. At some restaurants you are not able to order dinner if you are by yourself because the portions are just too large for one person. Food is usually served as one giant hot pot or plate in the center of the table and guests simply pick from the shared meal and multiple side dishes. Many of the dishes, such as BBQ, are cooked at the table on a burner. When pouring drinks you always pour for another person, or the whole table before you fill your own glass. I defiantly became better at sharing after living in Korea.
I would like to know your thoughts or how more american traditions as Christmas happen in other countries that you have visited. What were the traditions or celebrations that you’ve experienced abroad that aren’t traditional in Canada?
I spent last Christmas in Seoul, South Korea. Christmas is not a very big holiday there, although it is becoming more popular commercially. For Koreans it is often treated as a time for couples to get together and buy gifts for one another.
The most interesting celebration that I have had the privilege of participating in was the Holi festival in India. Known for the throwing of the colors this holiday is traditionally the time to celebrate the coming of spring. I was in the holy city of Pushkar in the state of Rajastan during the festivities. There was a massive build up for the festival and nights before the throwing of the colors and there were different traditional dances taking place, music, tons of fireworks and bon fires in the middle of the streets.
The morning of the festival once you stepped outside of your hotel you were immediately targeted by the locals and were coved in all kinds of colors, blue, yellow, pinks, red, green. It was a beautiful moment to see everyone surrounding you covered in a multicolored layer. It was as if all race, age, and identity disappeared, everyone became a large melting pot of purples and pinks.
I don’t mean to just paint this festival as a picturesque and charmingly traditional day, it was far from it. India ripped apart all of my expectations of what I thought things would be. In Pushkar the festival has evolved into a large party scene. There are massive speakers set up in the center of the city blaring phytrance and people cut loose. Indians know how to party. It was really fun for the most part, but as a female it can be intense to be in a crowd where it is fair game for men to touch you and put colors on your body. My sister and I were purple for a few days after, despite all of the coconut oil we put on ourselves.
What are your thoughts on travelling as a woman
- Be smart.
- Do your research before going to the country you are traveling to. A simple thing, such as wearing appropriate clothing is a tremendously important idea to understand before leaving.
- Know your limits and when to stand your ground.
- Follow your gut instincts, if something or someone is making you uncomfortable then leave, or be confident enough to say no. “No thank you” became my favorite saying when traveling in India. Being extremely confident and knowing what you want out of situations helps, other people will be quick to pick up on your energy and strength.
- Be patient and calm.
- Be understanding of cultural differences. If you are a female coming from the west understand that women are not always seen as equal, but you have to pick your battles and know that getting upset, angry or yelling directly at someone about an uncomfortable issue is not always the right way to go about creating change. I often had to remind myself that “it’s not their fault”, it is a deep rooted issue and you have to be the bigger person. You have to be able to “brush off” certain discrepancies, take a breath and let go, otherwise it could ruin your experience.
What would be the biggest misconception people have about the fact that you’re travelling over a long period of time?
That every place is beautiful and amazing. Instagram, facebook and every other social media device now has the ability to edit, edit , edit. When people share their experiences they often don’t talk about or show pictures of the less than ideal parts of a place, for example the crowds of people, the giant power lines in front of the view or the garbage at their feet. Those things are not necessarily terrible or great, it’s just what is there and makes the place what it is at the time you visit. Things are not always what they seem. I think the travel “ego” often overtakes the reality of other’s perception of their experience.
The idea of a travel lifestyle should not be put on a pedestal as the most interesting or glamorous way to live, nor should it be condemned as childish or a form of escapism. Different things work for different people. Right now this is working for me and I am driven and motivated to make it happen. At this time there are more opportunities for me abroad, so I will take them as they come.
What is the question you wish people asked you and what is the answer?
What item would you never travel without?
My journal. I am not a writer, but I am able to capture my experiences through drawing. My sister gave me the journal when I graduated and there is four years worth of memories in that book. That is the only object I would be absolutely devastated if I lost.