It was nearing the end of my year long voyage in India and I hadn't yet conquered the art of making masala chai. While crashing at the home of friends, they began the very intricate process of teaching me to make what is, in my opinion, the most heartwarming drink on the planet.
There are two recipes below. The first one is for ready made masala chai, to which you just add your spices to black tea, and the other is a recipe for fresh made masala chai.
Ingredients for Making Masala Chai Powder:
Elaichi (Cardamom) Seeds- 2.5 tbsp Dry Ginger Powder – 5 tbsp Whole Black Pepper – 4 tbsp Cloves Powder – 1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder- 1 tsp Nutmeg – 3/4 tsp
Store in a clean glass jar and use about 1/4 of a tbsp per cup of chai (to taste).
A Think Week is a seven day stretch (or more, if you like) of seclusion to recharge your thinking and focus on personal development. It's a time where you can reflect on your past and your future, read about new ideas and make changes accordingly.
Every year, I charter into unchartered territory to take a week long break to clear my thinking and focus my direction. Last year, I sat on a beach in Myanmar, where I lived in a small wooden bungalow with only a few hours of electricity a day. A week before, I printed tons of articles, downloaded more than a few books and purchased writing journals in Bangkok, Thailand, to prepare for my week long hiatus. I put up an email vacation responder to notify loved ones back home and powered off my cell phone (like it would REALLY work in Myanmar).
While on the beach in Ngwe Saung, I finished a few unfinished books, jotted down business ideas, finished a few pending projects, read through scriptures, journaled and focused on where I wanted to be in the upcoming year. During this intentional time off, I was able to clear my thinking and focus my direction.
My digital friend (I haven't met him yet) Mike Karnjanaprakorn, said that during a recent Think Week:
"I was able to make a clear decision on what I wanted to do next with my personal and professional life. By disconnecting from the world, time moved really slow. I really got to enjoy the moment, which we often neglect in our chaotic worlds."
Catch the trend, here?
I scored all of these amazing deals by doing one thing, and one thing only.
I traveled off season.
Traveling off season or during the low season, simply put, is the time of year when a destination gets the fewest visitors. As a result, amazing hotels are plentiful as they tend to offer the lowest prices to attract customers and fill rooms. Scheduling some of my travel during this season has been the easiest way for me to secure the best resorts, vacation packages and flight deals. People always say that the weather off-season in most places is horrendous (hot, cold or rainy), but often, it's quite the contrary. If you're ok with a day or so of possible shoddy weather, traveling when there aren't many other tourists around is an attractive option for many. During my stay at each of these locations, the weather didn't hint at anything out of the ordinary (with the exception of Bali). In fact, I couldn't have asked for better weather.
One of the most introspective pieces on travel. This is a repost of the original article featured in Salon.
By Pico Iyer
'We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.
The beauty of this whole process was best described, perhaps, before people even took to frequent flying, by George Santayana in his lapidary essay, “The Philosophy of Travel.” We “need sometimes,” the Harvard philosopher wrote, “to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.”
Follow these tips to keep your natural hair fly during your trip!
When it comes to traveling, hair is just as important as prepping and packing for a trip. Really, who wants to frolic on the beach in a cute bathing suit, but have jacked up hair?! Even though natural hair on vacation can be a bit more freeing than relaxed hair at times, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own set of travel challenges. Whether you’re rocking a frohawk or a head full of curls, follow these tips to keep your natural hair fly during your globe-trotting adventures.
Different climates can do different things to your hair. Since you wouldn’t want to travel to some great destination and not have any cute pics of yourself to prove it, make sure you stock up on products to counter humidity, dry air, hard shower water and any other elements that can ruin your vacation locks. Be sure to buy travel-sized containers at your local beauty supply store so that you can bring along your must-have products in case they aren’t sold where you’re going.
Protect Your Hair
Travel is a lifestyle, not a luxury. Nothing has accelerated my personal growth and expanded my horizons more than traveling around the world. With that being said, I spend a ton of time on planes–and with each trip, I find things that I simply can’t live without. No matter how near or far the destination, a girl’s must-haves are non-negotiable. Check out what’s on my must-have list, and maybe some of my faves can become your faves too.
The O.G. by Lo & Sons
Ever since I received this this bag for my birthday, my whole travel world has been changed. I don’t even remember my life in travel before the O.G. came along; actually I do…it sucked! This bag is super lightweight and has pockets and compartments for everything including your computer and iPad, phone, passport, keys and snacks. As if all of that weren’t enough, it has a side pocket for your favorite pair of heels…score! Now if I could only get my hands on a red one!
Canon Powershot SD880 IS
“Turituri” is a Maori word meaning be quiet. My initial inference was that the word meant to refute clamour with the invoking of quiet. I learned that Kiwi schoolteachers especially use the word to quiet down noisy classrooms: “Turituri, turituri!”
I suppose you can say I adopted the term for myself (…in touristy enrapture tainted by my writer’s giddiness!). The author in me was unable help using it to describe times of peace and tranquility I’d take , separated from my study abroad group, to clear my head, rest, pray, seek inspiration and inner silence. Despite the word not being a descriptive term, I deem many of my quiet times in New Zealand as “turituris.” From my perspective the word translated into my whole New Zealand pursuit: learning to achieve a quiet state and find content in the absence of that irreverent, near patriotic noisiness embedded in life back in the US.
Although I fell in love with the tide pools on the edge of the white-rocked peninsula and the expanse of beige pebbles of the South Bay (on which I battled many seabirds for my pack lunch), my favourite place remains that humble black-pebbled beach at the end of Old Mill Rd, just one mile’s bike ride away from my Kiwi dwelling.
As a Black-Caribbean woman the beach has always bore meaning for me. Living just 1 mile away from it in NZ, I took advantage of my close proximity to sit on the black shore for countless turituris. At that nameless stretch of beach I’d spend time tracing the roots of my affection for the ocean, learning things about the Creator, myself, and my relationship to the natural world as the waves turned before me. Biking to the beach with camera and journal, I allowed the simple statements of water, sky, and rock to confront my attraction to the cacophonous lifestyle back home in America. Over time the beach won my favour because it helped teach me to turituri…
[caption id="attachment_354" align="alignnone" width="300"] My favorite photo of an Old Mill Beach sunset[/caption]
Three days–that’s all I had during my first trip to Asia.
I was set to take off just a few days after spending 3 weeks traveling to Sri Lanka, the States and the Bahamas and I was dead broke. A few months earlier, I found out that I had won a free flight to Bangkok from my bank here in the United Arab Emirates and was determined to make the trip happen–even if it meant traveling to Asia with only $300 to my name. This trip would also be my first experience Couchsurfing AND on the Asian continent, so I was excited and nervous all at the same time.
One of the first things that I always do when I travel alone is purchase a sim card so that I can stay connected with family & friends. I arrived to Bangkok, bought my sim, added some minutes & a data plan and headed to the house where I was going to be staying for the next few days. Bangkok was everything that I thought a stereotypical big Southeast Asian city would be–sprawling with skyscrapers, intricate metro rail lines, crowded, dirty and lively with millions of things happening all around me at the same time. It was a complete sensory overload but I must admit–I loved the energy.
Couchsurfing is a popular way to travel. You stay in the homes of locals or expats in cities around the world–for free. I met my host Amy through a friend of a friend who had Couchsurfed in Bangkok a year earlier. Before my trip, I had Skyped with Amy and her roommates to get things situated for my stay at their house. On the first night, I made it to Amy’s house and enjoyed some welcome drinks and conversation with her roommates about Bangkok, living abroad and traveling. Each of them had come from various parts of the world (Europe, Australia and the US) to intern in Bangkok for different businesses and NGO’s and they were renting a 3-bedroom apartment in the Sukhumvit area. That night, as I lay down to sleep on the couch, I remember thinking about how crazy it was to be in a complete stranger’s house in a foreign country. One of the things that always blows me away about most travelers and expats that I meet abroad is how amazingly open and welcoming they are to meeting new people.
Early in the morning on my first full day, I borrowed a map and an old Lonely Planet guide from one of Amy’s roommates and hit the city. For a girl with less than $300 in her pocket, I couldn’t believe how much I was able to do and see. I spent the next three days traveling around in tuk-tuks exploring temples, hoping on and off of the Bangkok Transit System (BTS), visiting wats, shopping, meeting up with more friends of friends, gorging on street food and partying with fellow travelers on the infamous Khaosan Road. By the end of the trip, I was exhausted. I enjoyed every minute of it and even boasted mosquito bites as battle wounds.
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I spotted an interesting post in the Expat Women of Color Facebook Group a while back. This group is designed to educate and provide resources for women of color who desire to or are currently living abroad.
The post read as follows: