Welcome to my blog, Werkenntwen!
I’m glad you’re here.
I always told my friends I would work any job six months a year if I could travel the other six. Journey AND shop: my two favorite things. I saved all year in college to spend my summers backpacking in Europe, or my winter having Christmas alone in Africa.
I grew up in a small town in Ohio, in a close knit family of 4. My dad worked at General Motors and my mom is a special education aid. I have one older brother (I’m hoping him and his wife pop out some babies soon to take the pressure off me).
When I graduated with my BSN, my brother, Travis finished his Masters
I have been lucky enough to have some of the same friends since preschool, perk of being from a small town. High School was a blur of soccer, studies, and getting into lots of secret trouble on the weekends.
High School graduation and best friends weddings
College was typical, lots of partying, working, and trying to study (but not really). It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year that I started to really think about the course in which I wanted my life to go. I spent two summers backpacking a little in Europe, and one month in Uganda my senior year.
Somehow, even with all of the great things and people that my life had blessed me with; I knew that something was missing. I knew in my heart that I belonged among the wildflowers, I belonged somewhere that I could feel free (Tom Petty, my favorite song of all time).
College at OSU when I got addicted to travel
Upon graduating with honors as a Nurse I moved on from OSU to Charlotte, NC where after 11 months of cardiac care I was ready for retirement. Obviously it hadn’t taken long for me to realize the “real world” and I didn’t click. So I chose to create my own reality.
I chose the world on the road, living out of my backpack, eating street food and getting $4 massages…over the world where I’m barely breaking even to pay rent and worrying about finding car insurance willing to take on 3 speeding tickets.
I wanted to ride a camel & climb a mountain. It was as simple as that. I didn’t want to waste any time. I set off for India for a 3-month solo trip. I met the love of my life…in a bar, in southern India.
Back in Seattle when my boyfriend came to visit; fellow nurse gypsies
I went back to the states and tried out Seattle as a travel nurse for 3 months but couldn’t sit still. I was back in India before I knew it.
I see this quote often: Journey is only glamorous in retrospect. (Paul Theroux) and although on my first couple trips I could agree, I am learning how to make it glamorous IN the moment, while not spending a fortune (despite my unfortunate newly gained allergy to champagne). I want to show you another side of India; a pretty side the movies hide.
Sometimes I fail miserably, but I’ll teach you what not to do. There is a balance; taking the cheaper option for transportation, like a local bus, will give you the extra money to stay in a nice hotel when you arrive. I am a pro at finding the cutest boutique hotel with a pool, bargaining in the markets for precious jewels, and finding exotic yet sometimes expensive silks and cottons to make my own clothes.
Yes, I may have to take the lowest class sleeper train with 3 people trying to share my bed to be able to afford it… but with a little sleeping pill and my iPod, it’s the ADVENTURE that makes it so worth it.
Views from Charlotte, my dog Huckleberry Finn, England with Ben; Thailand nights
I have been told I’m a contradiction (my bf calls me the hippie barbie). I love to put on a full face of makeup and a new dress for a club just as much as I love to spend a week love-drunk on a beach forgetting what a hairbrush is. Some of my friends think I’m a girly-girl and some think I’m a dirty hippie. I’m a little of both, hence the name of my blog. I call this a glamorous travel blog because I like luxury, but don’t need to be in a 5 star hotel- I enjoy girly beach shacks with a hammock and cozy homestays where the owners make local food for dinner.
I love fashion, jewelry, coffee, reading, the Real Housewives of almost everywhere (I’m a writer for Bravo TV’s travel section of their website), and my pup Huckleberry Finn (edit, my pup passed away this year… but I love him too much to erase this. I now have two new dogs and a cat: Shanti, Omni, and KitKat).
I think I’m becoming what people call a “foodie” to be nice, but really I just eat a lot.
If I were two people mixed together it would be Liz Lemon (30 Rock) and Monica Geller (Friends). Does that make me a nerdy, socially-awkward, clean freak? I don’t think so… but people have frequently made these comparisons, so it’s worth mentioning as a warning.
Not all those who wander are lost (JRR Tolkien) is another one of my favorite quotes, and although I’m not lost in life… if you see me wandering down a road I probably am lost. I have been known to not know which country I was in on a couple occasions… don’t get on a ferry drunk, my friends.
Now I’m living in Goa, for the past 3 years, learning what being an expat is all about as well as continuing my travels all around the world. Some of my favorite places have been Hawaii, Jordan, Turkey, and Sri Lanka. I’ve now been to 30 countries and counting!
I come home to see family and friends every “monsoon” season in Goa for a month in July. We usually take family vacations and I’ve written about our trips to Toronto, Hocking Hills, Vegas and Nashville.
I am sharing my stories to inspire other girls (and boys) that you can quit your job, travel, and look cute doing it. You don’t have to be rich (but you do need some money folks!), you don’t have to be with your friends, and we are only getting older… There’s always going to be an excuse not to travel, and it’d be a shame to keep waiting just for it to never happen.
Get to know me better
Below are some posts about how I ended up living in India after quitting my job in the U.S. which is what a lot of people e-mail asking about, a few posts to get to know me better.
What do you do all day? (pff! my most asked question!)
How I make money from travel blogging (my main income)
Journey Playlist: What’s On My iPod (this is embarrassing and friends say I should take it down… )
Shop My Favorite Things (everything I pack on trips organized into a list.. organization & lists are two of my favorite things)
When it comes to booking flights and rooms, I use a variety of sites. For full details see my Journey Resources.
I have a discount code: you can get $35 off your stay if you use this airbnb link to book.
If it’s your first time visiting Werkenntwen, I’m linking below a few posts that I think are a great place to start reading. I write a lot about travel beauty products, packing, health, some of the more off the beaten track places I’ve been, and the dumb predicaments I’ve found myself in while traveling abroad.
A Year in Review:
I write about India, obviously. I have lived here for two years and have over 200 posts on this site, most about India. These are a great place to start if you’re just thinking of planning a trip to India:
Everything You Need to Know
20 USD per day
A Complete Guide to Karnataka (with links to dozens of articles I’ve written on the state… a really overlooked amazing tourist destination)
Blog Series on Werkenntwen
I do a series called International Boho-Chic Designers, where I share some of the coolest designers, artists, and models I meet abroad. I shop a lot when I travel, and I had so many friends back home asking me where I get my clothes and jewelry. Most of it is from local designers. I let you in on the shops I find and how you can purchase online from them too and sometimes there’s even a giveaway if I can talk the designer into it ;)
Another series is called This is India. Each Friday I post a story about something crazy/silly/funny that happens here in India. Although most my posts outside this series about India are informative, these are more to help you picture what it’s like living here and prepare you for culture shock before a visit.
Feel free to check out my Ask Me Anything posts. I share FAQ I get via e-mail and let you know the answer I give the readers who mailed in.
Lastly, I have a series on Sundays called Backpackers Boutique.
- Interviews with other bloggers about what specifics they pack- what brand bag, what hair products, or how many pairs of shoes… (I’m no longer taking more of these)
- Luxury guides from expats who know the area very well. If you’re a blogger and you’d like to share a place you know well, e-mail me at [email protected]
Don’t forget to check out my most popular posts on the column to the right or you can search by category at the top. Thanks for stopping by Werkenntwen! Be sure to me if you have any questions.