Welcome to my blog, Werkenntwen! I’m glad you’re here. I left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the past five years. Now, I’ve just moved to Merida, Mexico along with my Indian dogs and cat and my English boyfriend.
I always felt curious about travel although as a family we didn’t travel outside the US growing up and went to Gulf Shores, Alabama each year on vacation.
I grew up in a small town in Ohio, in a close-knit family of 4. My dad worked for General Motors and my mom is a special education aid. I have one older brother who is married to an awesome girl, Bre.
I have been lucky enough to have some of the same friends since preschool, perk of being from a small town. I got good grades in school, and I once I turned 16, I always had a job and filled in all free time with parties and booze. I spent two summers backpacking a little in Europe, and one month in Uganda my senior year. I LOVED traveling and felt totally addicted to it.
Upon graduating as a nurse, I moved on from OSU to Charlotte, NC where after less than a year of cardiac tele I was ready for retirement. Jk, sort of. But, it hadn’t taken long for me to realize the “real world” and I didn’t click.
Somehow, even with all of the great things and people that my life had blessed me with; I knew that something was missing and just felt too curious about the rest of the world. The idea of the “American Dream” something I wasn’t looking forward to at all.
I chose to leave. 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. Honestly, I didn’t overthink it and I didn’t have a lot of money saved due to partying and shopping in Charlotte. I NEEDED to go somewhere. I set off for India with a few thousand dollars for a 3-month solo trip. I met the love of my life…in a bar, in southern India.
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 had thought that I could be a travel nurse 3 months of the year and travel the rest of the year but being in India and meeting other travelers opened my eyes to other ways of living and earning money. I realized if I didn’t feel happy in my job, I shouldn’t do it just for money.
Luckily, 3 months as a travel nurse working every overtime shift I could get let me save enough money to last nearly a year in India with my massages and selling candles helped me make money at first. Yep, I tried everything to stay abroad and keep traveling!
After a lot of hard work, this blog became my job and in the end was the best decision I ever made.
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, (despite my unfortunate newly gained allergy to champagne). On this blog, I show you another side of India; a pretty side the movies hide.
Sometimes I fail miserably when I travel, but I’ll teach you what not to do. For years, I traveled on a backpackers budget because I was broke but as I’ve grown up and earned more money, I do travel a lot differently now. I remember being in a hostel when I was 19 saying “I’ll always stay in hostels, hotels are so lame!” but here I am at 28, and I can’t imagine staying in hostels anymore.
I love shopping, making clothes, and getting my nails done 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 friends see me more as a “dirty hippie”. I’m a little of both, and the name Werkenntwen was born. 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 dogs Shanti and Omni, my cat KitKat, (and my beautiful dogs Huckleberry Finn & Piso who both passed away).
I think I’m becoming what people call a “foodie” to be nice, but really I just eat a lot.
Driving around Goa in my car, the Omni (yes, the same name as my dog), is my favorite thing in the world especially when my dogs are in the backseat and Ben’s in the front. In fact, when I started my second website (a lifestyle blog about my life outside travel), I called it Omni Curated.
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, guys!
I have over 1,000 articles about India but have been to nearly 40 countries and write about those too. I used to be based in Goa year-round, traveling about five months of the year on and off, sometimes with Ben and sometimes alone or with friends. Now, I live in Merida, Mexico which is just a plane ride home to see family in Ohio – one of the reasons I moved here. I can’t wait to travel more in the USA and Latin America.
If you’re coming to India, I’ve even written the ultimate guide to India ebook, which is over 100,000 words! That’s a good place to start preparing for your trip.
I am sharing my stories to inspire you to travel but also just to give practical advice so it doesn’t seem so scary. 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.