Tuesday, 30 April 2013


This is what 270 kilometers worth of bus tickets looks like in India. The Snow Lion Hotel. Sunset in McLeodGanj. The Himalayan view from lunch. Hipster milkshakes. A himachal thali. Finally a coffee that is real coffee. Now that's a pancake. Cows in the road is totally normal in India. The spinning wheels at the Dalai Lama's residence. A moving documentary in the Tibetan museum. Republic Day falls on Australia Day so we celebrated. Mutton something, it was good. Chocolate biscuits. Another food snap. Another coffee. India vs. England ODI in Dharamasala. Slurpy. Another snap of the cricket. Another cow.
Mcleod Ganj wasn't on our list of places to visit in India, but we'd heard a couple of backpackers talk about it (and hop on a bus there) and after a bit of research we decided to see what people were talking about. And we saw! Although the journey there was less than pleasant - a broken seat on a bumpy crowded slow local bus through the windy hills - as soon as we arrived we were glad we'd done it. Mcleod Ganj was the first place that I experience touts. As I was getting off the bus (they don't even want until you've gotten off the bus sometimes!) a tout shoved a business card in front of my face and started his spiel. And I said no. And he ignore me. And I said no. And he kept going. I'd never experience this kind of in your face desperation and after a long day of travelling (buses give me motion sickness!) I couldn't deal with it. I cried in the middle of the road. Once I recovered myself we found a nice little (very!) place to stay and got ourselves settled. I should stop and thank my travel buddy for helping me recover. 

Since 1960, after his exile from Tibet, it has been the official residence of the Dalai Lama, and since then thousands of Tibetan refugees have crossed the Himalayas to settle in the hill station. I didn't know anything about the situation in Tibet, so after a morning exploring the temple complex and spinning the golden wheels, I spent an afternoon in the Tibet Museum learning about the history of the Tibetan people's fight for freedom. I watched an incredibly moving documentary about the Tibetan refugee's journey. It is incredible what so many people - it is estimated that up to 4,000 Tibetan refugees arrive in Mcleod Ganj each year - go through to escape rights abuses in Tibet. What is even more incredible is that Tibetan people are always smiling. I don't think I saw a frown on anyone (apart from myself that first night, and when I found out we'd have to take a local bus out of McLeod Ganj) the whole time I was there.

The food in McLeod Ganj was incredible too! The Himichal thali at Moonpeak Cafe was one of the best thalis I had in India, and the garlic butter nann and butter chicken and Mclo was delicious - and we didn't even eat it all. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We also had a good coffee (it's rare in India!) and one of the best pancakes ever. 

We were lucky that on our last day in McLeod Ganj there was a cricket match - India vs. England. We really wanted to go to a cricket match because India people are so enthusiastic about it. It's not a game, it's a religion. Whenever we told someone we were from Australia, they would reply 'Ricky Pointing' with a big smile on their face. We managed to get tickets (for R1200) and our seats were right next to a camera. Every time the camera turned to the crowd the crowd went nuts. Everyone jumped up and down, jumped on their seats and waved their hands like mad! Unfortunately we didn't get to see the whole match as we had to leave to hop on a bus. But it was an amazing experience that I won't ever forget.


Monday, 29 April 2013


Early mornings are okay when you're going on an adventure. Ready to board. Clouds above Thailand. A quick snap in the hotel in Delhi. Checking out Old Manali. Exploring the forest. Looking up at the roof. A snap of my outfit - rugged up. Sunrise in the hills. Sitting, pondering, enjoying. A snap from the balcony. A rainy grey day in Manali. Rugging up for minus twenty degrees. Directions. Icicles on the hotel balcony. Hopping into bed under four blankets. Exploring the hills in Manali. A star jump. Checking out an old temple. And chilling in the snow.
I'm sure that most of you know that I've recently returned from a three month adventure (I love calling it an adventure!) in India. I really want to share my experiences here and I thought that the best way to do that would be to write a post for each places we visited.

We flew into Delhi, but only stayed for long enough to get our bearings and to book a bus to Manali. Manali is a hill station in the Himachal Pradesh. In summer Old Manali is packed with backpackers enjoying warm summer nights, and in winter it's cold. We arrived towards the end of January and the day before we arrived it had snowed a crazy amount. Of course, coming from the hot Australian summer we wanted to chill out and explore the mountains in the snow. We took an overnight bus from Dehli - my first ever overnight bus - left at around six in the evening and got us to Manali early the next morning for R800. And when I say that it got us to Manali, I mean that the bus stopped around 20kms from Manali and we were told that due to the road condition after the recent snowfall, we'd have to go the rest of the distance by jeep. And of course this was going to cost us extra! When we got to the town we found it was almost a ghost town. There were very few people around, and lots of the shops and restaurants were closed - Old Manali was completely closed and cars were completely snowed in! We had a look around - I only slipped on the ice twice which is an achievement considering I was carrying my backpack - and decided on Hotel Hilltop which, as the name suggests, was on a hill and had an amazing view of the mountains. We rugged ourselves up and went to check out a temple in the mountains, watched some 'skiing', and slid our way down a hill into Old Manali. Literally. I slid down a hill. Squealing. Unfortunately while we were in Manali my travel buddy unluckily found himself, uh, a bit sick. I knew before I left on this trip that one of  us, or both of us, would get sick. But when it happens, if freaks you out. For the next few days I ate bananas and nothing else for fear of becoming sick myself. But after a few days rest - where I sat on the balcony, rugged up, with my kindle, eating bananas and chocolate biscuits - he was feeling better and we decided that we'd enjoyed Manali but wanted to keep moving. We got up really early the next morning and hopped on a local bus bound for McLeod Ganj.



jacket: dotti
t-shirt: sportsgirl
pants: river island
scarf: cotton on (old)
necklace: dallos and carlos
shoes: i love billy (old)

A good thing happened to me this week. While I was unpacking I found this scarf. I used to wear it all the time a couple of years ago, so it was nice to find it in the back of my wardrobe and work it into this outfit. And while I do have to admit that I've been wearing this outfit almost all week, its super comfortable and I think it'll be fine for another day. Thank-you all for the welcome back messages. It's good to be back, although it feels like no time has passed.

This week I'm busy arranging things for my next trip - house sitting in NYC for three months, six months in the UK and Europe, and then three months backpacking in South East Asia on the way back to Australia - booking flights, figuring out visas, and deciding what to take with me, and what to leave behind.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013


dress: asos
jacket: dotti
boots: sportsgirl
necklace: dallos and carlos

I had mentally put this outfit together while I was on my trip - I bought the boots during the heatwave in summer, and the dress was part of an ASOS order that arrived the day before I left for India, a cruel joke that I played on myself - and couldn't wait to pop it on when I hopped, squeaky clean, out of a long hot shower yesterday morning.

We arrived in Adelaide at seven yesterday morning, and as jet lagged and deliriously tired as I was, I was all smiles and happy to be home. India was incredible! I had an amazing time, and loved every (dirty, confusing, challenging, overwhelming) minute. I'll post some pictures (although you've seen alot of them on Instagram already) with some more information about what we did and where we went when I've kicked this jet lag's butt.