"Going Home" Donna_in_India's Profile

A New Life

After 6 and a half years of living in India, I have come home. Even though it took me forever to complete my homepage, I figured such a huge new chapter in my life was deserving of a new homepage. My original homepage (with my story "so far") can be found below in my albums. The story of how I landed in India, met my husband, and moved to India is here.

Writing Tips

I have come to the realization that I will never finish writing all the tips or uploading all the photos I can. There are the ones I should go back and update as well.

I enjoy reading the different writing styles of our members but I write the way I like to read. I don't like tips bogged down with history and other such things I can get from a travel guide. I like my history "live" - to live it on a visit or to have an enthusiastic guide show me with pride a fort or other historical site.

What I do enjoy reading are the personal aspects - what someone felt when they were standing in some many thousand years old site, what they ate(!), where the best photo of the sunset might be taken from, what made them say "wow".

My best tips are written about places I loved (including Istanbul, Amritsar, Aurangabad, and yes, Hollywood).

How I travel

I'll admit it - I like to travel nicely. Long gone are the backpacking days eating yogurt and hitchhiking through Europe. Been there, done that. I like a nice, clean hotel room with a bathtub and a wonderful bed! I very much enjoy eating street foods and at local joints. You'll never find me spending a couple of hours eating a meal at a fancy restaurant. If I need a car rental, I can do with a small car instead of a luxury model. I'll fly economy rather than business/first class. I'll pay for convenience though - fly rather than take an overnight bus or train. I do love the trains in Europe but there are places where I won't take the train. So there is some give and take but a nice hotel is usually high on my list of priorities.

Favorite places

There are 2 places in particular that have made a lasting impression on me. The first is Amritsar, India. It is without a doubt the most special - and emotional - place I've ever been. The second is Turkey (Istanbul, Selcuk, Cappadocia). Turkey is - hands down - my favorite country. The people, the food, the sites - everything about it was amazing. It was also the 100% perfect vacation in every aspect - a rare thing indeed.

I like to be constantly on the go which is why I love cities. I love the buzz and the energy. My favorite city is New York City. It sets the bar for every other city I visit. Some of my other favorite cities - in no particular order - include Florence, Amsterdam, Paris, San Francisco, Munich, Istanbul, and Rome.

One of my best travel experiences was seeing tigers in the wild in Bandhavgarh, India. There is something so exciting about tracking a tiger looking for pug marks and fresh scat. When you finally come face to face with a beautiful tiger, it takes your breath away.

And two places that were just so amazing to be there were Spitsbergen, Svalbard and Ushuaia, Argentina. From almost the top of the world to almost the bottom. Spitsbergen with endless bright white snow all around and absolute solitude and Ushuaia with its stunning beauty and wildlife.

Anywhere I go I love to visit museums (especially art - Rodin in Paris & Van Gogh in Amsterdam, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad in Mumbai), historical sites (Aphrodisias in Turkey, Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, India, much of Turkey, much of Rome), local markets (anywhere in India, souks in Marrakesh, Bird/Flower in Hong Kong), and I love anyplace with interesting wildlife. I also love forts and some of my favorites are in Jaipur, Aurangabad, Agra, and Hyderabad. Favorite places of worship include mosques in Turkey (too many to list), and many, many churches, cathedrals, and temples around the world.

Places to visit

There are so many places in the world to visit and I intend to see as much as I can before I leave it. I rarely go back to a place - could never imagine going to the same place year after year. Although there are places that I seem to end up revisiting - Rome, Paris, Florence, etc. Each visit has been a few years apart and each visit has been different based on my traveling companion and my own particular tastes at the time.

I don't need to stay in one place for weeks or months to get a feel for it. I don't need to discover every little nook and cranny. That of course might change for a place I simply loved. On the other hand, I do like to spend enough time to take in what I want and enjoy the atmosphere.

Where to next

Having a young child doesn't mean my traveling has stopped. It's just changed. Kasha's passport is well stamped already and in just 4 years she has been on 50 flights. Although she is obviously too young to remember much, there is hardly a better education than travel and I intend to give her the world. There are just a few places I will wait until she's older to visit - the Amazon, the Galapagos & Antarctica!

So where to next? In October it's back to India (Mumbai, Udaipur, Bundi, Ranakpur and Kumbalgarh, Chittorgarh) for 3 weeks. In December we'll be enjoying the Christmas season at Disney World and then Costa Maya, Grand Cayman, & Cozumel, Mexico.

My wish list now includes: Jerusalem & Jordan, Umbria, Italy, Egypt, Tunisia, Ecuador and Peru, Viet Nam & Cambodia, St. Petersburg & Moscow, Eastern Europe, and China. I'll never run out of places I wish to visit!

And I'm so excited that I can now tick St. Petersburg & Moscow off my list with Euromeet 2014 being in St. Petersburg. I just hope my husband doesn't have any visa hassles!

We were in Bermuda in June. It had been a couple of decades since my last visit and I had forgotten how beautiful it is and how many shades of blue and green the water is. I don't plan to wait a couple more decades before I return! We just got back from Boone, North Carolina, a place we visit often.

Travels since joining VT:

2013:

Cozumel, Mexico
Costa Maya, Mexico
Grand Cayman Island
Orlando
Ranakpur
Bundi
Udaipur
Mumbai, India (lived there)
India (lived there)
Boone, NC, U.S. (lived there)
Bermuda

2012:

Toronto/Mississauga, Canada
St. Thomas
St. Martin-St. Marteen
Nassau, Bahamas
Falmouth, Jamaica**NEW**
Poconos, PA
Toronto/Mississauga, Canada
Orlando, FL
Nassau, Bahamas
Pigeon Forge-Gatlinburg-Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Kolkata, India
Kochi, India**NEW**
Goa, India (lived there)
Mumbai, India (lived there)
India (lived there)

2011:

Orlando, FL
Chicago, IL
Langhorne, PA (Sesame Place)
Boone, NC, U.S. (lived there)
India (lived there)
Mumbai, India (lived there)
Dubai

2010:

Toronto
Barbados
St. Lucia
Antigua
Tortola
San Juan, PR
St. Thomas
Dominica
Grenada
Bonaire
Aruba
St. Paul, MN
Minneapolis, MN
Bloomington, MN
New York, NY, U.S.
Tampa/New Port Richey, FL, U.S.
Kanchipuram, India
Mamallapuram, India**NEW**
Pondicherry, India
Chennai, India

2009:

Goa, India (lived there)
Amritsar, India**UPDATED**
Delhi, India
Shirdi, India
Lancaster, PA
York, PA
Varanasi, India
Istanbul, Turkey
Selcuk, Turkey
Cappadocia, Turkey
Karla Caves/Lonavala, India
Elephanta Island, Mumbai, India
Hollywood, CA, U.S.
Los Angeles, CA, U.S.
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.

2008:

Boston, MA, U.S.
Aurangabad, India
Ajanta, India
Ellora, India
Lonvala, India
Hyderabad, India
San Francisco, CA, U.S.

Kasha Update

It's hard to believe that Kasha has just turned 4 years old! The time has flown by. She's got the travel bug for sure! She self-admittedly loves hotels and cruises, airports not so much. She has tons of energy, a wonderful smile, big, beautiful eyes, and is a true joy. She's enjoying nursery school where she's been learning Spanish and sign language! At home dad is teaching her Hindi. She constantly amazes me with what she knows. I love our conversations and her humor.

Kasha's Travels

58 Flights!!!

3 Continents: Asia, Europe, North America

20 Countries: U.S., UAE (Dubai), India, Aruba, Netherland Antilles (Bonaire), Grenada, Dominica, British Virgin Islands (Tortola), Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Canada, U.K., Bahamas, Jamaica, Saint-Martin/Saint-Marteen, Bermuda, Switzerland, Grand Cayman, Mexico

2 U.S. Territories: Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas)

17 U.S. States: CT, PA, NJ, NY, DE, MD, WV, VA, NC, FL, MN, ND, MT, WY, SD, IL, TN

13 Indian Cities: Mumbai, Shirdi, Delhi, Amritsar, Candolim/Goa, Chennai, Pondicherry, Mamallapuram, Kanchipuram, Kochi, Kolkata, Udaipur, Bundi, Ranakpur

4 Roadtrips: 3,253 miles, 1,400(+) miles, 600(+) miles, 1,400(+) miles

7 Cruises: B2B Caribbean Princess, Disney Magic, Carnival Breeze, NCL Epic, NCL Breakaway, Disney Fantasy

26 VT Meets

Maryland, U.S.: Jethanand, Zanzooni
Mumbai, India: TravelMad478
Mumbai, India: Jethanand
Mumbai, India: Amar_Kirale, Machoe, Ni3sgalave, Ranjit662, Sudo2008
New Jersey, U.S.: Jethanand
New Jersey, U.S.: MikeLisaAnna
Minneapolis, MN, U.S.: Abi_Maha
Minneapolis, MN, U.S.: Goodfish
Fargo, ND: RioRich55
New York City: hundertmorgen, nicolettart, OH_DK, pcg821, sarams,
Solodancer, spgood301, travelfrosch, VZ_Pam
Fredericksburg, VA: balfor, chrishc, DanielCiNicola, Foundryman1, Giampiero6, Gillybob, Hikerpark, iaint, jethanand, littlesam1, LoriPori, nhcram, rexvaughan, Slapshot1, spgood301, starship, Suet, thecatsmeow, Waalewiener, xymmot, zanzooni
Ridgewood, NJ: mikelisaanna, patnoelle, BillNJ
Mississauga, Canada: Faiza-Ifrah
Dubai, UAE: Durfun
Dubai, UAE: JessH (she slept through most of this one!)
Mumbai, India: Machoe
New York City: pcg821, Solodancer, travelfrosch, VZ_Pam, Dymphna1
Chicago, IL, U.S.: Dabs, deecat, dlandt, Dymphna1, goodfish, jelw, Kaspian, LoriPori, MathIsFun, Paris92, riorich55, Sharonov, SONG, Tom_In_Madison. Waalewiener, yooperprof
New York City: Leics, SoloDancer, TravelMad478, Xymmot, & Nicolettart
New York City: ViajesdelMundo
New York City: betska, dancergirl, MrG27, nicolettart, pcg821, SOLODANCER, spgood301, VZ-Pam
Kolkata, India: goutammitra, Rupanworld, mamtap, Okalbaishakhi
New York City: CatherineReichardt, dancergirl, nicolettart, SOLODANCER, VZ-Pam, travelmad478, mikelisaanna
New York City: LoriPori, Waalewiener, spgood301
Mumbai, India: Ni3sgalave, Pravesh15, AKHTARSAYYAD
Orlando: Florida999, Song, TheTravelSlut

AmericanBarney is here...

AmericanBarney has arrived and I am his guardian shepherd. If you'd like to take him along to a VT meet, please let me know. You can visit his homepage here. Please stop by and say hi!

**BREAKING BARNEY NEWS*** Barney is now the FIRST BARNEY to visit all 7 continents!!

Kasha's Newspaper Debut

During our 2011 trip to Mumbai Kasha was photographed in the Gandhi House (Mani Bhavan). We were visiting on the eve of the anniversary of Gandhi's assassination. A man started taking photos of her. That happens frequently when we are in India and almost always I find it very annoying and don't allow it. The man quickly explained that he was a freelance (newspaper) photographer and followed us around taking a bunch of photos of her. The next day we found that Kasha was in 2 newspapers. This is the photo from one. The photo was not one of the best that he took but it was still cool to see her in the newspaper.

  • Intro Updated Apr 9, 2014
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Donna_in_India

“I didn't know we were making memories. I just thought we were having fun.”

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Real Name
Donna
Location
New Jersey, United States of America
Member Since
Sep 25, 2004
Website
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