Over Christmas break I decided to start reading more travel stories, blogs and books. Sure, you can call it a resolution. I’m usually reading business and marketing books, but this year I want to read about something other than how to grow my business, achieve more success and take over the world. I want to read more about people, places and their journeys for the fun of it and to escape. I want to write about them too, another resolution — write more here on Wanderlust Living.
So, I started this new book reading endeavor with a friend’s book, Karma Gone Bad by Jenny Feldon. We are not close friends, we know each other through the blogging world. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about her other than the surface things — you know, the Facebook and Instagram updates. I had no idea she lived in India for two years! I was so excited to learn more about her and her life living abroad. You can learn a lot about a person through their writing and travel stories so this would be a perfect book for me to start this reading resolution with.
Instead of ordering this book via my Kindle App, I ordered a real life copy of it. I still love holding a book, and I knew I would want to take a fun shot of her book wherever I found myself reading it (and Instagram it to her, naturally). This photo was taken in Guatemala at Lake Atitlan.
Our stories are wildly different. She was yanked from her New York City life and dropped into the crowded, filthy cow-packed streets of Hyderabad, India by way of her husband’s job. I landed on the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica, by choice and for the sheer thrill of it. No job transfer, just a wild case of wanderlust. While she had to say goodbye to her designer dresses, terrified of the unknown, I happily packed away my designer shoes and looked forward to living in flip flops.
Jenny and I had something in common right away — our love for coffee and our local Starbucks. Although she could not find a cup of coffee to save her life in India, I moved to one of the largest coffee-producing countries in the world, with plenty of coffee to choose from. I giggled along thinking she would have hated to know that I was sippping a cup of amazing Guatemalan coffee while reading about her struggle to find a drinkable cup of coffee in India.
Even though our stories are very different, I can understand the frustration of not having all the American amenities just around the corner, being lost in translation and getting used to animals living right along side you, whether you want them there or not. (We may have a scorpion problem.) The streets of India seem like a never-ending nightmare — ours are not quite as bad here — but it’s very much like a video game, trying not to hit the dogs, cattle and family of four, carrying their groceries on a motorcycle.
One similarity in our stories is getting used to the idea of having people help you in and around your home. We have a live-in maid and groundskeeper in Costa Rica. We’ve been here 7 months and I still find it odd to have someone in my house every morning at 8 a.m. doing my dishes. The streets are so insane in India that Jenny had to get used to having a driver take her everywhere — and I mean everywhere. Talk about a loss of independence and freedom. It was clear that both of us are the type of girls that don’t like to depend on anyone, we can do things on our own, thank you very much.
Getting to know Jenny through this book was wonderful and made me smile. Jenny writes about her epic journey with such great detail and doesn’t hide her feelings about her new home or cover up her insecurities and loneliness, which I admired a lot. Throughout the book you want Jenny to get it together, you want her to find her place in India, you are rooting for her — which made turning the pages so easy. I felt like I was a friend right there being taken along on all her exciting, and sometimes terrifying, escapades.
Have you lived abroad? Have you been to India?