India – A Place of Incredible People, Delicious Food, and a Massive Culture Shock!

When people first ask me about my trip to India, I immediately start by describing the experience as a massive culture shock for most Westerners. The sounds, smells, sheer amount of people, and never-ending eye contact can be very surreal to people who do not travel frequently. Everyone in this country is inquisitive, especially when you look American. There are billboards spanning the packed motorways, depicting advertisements with prominently American-looking models, with their blue jeans and polo shirts. They are enamored with the Western lifestyle, and so their endless stares are simply a compliment and excitement to know you. That’s where I can start this post; by talking about the people I met in India. In fact, the entire reason I traveled there was to visit members of the development team that my company has worked with for over 4 years now.

I can’t say enough about how passionate, driven, kind, and caring these people are. They have a phrase in Hindu and I saw it in action first hand so many times: ‘”guest is god.” Even if someone doesn’t know you, they treat you like family. They also have a kinship for each other that is, in my opinion, unmatched anywhere else. While the country was so foreign to me, I never once felt uncomfortable. I always felt safe and like people were being honest with me. This particularly hit home when I met one of my developer’s family members. His mom and dad were some of the nicest people in the entire world. I even got invited to to their son’s wedding one day. No, he was not engaged or even in a relationship yet (completely arranged), but his mother insisted that I be there. *UPDATE* as of August 2017 he is officially engaged and I did receive my invite, but sadly could not go!* Please note she did not speak English, but I was able to gather this all via hand signals and smiles.

I honestly can’t say enough about the people there. The family members I met also insisted that I go next door and meet their neighbors, where the experience continued. They all were so excited to meet me and everyone was telling stories about how their cousin’s daughter is studying in America and sends pictures all the time. It was fantastic and shows how humble these individuals are. The thing that really struck me is how caring and happy they were, even though their lives are very simple. They have small, simple homes in large apartment buildings. The entire family lives together (even when they get older). And it always has a prayer room. It gave me a deeper appreciation for what I have in my life. I’m very lucky to have been raised in a world with as much opportunity as I have now. This is something most Americans just don’t understand. You have to get outside of your comfort zone and experience another culture to really appreciate your own as well!

One of the other highlights from the trip is that I took the entire development team out to dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in town (I let them pick). Everyone was so happy and thankful that I was there. We had smoking non-alcoholic drinks (yes drinking is illegal in the state I was in), multiple soups, and appetizers. They were even flaming vegetables! Overall, it was an unbelievable experience. At the end of the night, I got the bill for 14 people and a three-hour dinner and it was $120…. I was pleasantly surprised!

During the trip, I was also lucky enough to travel when I wasn’t working. I got to visit the beach resort city of Goa, a stark contrast from the massive metropolis that is Mumbai. On this trip to India, was able to take in the beautiful country side of Gujarat and meet many friends. This trip had too many highlights to count, but I recommend any open-minded traveler to give India a try. I wish you best in your travels and safe trips. It’ll be an adventure! I can promise you that!

Read More

Landing Tickets to Red Rocks *SOLD OUT ILLENIUM SHOW*

Wow! Where can we start with this incredible trip? First was landing an invite to the pre-sale Facebook group where they gave us an early access code for tickets. This went live 2 days before tickets for the general public, so we were very lucky to buy 2 tickets within 10 minutes of their release. Thank goodness we did, because they sold later that same day!

Now that tickets were bought, we needed to buy a flight I guess, right? Well, we figured we could always sell the concert tickets in case flight prices were too high, but, lucky us, we found great deals on Southwest. Now the only thing left was to plan the rest of the trip.

Seeing as neither of us had stayed in Denver, we figured we needed to make a trip out of it. What’s not to love about Denver? There are so many breweries, incredible hiking, fantastic people, and some unreal music venues *cough* Red Rocks.

This place has redefined what I constitute as a music venue. The pillars of rock reach sky high into the beautiful Denver air and make for incredible acoustics for any band that performs here. On the night of the show, we arrived an hour early to get some drinks in the parking lot and people-watch everyone coming to the show. At a nice age of 28, we were about twice the age of others at the concert.

As we walked up the steps, following the massive crowds into Red Rocks, all I could think about was what an unreal night we were about to stumble into. After we made it through the crowds, we ended up getting a spot about half of the way up the steps from the stage. Red Rocks is set up as a giant general admission amphitheater, which has a beautiful view of Denver in the distance behind the stage.

Our opening acts were Bass Physics and Said the Sky who both put on incredible shows. Said the Sky had so much energy and got the crowd pumped up for the main act, Illenium. This is what we flew thousands of miles to see and the show did not let down. It was a mix of electronic music and old-school, rock-style performances. At one point, Illenium even smashed the guitar he was playing in a truly Jimi Hendrix-style experience.

I could not say enough about this show and how the energy in the crowd was electric. I also appreciated everyone around us, who were all incredibly friendly. Because of the massive lines and distance to the water stations, everyone had a Camelback on. Whenever someone needed water, they would bring water back for the others around them. I thought this was really kind, seeing as though no one wants to miss the show. This really left a positive impression in my mind. I also loved having so much space at a concert. It was amazing to have so much room around you. Each raw in the amphitheater is approximately 3-4 feet wide, so there is plenty of space to dance and enjoy the show.

On top of everything, about halfway through the show, the moon rose over the stage and really set the mood. The experience was unforgettable. The laser lights lit up the amphitheater in ways I didn’t know was possible. The show was magnificent and this topped the night. Illenium closed with an incredible light show and one of his latest songs, “Crawl out of Love,” which is one of my favorites. For anyone who is interested in live music, I highly recommend checking out Red Rocks. This is a place I will return to time and time again without hesitation.

Here’s to many other trips out West, and continuing the music trend of seeing incredible acts in unbelievably beautiful places.

To wrap up, I’ll post some more pictures from this incredible trip.

Coffee shop with 400 Mbs WiFi speed

Hiking FlatIrons Colorado
Flatirons Denver Hiking
Hiking the Flat Irons
View from the Flat Irons Hike of Boulder Colorado
View from the Flat Irons Hike of Boulder Colorado
10 Barrel Brewing
Drinking at 10 Barrel Brewing

Read More