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!

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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

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Interlaken, Switzerland

For our first adventure through Europe, we chose the unbelievably beautiful destination of Switzerland. The fact that we would stand in luscious green fields with nothing more than a windbreaker on, while staring up and seeing breath-taking, snow-capped mountains in the distance is astonishing to say the least.
The beauty held within Interlaken, Switzerland cannot be expressed through a nice photo or short-typed caption. The incomparable feeling of fresh air in your lungs and a cold beer in your hand as you are sitting at a restaurant atop a mountain has altered many of our outlooks on nature and life.
After making this first trip, we can honestly say Switzerland may be the most beautiful place on Earth.

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Barcelona, Spain: “All Because We Flipped a Coin”

The fact that all of us actually made it to visit this wonderful country is simply baffling! With a French air strike, nearly 1000 miles between countries, and poor weather all working against us, we embarked on our second trip.

The first surprise came just two days before our flights were set to depart. The French traffic controller organization decided to go on strike and forbid all air travel over the country. As many of you may know, pilots typically fly over land as long as they can for safety reasons. This is why, when flying out of airports on the East Coast of the United States, you typically head north along Canada’s coast for as long as possible. We were very uncertain of the status of our trip, since two of our members were flying out Thursday evening while the other three were set to depart Friday afternoon. At this point, it was still unknown when the air strike would end.

Being the determined, young travelers we were, we decided to not let these  challenges stand in our way. After a few phone calls and a short trip to the grocery store for “supplies” (a.k.a. cider and beer), we all met up Thursday evening and started planning. We looked into nearly every option we could think of, short of swimming the English Channel. Every direct flight had been canceled. Flights with layovers in other countries that would avoid flying over France were way over budget for a couple of college kids. With “Timmy the Tourist” fast at work, we had quickly gone through every mode of transportation from air, to car, to bus, to train. Making bets on whether or not Dave he could walk from London to Barcelona was becoming a soon-to-be reality. As the bottles of cider started to dwindle and the cases of beer diminished, we realized we had only one option; a 21-hour train ride that had two transfers in both Paris and Perpignon, France. Since we were not considered “European Travelers,” we had to make all the bookings in person when the ticket booths opened the following day. As we finished off the rest of our drinks, we all went to bed quite uncertain of whether we’d all be sitting on a beach in Spain or in a train station somewhere in Western Europe.

Friday came quickly. Thursday’s flights had been canceled while Friday’s were set to fly. This meant, in order for all of us to make it to Barcelona, two of our friends needed to take the 21-hour bus ride, as the other three would fly out that afternoon. The other wrench that played a deciding factor was that, since we booked through two separate airlines, not taking the bus trip meant that the two individuals would forfeit their nonrefundable return-flight tickets.

The three of us boarded our flight and, after some rough turbulence, landed in Spain. On the other hand, Katie and Dave had shown up at the ticket booth Friday morning and found that the train tickets had been sold out for that particular price category. The only spots left would be nearly 400 British Pounds per person. The only option left was checking into buses, but the only ones available would take over 2 days to arrive, rendering them useless for the weekend trip. With their hopes of sandy beaches and sangria in the gutter, they left the bus station. After a short discussion, they decided to put the whole trip up to chance and simply flip a coin. “Heads we go, tails we stay.” While the other three were already up in the air, so was the coin. As it landed, both stared in sheer amazement as it spun for what seemed like forever. Heads it was! Now, off to the train station! Luckily as they arrived, they found out that two tickets had become available for the same trip at half the price. Both looked at each other and nearly simultaneously smiled and whipped out their debit cards.

The rest of the trip was incredible. Friday night was spent on a pub crawl that didn’t start until 12:20 AM and ended around 5:00 AM. Saturday afternoon was spent on the beach, and the utter amazement of finally getting the group back together around noon that day was unbelievable. We spent the day in the crystal clear waters of a “optional” nude beach, sipping Spanish Sangria and enjoying the company around us.

We laughed in the sun as some people got 5-Euro massages on the beach, while the others just people-watched.

Our evening was an adventure that will have to be recounted in many other posts… But to sum it up; a trip to Razzmatazz, a 10,000-person club, had us lost in minutes as laser lights spun around us and fog smoke filled each room. Two members of our group forgot they had spent all their money on drinks and could not afford the taxi ride back to the hostel. These two spent the early morning hours navigating their way through the, lets just say, “less than welcoming” streets of downtown Barcelona. The next morning was the festival “La Mercè” and we were immersed in Spanish culture as hundreds of “castellers” formed human pyramids towering 60 feet high.

As the final day of the trip came to an end, we spent some time thinking how lucky we were that we had all made it to Spain and survived so many fiascos!

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Santorini, Greece

Our trip to Greece could not have been more perfect. We spent our days on the water in an 18th-century sailing ship and swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Amoudi Bay. We dined on the most delicious Greek food and flavorful wines.

On our first day, we went on the Bella and Thalassa tour that took us around the Aegean Sea, onto the Volcano of Santorini, into the lukewarm hot springs, and into the bay to watch the remarkable sunset. We tried Ouzo on the rocks while we ate traditional Greek appetizers.

After our truly unforgettable day, we arrived back into the port and rode donkeys up the 400-foot cliffs that encompass this island’s scenery. We made our way to Alexander’s Boutique, where we were spending the night and had a late dinner at a local, family-owned restaurant. We finished off the night drinking all types of local wines and liquors and relaxing in the cool, refreshing air. The island was truly our own private paradise.

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Meet the Staff

Well, now that we have a few articles and photographs posted, we figured we should tell you a little bit about us here at Talk to Travelers.

We are all college students and world travelers who were blessed with the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in the Fall of 2010. We visited over thirteen countries and met hundreds of individuals from various cultures. We made it from the beaches of Barcelona, to the frigid waters of Switzerland, to the pubs of Prague. Those few short months sparked an undying passion for travel and a thirst for adventure within us. New languages, foreign concepts, unique cultures, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities fueled us on our travels and have created unforgettable memories. We boarded each plane and train with one thought in mind: “We’ll sleep when we’re dead.”

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Summary of Our Trip [In Map Form]

Now that we’ve mentioned a few of our trips, we figured it’s time to give you a better understanding of our trips. Here is a travel log of all of our weekend adventures, courtesy of As you can see, for many of our trips we had to return “home” to Edgware Road, London, where many of us lived. Also, check out some of the photos we posted for each “leg” of our trip. We hope this gives you all a better idea of how much we actually accomplished during our short time in Europe.


Total Distance: 14,165 miles (not including the flights between USA and England)
Time: Just over 3 1/2 months
Memories: A million (corny, I know)

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