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Meet the Gypsies : Rachel of Hippie in Heels
1. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you now?
Hi! I’m Rachel and I run the blog Hippie in Heels. I’m from Ohio but live in Goa, India. I have been in India almost 2 years now.
2. What’s your packing strategy? Heavy or light packer? Backpack or suitcase?
I change it up a lot, but just recently bought a big hardback suitcase. I travel domestically a lot from India and stay in hotels more than guesthouses now. Backpacks are starting to be a little annoying. I pack light so I can shop more!
3. How do you afford your travels? Budget traveler or lean more towards luxury?
I make a tiny bit of money from my blog, make a decent amount from Thai Yoga Massage, which I learned here in India. I also still have some savings from when I was a nurse. I live with my boyfriend so that helps a lot!
4. If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
I would go to Sikkim. It’s high up in the mountains in NE India and I’m dying to go this monsoon. From the highest peak, you can look over and see Mt. Everest. It’s full of wild flowers and near Darjeeling. I could fly into Calcutta and turn it into an awesome month-long trip.
5. Is there anywhere you won’t travel to and why?
No, I would travel anywhere. I don’t have much desire to go back to the Thai islands, but everywhere I have been other than that I’d love to go back to. Anywhere I haven’t been I want to go!
6. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve eaten?
I ate a scorpion in Thailand, but didn’t like it near as much as the grasshoppers in Uganda!
7. You have been living in India for a little bit now. What’s one thing that you love about it and one thing you’re not so crazy about?
India has intense highs and lows as almost everyone who travels here will agree. I love the scenery, the bright colors, and the beach here in Goa where I live. It’s exciting every day. The lows are a little too low… sometimes the people can really upset me. The men can be rude and pushy in certain cities. You have to learn to stand up for yourself really quickly. I plan to learn Hindi this summer and I think that will help immensely.
8. What fashion packing tips do you have for women traveling very light?
I would say maxi dresses are the best thing on earth. They are light, small and make getting ready really easy. I pack about 5 of them. I also take a sarong and scarf for India, but silk light weight ones. I know it costs more, but I use sample size toiletries so that I can carry a lighter bag. I also forgo bras which take a lot of space. I always take a mini- OPI nail polish so if I get my nails done somewhere with old polish I can use my own. Take only 1 pair of shoes on a short trip; some cute sandals.
9. What’s the #1 item on your bucket list?
Woah, that’s a hard-hitting question. Right now I’m really wanting to get to the Philippines. The islands look so inviting.
10. What’s your most important advice for someone wanting to visit India?
I am so full of advice, it’s hard to know where to start. I think the most important thing is to not get overwhelmed. I get e-mails that say, “I’m freaking out! I hate it here! I don’t know what to do next but I don’t want to leave my hotel room.” You’re not alone, but the thing is I feel like India can read your feelings and you have to act positive and hopefully. You have to let India be that way it is and evolve or you’ll be miserable. Things aren’t easy here. You have to accept that and move on.
11. Most importantly, where to next?
We plan to take a trip to the mountains. It’s monsoon in Goa and we can only handle so much of intense rain. I think we’ll do a couple weeks in Himachal Pradesh or Uttarkhand. After, I plan to spend 2 weeks in Karnataka, seeing what the jungle in monsoon is all about.