Mexicanos en la India

¿Cómo nos va?

La gente, la comida, el clima, el ritmo de sus ciudades me parecen como si fuera de un sueno maravilloso. A veces hasta me parece que las cuidades tienen un aspecto latino, a veces ciertas cosas me parecen muy mexicanos.

Pero a mis compañeros de la embajada estadunidense dicen que la India es un país muy difícil. ¿Apoco?

Dicen que los indios son muy amigables, pero no los aceptan. Cuentan que los indios tienen un sentido de nacionalismo demasiado fuerte, que los extranjeros son interesantes pero los mantienen a distancia.

De hecho, me he dado cuenta que los indios se toman un montón de fotos con la gente güera, o sea con los güeros de ojos azules. Sin embargo, mi experiencia ha sido que los indios se encantan de conocer a un mexicano. Mis compañeros de USA hasta se ponen celosos. Cuando me cuentan de sus experiencias, ni sé qué decir. Me parecen tan extrañas.

¿Hablas español? ¿Qué dicen en la canción Despacito?

Cuando les digo que crecí en California, aun así, les interesa más que soy mexicano. Ah bueno, les cuento de mis experiencias buenas y malas de ser mexicano en el país mas rico y avanzado del mundo. ¿Ah sí?

En las próximas semanas que vienen, me esperan unos acontecimientos tan especiales: una boda, un viaje a pueblitos rurales, y los templos de Khajuraho.

¡Muy pronto les traeré el reporte de cómo me va!

Tibetan Sound Bath @ Anand Yoga Village

Giving Anand Yoga Village a second try

After the first mediocre Hatha Yoga experience at Anand, I decided to give them another try. Why?

Well, I saw they offer a Tibetan Sound Bath. I had no idea what this was and this is why we travel! This is why I do what I do. So, sign me up!

Basically, you lay flat on your back, close your eyes and listen to someone lightly ding around on the metal sound bowls. Simple enough.

I loved it! It was so mentally relaxing. I could easily recognize when I was actively present, that is focusing on my breath and nothing else really. Just enjoying the present moment; without the million interruptions that our hectic monkey-brains love to provide. At times, I had thoughts of either the past or present. But instead of going along with the thought and giving it more energy, I was able to chuck it out and continue focusing on the present.

I’m certain that at some time during the one hour session, I fell asleep. Eventually I woke up again but my leg was the one falling asleep again. I needed to wiggle around a bit and get comfortable. The sound bath continued and the tones vibrated in my body and when two tones sounded on top of each other, the sound seemed to take you to a different place.

When it was all said and done, I was floating on a cloud. I can think of very few things that have hitherto given me a similar feeling of anti-gravity zen. I can’t even say that a super relaxing yoga class has ever made me feel this way; even though I’ve had plenty of zen-inducing classes. This sound bath is different because it was nothing physical at all. We didn’t have to do anything other than lay there on the floor. All the action took place in the mind and from there, the wonderful effects are dispersed throughout the body. The instructor who conducted the class was super friendly and had that positive yogi aura to him. He was very knowledgeable and answered a wide array of questions regarding the background of the sound bath and this tradition.

In conclusion, after the Sound Bath I went ahead and got the 5 class pass. I’m looking forward to Sunday for the next Sound Bath. Aside from this, I’ll also be checking out some of the other classes that are offered such as: Pranayama Breathing, and Journey to Handstand.

…which I’m still working on the Headstand, probably shouldn’t bite off more than I can chew but it’s worth a try!

Namaste, y’all!

Anand Yoga Village Review

Today’s yoga adventure yielded a delightful find. Tucked away at the Southern part of the beach, you’ll find Anand Village.

Location, location, location

The location itself is perfect. I did one yoga class there and I didn’t hear any traffic, construction noises, people, etc. If you’ve don’t yoga throughout India, you’ll know that you’re always in for a surprise somewhere along the way!

The huts and cabins there looked very clean, well-made and comfortable. They are not over the top fancy like at Kranti Yoga (the Mercedes-Benz of yoga schools) but the accommodations at Anand are decently nice!

The guys chilling in the reception were a little weird and I felt like I was bothering them but whatever, I was there for the yoga.

Onwards to the yoga shala itself, see the pics. What a relief to finally find a yoga shala with clean and flat floors. Mosquitoes weren’t an issue but then again it was 11am. If I do an evening class here, I’ll let you know if the mosquitoes suck me dry. There were quite a few huge ants and other annoying flying bugs but they didn’t really get in the way. A super cute dog decided to visit each participant during the yoga class. He was quite the charmer! Clearly, he feels like the owner of the shala.

The yoga itself was mediocre. 400 Rupees and the class was taught by a very nice young gal, who I think recently must have completed her teacher training. I was hoping for a true, Indian guru or Swami sort of person. The instructor this day was still using her notes and seemed nervous. She did offer good adjustments when I was struggling with one of the twisting-pretzel poses.

It all depends what you want out of your yoga experience.

Anand seems to target the young, cute girlie yogis. It’s a trendy, hip ambience perfect for the young millennial crowd. I’m pretty sure the yogi-gals who go here probably feel safe and at home at Anand. I’ve heard some horror stories about other yoga schools that are run by creepy employees and owners. That’s for another blog post, however.

I’ve never been sexually harassed by a instructor or ogled like a piece of meat so I don’t really care. I’ll go yoga anywhere. Since I’m older than the average at Anand and just a normal dude, I’m going to keep on looking for a more authentically Indian yoga-experience.

Anand does offer quite the variety of styles including a Tibetan sound bath. On account of this, I’ll give Anand one more try.

Namaste, y’all!

Best places for Yoga in Goa, India

On the beach.

Thanks for tuning in, catch you next time!

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Joking aside, what are some of the best places to practice Yoga in Goa?

I asked myself the same question when I was there and because I’m an old-school foo, there was only one way to find out.

Google Reviews

The obvious place to start. I complied a list. Had it ready. I didn’t even need my mat because most places provide one.

Then I start asking the locals about yoga and it led to me starting a new list. The nice thing is that the locals here are very direct and tell it like it is (provided they don’t have a hidden agenda like recommending only their friend’s yogashala).

The guy who owns the beach huts where I’m staying, upon hearing which yoga school I was going to visit, said “No, don’t go to that one. They are just there to take your money. It’s not for real yoga”

My mouth started to water….omg…is it time to meet the real yoga gurus who live like hermits out in the mountainside, away from all us petty mortals?

No.

He ended up recommending another school. This one is good because the main teacher is from the Himalaya region (historical center of yoga) and is a true practitioner of the yoga philosophy, not just the stretching and poses.

So begins my yoga journey. First place to visit: Aranya Yoga Ashram near Palolem Beach.

The school itself is located behind a popular coffee chain, Café Coffee Day. There’s a small alley to the left of the café, which looks dark and creepy at night. Yoga schools as a whole are very different than in the USA. Don’t expect a fancy building! It’s tempting to think that the schools look sketchy based on their rough exteriors but that’s just how it is here. Generally, the quality of instructors and their instruction make up for it. If it doesn’t, then look for a new yoga school!

I was curious to meet this this guru-master. The next day I walked to the yoga center for the 8 am class.

I went to Aranya for a drop-in class just to check it out and liked it so much I bought the pack of 10 classes. The famous school’s founder taught the first class which was excellent and why I bought the pac of ten. However, in subsequent classes, he taught less and less.

As a result, it’s worth sharing this relevant info that may be useful for others thinking of doing the drop-in classes. I’m saying these things neutrally, as I do enjoy “most” the lessons.

  1. In case you’re looking for a true ashram, Aranya is a yoga school, not an ashram in the true sense of the word.
  2. The drop-in classes are actually part of the Teacher trainings that the school is running at the time. This means that as the teachers-to-be get deeper into their training, they start to conduct the yoga lessons as part of their practical/training.

I don’t mind it as it’s interesting to watch in case that I’d like to do a Teacher Training one day. Also, it’s challenging for me to keep up and I’ve been progressing quite well. It does tend to feel a bit cliquish as the teachers in training naturally get more of the attention and mainly just stick to themselves.

There are a few students who find this less than ideal, as we expected Baba to do most of the teaching. He does chime in but seems aloof at times. Also, it can be pretty intimidating if you’re a beginner or lower intermediate.

As I’m nearing the end of my ten pack of classes, my experience has been pleasant so far. However, the price is a bit high given that the Master Yogi himself hasn’t been leading the majority of the classes. I think I’ll check out some other schools for good comparison. Then I’ll consider whether to sign up again at Aranya.

I hope you found this info helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to email at worldbetos@gmail.com

Namaste, yogis!



How to overcome Travelers’ Sensory Overload in 2 easy steps

Some travel destinations can overwhelm the senses.  Yet, sensory overload can be unhealthy, here’s what you can do.

Close your eyes. Imagine you are in a traffic jam in your own town. Is it orderly? Imagine it otherwise; one huge free for all. Cars going in either direction in either lane, incessant honking, drivers making impossible U-turns.

 Now add the following: monkeys. Street dogs and cows calmly interweaving with the traffic. No one really seems bothered. Kids perform tricks to collect tips from drivers and persistent vendors go from car to car to in hopes of making a sale.

The streets are lined with what seems like endless vendors and their shanty shops; all sorts of products, colors, smells, and foods of all kinds. Don’t forget the incessant honking; it’s always there. The air is also thick with pollution. Sometimes you’ll smell raw sewage, trash heaps, decaying animals, feces, incense from shop keepers, food being cooked, spices for sell.

You just imagine, you can probably find it available for the smelling!

This (and so much more) is everyday life in many of the mega-cities of India and the rest of the world. I grew up in a small farming-town in California. So, coming to New Delhi took me completely by surprise.

Here, the food is packed with spices. All the colors are bold and plentiful. The people are very expressive. Markets and festivals explode with life.

After a few months here, I now understand that many travelers’ share the same challenges with sensory overload.

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Fatigue, long periods of malaise
  • Anxiety, Fear, Stress and Depression
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness, difficulty sleeping

If you already have some issues with anxiety, PTSD or ADHD, the environment of a mega-tropolis may aggravate your condition. So what can be done to minimize the effects of travelers’ sensory overload? Remember, try the easy and smallest solutions first:

First, reduce the external stimuli:

Noise

  • Wear ear plugs as you walk around town. Alternatively,wear your music ear buds but don’t play any music (but watch for traffic)! This is my favorite technique
  • You could try playing some music of your choice or download a White-Noise app and listen to something tranquil as you walk around the hustle-and-bustle.

Visual

  • When riding an Uber or a Taxi, throw your shades on and close your eyes. Breathe. Relax.
  • Combine errands to maximize your outings. Only go outdoors when you have to
  • Focus on few items as you go about your day; don’t try to soak it all in, all the time

Take Breaks

  • Know your limits and before you get there, take a little break. Sneak away into a quiet café, a fancy hotel lobby, to the bathroom, a location at school/work where you can be alone.

How to make it better once you got it

  • Find a balance and set your limits
    • If you got a long commute and then work, don’t fill your after work hours with pesky errands, at least not every day. Try taking a few hours off here and there to get errands done.
    • Pay for convenience: there are so many pick-up and delivery services! Use them. Laundry, dry cleaning, groceries, food delivery are some of my favorites.
  • Take time to recover and develop coping techniques
    • Know how much time you need to recover and know what helps you best to recover: is it hitting the gym, doing yoga, meditation, dancing,reading in bed, practicing a sport….? Know yourself and do what it takes to make you happy and healthy.
  • Take a longer break: bathroom, vacation, go home
    • Need a small escape when it’s all starting to feel too much…. escape to the bathroom, and hopefully it’s clean enough to practice deep breathing…. chill…
    • Plan a vacation to places that are different than your given mega-city; somewhere tranquil.
    • In the worst case, plan a trip home. Marvel your family and friends with your strange tales of distant places. Maybe their amazement will help you to appreciate your adventure for what it is: an amazing opportunity that few people get to experience. Hopefully, you’ll return to your adventure and ready to boldly move on!

I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever dealt with sensory overload? What was your experience like and what worked or didn’t work?

Feeling SAD? Recognizing it and working through Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder

My experience with Seasonal Affective Disorder and what to do about it

My first ever out of the country job was in France. I was super excited to leave the familiar shores of sunny California to go bask in the glory of the Old World haute-couture. August and September were great, October was surprisingly wearisome and by December I didn’t want to get out of bed.

Some days I had a super light teaching load: two or three hours on certain days. First of all, I’m surprised I got out of bed; I waited until the latest moment possible to do so. I’d teach the classes as normal and then I’d return to my room. I felt as if I had worked a 12-hour shift picking strawberries. Dead tired, I went straight back to bed and slept so much. On the bright side, I had excellent skin that winter from so much sleep.

“You’re SAD”, an American friend from French class told me very matter of factly as if my situation were so obvious.

“No, I don’t think I am. I’m don’t feel sad at all; quite happy actually. I’m just always exhausted,” I replied.

I had no idea

As you can see, I had no idea what she was talking about–Seasonal Affective Disorder. When the season changes from summer to fall and winter, obviously there’s less sunlight per day. In some locations, it’s cloudy and grey ALL day. France and Germany were this way, and for me, as a Mexican who grew up in California, my body was not having it!

Furthermore, let’s say you’re a super hero and these trivial things don’t get you down. Great! But it might affect a lot of the people in your town or the locals you interact with.

You’ll be like “Hey man, want to go watch a movie? Grab a beer?”

Your German buddy will be like “Neeee. Bin müüüde.” [No, I’m tired]

Wake me up when the winter ends

It was surprising what a big change there was in the society as a whole; like the people took on the same temperament as the weather, dark and dreary. But then spring comes around WAAH-BAM 180 reversal!

Mmmm….Spring time, me gusta 🙂

Suddenly everyone is nice again and frolicking in the park, taking pictures of the first flowers to bloom, and vagrants go back to drinking outside the metro stations rather than being cooped up inside. Aww, Europe.

Now that I have more seasoning on me as a traveler, I’d like to make others aware of the overall challenges that changes in weather, altitude, and location might have on your body. I’d recommend that you:

  • Start your research early
  • Join a chat or read blogs about your destination far in advance of you going
    • This will help you to uncover challenges others have had that you might not have thought of. Don’t let these boards scare you away, however!
  • Talk to your doctor about your travel plans and stock up early on any recommended meds or supplements

Now, what should you do to ward off seasonal affective disorder?

It really depends on how early you’ve detected the issue and where you are geographically. It’s a game changer if you’ve let the disorder go on for too long, and you have another 10 months on your contract for the awesome gig in Siberia. Is it worth the money? Can you go somewhere sunnier or back home?

Last year, I worked in the Pacific Northwest of the US, known for bleak skies and depression for a whopping 9 months of the year. It’s no joke.

This time, I was so ready for SAD. Remember, I’m not a doctor. But I’ll share with you some ideas of what you can do:

The Game Plan
  • Start taking Vitamin D towards the end of summer and don’t stop til next summer!
  • Before fall comes around, commit to a gym or other physical activity:
    • CrossFit is great because you’ll have a team that expects you to show up and everyone supports each other.
    • Hot Yoga is great because you’ll have a hot room to escape from the winter. And the benefits for your mind and body help combat SAD.
  • Happy Lamps: get one for your office or home. Some people swear by them.
  • Keep happy by staying in the company of people who make you feel good or doing the things that make you feel good.
    • Don’t give up your hobbies because it rains a little (or in their case a lot).
  • Eat your greens and be as healthy as possible.
    • I even had a little Pre-Workout mix before going to work or when I started to feel sluggish. Maybe look for another supplement to kick you into high gear when needed. Something legal and healthy, preferably.
  • Check local events for occasions like: Puppies in the park/plaza or Hug Fests. In Portland, Oregon, they even have a sad festival where they bring out giant UV lights where people can do yoga in front of them. Hopefully the area you’re in has a sponsored event aimed to help the community through the long winter
  • Get specialized help
    • You’ll have to start early with this because most professionals are booked out for a long time!
    • It can be a counselor, therapist, mental health specialist or doctor.

When I was living in Germany, the wait time for a counselor was so long! I was already going crazy, so I had to find someone. I found the help of a business/career counselor who thought he was helping me find a better job, but actually it was a great service just to vent and bounce ideas off each other and help me to keep thinking positively.

Think Positive, Be Positive

So, the advice here is to look for ways to be flexible and find alternative solutions.

Lastly, be sure to know whether your problem is just temporary sluggishness because of the weather and is not something more serious like depression. If there’s way more going on in your situation than the common SAD, definitely enlist the help of a professional; time is of the essence!

Is SAD maybe mixed up with a little homesickness? Click here to read my article about missing home.

Moving away a bit from talk of seasonal affective disorder, I diagnosed a new phenomenon here in India which I coined, as a pun on SAD, sensory overload disorder. More on SOD very soon!

Let me know, fellow travelers, if you’ve ever been SAD or SOD?

I wish you all happy and safe travels.

Pack them bags and ¡Vámonos!

The Top Ten Ways to Overcome Homesickness While Living Abroad

My top ten ways to cope with homesickness

  1. Lay off the booze and other addictive behaviors
  2. Avoid social media
  3. Self-Care: Putting yourself first
  4. Keep your old good habits alive and well: Engage
  5. Love your new home
  6. Get involved and share your culture
  7. Get back on social media with the new you, on your terms
  8. Develop the routine of your dreams
  9. Push your limits; face those pesky fears head on
  10. Make small changes first before going home

The Story Begins…

In early October 2016, I was still living in Germany and hated it.

I didn’t feel that way at first, but after 2+ years of living there, the bad days began to strongly outnumber the good days. I didn’t hate Germany itself, nor do I now. The fault lies in the fact that I was not yet a Jedi Master in the fight against homesickness. Ich liebe Deutschland und die Deutsche immer noch!

I tried it all to stave off homesickness: went to the gym more, tried making more friends or at least interacting more with others, delved into music…

After all these measures and a few more, I knew it was time to go home. I’m a firm believer that you need the self-recognition to know when it’s time to cut your losses, pack up your bags, and go home. After all, life should be enjoyed.

So, I decided to write my letter of resignation, walked into the office of the school’s principal and bam! Try this on for size; I hit the ejection button soon after the start of the school year.

Good bye to the endless cloudy days of Germany and back to the Californian sunshine.

(Spoiler Alert: I didn’t stay in California for long.)

These Days

It’s a beautiful thing when I start to feel home sick. When you consider the wide range of human emotions and experiences, we need a variety of sentiments on the color palate of Life to create a masterpiece.

How I deal with homesickness has always been a work in progress. In my first few encounters with this foe, I was a complete novice. It whooped my ass.

Over the years, I’ve steadily improved. Now I can look it in the eye and give it a Tiger Uppercut!

I say it’s a beautiful thing because when I sense homesickness encroaching on my well-being, it is a clear sign that the honeymoon stage is over; the vacation feel has worn off.

This is where the battle begins, and I embrace the challenge. After all, self-development experts tell us that it is only in the face of adversity that we get the opportunity to demonstrate our true strength. I firmly believe this perspective. Hence, bring it on, suckaz!

A New Man

Leaving home to live and work in far off places really changes you in so many ways! To go over all the changes would require me to write a book; not a blog entry.

Now that I find myself yet again on stranger tides (Pirates of the Caribbean movie reference), I have a greater array of weapons at my disposal. I’ve learned some of these while living and working in France, Germany, and Texas.

When you’re visiting Beto’s World, rest assured I’ll always keep it real with you. So, if you’re no longer in your early 20’s (like me) and don’t look like a Sports Illustrated model (male or female), then we’re in the same boat. Because these factors change the dynamics of the game; let’s be real.

Having set the starting point, welcome. I present to you my tips for overcoming the very natural phenomenon of homesickness, the nostalgia for what we’ve left behind.

Lay off the booze!

If you’ve resorted to hitting the bottle to numb the pain or help time pass without you noticing, stop it!

  • Ideally, go cold turkey. If you can’t, decide to only drink socially when out meeting new people but don’t get rip-roaring drunk and don’t do it every day.
  • If alcohol isn’t your drug of choice, watch out for other addictive behaviors that serve as a mere distraction: drugs, shopping, gambling, over-eating, obsessive behavior like fitness or keeping your room cleaner than a science lab. Think seriously about your own thinking and behavior. Ask a friend if you have to.
Avoid Social Media
  • Ideally, disconnect completely. Go off the radar. It’s all fake news anyways.
    • Remind yourself of the people you know personally who all they do is BS on Facebook and BS all over Instagram. You know they ain’t doing a gawdamn thing with their lives, but they present themselves online as Pitbull or Beyoncé. What about the people you know who are miserable or hating their dead-end job or relationship…but when they go online and post on Facebook, they present only the happy ending of a cheesy chick-flick?
    • If you avoid this sort of media, you’ll also be helping yourself lay off the booze; because you won’t easily revert to thinking your life is crappy in comparison. You’ll avoid catching the nostalgia for all the pleasant things about being back home; the common idealization of what you left behind.
    • All of this sounds very jerkish, I get that. However, we’re talking about your life here! You only get one shot, according to Eminem. Okay. In India, you get more, but lets look at it through Eminem’s eyes. And I believe this might be the only good thing he’s ever had to say.
Self-Care: Putting You First
  • Find your Zen spot. Know your chill zone.

Use it as needed but don’t hide there for days on end. For example, New Delhi is super loud and action-packed all the time anywhere you go in the city. I am aware of my pre-existing need for occasional peace and quiet. So, I resort to playing my guitar, going to a library, enjoying a delicious massage, or simply staying in my room for quiet mediation and reading.

Speaking of massages….

  • Go for Massages. Not just one.
    • Massages are cheap in Asia. Go twice a week if you can. Even in Germany, where the cost of living is considerably higher, I was able to save enough feds to indulge in a calming massage at least once or twice a month.
    • It helps with your aura too. In case you’ve been lonely and miserable too long; get a scrub massage in order to scrub off the negativity. Furthermore, it will give your skin the glow you need to not appear like an asshole in public. I’m so serious.
  • Find other pleasures to indulge in!
    • For example, in Germany, my good friend and bandmate Eva and I would go for a weekly pastry and coffee. We’d call this our “Rentnertag”, our day of acting like retirees! A very simple weekly ritual, but highly effective.
  • Visit a mall.
    • It feels like an international zone, much like an airport. It’s a familiar setting because I’m sure you got malls at home. Even the malls in India have all the familiar brand names to confuse your brain and help you relax: Starbucks, Chili’s, TGIF, Häagen-Dazs, Levis, etc.
    • Exercise
      • But with others. Choose exercises that are dynamic: Martial arts, CrossFit, Zumba, a dance class.
      • TBH, I can’t stand Zumba, and I don’t care much for dancing but there’s something to be said about the benefits of getting your ass on the dancefloor and shaking what your mama gave you.
      • Yoga

Had I discovered Yoga while in Germany (and gotten a puppy), I’d probably still be living in Germany. In my previous life, I so underestimated the importance of meditation and yogic principles (beyond the stretching). Now, I full-heartedly recommend it.

  • Pimp out your room
    • I’m not saying you should start up a brothel as a side-gig.
    • For example, I’m making my room here in India comfy as all hell. I’m putting up a FEW momentos from home, but not too much. How about momentos from all your other travels? This will remind you that you’re a global citizen, embrace it!
    • Additionally, I’m going to jazz up my room big time to make it look like the most stereotypical Hindi temple or Bollywood film set. I think the art and colors are cool, it’s different for me, it reinforces why I travel… to learn about a new culture. Furthermore, this gets me out the door and keeps me busy: going to the markets to buy stuff, flirting with the cute girls at the markets…making plenty of social faux-pas, typical stuff.
Keep up your old habits. The good ones.
  • If the old you was an awesome person, that’s what people want to see. Not the miserable jerk you’re becoming from spending too much time alone and brooding in negative thoughts.
    • In my experience, I had to keep on playing the guitar even as I watched my soul whither, dragged my ass to the gym even when I wanted to sleep in.
    • What makes you tick? What makes you interesting? Keep doing that!
    • It’s so much better if your preferred hobbies involve other people. Keep yourself social. Engage with others.
    • Eventually, you’ll feel comfortable sharing something personal. Let the new people you’ve met know how you feel. That you feel a little homesick, or that you’re having trouble feeling at home with the culture. Before long, you’ll find someone who will show you the ropes or take you in like a lost puppy and adopt you.
    • Find a friend from your homeland, but no pity-parties! Also, try making a friend who is also a foreigner like you; it’s nice to have a cell mates who understand each other. In Germany, I got along great with the Polish, Russians, Turks and Italians!
Love your new “home”. Even if you don’t (yet), embrace it like you do.
  • Make a tourist bucket list and do it!
    • Pretend you’re a tourist again and you’re seeing it all for the first time. Go to the tourist center and ask them questions, flirt with the cute girl or guy working there and invite them to a cup of coffee. Tell them they’re pretty cool and you’re so happy their English is great! That you’ve only got one night in town…are you down? (wink,wink)
  • Make your new country your new classroom
    • Learn the language. Engage!
      • Join a class: I once joined a French class in Germany just to meet like-minded Francophiles and anybody else really. It was so much fun!
    • Learn a new skill
      • Being here in India, I’m delving into Yoga, Sitar, Bollywood films, trying to learn Hindi, learning the history and culture as well.
    • Then teach others. In turn, this will be the best way to learn. You’ll also realize how amazing this experience really is for you and that others wish to be in your shoes. You’re so lucky! Enjoy it.
    • Once you’re an expert, get your family and friends to visit. Plan the vacation of their lifetime!
  • Get involved
    • Join a social cause or a church.
    • Teach others about your home country and your culture. Is there an organization that will help you do it?
      • Throw a Fiesta!!
        • Don’t wait to be invited to the party, make the party happen.

Invite people from that class you joined to dinner at your house. Or the cute girl from the tourist center.

  • Organize an evening related to things from your home country: food, music, décor, games, etc.
  • In my experience, cooking Mexican food for others has worked wonders. Outside the USA, I’m shocked how interested a lot of people are in learning about Mexico. Bienvenidos!
    • For this, I’ve had to learn more about my own culture so that I can explain it well to others. Get ready for questions that will catch you off guard!
  • Limit Skype to once or twice a month. You can’t pretend to love your new home if you’re constantly skyping mom about how miserable you are.

I’d skype even less; especially if you’re not the emotional type (like I pretend to be).

Remember, even if you video-call with your mom or close friends for hours per day, their life still goes on…as should yours.

Get back on Social Media wh en you’re no longer a drunkard or an emotional wreck.

  • Unleash your inner Photographer: See the beauty of your new home and share it with other.
  • Before you resurrect your old Facebook profile (and go back to stalking your exes) create a persona and start a blog. Hence, the birth of Beto’s World.
    • Start a blog to document your adventures. People from around the world will think what you’re doing is awesome, even when you doubt yourself and when your family and friends might not really think it’s so awesome either (This is probably not the case but it’s just another negative thought floating around in your own head that you need to eliminate).
  • Once all the kind and supportive words of like minded individuals from around the world have fortified your spirit, resurrect your old Facebook profile. If you really must know how many kids your exes now have.

Develop a routine on your own terms: the routine of your dreams

  • Who breaks free from the life-draining routines of their home country only to go somewhere cool and get stuck in a new rut?
    • No one. That’s why your new routine should be one of your own making, and I’d recommend you make it a master piece!

For example, I’ve scheduled two sitar lessons per week, lots of yoga, daily visits to a Sikh temple along with a new local friend, who happens to be a believer and goes every day. I normally go when I’m not hungover (nobody’s perfect)

  • Develop a routine that keeps you committed. Look for high-commitment activities like: sports, clubs, leadership roles in a club or social group. And work: see your job as a networking opportunity. If you don’t have to work, work anyway but something that you like and can limit your hours. I’m thinking here of students and dependents of diplomats, etc.

Push your limits

A real personal quirk is that I hate crowds. Even a small group of people puts me on edge. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a people-person. As a teacher, I have no problem standing in the front of a classroom and doing my job. Outside the classroom, vastly different story.

However, I’ve found a hack that works for me; give it a try if you relate to my struggle.

  • Go to a busy place and watch the madness until it becomes a beautiful show of the human experience. Write in detail about what you see and/or listen to some classical music while you observe the human spectacle.
    • I’ve often gone to a busy street side café looking out towards a busy city square. I order a cappuccino and observe the crowd, jot down some thoughts and try to find some reason behind all the madness. The café is a controlled environment which is similar almost anywhere in the world and this helps to make me feel comfortable and eventually move beyond being stressed out by the crowd.

Know Yourself

If you’ve really done all you can to overcome homesickness and in the end it’s still too much, make small changes first. Move to an expat community, get a roommate, change jobs, change up the city or try a different country. Any slight baby step for starters. I probably should have gone to Portugal or Italy after having my Nose full of Germany.

If this doesn’t work, go home. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. However, I understand that this solution is country dependent. I have no issue going back to California; my family lives 5 minutes from the beach. However, if my home country were under siege by violent drug cartels or facing widespread famine or another dire calamity, the decision to go home would be radically different.

If this is the case, please let me know what your options are or what you have done. I’d really like to know!

First time visit to India? Travel like a boss!

Are you traveling to India sometime soon? Already here? Want to have outlandishly unique travel experiences?

Me too! (I’ll assume you answered yes to one of the questions above.)

Whether your travel destination is India or elsewhere, let’s travel like a boss!

Life’s too short to be just a tourist. Let’s be explorers!

Hi! I’m Beto. I’m one of those curious thinking types. Like an anthropologist, I’m studying humanity, hoping to unravel some profound secret. My approach is boots on the ground and in the nitty-gritty. Basically where Life happens.

Before the age of the Internet, I used to read about awesome places in books from our little shabby public library. I told myself as a kid, I can go there too! Why not?

In the age of the social media and blogs, I’d read travel blogs by young guys and girls who look like Barbie and Ken dolls. I told myself as an almost old-fart, I can do that too! But I have to wonder, is there a short, chubby brown doll for us other folk?

By now, in my mid-thirties, I’ve lived and worked in several countries. I’ve had an awesome time by just being me: a down to earth, curious person. Always armed with my Mexican-humility with a penchant for making jokes and making people laugh.

Through all my travels, I’ve never once been lost. Would you like to know my travel secrets? Keep coming back to Beto’s World as I roam the world and share my travel tips and secrets with you.

Don’t listen to the negative-Nancy’s who say Do Not Visit India!

To be honest, I didn’t know much about India before arriving, but I know not to listen to the nay-sayers. So here I am, loving it, and now I want to give you 100 reasons to visit India.

Actually, 100 reasons to visit anywhere! The important part is to pick up and go!

¡Vámonos!