Category: Blog

The Perfect Red Velvet Cupcake

The Perfect Red Velvet Cupcake

The Best Red Velvet Cupcake I’ve Had

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Cupcake Central, Melbourne

I can’t say I’ve ever craved red velvet as much as I do now. Sweet stuff usually isn’t on top of my list and when it comes to cake I usually fancy myself the most simplest of cupcakes such as Vanilla.

Cupcake Central

in Melbourne has delivered over and beyond. In about three weeks, my cousin and I have been five times! We have gone out of our way to make a stop at Melbourne Central train station, to grab a cupcake or two before going on with our day.

My top two FAVES are the famous Red Velvet and Vanilla Vanilla cupcakes. Awaken your inner child and treat your taste buds with divinely baked sweet goodness with perfectly paired combinations. Cupcake Central cupcakes are light, fluffy, and topped with mouth-watering butter icing. Divine, delectable, and addicting. This is my new desert obsession.

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Next time you are in Melbourne, PLEASE make one of many Cupcake Central locations a part of your stay. You won’t regret it. You will only wish you had been sooner. To be really honest, you will be back for more and more and more and more!

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Cupcake Central, Melbourne

https://www.facebook.com/cupcakecentral

https://www.instagram.com/cupcakecentral/

 

My Traveling Hats

My Traveling Hats

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Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Two hats

of mine in particular have predominately been a part of my traveling adventures the past two years. Interesting things happen when you wear a hat.

My hats have saved me from what seems like hundreds of “bad” hair days! I am referring to constantly being in the hot room both practicing and teaching Bikram Yoga. The only way to look somewhat decent after teaching or practicing Bikram yoga is to chuck a hat on. Saves my day every single time!

Strangers have gone out of their way to stop me on the street and ask me where I got my hat from. Some have simply just told me how much they loved my hat! The black and white hat in particular has brought about a whole lot of attention. The black O’Neill hat was given to me by my mom the day I flew out from California to head to Sydney. Even for myself, the black and white hat is special.

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Wearing a hat is like having a baby or a puppy; everyone stops to coo and talk about it.” ~Louise Green

Little did I realize until recently that is, how both hats have been with me through some of my biggest solo adventures. Yes, I wear my hats pretty much on the daily, but when I look back on all of my travel photos, I can’t help but smile seeing the places I’ve experienced with these awesome hats on.

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The hats

have taken me through Thailand, California, India, Australia, Indonesia, and New Zealand.

Recently, I was asked many times by the same friend to take my hat off whenever present at a table. This request was always made when casually out for coffee or just chilling. I couldn’t help but say each time,  “Aren’t we in Australia?”

Aussies are wonderfully casual, and wearing hats is really quite normal here, therefore I didn’t quite agree with the request.

All but one time, I did not remove my hat, only because we weren’t exactly sitting at a dinner table at a restaurant or at a house. I realized the reaction this person had toward someone wearing a hat near or at a table had nothing to do with the hat, but more about the need to control a situation. Point of the story is, a hat can bring about the most bizarre conversations.

In Sydney last October, I was stopped right outside a train station by this guy. He just had to ask where I got the black hat with the mandala and moon on it. I said it was gift which came from a shop in California. He was quite disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to find it in Sydney. However, it did start an unusually long conversation of what I was doing in Sydney, which then led to him being amazed I was a teaching yoga in Australia all of 2016.

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Some of my closest friends have wanted to keep my hat(s). And others have mentioned I looked happy wearing a hat! Either way, I wear my hats because I feel really comfortable in them. I can wear a hat, or take it off, but either way it remains a conversation piece.

On days

that I don’t feel so happy or perhaps just not myself, I can wear my hat. For the time where I was leaving on a boat alone from the Phi Phi islands, I had my hat. For the days I’ve done massive hikes, and climbs solo, I had my hat. For the days spent on marvelous beaches around the world, I had a hat. When I look back on the days I have marveled at Bondi beach from the cliffs, I had my hat. For all the days I have tirelessly grabbed trains, buses, and trams, I have my hat to shelter my face and take a nap. Wearing a hat was a must in the sunny Gold Coast. On the days that Melbourne decides to have four weathers in one day, I have my hat. For the days that mother nature has thrown down a massive rainstorm, I’ve had my loyal hat. To the many days that I have had absurd early morning flights, I had my hat. And for the moments I feel my broken heart, and have desperately needed to cover the tears in my eyes, I have had the comfort and protection of my hat.

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I’ve learned

that the way a hat can make you feel, is what a HAT is all about. My hat(s) have been a vital accessory to my days journeying around the globe. I have arrived new places of work in my hat, I have conquered world heritage sites with my hats, I have made it through Bikram yoga teacher training with my hats, and I have learned to work and live in new countries with my hats.

The hats go everywhere.

http://www.arrivedatdestination.com/traveling-hats/

How to Meet People as you Travel Solo

How to Meet People as you Travel Solo

Traveling

solo has been one of the best ways I have learned more about myself. Believe it or not, I have met  like-minded travelers as well! People are open-minded and curious when traveling, and often super keen to have new and exciting experiences.  Be aware that it can also be challenging to find fellow adventurers such as yourself. Challenges will always be present.

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Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Australia

Take a Bikram Yoga Class

You can walk into Bikram yoga studios all over the world, and practice a casual Bikram yoga class! Go online to find your local studio and get through the doors for a class. Another experience to check off your must-do list! Who knows, you might enjoy it so much, you can go home and become a regular practitioner! My viewpoint in life is, if you don’t try then you will never know. Not only will you meet amazing people sweating it out together in a group practice, you will have awesome teachers guiding you through your practice. Remember this is another chance to meet locals, which gives you yet another opportunity to socialize before and after class!

Being a Bikram teacher myself, I very much look forward to practicing at studios around the world. My list is growing! What a treat this is! Get out there and start stretching! Give yourself the gift of yoga.

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Bikram Yoga Brookvale, New South Wales, Australia

Contact Friends at Your Next Destination

It is so rewarding to hang out and spend valuable time with old friends in new places, and hanging out with new friends in new places! You will get the local point of view versus the ‘touristy’ experience of the area. Even if you don’t have a direct close friendship link  at the destination you are traveling to, you can always contact friends of friends. Make connections. This is where networking plays a huge role in solo travel.

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Getting a spectacular tour with a new Kiwi mate at Mount Cargill Scenic Reserve, Mount Cargill, New Zealand

My local friends have graciously taken me to the most fabulous local spots that I would most definitely have missed out on if I were to be roaming around following the usual tourist recommendations. Plus a lot of these locations have needed a car which I clearly don’t have access to as a long term traveler.

My new friends have gone out of their way to show me around, and I am so blessed to have had their support and company! My best experiences have been with my local friends, many of whom are Bikram teachers, Bikram yogis, or friends of friends. Connections are everything!

Make Friends by Going Out

There are fewer places easier to strike up a conversation in than in a bar. Choose the type of bar wisely! It could be a sports bar, beach bar, rooftop bar, or even an Irish pub! Either way pick wisely, as different styles of bars bring out a specific crowd! Go for a style that best matches who you are!

Drink wisely if you are drinking, be happy, and relax. Take care, have fun, and soak it all up! This gives you the chance to see how locals kick back, chill, and enjoy life! I guarantee you will have a couple of new friends in no time! It just works that way. Energy and vibes are everything. Trust your intuition.

I’ve gone out with my local friends and we have still attracted more cool people to chill with. I have also had the best experiences when completely solo.

 

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Wine night with my darling friends in Hobart, Tasmania

Take a Tour

One of my personal favorites! When I am not working, I make sure I take at least one tour at every place that I am in. Sign up for a day trip in or around your destination. Sure, all the guests will be foreign just like you, but what better way to bond than over the love and curiosity of the same place? WIN! This is why a tour is so fabulous! Everyone is looking to absorb the culture as much as you are, and travelers on tours together usually end up chatting and relating with one another. Get out there and chat! I have made so many friends this way. Most of whom are still in my life! I have made life-long friends on my travels.

Whether you are doing a full day tour, half day tour, boat tour, snorkeling trip, or hiring a bike to cruise around an island, you will meet people with the same interests and maybe join them after for a beer or two. This happened with me two months ago when I was solo traveling to Rotorua, New Zealand. At the end of my two-day trip, before hopping onto a bus back to Auckland, I had a beer and quick meal with one of the coolest people I have met to this day on a tour! We are still friends, and we can always look back on sharing our amazing experiences in Rotorua touring the magnificent Wai-O-Tapu– Geothermal Wonderland!

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Touring Jakarta with my local friends

You can meet new friends at a backpackers, taking local cooking classes, on free guided tours, at music festivals, and so much more. My friends and I have had the most amazing, exciting, hilarious, disastrous, happy, wild, exhausting, exhilarating, and once in a lifetime kind of memories together. I can honestly say, meeting people while traveling solo is far more easier than you may believe. And just in case you don’t know where to begin from, remember the best way to build a friendship is over food or coffee!

In conclusion, all my moments have turned into incredible memories! They make me who I am today. Meeting people this way, always brings forth the stories you will never forget and continue to share. My new friends share these exact moments with me and together we can always look back and reminisce on the incredible times we have had together!

Collect beautiful moments.

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Another incredibly fun travel moment in Queenstown, New Zealand with a fellow traveler! Now a friend for life
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Drinks with a close friend in Auckland, New Zealand

http://www.arrivedatdestination.com/meet-people-travel-solo/

Hobart Waterfront

Hobart Waterfront

Waterfront

Hobart’s dazzling waterfront is the focus of this darling Australian city. Many hours have been spent at the waterfront during my almost 6 week stay in Hobart last year when I taught at Bikram Yoga Tasmania. I’d take a short 10 minute walk through Hobart city to the pristine waters of the Derwent River!

Hobart

is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney. From the moment I arrived Hobart, I knew there was a large story dating back hundreds of years. I could just FEEL it. There is something quite magical about being in a place with a history so rich, that you can hardly forget about the past and think about how this city came to be.

I absolutely adore the opulent buildings Hobart boasts dating back to 1803. Hobart is known for its well-preserved historic architecture, going back to the Georgian and Victorian eras, giving the city a distinctly old world feel. Standing on Hobart’s docks on the Derwent River, brings Tasmania’s capital city to life.

The imposing

shadows of Mount Wellington rises beyond the city centre, and a line of restaurants, art galleries, museums, hotels and a delightful weekly market await. Take time to stroll the waterfront and you’ll find a fascinating snapshot of Hobart and its connection from the sea among the fishing boats, yachts, and vessels that fill the docks.

I can imagine locals tonight sitting at Hobart’s favorite pubs grabbing pints, ordering platters of seafood, listening to live music, and raising wine glasses to toasts.

Hobart holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. I made amazing friends, taught Bikram yoga for a beautiful studio, and spent time with the most gorgeous, down to earth, and welcoming souls. I had a ball exploring Tasmania. Far from reality, Hobart is like a painting.

Below are some of my favorite snaps taken at the Hobart waterfront!

 

Since October

Since October

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Milford Sound

Carpe Diem!

Today, I choose to lightly touch upon my adventures since October 2016 because a lot has transpired in my life since then.  I turned 29 this past October and  recently haven’t been able to stop thinking about how I would like to see the next couple of months as a twenty something play out in this traveling world!

My travels included heading back back to California for a visit in late August 2016 after a massive 9 months of being away. I once again left California in October after a fabulous visit home to my gorgeous family and friends. A big reason I went home during that time was for my college roommate’s wedding! This trip home was an experience filled with love, care, fun, reuniting with my best friends, having a kick ass personal trainer, and of course teaching and practicing Bikram yoga at my home studios and in Arizona. Lots went on. Another beautiful chapter for my memories and personal growth! I have to admit saying goodbye to my loved ones again to take off alone felt scary again.

I left in October to continue with my Bikram yoga teaching opportunities lined up in Australia until the end of 2016.

Where Pooja Has been Since October?

  1. Sydney
  2. Tasmania
  3. Gold Coast
  4. Melbourne
  5. Auckland
  6. Rotorua
  7. Wellington
  8. Dunedin
  9. Invercargill
  10. Arrowtown
  11. Queenstown

Some of these cities, I have been back to twice in this 5 month timeframe. The past 5 months have changed my perspective once again with life, love, goals, dreams, people, reality, and my ideas of the future. Working and traveling and traveling to work, or just traveling, has been my greatest teacher. Ultimately, it is all a blessing in disguise.

Every worry or problem in this traveling life seems insurmountable at the time, but there are ways to get around the obstacles that keep you from doing more. The key is to look for the solutions first and break them down into manageable pieces rather than trying to tackle the entire thing at once. It takes mental practice to start thinking this way. Yes, I indeed need to plan ever so carefully, but things also don’t always go to plan. In fact it happens more often than not. And when plans don’t go to plan, that is exactly when the new experiences have come into my life. This is when the growth and inner work actually takes place. The best memories that make me giddy on the inside have stemmed from the detours and from the unknown.

In a nutshell, clinging onto any expectations hasn’t gotten me far. Learning to let go has become a process in my daily life. Thank goodness for yoga. The detours have often taught me the most in retrospect.

Save up, break the news to your parents, your partner, your friends, your colleagues, etc. Do your research first. Research is the name of the game. A lot of time, and energy will be spent in this area. Take the step and go. Get out there and spend your life how you want to! In fact, my life has become so  uniquely interesting, I can’t quite remember what it was like before in my “real” career.

I understand not wanting to travel alone. There are many ways to see the world. I didn’t want to do it alone either, until I decided that I really just had to teach and travel the world. I knew my friends at home couldn’t do this with me — they had jobs they didn’t want to leave, and so did just about everyone else I could think of. That was me too at one point.

However, two years ago I was laid off from corporate America and my life took a turn. I went for what I truly wanted in the depths of my heart, and life has never been the same since. Sometimes, the dream to travel will be yours and that means you have to do it by yourself if you’re going to do it at all. You have to make it happen on your own. Scary? Maybe at first? But not forever.

The role of yoga in my life, has opened the doors to everything happening in my life experience.  I am better because of all of it  and my life has changed on massive levels. I don’t quite have the words to describe each of my days. All I know is I will remember how I’ve felt every moment of this voyage. Travel will take you everywhere, even within! This is the true gift.

http://www.australia.com/en

http://www.newzealand.com/au/

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