Posted on November 07 2019
It's no secret that I love exploring the world. My jewelry is inspired by the beauty I see during my travels-- the colors, shapes and textures are like my life experiences woven into my jewelry.
In the job I had right before I started Metalicious, I was lucky enough to travel to India and Asia for work. I would go for 1-2 weeks at a time.
I worked with model makers, designers and jewelers in all of these places, to create jewelry that was mass-produced overseas. The company I worked for sold their jewelry to big department and jewelry stores across the world. It was an incredible education to work with these tradespeople and to see jewelry created on a mass scale. One of the pieces we made sold over 20,000 units and was featured on a TV commercial. I nearly fell off my treadmill when I saw it at the time.
The things I saw in Mumbai, Bangkok and Hong Kong were so different from everything I knew from my life in the US. The colors, the smells, the buildings, the food-- everything was so beautiful.
The last time I went overseas was when I was 6 months pregnant with Asher (he is now almost 15)!
Since then, it has been a dream of mine to take Jeff and the boys to see these incredible places.
My dream was centered around going to see the Taj Mahal together-- it was one of the places in India I had never been to-- and I wanted to see it with my guys: my husband Jeff (Mr. Metalicious), Asher who is 14 and Oliver who is 9 years old. They are old enough to carry their bags but not old enough to hate us yet.
So with that vision in mind, it felt like it was a good time to go see the world. Our plan was to take off the month of August to go on our around-the-world trip. Here was our itinerary:
1) India (10 days): Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur
2) Thailand (7 days): Bangkok, Chiang Mai
3) Australia (6 days): Sydney
4) Home to NY.
First up was India. I wasn't sure how the boys would handle it there. Asher is on the autism spectrum and is sensitive to smells, sounds and crowds. Yikes. That basically describes India in one sentence. So we hired a tour company to take care of all the details like hotels, transportation and tour guides. They treated us like royalty! The van we traveled in had air conditioning, wifi, pillows, snacks and cold water-- basically a hotel room on wheels.
We could all go together and sightsee, but if Asher got overwhelmed then he could just go to the van where our driver, Babu, was waiting.
Oliver's only request was that every hotel had a pool (remember, we were traveling in August-- the hottest time of year in these countries). Needless to say, we all enjoyed the pools...
Our first stop was Delhi and we did allll the things...
1) Went for rickshaw ride in old Delhi where it smelled like sandalwood and fried poori bread
2) Saw monkeys. Everywhere.
3) Visited the craft museum
4) toured a soup kitchen at a Sikh temple
5) Saw where Ghandi last lived and was assassinated
6) Went swimming
Then we took our rolling hotel room (aka: Tourist Van) on the road to Agra-- home of the Taj Mahal!
1) Asher learned that “Delhi Belly” is a polite name for the train wreck that happened in his stomach and made him very sick. A dr. was called and he felt better in 2 days.
2) I cried when I saw the Taj Mahal from our hotel lobby. Cried. Like. A. Baby.
3) Ollie and I toured the Agra Fort, Baby Taj Mahal and watched the sun set on the real Taj Mahal (Jeff stayed back with Asher because he's the best husband and dad ever).
4) There are cows and water buffalo everywhere.
5) Saw 5am sunrise at the Taj Mahal
6) Click to see how they make gemstone inlay for the Taj Mahal
8) More swimming
And then we took a 5 hour van ride to Jaipur.
1) We saw a stepwell
2) Visited an abandoned city
3) There are peacocks at our new hotel. This hotel used to be a maharajah’s palace. It’s just as ridiculous as you would expect.
4) It’s so hot 🥵
5) Royal palaces are usually not air conditioned.
6) Astrology is big here. The Jantar Mantar observatory was built just for that.
7) Took our first tuk-tuk ride.
8) More peacocks.
9) Gem shopping!
10) More swimming
I have to pause here a moment to mention something funny that happened a few times. When we were at major tourist attractions it was inevitable that a random person would ask if they could pose with Ollie. Its not like he sticks out or anything... and yes, those are all different tie-dyed t-shirts.
Jaipur walking tour
1) Flower and vegetable market wherein the teen nearly wept it was so hot.
2) We sent the kids home and continued our walking tour.
4) Brass metalsmiths, marble sculptors, cows, camels and monkeys. So incredibly awesome.
5) Jeff gets a haircut.
6) Spice market
7) Fed and watered elephants at a sanctuary.
8) Gem shopping.
9) Swimming in maharani’s pool
Our last stop in India was in Jodhpur, the blue city. I admit that I chose it because it was all blue.
More stepwells, forts, shopping and swimming...
Jodhpur, while beautiful in parts, was a lot more chaotic than the other cities we saw.
The streets were about 8-10 feet wide and crowded with cows, people, speeding motorbikes, honking tuk-tuks, flies, trash and poop. While any combination of those things would’ve been ok (we are New Yorkers after all) it was hard to handle all of them at once.
Asher was a trooper in India. But the last day in Jodhpur he got really overwhelmed so I got him into a tuk-tuk and we went back to the hotel.
He also has a great sense of humor and noted the irony about how the city is painted blue to represent tranquility. ☺️
Our vacation to India is so hard to put into words, how beautiful the countryside is, how lovely the people are. And at least three of us want to come back again.
I can't wait to share the new pieces I've been working on the past few months! I was so inspired by the colors, textures, landscape and symbolism in India.
They are coming soon, stay tuned for my next blog about our travels through Thailand!