Joma moves to India!

Anxious, excited, nervous, giddy – I’m feeling all of these emotions and all at the same time leading up to my move. However, now that I’m actually here, all my fears and reservations pretty much have subsided and have been replaced with a feeling of rejuvenation. I am much more excited for this new opportunity, my new home for the year and all of the great people that I’m bound to meet on my journey in India.

Arriving in Bangalore around 11 pm on a Sunday, one would expect chaos, right? Wrong, not much chaos in the airport. Going through customs and gathering my luggage is relatively painless but finding my driver, Kiran, in the sea of people outside of the exit doors is the opposite. I suppose that was chaos’ queue to show up. Luckily, a man in a suit comes up to me and asks me where I’m staying. He senses that I’m hesitant to disclose that information so he shows me a list that has my name on it. We find Kiran and as I get into the car, Kiran welcomes me with a huge smile and my Indian sim card in order to reconnect with everyone. Yes, interwebz! At this point, it hasn’t really hit me that I’m across the world and not on vacation but I’m feeling refreshed despite the 21+ hour flight.

Traffic is non-existent for the ride home and I’m thinking traffic isn’t as bad as people say it is in Bangalore. I. AM. SO. WRONG. So very wrong. Traffic is a nightmare in Bangalore. It will take you 1 hour to go 6 miles and sometimes even 3 miles. Sunday is the only day when your food delivery will get to you in 8 minutes versus 49 minutes for a 2 mile drive. Nonetheless, I’m unfazed by traffic as the unfamiliarity calls for my attention in every which way.

LIKE COWS. If you haven’t noticed by my IG stories, I’m obsessed with the cows. I’m already obsessed with the dogs (frankly, all animals) but there are cows and bulls everywhere – on the sidewalk, in the neighborhood, side of the road, and the middle of the road! I’m almost certain that I’ve seen more cows roaming around than dogs. In India, you’re more likely to get to the other side of the street safely if you’re a cow. Traffic will come to a complete stop for cows but not for pedestrians here. I myself have yet to muster enough courage to cross the street; it might take me a few months or never. 

I can continue this post and talk about the amazing people, the delicious (and insanely cheap) food and how lovely and perfect the no jacket weather is but in the short time that I’ve been here, I’ve already noticed some of the eco and social issues in Bangalore such as pollution to wealth disparity. As such, I’m hoping to connect with a nonprofit here on behalf of GoodTravels in hopes that we can help in some way whether it’s volunteering in the field or raising awareness! If you’re traveling and you want to help but your itinerary simply doesn’t allow for it, you can still engage with the community by getting to know the locals, buying from local shops and experiencing the culture. Remember to keep your eyes, mind and heart open at all times!

Yours truly,



Two Life-Changing Things

I’ve just returned home to San Francisco after traveling abroad for the past month.  To be clear, this isn’t a normal thing for me. In fact, this is the longest trip I’ve ever been on, and the only trip I’ve ever done largely solo with no real road map.  Why? I’ve heard it said that travel changes you.  For a long time now, I’ve surrounded myself with people who could attest to that fact with firsthand experience.  Me, not so much.  I spent the last thirteen years or so grinding it out in the startup world.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change that – I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot, I’ve got the entrepreneur spirit entrenched deep within me and I dig it. But, I’ve also got a sincere wish to expand outside my realm of experience, to improve in new ways, and for a long time now distant lands have been calling to me.  So, a few months ago I decided to take a sabbatical from the world of business, to finally answer that resilient call.  And I couldn’t be more elated that I did, because I learned two life-changing things.

Life-changing thing one.  Your understanding of what’s possible for you in this world, and in this life for that matter, is largely comprised of your experience in it. Sure, you can learn from books, the internet, TV, stories from your buddies, but passive learning isn’t as impactful as experience itself, not by any measure. Being fully immersed in something, seeing it with your own eyes, tasting it, feeling it, hearing it, that’s when the real magic happens.  If you really want to expand as a human, expand your circle of influence.  I cannot think of a better way of doing this than visiting a place you’ve never been, preferably where they don’t speak your native tongue, and allowing that place to become a part of you. It takes faith to do something like that, some courage to be certain, and a great deal of confidence.  If nothing else (and I hope you take away much more) you’ll learn that you’re far more capable than you realized.  But you’ll also learn something else…

Life-changing thing two.  Life-changing thing two has me riding on a cloud still, full of life, and amped up to be a human.  Because, lesson two, you see, is a lesson on the human experience itself.  It’s something so innate, and so obvious, yet so hidden in plain sight if you’ve never sought it out.  It goes like this: no matter where you venture in this world, you are bound to meet amazing people. People who are full of life and love, who would like for nothing more than to share some of their stories and spirit with you, likely over a beer, wine, or pisco.  People who will cook a meal for you.  People who will literally get off a train with you when you’re off track to walk you to the right platform.  Angels.  You’ll meet beautiful people – inside and out – who will make you happy just by knowing you’re sharing this planet with them.  You’ll come to quickly find out that a smile is a smile in any country, and laughter in any language translates the same.  You’ll forge friendships that will last a lifetime with people from near and far.  You’ll learn to speak the language of the world.  Most importantly, you’ll walk away understanding that we’re all connected, the human soul isn’t captive to you, it’s in every one of us, in every single town and city around the world, and to access it all you have to do is be bold enough to smile and say hello.

One of these days, when your travel calls to you, in whatever way it chooses to do so, in whatever form it takes, I hope you answer.  I hope you seek out these two life-changing things for yourself.  I hope you embrace this world fully, because it has things to teach you if you’re willing.  And, by the way, I was wrong, travel doesn’t change you at all – it shines a light on the best parts of you, and helps you see yourself more clearly as the person you’ve always been.