Advice Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Advice

The Balcony With Nepal’s Best Sunrise View

Just above the Kathmandu Valley whose mountain walls stubbornly holds on to the smog produced in the Nepalese capital, is a view of the Himalayas worth taking a day trip to see. Several hours outside Kathmandu, Nepal, the town of Nagarkot sits at the edge of the valley focused on the Himalayas.

Everything here, from the hotel balconies and conspicuously treacherous ladder stand, is focused on a single daily event: the morning sunrise.

Planning The Spot

Despite the central focus on daybreak, Nagarkot requires some planning to make sure you get the not only the right view but a comfortable spot from which to take it all in. There are a number of good hotels, I can vouch for Hotel Country Villa, just make sure to ask for a room with a balcony view when booking. I’d also recommend one of the rooms further from reception to the left if you’re facing the mountains (they’re quieter) and go for a deluxe room, which aren’t much more expensive then regular ones.

hotel country villa

You’ll not only have a more comfortable stay but a more peaceful view of the sunrise. Hotels in Nagarkot have all of their balconies essentially designed to maximize viewing area, meaning they are right next to each other. A noisy neighbor can quickly take away from the experience and most go to the buffet area to watch, so the more distance the better.

Getting To Nagarkot

You’ll probably be staying in Kathmandu already and the easiest way is to negotiate a driver to take you. Most will happily offer the service, which should cost around $60 for the 90 minute round trip ride. Drivers will stay in the town after dropping you off and to beat Kathmandu rush hour, try leaving in the late afternoon before 5pm.

nagarkot sunrise

Some of the best views become apparent as the risen sun burns off some of the sky mist in Nagarkot. Checkouts are usually around 11am, worth sticking around for, although most drivers will want to leave as early as possible. Be clear you’ll want to return closer to noon, giving you enough time for sunrise, breakfast after, and the Himalayan views as the skies brighten.

Wake Up With Efficiency

Sunrises at altitude over some of the world’s highest mountains appears faster than what you experience at sea level horizon. Whatever the stated sunrise time is (on your phone or at the hotel, usually posted at reception), you’ll want to get up 45 minutes before using your bladder or this alarm trick to avoid oversleeping. That gives you a 30 minute head start to get your balcony view plus any cameras set up (with a healthy margin of error).

The sun will appear roughly 30 minutes after the “sunrise” time giving you plenty of time to enjoy the view. On the way out of town, most drivers will stop by this lookout tower if you’re willing a climb for another Himalaya view as part of one of the best day trips from Kathmandu.

Everything You Need To Know About Solo Female Travel In India

Planning a trip to India can be confusing for many potential travelers, particularly women. The news about safety in India is a lot like traveling in the country itself – often contradictory, alluring, sometimes downright scary. To help answer any questions you may have about traveling in India as a woman, I recently spoke with Cristina Boronat on the foXnoMad Podcast.

Cristina spent over 2 years traveling in India, most of it solo, and we spoke about her experiences plus advice on how to dress, her India bucket list, and more in the episode you can listen to here or watch in the video above.

We even got to ponder whether or not my two India scams videos would have been potentially (more) dangerous if I were a woman.

There’s a lot packed into this episode for both men and women planning a trip including the single best piece of advice for visiting India, applicable worldwide. For those of you who’ve been to India the conversation will take you back through the calm and chaos to put a smile on your face.

The Single Best Piece Of Advice For Travelers To India

Traveling in India can be the most frustrating and amazing experience, often at the same time, but there’s one piece of advice that will let you appreciate the entire experience. During a recent episode of the foXnoMad Podcast, my guest Cristina Boronat summed up eloquently a lesson to take with you before visiting India.

The travelers who end up hating India miss this key wisdom Cristina gleaned from years of experience in the country, which you should watch in the video here.

Set Your Alarm Clock To Odd Numbers To Wake Up For Early Flights

phone alarms

We’ve all set 13 alarms in a row to make sure we wake up for an early morning flight, hoping the constant ringing – despite our snoozing efforts – will get us out of bed. Eventually. Such brute force methods require setting alarms well in advance of when you actually need to wake up. Snoozing feels really good but it’s barely sleep, in fact you’d be better off not disrupting your slumber early and just waking up when you need to.

There’s a good way to trick your brain into being conscious for slightly longer when your alarm sounds so you can shorten the time between your (first) alarm sounding and actually getting out of bed. The key is using odd numbers, literally and figuratively.

Melatonin Efficiency

Many taps of the snooze button on your phone are done when you’re semi-conscious, which is why it might feel like you’ve snoozed 97 or 3 times, it’s hard to tell. During the middle and later parts of the night, melatonin levels in your body are high. (Depending on your regular sleep cycles.) Melatonin is a hormone that tells your body time to sleep or wake up.

sleeping tabby cat

Snoozing feels really good because elevated melatonin levels are telling our brains it’s sleepy time. A blaring alarm sound can wake you up enough to the lighter stages of sleep to snooze but the rebound might be so intense you could not “hear” the next alarm.

At worst it’s a missed flight, at best, missing 15-20 minutes of additional quality sleep.

7:03am

The human mind is preferential to even numbers. 10 fingers, two eyes, 7:00am doesn’t give us the same sense of urgency – or novelty – 7:03am does, for example. Ok, so what about 7:05am or 7:15am? They’re odd but more familiar, the key is processing time. According to Terence Hines of Pace University:

Odd numbers stick in our brain more, are harder to digest — and as a result gain extra meanings. In western culture the numbers that attract the most superstition, three, seven and 13, are all odd.

Room 101 is a much scarier place than Room 100 because 101 is arithmetically more challenging than 100. We understand how 100 fits in to the structure of numbers — it is ten times ten, or two times fifty, or four times twenty-five. But 101 is harder to toy around with. The asymmetry is cruel to our pattern-making minds.

In terms of waking up on time and getting a few more minutes of sleep, calculating how many minutes you have to really get out of bed is harder when using an odd number – that’s also not a multiple of 5 or commonly calculated. We convert 45 minutes ahead of 7:30 or 9:00 more easily because we do it all the time. (What’s 75 minutes before 12:25? Quick!)

Sliver Of Consciousness

A tiny bit of number crunching may seem insignificant but it requires a longer window of consciousness. Even seconds of being awake can help you get out of bed – which additionally will be easier if you have a few more minutes of sleep. Using odd numbers, 3:12am works but 3:17am is better, plays on your subconscious at two levels.

For an added layer of oversleep protection, try using your bladder as an alarm clock as well. It’s a lot harder (and messier) than your phone to snooze. Keep in mind though for odd numbers, to keep them odd. Don’t use the same patterns over and over to prevent your brain from adapting.

What It’s Like Traveling As A Woman In Pakistan

Pakistan is not a particularly common travel destination (on par with Ivory Coast by tourists annually) and for many reading this, that isn’t surprising. What may be even more surprising is that tourism to Pakistan has tripled since 2018, attracting adventurous travelers intrigued by a less visited destination.

Since I wrote about what it’s like traveling in Pakistan, many of you asked what it would be like for a woman traveling there? To give a firsthand answer to the question, I recently spoke with Ellie Quinn who joined me on an episode of the foXnoMad Podcast you can listen to here.

Ellie traveled to Pakistan overland from India and shared what that border crossing was like, how to dress, plus vividly describes the country’s northern mountains. She enjoyed her time in Pakistan so much, Ellie’s begun running tours there if you’re up for your own adventure.

We also spoke about the differences between traveling in India verses Pakistan as a woman in an interesting and enlightening conversation you’ll learn a lot from. You can watch the full episode here, download here to listen, and find Ellie on YouTube and Instagram.

Student Shares What To Know When Moving To Chicago For College

This is a guest post by Brian Selcik, a student at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where he is studying for a BFA in Musical Theatre Dance.

chicago skyline

You may be a new student preparing a move to begin studying at one of Chicago’s many universities and institutions. Having gone through the process myself not too long ago, here are some things I’ve learned that will help plan for your first semester in Chi-town.

Parents, Students, Either.. Both? Take A Breath

The city of Chicago is like its own small country of 2.7 million people who enjoy over 40 kilometers (26 miles) of public beaches, lively local theater, plus the 4th busiest airports in America making it very accessible. Many universities in Chicago are located in the Loop right off of Lake Michigan. (This is the Loop.) There are over 7,000 restaurants and sights that bring over 55 million tourists annually and going to school right in the heart of the city allows you to experience it all.

chicago skyline evening

Don’t Make Your Living Environment Your Work Environment

One of the best pieces of advice I have for really anyone going to college is not to make your living environment your work environment. Dorm rooms are designed for you to eat, sleep, and live but don’t mistake a desk for a ideal place to study. It is hard to focus on work in a place where you sleep and relax – the opposite is also true. (Parents, you wouldn’t want to eat dinner in an office, would you?) But in Chicago you’re lucky to have many great places to get school work done. Some of my favorites are Dollop Coffee, Hayden Hall, Harold Washington Library, and even the new experiential lululemon at Lincoln Park.

chicago coffee shop

Explore The Loop

There is virtually no place in Chicago five miles around the Loop that would not have some great locations to explore with friends. Take your U Pass (the unlimited student ride pass for the public transportation) and head on the Red Line in either direction. At most any stop you’re probably going to find yourself in a cool location with coffee shops, restaurants, and so much more to experience.

It’s comfortable to get stuck in the few blocks around your university so taking the time to use your U Pass and explore is something allows you to make the most of your time in Chicago. A few of my favorite stops off the Red Line are Chicago and State, North-Clybourn, Fullerton, and Belmont.

Get Out When It’s Cold

Chicago is known for a lot of things but the cold weather during winter is definitely one of the most infamous. While it can get pretty bad you can still absolutely go out and explore as long as you are prepared. (It’s all about dressing properly!) Ear covers, a long coat, thick socks, a warm scarf, and gloves are all you need to survive the cold. You can stay outdoors and go ice skating at Millennium Park, or you can head indoors and go somewhere like the Chicago Board Game Cafe. The cold is not as bad as people (who usually aren’t from here) make it out to be as long as you are leaving your building prepared for the weather! Layers people, layers.

lululemon chicago

Go See A Show!

Chicago has one of the best theater districts in the country where you can see some innovative, creative, and inspiring work. You have your bigger companies like The Goodman, Steppenwolf, and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, but also your smaller store-front theater like BoHo Theatre and Kokandy Productions. There are always student discounts available (for tickets generally ranging between $10-15) and even some ushering opportunities where you get to see the shows for free. New shows happen year round so there you can go see new work whenever you have a free weekend.

Urbs in Horto

Since studying here I’ve come to realize Chicago is one of the best cities in the world. With its restaurants, history, and theaters, the unique location makes it a special place to live and study. Those of you planning your first semester in Chicago, hopefully these seeds will help you grow quickly in the city in a garden.

Thank you Brian for taking time in between your studies to share your experience and recommendations for new students coming to Chicago! This isn’t Brian’s first guest post on the site so if you’re visiting London see this, want to see Hamilton for cheap read this, and for a Harry Potter trip to Orlando click here. Brian’s also on Instagram @brian_potter7.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More


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