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Wonderfully Weird and Fantastical Travel Tales — In Paris with No Money

Each month we post a travel tale from people from around the world. Today we kick it off with a story from the Lead Editor for the Lifestyle section on Vigyaa: Maria Montgomery.


I have so many travel tales, that when you ask me for one I don’t know where to start. I’ve lived in more countries than some have visited and I’ve often thought that my memoir would be called “In Transit.” For me, traveling is a way of life. I was a digital nomad before the term had been coined.

This particular tale, however, is a favorite of mine. Not because it’s by far the strangest thing that ever happened to me, or even all that fantastical, or wondrous. No, it’s simply because it shows what the life of a traveler is like and what you can learn from traveling.

The Perks of Being Nineteen

I was nineteen. I was backpacking through Europe and finally came to Paris. I was meant to continue onto Italy after that, but I got stuck in Paris for longer than expected. Why? Because someone asked me if I was looking for a job, I believe on Christmas Eve, and I said yes. The next day I set out to find one.

Eventually, I found a job in a British pub. I never went to Italy. Instead I went home to Sweden, packed my things, and caught the midnight train to Paris. I still think that sounds terribly romantic. It was.

It was also my gap year and I could do as I pleased. I had nothing more than my imagination holding me back. Most of my friends had wild ideas about what to do when high school was finally over. The truth? We got jobs in our home town and did nothing extraordinary at all. That’s why, one night after watching Moulin Rouge in the cinema, I got inspired and decided I was going to set out backpacking through Europe. I was to leave no later than December 13.

As it was in the middle of winter, no one fancied joining me on my adventure, so I set out on my own. And that’s how I ended up in Paris.

Returning To Paris

The tale I’m meant to be telling you, takes place when I returned to Paris. I knew I had a job lined up and I had booked a bed in the hostel where I stayed before I left, but that’s as much as I knew.

On the first day walking to work from the Metro, I sat down to grab something out of my backpack. I sat down and the credit card that I had, for some reason, put in my back pocket, snapped in two.

I had money for one, or two, more nights at the hostel and a few more meals. But that was it.

Today that probably wouldn’t have been much of a problem. From online banking and PayPal to MoneyGram, paying a bill internationally isn’t that hard. Back then? It normally took weeks just to get a new credit card.

I was officially stone broke in Paris.

Finding a Way When You Are Lost

That night, I was having a meal in the hostel, when I met a bunch of other people. Among them a recent Oxford graduate, who was planning to stay in Paris for a while to take writing classes. She wanted to become an author. Katie, was her name.

Katie and I decided we were going to get a flat together and set about looking for one immediately. We found one. How I don’t know, because you needed a bank account to get a job and a flat and a job and a flat to get a bank account. It was one of those catch 22 situations, that everyone simply had to get around or they’d be stuck in no man’s land forever.

Katie paid for all our bills for the first couple of weeks, including my food. We became great friends. She was volunteering at Shakespeare and Co., taking French classes at La Sorbonne and doing a writing course. I was writing poetry, working in a bar, taking acting classes and doing her writing exercises to improve my own penmanship.

The obvious action to take when you are lost, save looking at maps, compasses and where the sun is in the sky, is to ask for directions. Ask for help. I asked Katie for help. She helped me. And that changed the course of my life.

Having Faith and Taking Action

I don’t remember being very scared when my card broke. I remember being upset — it was unsettling. And I had to call my father in Sweden to try to sort out a new card. It was a bit complicated. I also remember standing by the desk at the hostel, knowing I could only afford to pay that one night. I knew I needed help, but I wasn’t scared, because I figured people would help me. 

I also took obvious action. When I heard someone else looking for a place to stay, I spoke to them about it.

When you have a problem, the most obvious thing to do is to focus on a solution and having faith you’ll find one. If you ask enough people, someone usually has the answer.

If, on the other hand, you sit down and focus on your problem, you’ll become upset and likely do nothing to solve it. You need to have faith it'll work out, then you need to take action. 

There is a sign in Shakespeare and Co. that reads: “Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.” I’ve found, through my travels, that it’s a very apt statement. 

Would you like your travel tale featured? Contact editor.lifestyle@vigyaa.com 

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• A Christmas ham supper is at least somewhat conventional. To make this magnificence, you'll brush the ham with a blend of mustard, dark colored sugar, salt, and pepper to make the sweet, brilliant coating. Remember to score the ham before cooking to enable the skin to fresh up as it prepares. Treat a few times during the cooking procedure to develop that succulent coating, bringing about a delicious, delicate ham that is not very sweet and not very zesty. You can serve it warm or at room temperature, so it's ideal to set out for a Christmas buffet.

• Help holiday guests warm up on a chilly winter evening with this retro dish that’s become trendy again. Two kinds of shredded cheese combine for a deeper, more complex flavor; because the cheese is shredded, it should melt fairly quickly. The final product—gooey melted cheese with a bitter kick—is the comfort food of your dreams. Serve with soft pretzels, toasted baguette, or go beyond the basics and offer an assortment of dippers: cut-up apples and pears, sliced cooked sausage, broccoli, and cauliflower florets, or cherry tomatoes. It’s a fun way to get everyone mingling before they sit down for Christmas dinner.


Little kids are always in need of different toys. One can gift them these by knowing the taste of kids that which type of toys they like. It will make them happy as kids of small age love to play with toys.

For younger people you can gift them different gaming stuff or gadgets as they love these things at this age, they may in need of different gadgets. Gadgets include watches, cell phones, laptops etc.

Noida is a place which has a lot of awesome birthday party venues to choose from of different kinds. If you want a restaurant with amazing ambiance and great food, they have it. On the other hand if you just want a club where you can party your heart out, that is there as well. Furthermore, if you want to do something entirely different and unique, there are a few good options for that too. You are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to birthday party venues in Noida. Below is a list of places that I believe are the best bday celebration places in Noida right now.

1. Gravity Restaurant and Bar

This is a fun place to host a birthday party with your family and friends. It has food that is of the quality of fine dining but an ambiance that is more casual. They have both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes to choose from and serve a variety of different cuisines. This restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating options and you can grab a smoke outside if you like. They have some delicious drinks as well to choose from which is great for those who love to drink.

Where: Sector 127

2. The Magik Kitchen

The Magik Kitchen is a great option for celebrating a birthday in Noida. They have a very traditional ambiance and they serve mainly North Indian food. The chefs here are incredibly talented and know how to make amazing food. The staff here is also friendly which is always a plus and they ensure that you have an enjoyable evening.

Where: Sector 63

3. Legends Barbeques

When it comes to hosting a budget birthday party in Noida, this is one restaurant you should consider. While barbeque restaurants are usually quite expensive, this restaurant is actually affordable. It is not cheap by any means, but for a barbeque restaurant, the prices are definitely reasonable. If you want absolutely yummy food that you keep going back for this is a great option. They have a spacious restaurant where you can celebrate your birthday with your family and friends. To make the experience more economical you can go for their buffet option and enjoy all the varieties available.

Where: Spice World Mall

4. Jungle Jamboree

Jungle Jamboree is the restaurant you should go to if you are looking for something different. The theme of this restaurant, as the name suggests, is jungle life, and the ambiance definitely matches it. They have greenery everywhere and the walls are painted yellow and green as well. The restaurant has a very wild, rustic vibe to it, in order to create a very controlled but authentic jungle experience. The food here is delicious as well and is served in a rustic way in keeping with the theme.

Where: Sector 34

5. Hike at Bharadwaj Lake

Why not do something completely different on this birthday to make it all the more special. A hike at Bharadwaj Lake to start of your birthday celebration is a great idea. It will be something that you always remember and it will definitely be a unique experience. Furthermore, you will get a chance to see a beautiful sight and tick something off your bucket list. It will refresh your mind and give you an opportunity to reflect on the past year. You can do this alone or you can ask your friends to tag along. It will definitely be a unique way to ring in the new year and burn some calories along the way!

6. Filmy Flavours

If you are someone who loves Bollywood, then this is another great option for you. As the name suggests, the ambiance at this restaurant is retro bollywood. Even if you are not a super fan of bollywood this is a fun place to go because they have a great vibe. They have neon lights and amazing bollywood hits playing throughout the night. The menu here is also bollywood themed and they have some great dishes and drinks to choose from.

Where: Sector 63

7. Chicane Pub and Lounge

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Where: Sector 25

8. Jodha Akbar Restaurant

This is a great restaurant for first birthday party in Noida with your family. It is a very beautiful restaurant and has a very royal ambiance to it, as the name suggests. The architecture of the restaurant is quite breathtaking and the food is equally delicious. There is something quite comforting and luxurious at the same time about the food and ambiance here. If you enjoy Mughlai food which is absolutely delicious then this is a great choice.

Where: Sector 18

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