Welcome to my life

These videos and articles focus on things that fuel my energy- global experiences, loved ones, and life learnings.

How To Teach Your Children About Black History

Feb 24, 2021
 

  

As my daughter Shyla said, “Black history should not be a month, it should be every day, just like we learn about everything else.” What a great point!  But since Black history is unfortunately overlooked in the standard US history classes, a dedicated month is needed and so valuable to truly learn about US history.

I have friends of various races, ethnic backgrounds, and faiths, and hence my girls know that some of their friends are Jewish, some are Christian, some are from South America, some are from Europe, some are from Jamaica, some are Black, some are Egyptian, some are Indian, etc. And many friends ask me how I talk to my children about race, because it can make some parents uncomfortable.

I get it- it may not feel right commenting on someone’s race.  However, not commenting on race also is not the approach and can lead to ignorance and misconceptions. I always look at this way- I want my kids to learn about everything from...

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Let's celebrate Chinese New Year!

Feb 13, 2021
 

Happy Lunar New Year aka Chinese New Year to everyone!  The holiday lasts 16 days so we have time to enjoy!

While I didn’t grow up celebrating, I enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year while working in NYC.  It was so wonderful to experience the decorations and festivities in Chinatown-- a welcoming experience. And now, I am learning more as a mother raising global citizens with the focus on how I can bring this cultural traditions to my home.  It is an auspicious time… And the significance can be appreciated by all. 

Here are some cool facts about Lunar New Year.

  • Chinese New Year is celebrated by more than 20% of the world, and is the most important holiday in China. 
  • It is also known as the Spring Festival.  People welcome spring and what it brings along: planting and fresh starts.
  • The date changes every year (just like Diwali) because it aligns to the lunar calendar.
  • The color red symbolizes luck, joy, and happiness.  Chinese brides...
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Historical American Inauguration and Life Lessons for Children

Jan 21, 2021
 

This inauguration was historic. Regardless of who you wanted in office, it was historic.  It was a milestone of firsts BUT not the last!  The FIRST Woman Vice President, The FIRST Black Woman, The FIRST Indian Woman, The FIRST Asian Woman, The FIRST Woman of Color.

Seeing pictures of Madam Vice President with her mother reminds me of mine.  We are from the same part of India, speak Tamil, and eat dosa (South Indian crepe)! 

I can relate when I hear stories about her mother, an immigrant who left all her family in India to come to the land of opportunity, the United States.  The journey of immigrants is an integral part of America’s history which some people forget or choose to ignore.  I was 4 years old when we arrived to the US with only a dream of seeing someone like me being elected as a leader in my lifetime.  Madam Vice President Kamala Devi Harris represents that dream becoming a reality.  Historic.

The lessons...

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One of My Life Principles- People Make the World Go Round

Jan 14, 2021

Reflecting on my two decades as a corporate executive, one thing that was constant are the insights gained on the journey. One of my life guiding principles which translated into my career and now motherhood-- "people make the world go round".  I worked with multiple companies in various industries across countries which enabled me to collaborate with a diverse group of people.  More than any skill or functional area I mastered, I feel that learned the most from people. 

I always say no matter how advanced our technology becomes, at the end of the day, the world does not function without people.  People read what we write, people buy products/services we sell, people make decisions, people fly on planes, people buy homes, people drive the growth/decline in numbers, people eat food, etc.  I think you get the gist, no artificial intelligence or robots can do that! 

Lakshmi's Learnings- How does that translate to how we can raise our...

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Happy New Year Reflections and Ways to Reinforce Goodness

Jan 07, 2021
 

Happy New Year to all my family, friends, and followers!  Wishing everyone a new year of health, love, abundance, and happiness.  I am grateful for your journey with Travel Plus Them and more to come!

While there are many thoughts on 2020, I just wanted to share a different perspective centered on hope and appreciation.  Who were you with on New Year’s Eve? 

I ended the year the way the same way I started the year… With my family. It does not matter where we were, but we are together. My immediate family- husband, parents, siblings, grandmothers, and all my children are still here on earth. Unfortunately, not everyone can say the same.

I am not saying that 2020 was without challenges and losses (and everyone had them in different ways), but please let’s not constantly say 2020 was a bad year! 

Lakshmi's Learnings- Rather let’s grow from our challenges, show empathy to those who are suffering, lend a helping hand to those in need,...

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Embracing the Love and Joy of the Holiday Season

Dec 28, 2020
 

I want to wish everyone a very joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year!

The holiday season always brings back memories of my childhood.  We arrived from India to the United States when I was almost four years old.  I didn’t know much about the December holiday season but I absolutely loved seeing all the wonderful lights, decorations, happiness, and of course Santa too.  Although I did not believe in Santa Claus traveling around the world giving gifts to everyone, I did appreciate how much joy Santa brought to so many of my classmates when talking about him. 

And so, I asked my parents if we too can decorate a Christmas tree and exchange gifts. Those days even something small like a pencil had us focus on the concept of giving and receiving which made it special.  As I got older, the holiday season was a part of our lives every December. I have friends who celebrated other holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa so I learned about them as...

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Insights from our International Trip During the Pandemic

Dec 14, 2020
 

We did it!  We went on our first international trip during COVID to Costa Rica.  To summarize it in one word-- "exhilarating."

While countries have various restrictions (many are closed to travelers from the US)- I have to say that I felt extremely safe and a lot of precautions were taken, even more than I experience in my home city.

My perspective- As I have shared before, I think that everyone has to do what they feel is right for them based on personal values and lifestyle choices. Even though we went on this trip with concerns (which can be uncomfortable), it did not stop us from living our best lives and reconnecting us with something we love.

Lakshmi's Learnings:  Here was our experience in Costa Rica-

  • Air Travel to and from destination- since this is a "grey area" for many, I am providing details .  The plane has constant air filtration and is cleaner than ever.
    • The flight to MIA to LIR was just a regular COVID flight. We wore masks, had lots of...
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The Two G's- Gratitude and Giving Back

Nov 27, 2020
 

I wish everyone appreciation, reflection, and joy.  A time to remember those we lost and a time to treasure those we can hold. While “Thanksgiving” means different things to different people... I think we can all agree on these two “g’s”- “gratitude and giving back” as universal forms of love that we should do everyday!

Part of Travel Plus Them is just that- the two “g’s”. Being a global citizen is not just experiencing the world... it’s also sharing all that you can with others. Thanks to our friends who make this an annual tradition, we too were able to experience this while on vacation!

Shyla and Shriya packed an entire suitcase of clothes, toys, and books and donated to the local orphanage in Costa Rica. Due to COVID- we were unable to go inside and play.  While my girls were saddened by the tears they heard, they were overjoyed by the hands the kids held out through the gate to hug them!

To protect the...

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What is Diwali? - India's Festival of Lights

Nov 08, 2020
 

Diwali is this week.  Many of you may wonder, what is Diwali?

Diwali is India’s Festival of Lights where we celebrate victories of good over evil, light shining over darkness, knowledge over ignorance....a new beginning for us all. 

The details and activities were shared in my daughters' public and private schools when I taught the class children. 

Some quick facts about Diwali:

  • Diwali is a total of 5 days- and the big day is Saturday Nov 14th (reflected in Day 3). 
  • Every year the specific date changes (e.g. like Easter OR Hanukkah) based on the lunar calendar- but always falls in October or November. 
  • The cultural significance of Diwali is celebrated around the world!  It is a Hindu holiday that celebrates the victory of Lord Ram when he defeated an evil demon king Ravan. That victory of good over evil restored goodness in the world.
  • Diwali is celebrated differently all over India and each day is meaningful. 
  • Diwali is also celebrated...
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Belonging in the World Can Start With A Name

Nov 03, 2020
 

The countdown that is all over the news is now here- the big date November 3rd.  For me, it is all summed up in one simple word- "belonging."  I aspire for my children to have inclusivity in their DNA, to feel that they belong and welcome diversity.  Now, I know that will never be 100% for everyone at all times, that’s just the world we live in.  But, we should aim to cultivate that environment for all those around us.

Similar to the recent videos related to name pronunciation, my name has been mispronounced my whole life. I know it is different outside of “mainstream names” that I used to see on key chains growing up but does that mean people shouldn’t try to say it?  Please watch the insights from Shyla.

My name is Lakshmi- properly pronounced “Luck-shme”. As an elementary school child new to the US, I used to cringe when a substitute teacher came into the classroom. Does anyone else know that feeling? They would...

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