Everyday Asia

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Hello Mumbai

Bandra style welcome


Glad you stopped by but…. warning! Everyday Asia is not a “travel” blog per se though there will be travel tales. It also isn’t a typical “expat” blog either as I live long-term in India (see CBAD).

Instead, Everyday Asia is about utterly mundane everyday stories of life in India, Asia and sometimes beyond, viewed through the eyes of a woman from Canada. Exploring and sharing the ordinary helps me rediscover with delight, humour and even acceptance aspects that can otherwise be inspiring, challenging or a bit of both!


Carissa Hickling

Carissa Hickling

I’m originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – a city known for crazy cold winters and warm friendly people from all over the world. At ‘sweet 16’, my fresh new passport and I flew off to Germany on a student exchange program and never looked back!

What followed was a series of study abroad programs to France, former Yugoslavia and India. Since 2003, I’ve adopted Bombay, India as home, working in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, travelling to Dubai, Vietnam and more!

What else?

Emma G's Deluxe Eatery

Emma G’s Deluxe Eatery

We are all multi-faceted people – one expression of this for me was a late night vegetarian café / 2nd hand book store / gallery / music jam-joint I founded more than 25 years ago with friends. The café long ago closed, but it reflected my other loves – food, books, art, terribly earnest conversations protesting passionately against the ills of the world and most of all music! Another passion is theatre – as an enthusiastic audience member and partner of an actor. I’ve also been known to enjoy a wee dram of whisky from time to time too!

Wanna know more?

Quick start with the quarterly summaries and explore the categories:

  • Home about everyday life in India
  • Away with travel adventures around Asia, Europe and North America
  • Work for crazy insights into work life in India and the region
  • Play on film, music, theatre, books and more – including Whisky 

I also have another blog Whisky Lady!

Check out a few popular posts:

Photo taken in Bandra, Mumbai

Photo taken in Bandra, Mumbai

If anything doesn’t make sense, you disagree or just want to share a laugh or two, please comment or drop me a line at info [at] everydayasia [dot] com!

I enjoy a good discussion and am always open to learning more.


Carissa Hickling

Media features include:



  1. polyglotfun says:

    Sounds like you lead a pretty full life. Can’t wait to see more posts from you in the future. 🙂

  2. Sindhu says:

    Nice blog! It was an interesting read. 🙂

  3. Thank you for stopping by! I love your blog! I look forward to reading about your travels to Jakarta!

  4. Sherri says:

    Hello! Thank you very much for visiting my blog and for the follow, I hope you enjoy what you find at my ‘cyber’ summerhouse! As an ‘ex-pat’ I do enjoy reading about other people;s travel stories as although I have been back in my home country, England, for the past 10 years, I lived in California for 17 years where I rasied my family. I have never been to India, nor the other countries where you work and I will be back shortly (family visit at the moment!) to visit your very interesting blog as I am looking forward to reading all about your life there 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by Sherri! I keep getting such encouraging comments and interesting interactions – especially about things that now seem so ordinary to me like over a dozen doorbell “Ding Dongs!” in the morning. 🙂

      Am enjoying your ‘cyber’ summerhouse and keep traveling virtually through all of us still out n about!

  5. Thanks for following BuildingMyBento!

    Regarding hotel recommendations in Jakarta Pusat, Sudirman as you likely know would not be the place to find good deals in your budget. Firstly, I’ve never encountered great internet connections anywhere in the capital (save perhaps for private residences), not to mention the 5-star places really take advantage with charging a premium for it.

    I’m loathe to recommend specific places, because I’ve had some rather unpleasant experiences all over, however have you tried searching Agoda.com? The Akmani, located on Jl. Wahid Hasyim (very close to Sarinah) might be a good choice, even if it’s not walkable to Slipi.

    The Mercure chain is decent, but they don’t have any nearby either, and Ibis, even though they’ve got a bunch in Jakarta Pusat, are quite budget, but at least they’re consistently copacetic. For your futures visits to Jakarta, you might want to keep an eye on the Holiday Inn chain, since they are opening a few in the coming months (for example: http://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/jakarta/jktjt/hoteldetail).

    Now, if you have a question about Indonesian food…

    • Gaaak! How did I miss this ever so helpful post!!? How bout any recommendations for Malaysia?? That’s my next mini-home for another work project in Feb….

      • Heh, “gaak” could actually mean “no” in Indonesian, so it’s a good double entendre!

        Which part of Malaysia? I’ve always thought of that country as Indonesia without a smile, so the most useful reason for traveling through it has been to eat strands of nutmeg at the budget terminal at KUL…

  6. Thanks for liking my post about Chinese “souvenirs!” Although you mentioned that you’ve visited China above, how frequently do you get back there?

    How’s Jakarta treating you?

    • When I escape from 20 hour work days Jakarta is brilliant! I’m hoping in November I can build in an opportunity or two for explorations.

      As for China… I used to get there twice a year… however since I’ve gone independent need a client to invite me back! 🙂

  7. Hi Carissa,

    I just discovered your site through Madhu’s blog (“The Urge to Wander”) and read that you are living in India. I have been to Northern India almost two years ago and just published my latest post about a spiritual morning I experienced in Varanasi, but I imagine living in India is quite hard for a western woman especially when you are blonde. It seems that we both share the same passion about travelling around Asia whereof I started to write about in my own bilingual travel blog a while ago.


    • Hi Vanessa,

      More precisely – I unpack my bags in India and pay rent in Mumbai! Just landed last night from Jakarta 🙂 I do find north India (where I’ve also lived) different than Mumbai in terms of being a ‘woman’ here.

      Rather than find it difficult – it is quite easy to live happily here as a ‘blue eyed blonde’ (in my case more silver than blonde!). That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges… which I recently shared in a post mid-Sept on Eve Teasing. However 99% of the time, its a massive privilege and pleasure living in India.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing – am checking out your blog now too!


  8. mytravels says:

    Hi Carissa!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and the like., find your blog quite interesting..appreciate that you can see the good side of India inspite of the problems there…

  9. Cheers for liking my post about “brand names,” Carissa! Have you seen some memorable ones in India?

  10. Hi Carissa, thanks for liking my blog post! I liked readings our posts, and look forward to seeing more.

  11. Howdy traveller,
    You’ve been around, haven’t you?
    I’ve nominated you for Dragon loyalty awards, 2013. GoTo

  12. […] Day 8: Make Your About Page Irresistible – Well… don’t know about irresistible, but I did make some changes… probably needs a good editing snip or two! Check it out and let me know what you think – About. […]

  13. Hi! I just found your blog.
    I am amazed how you can write with such a passion about your experience.

  14. Love your global views pin map!

  15. Kayleigh says:

    your café sounds like it was wonderful!

  16. Hi Carissa, Thanks for stopping in and following. I think I will find your blog interesting (even though you probably only stopped by to experience some shameful joy about not being in Winterpeg this year) Just kidding, looking forward to learning more.
    Cheers! Mark.

  17. sueslaght says:

    What an incredible life you have already led! I admire your spirit of adventure and willingness to get out there…literally. Wonderful to have met you via Shmruthi.

  18. NancyTex says:

    I can’t believe we haven’t ‘met’ before today. We’re practically blood relatives:
    1. We’re both Canadian
    2. I was actually born in the former Yugoslavia (Macedonia) – arrived in Canada at 9 months old.
    3. It has been my dream to open a gallery/café ever since I went through all my AHA! life moments a few years ago.
    Dude, it’s like we’re twins or something. 🙂

    • Haha! Twisted sisters perhaps? 😉

      1. Yup we are both Canadians, eh?
      2. I LOVED Macedonia – particularly Lake Ohrid – magical. Hope you have been back a few times when old enough to appreciate?
      3. You should just do it!! However I must say opening a cafe as a late teens is way easier than attempting it in one’s mid-40s (my case). We managed to get the company open but gave up after not being able to secure the right ‘home’ for our beloved ‘performers paradise’ concept with rent that would make some kind of business sense. It may surface again at some point… but I think back and realise we didn’t know any better so fearlessly took the plunge! Something to be said for that. 😉

      PS – Love your blog, still completely intimidated but gonna take some inspiration cus need to get health on track after an accident 7 months ago! 🙂

      • NancyTex says:

        On #2 – went back at age 6 and then every summer from ages 13 – 15, but not since then. Have traveled to Europe many times as an adult, but never back “home”.
        On #3: hubby and i seriously considered doing it in Las Vegas where we have our second home. Rent is way cheaper there than in TO, but…people (locals) arent spending there. Catch-22: the locale where cost is feasible woukd generate less revenue. The locale that would generate revenue is cost-prohibitive. 😦 One of these days…

        And re: ps – it often takes a big life change (like your accident) to prioritize on your health and invest in YOU! For me it was the unexpected loss of my job due to a restructuring. After wallowing in self pity for a year because i no longer had a fancy title, car allowance, big pay cheque to self actualize with, i got my shit together and looked inside for fulfillment and happiness. 🙂

  19. myblogmyfeelings says:

    Hi. Thanks for commenting on my blog post or Jian Ghomeshi’s radio essay. If you’re interested in Jian Ghomeshi, you might want to check out his Facebook page and his explanation of why he was fired from the CBC.

  20. myblogmyfeelings says:

    Tell me, what’s he like? Can any of this be true?

    • I found Jian quite interesting and wouldn’t presume to know him well – know his sister better – and gotta remember I haven’t lived in Canada for more than a decade!

      Bottom line – no one truly knows the dynamics between two (or more!) people in the most intimate of act. Yet in this case, am inclined to take Jian’s very personal explanation at face value.

      Unfortunately I’ve seen a few examples in India where recent legislation FINALLY brought in protect women (much needed!) is being twisted by disgruntled gals in all the wrong ways for all the wrong reasons.

      Sadly, vindictive women destroying lives, careers, reputations when really they need help for their underlying mental or emotional instability – not a massive fight to hurt someone whose guilt was once caring for them.

      • myblogmyfeelings says:

        Thank you very much. The slander is flying everywhere from many people and groups about Jian and his sexual preferences. This gives me a better understanding.

  21. Wow, so many countries you have lived in/ worked and studied. how is it to adapt always to the new environments ( haven’t read yet too many articles)? I know from myself how long it took always to adapt to new cities or countries but they were always within similar cultural backgrounds

    • Thanks for stopping by! Its been a blast bouncing around a few places and most of all living in India.

      And clearly your life has some ‘crazy’ twists n turns… just started exploring and most amused. 🙂

      As for new cities / countries, what’s been the most fun the last few years has been working in Indonesia while being able to keep my base in Bombay. They both are chaotic with the worst traffic but have all sorts of fascinating differences too. I miss Jakarta now when I’m not there for months and look forward to returning. But am equally happy when the plane touches down to smelly mad Mumbai!

      And the way multiple realities coexist in most countries in Asia – there’s multiple ways to adapt and discover even after a decade +

      So the adventures continue! 🙂

  22. Good to know that you have seen so many countries/places. I haven’t read all articles yet. But I’m sure it’s gonna be fun n informative reading them. Glad to know you and looking forward to read your travel stories 🙂

  23. Dennis M. says:


  24. Hi Carissa, nice to meet you. Don’t often meet someone from Winterpeg 🙂
    I look forward to exploring your blog – if it’s any reflection of the life you’ve described it will be very interesting.
    Thank you so much for following our blog! I hope you enjoy the stories of our journey, both inner and outer.
    Cheers, Alison

  25. I came across your blog when I saw that it was about (mostly) Asia, and I was even more struck by the fact that you, like myself, hail from Winnipeg! I live in Toronto now, but Winnipeg will always be home. Can’t wait to read more on your perspectives of Asia, which I’ve traveled fairly extensively, and India, which I have yet to see but plan on doing a major trip there in the next couple of years. If you have a moment, feel free to check out my blog, The Traveling Space Opera, as well. Cheers!

  26. You seem to have seen more of my country than ME!. I’m not saying I’m jealous. Just a little green… Great posts, btw.

  27. Himanshu says:

    Superb blog and inspiring life u have. Keep at it. Lets stay connected.

  28. Thank you for following my blog and I found yours pretty interesting and I have a lot to learn here. Keep writing!

  29. Zambian Lady says:

    Sounds like you have had a busy life travelling. I believe that travelling, and especially getting to experience other cultures, is really enriching to one’s life.

  30. trvlgrl47 says:

    Hello! Thank you so much for sharing your stories! I enjoy reading your blog… especially the whiskey parts! haha I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. You can check out the nomination and details here: https://travelgirl47.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/you-know-you-make-me-want-to-shout/
    Thank you for inspiring!
    Let me know if oyu have any questions.

    Happy Travels!

  31. […] Thanks to the Finnish and German nationality both Nathan and I have a huge variety of countries we can travel to without visa but sadly this does not apply to my wife. A list of the strength of the different passport you can find here. This entire blogpost is partly inspired by a similar one written by Carissa Hickling from Everyday Asia. […]

  32. Sonel says:

    So fascinating! I know another lady from Winnipeg Manitoba. Maria always complained about the cold winters. She really enjoyed summer more. Me? The only thing I like about summer is that there are more bugs. LOL!

    Sounds like you are all over the world Carissa and I am glad I met you through Roughseas. My ‘little world’ is expanding with lovely people like you and her and of course the best part is the ‘virtual travelling’ I am doing. I see you’re also a ‘Whisky lady’. I do love my whisky as well. Very good medicine. 😀

    • Another fellow Winnipeger? Never surprised to find one off globe trotting. It is a great place to grow up, have a glimpse of the world beyond through friends and family and then move beyond to embrace other parts!

      Yes I do enjoy my whisky. Folks find it amusing that I actually consume quite little – just a few times a month – but enjoy exploring and sharing impressions. Definitely a quality over quantity drinker! Pop over to my other blog (Whiskylady.wordpress.com) and let me know what you think about any of the whiskies listed in the Country page! Also like other opinions. 🙂

      And yes – travel bug hit me hard. I get itchy feet if I don’t get on a plane every once in a while. Am off to Delhi next week for a day and that will keep the desire in check for a bit. May pop over to Goa for a few days later in the month if a friend from Canada makes it there this year.

      And double yes – good to be connected and have a little window into your world! Literally helps me stop, smell the flowers, be fascinated by all the critters you capture so fantastically!

      • Sonel says:

        Yep. A lovely lady and also a Taurean like me and only a few birth days apart. She used to be on FB but disappeared. I often think of her.

        I would definitely do that and the same here. If I had a choice of drinks, whisky would be my first choice. If I can’t choose it would be beer or water.

        I only flew on a plane once and didn’t like it much. Way too earthbound for that. I would love to have a boat though and won’t even mind living in one. 😀

        That sounds like fun. Enjoy it for my sake as well and I do hope we are going to see some photos.

        It’s really awesome and thank you. I am having quite fun with this virtual travelling with you as well. 😀

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