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Komal Panwar

Blogger & Singer

Solo Traveler Who Swims With Sharks & Bathes Elephants Gives Travel Tips To JWB

  • IWB Post
  •  September 19, 2016


Ah, travel. Whenever I write about travel, I immediately feel refreshed. I feel like I’m sitting on the beach, with my feet dipped in the water, and then suddenly a crab comes and bites me, and the dream ends sourly.

No, but really, on a serious note, traveling is the most beautiful thing in the world, apart from music, tehehe. Ah, imagine the combination of travel and music, pure bliss, ain’t it?

Well, Solo Traveler Hofit Kim Cohen of Vanilla Sky Dreaming makes me jealous. The woman has swum with sharks, slept in an ice hotel, been on a plane that almost crashed, and done all the adventures we only dream of doing.

Needless to say, I had a questionnaire prepared for the woman who travels in style.

Me: Of all the 35 houses you called home, was there one home that you never wanted to leave?

Kim: Looking back at all the places I lived at, I would definitely have to say living in Miami. I lived a few steps away from the crystal clear beaches of Miami. I also really enjoyed the laid back lifestyle there. I think everyone who lives there just has it good. Everyone is always relaxed, happy and nice. Except for 2-3 months of the year, it’s normally the perfect weather. I moved to Miami for a seasonal job, so once the job was gone, I decided to move back to Los Angeles. But I would love to live there again.

Me: They say Elephants have the longest memory. Do you think when you go back to Kerala, the friends you gave a bath to, will remember you?

Kim: Hahaha, really? I had no idea! I hope so! They were really friendly elephants and I would definitely go back. As an animal lover and a vegetarian for over 20 years, it’s really important for me to visit places that take good care of their animals and the place I visited did just that. They rescued elephants that lost their tribes or were found injured.


Me: What places in India do you wish to cover the next time you come here?

Kim: I think there is so much to see and do in India. I never understood it until I was actually there. When I visited India, I was traveling through Kerala. I’d love to see the Taj Mahal! I’d also love to go to New Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur, I’ve heard so many stories.

Me: You loved the monkeys in India. What did they steal from you? *wink*

Kim: Hahaha, they actually didn’t steal anything, I knew that they like to steal food, so I made sure I didn’t have any on me. Although I did have a friend who didn’t lock her room, at one of the resorts we stayed, the monkeys stole her makeup bag, and she was pretty upset. I know some people think that monkeys aren’t so friendly, but I just love them. I love watching them; it’s pretty fascinating.

Me: What flavors of India apart from the Chai-Tea did you explore during your visit?

Kim: Well to start, Chai-Tea is my all the time favorite! I have it all the time in America. I’m definitely more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker. I can’t really remember the types of teas I tried, but I did try many, especially when visiting Munnar. Munnar is probably one of my favorite places in India (Kerala). There is something so calming about tea plantations, plus they are beautiful. I also got to visit a few tea factories and plantations.

Me: Are sharks really as scary as they are shown in the movies?

Kim: Hahaha, to be honest, yes and no. I really can’t believe I swam with sharks, I’ve done a lot of crazy adventurous things through my travels, and swimming with sharks is high up on my list. I do know that sharks aren’t as dangerous or mean as they are shown in movies. There are more humans killing sharks than actual sharks attacking people. Although it is a fear of mine when visiting exotic places, especially after seeing The Shallows.

Me: How did you explore yourself as a woman when you turned to solo traveling?

Kim: Well, to be honest, I’ve been traveling solo from a young age. My first international flight alone was when I was 11 years old. I also took a few flights within the US to Hawaii and NYC alone before I was 18. I honestly really love solo traveling. I think you get to learn a lot about yourself. It gives you a lot of confidence and guts to do things you never thought you could do on your own. I used to be scared of going to a restaurant alone or to the movies alone, now I just embrace it and find the beauty of spending time alone with myself. It’s also made me more aware of my surroundings and more detail-ordinated. There is something very freeing about doing what you want whenever you want without depending on someone else.


Me: Tell us about the most interesting item from your collection of souvenirs?

Kim: When I first started traveling I used to collect keychains, but at one point I decided I wanted something more special than keychains. So I started buying things that I can actually use every day. I have a rain coat from London, a bathing suit from Turkey, dresses from Greece and more. However, my most special thing I have bought was in India. I always wanted those amazing sparkly Bollywood bangles. I ended up buying a bit much, $100 worth, in different colors. I haven’t had a chance to wear most of them, but I love looking at them and knowing I have them. They are just magical. I would love to attend an Indian wedding; that’s definitely high up on my bucket list. I love the traditions of Indian weddings.

Me: What’s the strangest mode of transport you’ve ever used?

Kim: I think a Tuk-Tuk. They are very popular in Asia, but to someone who hasn’t grown up with them, it’s crazy and fun. I just love them; they make me smile and laugh every time.

Me: Talk about the funniest conversation with an airplane neighbor.

Kim: Well, this isn’t a conversation, but one of the oddest things that’s happened to me recently, was on a flight from Helsinki to Oslo. I had this strange and creepy guy that wouldn’t stop staring at me. He was staring at me in such a creepy way and made such odd faces from the other side of the row that people started laughing and staring at me, too. After over 20 mins, I said, “Hi, Can I help you with something?”, he said nothing and kept looking at me weird. It got to the point where even the flight attended noticed it and asked me if I wanted to switch chairs, and I said “YES! PLEASE!!!” It was awkward and funny. I snapchatted it, and everyone found it to be so strange and funny, too.

Me: Give us three rules to solo travel for women.

Kim: My personal 3 rules are:

  1. Never explore past dark in places you don’t know alone. Unless you know its 100% safe or you’re just going to have dinner at a restaurant next to my hotel, other than that, I don’t go exploring after dark.
  2. Always follow your intuition and gut feeling, if you think something is weird or off if you aren’t sure that you should hang out with someone you just met or go somewhere, don’t do it. Women have strong intuition and almost in all cases your intuition is always right.
  3. Be open minded, try things you wouldn’t normally try at home. There is no one to judge you, but yourself. Make the best of each day and go to sleep with a smile of satisfaction.


Me: What traditions of the places you’ve traveled to do you want to adopt into your culture?

Kim: Ummm…that’s a hard one to answer. Well being that I’m Israeli living in America, and my mom’s side is Argentinian, and my dad’s side is Moroccan. I think that’s enough always to keep me inspired and busy. So I enjoy those sides to my culture. I would like to go out to more Indian restaurants because there is such a big selection of food for me as a vegetarian and I really love Indian food. I also really enjoy Brazilian music.

Hello lovers! I've been completely MIA lately, I know, sorrrrry ?. After traveling so much in the first few months of the year, I needed a little break and I got that back home in #LA . I'm currently relaxing in la la land, but also getting into shape for summer and going all hardcore. Trying different cleanses, detox, clean eating and working out. I'll let you guys know later what's working and what's not. ?.. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• If you're looking for some great earphones for working out, listening to music or just wanna be cool like me ? I have an exclusive 15% off discount code for all my followers! Check out @sudiosweden and use promo code: vanillasky15 I have the rose gold ones! Love them. Work out with them everyday. I wrote a post about it in my blog! If you wanna know more about them. ❤️. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

A photo posted by Vanilla Sky Dreaming – Travel (@hofitkimcohen) on


Me: If not a solo traveler, what would you be?

Kim: It’s hard to say because I’ve always been such an independent girl with a free spirit. I like to go and do what I want when I want. So I’d probably own my own business, probably doing something artistic. Although when I was little, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer, an FBI agent, a photographer or an actress.

? Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction. ?#desert

A photo posted by Vanilla Sky Dreaming – Travel (@hofitkimcohen) on


Me: What’s one country would you want to settle down in?

Kim: Definitely, Israel, where I was born. My mom and sisters live there, and it’s where I feel the most at home. I’m not sure when I’ll finally make the move because I have been talking about it for years, but I really hope in the next year. It’s also much closer to Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Always chasing beaches and sunsets ? #Anguilla #sandyground #pier #justagirl

A photo posted by Vanilla Sky Dreaming – Travel (@hofitkimcohen) on


Image courtesy: Instagram

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