Travel back to India: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur


I absolutely loved The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi and wrote about it for Ms. Magazine and Thrive Global. It is possible that I enjoyed her new book, THE SECRET KEEPER OF JAIPUR, which will be available TOMORROW even more!

In the second book, which is set in 1969, Malik is now twenty, Lakshmi is running the Healing Garden of Shimla and in this excerpt she meets Nimmi:


I love this season, the sharp air in my nostrils, the crunch of snow crystals beneath my boots and the anticipation of a new season ahead. Having lived the majority of my life in the dry heat of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, I never thought I’d come to love the cooler weather of the Himalayan foothills.

As I round the last hill on my morning walk, I spot the roof and gables of my Victorian bungalow topped with the last of the snow, like an elaborate pastry decorated with cream. Off to one side of the house is a Himalayan cedar, its branches weighted with white powder. The scene always fills me with joy, and I wonder—as I often do—how I could capture its delicate beauty with a henna design.

Then I spot Nimmi waiting on my doorstep.

On the path, I hesitate.

In full tribal regalia, her slim figure is striking. Her skin is the color of wet bark, so dark that her eyes—small, deep set— shine like those of an energetic black-eyed bulbul. These and her hawkish nose make her seem severe. I chide myself for judging her. Haven’t I taught myself to appear pleasant even when the situation doesn’t call for it? It’s a skill I mastered during a decade of tending to the whims of the ladies of Jaipur as I painted their hands with henna. Perhaps the women of Nimmi’s tribe are raised not to temper their true emotions? 

Want to know more about ALKA JOSHI? Listen to our interview about Passion, Perseverance and Patience:

Alka interviewed me for her show, Reimagine:


Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.

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