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It hadn’t even occurred to me to attend my own graduation – I was already on a plane to India, excited to finally to explore the wild and tropical world my Dad had told me stories of for my entire life.

It’ll be nothing like what you expect.

– last-minute words from my Dad, which I realised were true the moment the smog thinned and the dense slum by Mumbai’s airport glided into view.

Ten years ago, there was no Google Maps, no TripAdvisor, no internet. All I had with me was a backpack with a week’s worth of salwar kameezes, an outdated guidebook and two fake wedding rings – one for me and one for my other half.

It was countless conversations with locals, rickshaw drivers and fellow travellers that guided us through India for three months, and despite technology having evolved immensely now, this is still exactly how I like to operate.

My name’s Leah, and as I enter my third decade on this planet, I’m still none the wiser. The more I learn, the more I realise there is to know – a frustrating loop unless the adventure is the finding out part, and that’s why Madrid No Frills was born.

That’s me, Leah

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