ADIEU 2014

2014, has been a year of travel, worldly experiences and a lifetime of memories. This is an attempt to share some captured & lingering memoirs of my experiences.

January’14 JAISALMER:  An exciting start

This was my first trip away from home on a New Year’s Eve. I brought in 2014 in Jaisalmer, my fondest locale.

Jaisalmer gave me the opportunity to camp under the open skies, wake up to infinite sand dunes, and experience royalty at the Havelis, palaces. Explore abandoned villages and meet one of the most inspiring women – Chanda Nani at her home.

From boating and watching sunsets at Ghadisar Lake, to visiting the local markets and enjoying local delicacies in the biting January cold – Jaisalmer was indeed the start to the year I needed.1514998_10151885360147308_395202952_n

https://freespiritedwanderer.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/footsteps-in-the-golden-city-jaisalmer/

 March’14 – Nepal: Friendships forever

Nepal was totally unplanned and one of my most impulsive trips ever. I must credit this to the friend who convinced me to leave without any planned itinerary.

Our hosts in Nepal were some of the nicest people I have ever met.They ensured that my Nepal trip turns out to be better than I could have imagined.

The spiritual Kathmandu and its temples, my favorite Bhaktapur durbars and its quaint shops and the glorious Patan – made up for my time in KTM.

The tourist friendly Pokhra valley with its stunning views and vibes won my heart in less than a day. Cycling in Pame and enjoying some of the most scenic views of Pokhra Lake remain my favourite moments.

To one of my most scenic treks to Ghandruk and the lovely stay at the Gurung cottage ensured I had experienced it all in Nepal. I do know for sure, that I left a bit of my heart in Nepal and am sure to visit it again.

Annapurna Range, Nepal

Annapurna Range, Nepal

Details about my Nepal trip can be found:

 http://solotravelerblog.com/solo-travel-destination-nepal/

April’14Amritsar: My journey within..

Golden temple is one of those places that I connect to beyond everything. Any opportunity to experience the spirituality and tranquility of this place is a chance I could not miss.

A short two day trip with my mother to Amritsar – Golden temple was all I needed to rejuvenate me and enrich my soul for the year. Feel blessed to have visited Amritsar in 2014.IMG_5197

More about my night darshan experience:  https://freespiritedwanderer.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/a-night-at-the-golden-temple/

June’14: Exploring New Trails

The monsoons of 2014 were spent discovering places closer to home. I was close to Surat for these two months and utilized my time exploring adjoining areas and enjoying the landscape and scenic spots of Gujarat.

Visited Gujarat’s only hill station – Saputara and enjoyed its scenic beauty; caught season’s first showers at Valsad beach and enjoyed the local delicacies.

I captured many sunsets at the serene and quite Dandi beach. Gujarat managed a lot to satiate my wanderlust.

You can read more about these discoveries on:  http://indiauntravelled.blogspot.in/2014/11/5-spectacular-monsoon-escapes-in.html

July’14Thailand: Being the “tourist”

Thailand was my tourist trip for this year. A break from the offbeat thematic experiences back home – Thailand was all about food – beaches – monuments and island hopping.

Thailand comes with a lot of hype and expectations and it lived up to it – at least mine.

I had my many firsts’ packaged in this holiday in Thailand; from – swimming in sea – snorkeling – being caught in a sea storm to cave canoeing.

Grand and detailed architecture of temples in Bangkok; the crazy nightlife and sleepless nights  in Phuket; the stunning beaches and pristine islands in Krabi followed by the best street food ever – Thailand, truly was a delight!

Even though the shopaholic in me wasn’t too satisfied due to lack of time, the adventurer in me returned energized 🙂

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Aug- Sep’14Uttarakhand: Goodness of people

Uttarakhand remains my most special trip of the year and one that I am grateful for.

Uttarakhand began with my solo travels to Dehradun – grand IMA, the mighty Ganges and monsoons in Rishikesh – to the “spiritual” Haridwar.

Road tripping from Mussorie to Dhanaulti crossing the Kunjapuri temple and passing by the Tehri dam and making my way into Rishikesh has been one of my best road trips. Covered in fog, I was truly driving in to the unknown. This was all I needed to fall in love with this state.

My special love for HIMACHAL took a serious toss after just two weeks in Uttarakhand.IMG_7666

My second leg of journey in Uttarakhand was courtesy People’s Power Collective, a non – profit NGO working in the Rudraprayag district to set up a community radio station in village of Sena Ghadsari. I spent three weeks in this hamlet working and assisting them for the launch of “MANDAKINI KI AAWAZ” radio station, which had been a dream for last 10 years of these villagers.

I learnt, got inspired, lost my patience and hope, understood life’s many other dimensions,understood the struggles of the flood hit areas, rationalized the attitude of the people and finally created bonds that will last a lifetime.

I do not have words to pen down my entire experience, but this truly is closest to my heart.

Everlasting friendships & cherished memories are what I gained.

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Nov’14Udaipur: Family time

This Diwali, & I decided to re-explore Udaipur, only this time as a family and I could not have asked for a better getaway.

Udaipur, as always, charming and exquisite, is one of my favourite cities of Rajasthan.

It offers some of the most breathtaking lake views coupled with the perfect roof top restaurants and Havelis. Walking on the streets of Udaipur is my favourite activity – filled with culture, art and graffiti embraced by loving and warm people.

The city screams of love everywhere.

Truck loads of shopping options and not to forget the architecture and food.

I could not have asked for a more fitting end to my travels in this year, Udaipur I love you.

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Here are my 10 reasons as to why I love Udaipur: https://freespiritedwanderer.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/my-reasons-to-love-udaipur/

 December’14 Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi, Lucknow, Bangalore and Bhopal: I also “work”.

No, I was not on leisure trips to these cities. December saw me travel the length and breadth of India on different work trips.

From exploring unknown destinations in Maharashtra to working in “DILLI KI SARDI”, December gave me the opportunity to learn about hectic travelling and bouncing from one destination to another.

From trying to speak Hinglish in Hyderabad to visiting the Imam Bara’s in Lucknow. I never knew Bhopal had so many lakes and made for so many picnic spots nor was I aware of the dhabas in Bangalore – I got my share of exploring and working.

A perfect way to end the adventures!

Thank you 2014, could not have been better!

Better, humbled and rejuvenated I…see you in 2015.

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MY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

I have been on the road for the last two months for work and personal trips; and have literally been living out of a suitcase – shuttling from one city to another.

I have been moving around with one packed suitcase – and so I thought why not share a list of MY travel essentials that I do not leave without, which may help you pack hassle free for future trips!

  1. Right bag – Size matters!
  2. Toiletries – I always have a packed pouch with all my basic toiletries – brush, comb, balm, moisturizer, sanitizer, wet wipes and kajol pencil.
  3. I Pod/ music and headphones – Music is my best companion on any travel.
  4. Travel wallet – It is important to have a good wallet for all your documents, cards, tickets, money!
  5. Stole – It not only helps me keep warm but also adds a dash to any outfit.
  6. Charger – Since we are so dependent on our phones, this is one thing I do not miss at all! In addition throw in a battery pack or a portable charger.
  7. Gum and a granola bar/ biscuits – Food is definitely our fuel! A bar or two doesn’t occupy much space and ensures I do not die of starvation.
  8. A pair of extra clothes and slippers – Luggage misplaced or trip extended – these essentials are a big savior.
  9. Notebook and Book – Life would be incomplete without reading and writing.
  10. Camera – A necessity for me as I love capturing my journeys.

So these are the top 10 essentials that you would find in my luggage bag. Hope this helps you in your future travels.

Don’t forget to share your lists 🙂

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