A few months back I posted a blog about a college student who wanted to quit his studies to travel. After a friend, Tanisha Guin read it, she asked if she could contribute a blog on the same topic. I will admit, I was hesitant but I really liked what she has written! So enjoy the guest post by Tanisha Guin on how to travel while studying. You can read her blog here.
As a 16-year-old student, I’d only dreamt of traveling as I was always fed with the thought that traveling is expensive. Back then, my idea of travel was to explore some far-off destination. But things changed and my past understandings were proven wrong.
As a 17-year-old college-going student, I was exposed to the realm of ‘candid’ men and women who traveled, some solo, while others either as a couple or as backpackers. This exposure was when the hidden-wanderer/explorer in me shook and the first thing I said to myself as a student who dreamed of travel with no money was ‘If they can, I can’ and certainly that was where my adventures had started rolling in.
I started small. I started with backyard travel i.e.., to explore one’s own city/countryside/town. I took baby steps in my very own home base (then), Mumbai. After my long affair with Mumbai, little did I know, about the city’s secrets. It had corners to unveil and stories to unravel. With a
pocket-size of a mouse and my decision to not ask money from my parents to travel took me to many a corner in the big city of Mumbai. It started from the shanty settlements of Dharavi.
Dharavi was where I’d started working as an English and French language teacher to the slum community. I also freelanced as a travel blogger and a city tour guide. With the little I earned, I saved every bit of it, and prioritized travel over shopping, eating out and randomly snacking.
This made way to explore the city’s lesser-known secrets, the nearby hill stations, and the countryside getaways. During weekdays I’d started exploring Mumbai with the lens of a newbie, this idea certainly took
me to places inside-out. Starting from meeting the Chinese residents in the only-Chinese temple of Mumbai, exchanging conversations with the laundrymen of Asia’s largest laundromat in Dhobighat, unraveling the history and the lives of the Jews from the Jew Synagogues, to having
inspirational musings from the silent corridors of the art galleries across the artsy lanes of Kala Ghoda definitely showed me the side of Mumbai only a few could’ve had seen.
My curious mind, restless soul and itchy feet had soon transformed me from ‘just’ being a Humanities student to also being a language teacher, a city tour guide and a travel blogger alongside.
Here’s a glimpse of what my every day looked like –
5 am – Start from Vasai (a town 60 km away from the heart of Mumbai) to board the Churchgate local for college.
6:30 am – Reach Churchgate. Either watch the Sunrise from the Gateway of India or sit by the Arabian Sea at Marine Drive and soak in the pleasure of seeing the city shape into motion slowly but steadily.
8:00 am – College. During free lectures, venture out, explore the neighborhood that is home to a Jew Synagogue, a handful of beautiful art galleries, and museums or just wander by the ever-changing dramatic streets that is home to some heritage masterpieces, or even better, if I have
a guest coming in, show him around for a few hours and cash in some pocket money.
1:00 pm – Attend French classes for 2 hours.
3:00 pm – Leave for Dharavi Diary (the learning center in Dharavi), to deliver English and French lessons for 4 hours.
Board the local train and get back home by 9 pm.
I would venture out to the countrysides during weekends or on off-days.
This might seem like a tiring routine, in fact, it surely was but following this routine for like 2 years was what had transformed me to be lucid at all the things I loved. Even though I was tired by the end of the day I slept with a wide smile on my face.
To this day, I’ve come down to believe that yes, traveling does involve money, but equally, it is also about prioritizing travel above other life choices, saving and being smart with the move.
This is a Guest post by Shalu Sharma
Since the hippie movement in the United States in the 1960s and migration of several Indian gurus (Krishnamurthi, Osho and others) to the west, there has been a great interest to explore this vast land. Large numbers of foreign tourists come to India every year in hopes of attaining nirvana (state of eternal bliss) and to learn its secrets. There is no prize to guess where they head to after landing. There are so many holy places in India, that it’s not possible to list them all in this article. So, I have decided to list the six I’m interested in.
What Mecca is to the Muslims and Jerusalem to Christians and Jews; Harimander Saheb (Temple of god) is to Sikhs. Located in Amritsar in Punjab, Harimander Saheb is a 16th century Sikh gurudwara (temple) built in the centre of a sarovar (sacred pond). One of the main attractions of the site is its gold plated walls and dome.
Built before 11th century, the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh is the oldest Buddhist monastery in the region. It doesn’t boast of a spectacular architecture, nonetheless, the artifacts and a rich collection of old statues makes it worth visiting at least once. The main attraction at the Hemis monastery is a festival held in June/July each year.
Literally translated as ‘four seats’, the Char Dhams refer to four temples which are widely regarded as extremely sacred places in Hinduism. The four dhams or temples are: Badrinath, Rameswaram, Puri and Dwarka. They are located far away from each other in four different directions. A pilgrim has to travel a couple of thousand kilometres to visit them all.
There are millions of deities in Hinduism. Shiva is often considered as the most powerful of them all. The most revered temple dedicated to Shiva is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Amarnath. It is a cave located at more than 3,800 metres high. The main attraction of the temple is the ice stalagmite Shiva Linga.
Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh situated on the banks of the River Ganges is one of the holiest of Hindu cities and considered as the religious and cultural capital of India. A trip to Varanasi is a must for those interested in the Hindu religion. Having lived in Banaras myself I could not get enough of this place. There is nothing more tranquil than sitting on the banks (called ghats) of this amazing city. I highly recommend visiting this place to those interested in India’s ancient culture and tradition.
This collection of temples (both Hindu and Jain) in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is the most popular tourist destination in the country after Taj Mahal. The temples are famous for their erotic imagery cast in sculptures outside the temple walls. The temples are a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The list doesn’t end here. There are the fabulous stone temples in the South which are an architectural marvel. They are elaborately carved and present a mystery to modern historians. There is also the Baha’i temple of worship or the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, several mosques and Gurudwaras which have not been included to keep the list small and readable. For a more comprehensive list of all the important holy sites in India, you can search in your local library or turn to the Internet.
Shalu Sharma is a wife, mother, blogger and a writer. She is also the founder of YouBihar the social networking site for Biharis. She also writes about India and travels in India.
I am Mridula Dwivedi, I love to travel! I started my travel blog in 2005. I have been going places since! For more details do check out my media kit! In another life I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur. I was a professor when I quit my job in 2015.
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