It is time to reflect on the year that 2017 was! It is time to talk about travel @2017! I did see a lot of new places and managed 3 big personal trips! So here is how it went travel wise!
However the biggest joy for me in 2017 has been Chhavi playing tennis. I was big on sports (though not tennis) right up to my Ph.D. days and now that she is playing, it feels like life has given me a second chance to enjoy sports! But I am digressing, here is how the year was travel wise!
It was strange that I traveled on 1st January in 2017. I usually avoid new year travel because of the crowd. But we took our guests to Agra and Chhavi saw Taj Mahal for the first time! This was a personal trip.
Narendra Bhawan Bikaner was the first FAM of the year. Suryagarh and Narendra Bhawan are my happy places! Between the two, I have done five trips over the years! And I am willing to go back for more if it is possible!
Sharjah was the first International FAM of this year with Air Arabia and the Sharjah Tourism Board. The destination amazed me in many ways, the Sharjah Light Festival was fantastic.
I managed to haul myself to the Surajkund Mela in 2017. This was second trip to it. But I have concluded that it is too far off for me to really enjoy it. Weekdays are certainly better to visit than weekends.
Another event that I attended locally was SATTE 2017. It was a high to see my pictures displayed at the Visit Israel booth!
Agrasen Ki Baoli
I ended up at the Agrasen Ki Baoli because the metro trains were too crowded and I needed to pass a few hours before I headed home. This is one luxury that I can afford as I do not work full time anymore.
The Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Delhi
I have now lived in NCR for almost 2 decades and this was the first time I managed to see the famous Mughal Gardens!
Singapore and Myanmar
March ended with a trip to Singapore and Myanmar for #escapers17. It was a fun event and I developed a bond with the people at Accor Hotels through the event.
Prague was the trip was with my daughter and niece whom I call double trouble! It was their first time in Europe and I think they liked it! This was a personal trip.
May saw me visiting two countries for the first time, Spain and Oman! Both are fabulous in their own ways! The Girona Flower Festival in Spain was amazing.
Mauritius with School Friends
Mauritius was such a lot of fun as four of us, school friends went to Mauritius together! We have known each other since KG. It was one rocking personal trip!
Bandhavgarh and Kanha with Taj Safaris
Taj Safaris is another brand with whom I have done repeat trips and I love their lodges. I have been to their Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench lodges. If you are looking for luxury I highly recommend them!
Goa with Chhavi
Chhavi and I had a fun trip to Goa with Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa! It was a lot of fun for the kid!
Highest Blogger Meet at Ladakh
It was fun to be a part of the Highest Bloggers Meet at Khardungla with Scout My Trip and OYO Rooms.
September was the month when I did 4 trips and I realized there is a merit in slow travel. Flying every week may sound like fun, but it left me so exhausted.
IBNII is a beautiful resort in Coorg with amazing serenity and food. I had a great time playing table tennis there as well!
I visited Ladakh a second time this year for an event. It was wonderful to visit Kargil for the first time!
I have been to Thailand nine times by now and yet I end up finding gems like Nang Yuan which completely took my breath away!
I visited Dwarka with Mercure Dwarka which is another Accor Brand. I was happy to end September on this relaxed trip!
I have actually explored very little of Delhi. So when a phone collaboration came in, I decided to go to Safdarjung Tomb. It was great to explore the monument at my own pace!
Budapest and a Bit of Rome #sisteract
I traveled to Budapest and Rome with my sister. It was our first trip together as adults. And what a trip it was! I can’t remember when I had such a relaxed time! We have to do a repeat of the #sisteract in 2018 to another corner of the world! This was a personal trip!
The last trip of 2017 has been to Narendra Bhawan Bikaner. The year has ended from almost where it begin! As I said Narendra Bhawan is my happy place, I know the people out there.
I have a lot to be grateful about in 2017 and I look forward to more travel in 2018! May we all travel more in 2018!
The life of an Indian travel blogger looks glamorous from the outside. After all, I get to travel to exotic places and the bill is footed by someone else! I am immensely grateful for the opportunities too. But travel alone does not pays my bills and therein lies the rub.
There is another aspect of the travel blogging life and relates to making money or even getting those sponsored trips. A lot of my interactions with PR/Digital agencies are thoroughly professional. But that is not the topic for today.
When I am in a mood to laugh, I call them fun interactions. But when I am not in a mood to laugh, this is what an Indian travel blogger’s life looks like!
Recently I was talking to a young person who represented a portal. The conversation went like this-
Guy: “I can give you one way ticket to any destination in India!” I initially thought I heard it wrong!
Me: “One way you said?”
Me: “No, this won’t work as I need to get back home too!” After all I can not walk all the way back home after flying one way, right?
The actual conversation was a bit longer but what I quoted above was the crux of it.
Most of the digital agencies which contact me for paid assignments also have a particular pattern. It goes something like this-
PR Person: “We have this digital campaign … can you give me the blog post (or whatever else it is) by tomorrow?”
Me: “OK but when will you pay?”
PR Person: “We pay after 90 days!” And most will pay after 90 days and several reminders later! There are only a few exceptions (one actually) who pay on time and I value them a lot.
Then there are mails that invite me to participate in contests. One went like this-
“Dear Influencer, Great news! You have been invited to the Instagram contest…”
I don’t like contests at many levels. But the voting based ones top my hate list. Do a Google search for ‘buy FB votes’or for that matter on any other platform. I know it, the participants know it, the organizers know it, so who are we kidding? I do not like contests at another level too. I have so many people offering me the same thing (a trip, phone etc) without any contests, so why would I take part in one where whether I win or not is not even certain! But it is certain that the organizers will get free publicity!
There, after this rant I already feel better. I have often shown the glamorous aspects of my life as a travel blogger, I thought it was time to show a bit of the other side too!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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