I started travel blogging a long time ago, 2005. All the stories on my blog were about my personal trips. But gradually blogging picked up and I started getting invited on trips by hotels and tourism boards. Then in 2015 I quit my job as a professor in a private institute to do full-time travel blogging. For me, it has not been a story of answering a call or anything. I just got tired of Indian private sector academics and decided to quit. I do feel at times that I wasted my Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur! Anyway, those are thoughts for another day.
From January 2016 to October 2016 I have done 21 trips of various shapes and sizes. The shortest was a day trip to Lucknow and the longest about 7 nights in Thailand. So when I stumbled on the Asian Paints Video about getting back home I totally get it!
I love to travel, travel gives me a high. But there is an automatic mechanism in my mind which makes me long for my home on the last day. As the trip is about to end, I want to go home with all my might. Only a few places have been an exception to it in all my 11 years of blogging. There are various reasons why I wish to get home. But below are the most prominent ones!
I Get My Cup of Tea
I simply love tea. A day without tea is inconceivable to me. And when I say tea I mean Hindustani chai. The one with adrak (ginger) and tulsi (basil). I get tea in the foreign land too. But I don’t get chai the way I get it at home. I am a vegetarian too. So, my eating options are a bit limited abroad. Surprisingly I don’t miss food. As long as I get vegetarian food to eat, I am fine. But it is the chai that makes me long for home! By the end of the trip, I am desperate for my cup of chai!
I can Wear Faded Clothes
People who know me will describe me as sloppily dressed. But because of blogging and traveling, I now get to stay at swank places. And I have to make an attempt to dress better. I doubt that I succeed at it. But I do try. Once I am home I go back to my faded but comfortable clothes!
Home is Home
I was once asked if I would like to fly out in the morning and come back at night or would it be too hectic. The sponsors were willing to put me up in a nice hotel for the night. I told them I would take the last flight back home. There is something about home that no hotel can match. There are familiar things all around. My daughter would have created a mess somewhere or the other. I have my nephew living a few doors away. I get to see my father and my husband when I am home.
On that night my flight got delayed by several hours. I was dead tired waiting at the airport. But once I reached home, everything fell back in place! Even if I knew in advance that the flight would get delayed, I would had still liked to head home.
My Plants Need Me
I like having plants around me and I feel the plants like me too. But no one else at home seems to care much. I dread 8-9 days trips in summer because I know something or the other will die! I scold everyone before going about watering the plants but they always manage to kill a few. So by the end of the trip, I really get anxious about my plants too. My daughter, Chhavi, shows interest in plants and I hope one day she will be big enough to take care of them.
I Miss my Daughter
Everyone else at home is an adult but my daughter is small, not even ten. Her age is still in single digit. I start missing home and everyone else towards the end of the trip. But I miss Chhavi throughout. Most of the times I am just caught up in activities but suddenly a wave hits me and I start wondering about her, about her smile, her pranks, her reluctance to eat food, a thousand small things. She is the biggest reason why I want to get home at the end of the trip.
People have asked me why I don’t go on longer trips, trips of a month or more. I have always said that my daughter will forget me if I go missing for that long! She is actually happy to see me go because I am the strict one. I am after her life to eat food, to do her homework and everything else. But she is equally happy to see me back at home! Once she goes to college I will probably go on longer trips.
It is all the small things and the small bundle that wants me to rush back home irrespective of where I am! After all, there is no place like home in the world! And after some time I want to travel again!
The Earth’s radius is 6,371 kilometers, with a 510.1 million km² surface area. With such vastness, our world has plenty of space for countless wonderful places, both discovered and undiscovered. Some of these places may look magical, almost surreal. To see these places in person will surely evoke feelings of awe and wonder. Today, online travel agency JustFly lists down 4 of these magical places on Earth.
This expansive mountain range has foliage so thick that some spots are completely covered in darkness — hence the name ‘Black Forest’. It is found in the Baden-Württemberg state in the southwest portion of Germany.
Guided tours and hiking trails are available for the convenience of travelers and tourists. A wonderful stroll through this forest will result in a brag-worthy stories.
Found in New Zealand’s North Island, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, or simply Glowworm Caves, is definitely a must-see! Hop on a boat and glide through the dark caves of Waitomo in complete silence, and soon after, you will notice the teal-colored glowing spots dotting the cave’s walls and ceiling. Take a closer look and you’ll be surprised to see the bioluminescent glowworms sticking to the cave’s surfaces.
This extraterrestrial-looking landscape is bound to spark your curiosity. Seen from afar, this whitewashed snow wonderland seems to have frozen smoke tentacles protruding from the ground. These tall, ghostly figures are actually giant trees that have been covered entirely in frost and snow.
Ever wondered what it’s like to swim in the starry night sky? Go to the Vaadhoo Island, Raa Atoll, in the country of Maldives and see how magical Earth can really be. At night, you will be surprised to see glowing star-like dots that appear whenever the water is disturbed. Similar to the Glowworm caves, this phenomenon is due to bioluminescent microorganisms present in the sea water.
For the most unforgettable night swimming, take a dip in this beach.
Traveling to these amazing and magical spots should definitely be included in your bucket list. Book a flight with JustFly.com now and make your travel dreams come true. To know more about the company, check out these JustFly reviews. Enjoy!
PS. This is a sponsored post!
In the last post I counted the first five countries I visited. It is time to count the next five countries out of the total 16 that I have visited till now. The countries I saw next are Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Thailand. So, this post in second in the series of the countries I visited.
Malaysia (with Malaysia Tourism Board)
Malaysia is always going to be very special to me because it was my first blogging invite from a foreign country. I was thrilled to bits. I always had a fascination to see the world but I never thought my blog would take me places.
It also helped that I visited Malaysia twice. The place I liked most was the Redang Island. In KL I visited Petrona’s Twin Towers but I cold not go to the top. However, there is a beautiful view of the city from the KL Minara Tower as well. I also enjoyed visiting the bird garden in KL. The second trip involved a 1000 kilometer road trip where I saw smaller places in Malaysia as well. We were 100 media people from all over Asia, moving in a 30 car convoy with police escort! Traffic would stop for us when we approached traffic lights!
Nepal (Personal Trips)
If you love mountains you are bound to have an intense affair with Nepal. As I am originally from Gorakhpur, I had seen bits of Nepal when I was in school and college as well. But I truly fell head over heels for Nepal on my Everest Base Camp Trek in 2012. It has been an epic journey for me. I was never sure if I would be able to complete the trek or not. I was able to do it in the end but barely so.
I went back the next year to do the Annapurna Circuit trek but the weather gods had other ideas and I had to give up the trek at Letdar. I certainly wish to go back to Nepal.
Sri Lanka (Personal trip)
The Sri Lanka trip was a hugely memorable trip as my younger nephew and I traveled together. He behaves like a piece of luggage, I have to manage everything. And he talks too much, non stop. Truth be told I enjoy it. We enjoyed the beaches of Unawatuna, Mirrisa and Galle. I enjoyed watching stilt fishing in Unawatuna. We enjoyed the food, we enjoyed the wine and beers. It was a fun trip.
South Africa (with South Africa Tourism Board)
South Africa is one of the most gorgeous countries I ever visited. It was never on my agenda. And if someone told me I would go there one day because I blog, I would have laughed. And yet it happened.
The wildlife in South Africa is undoubtedly grand. It is so scenic, I will always remember the drive through the Panorama Route. The South African sense of humor is loud and peculiar. I survived South Africa as a vegetarian. I am quite nostalgic about this trip even now.
Thailand (with Tourism Authority of Thailand)
Thailand is one of my most favorite countries in the world. I have been to Thailand four times. I consider myself blessed. I particularly enjoyed Koh Lanta and Krabi. I have been on a speed boat ride where I had the whole boat to myself. I remember very fondly the road trip up to Cambodia from Bangkok. And I guess I am going back to Thailand soon!
That brings up the 10 countries I have visited. I will wrap up the last 6 countries soon.
I wish I was above the number game but I do count the countries that I have visited till date! The number is low, just sixteen excluding India. I say it is low because I actually want to visit well, everywhere!
I was strangely fascinated by foreign lands from an early age. When The Great Gambler was released and I got to see ‘doo lafzon ki hai‘ song, since then I wanted to visit Venice. And yet if anyone would have asked me, “what do you want to become when you grow up” at that age being a traveler was nowhere on the agenda! The first time I went abroad was in 1999 for an academic conference to Singapore.
Of the 16 countries that I have visited there are some clear favorites. I often thought of doing a post on my five best destinations. Today I opened the list (yes I have an excel file, there I said it) and tried to pick up my five favorites but then I gave up after a while. For someone like me, who has every place on her list, picking up favorites was not working. So, I decided to do a series of posts on each destination, instead of picking up favorites. I am doing it in batches of five in chronological order! So beware, i have warned you!
When I went to Singapore it was the first time I took a flight as well. I still remember the feeling of the plane zooming through the runway before takeoff. I had never experienced anything like that, it gave me such a rush. However I try now, I never get that feeling again before a takeoff.
I remember taking a metro in Singapore, the platform was crowded like anything. Having experienced only India I was very nervous about the crowd. I was with a family friend and she looked quite unconcerned. When i boarded the train, to my utter amazement everyone tiptoed around me with courtsey. I wonder if we’ll ever reach at that stage of civilization in India?
As my purpose was to attend an academic conference, I did not see much in the city apart from malls and Suntech City. But Singapore will always remain special as it was the first country I ever visited.
I visited Greece in 2001 once again to attend an academic conference. I only went to Athens and roamed around a little. This was the first trip abroad where I was completely on my own! If you click on the link above you can read the story in more detail, here is a short excerpt though-
“500 meter ahead, another gentleman asked, “Are you alright?” Now his question got me really anxious, I wondered if I had torn my dress or what? I asked back, “Why do you ask?” He says, “You are frowning.” And before I could realize what was happening, he held my shoulders, and kissed both my cheeks (now I am from India, where apart from my family and a few very close friends, no one would dare to do such a thing). I stood stunned looking and feeling like a complete fool. He brought me back from my stupor and asked, “Can I buy you a drink?” I recollected my wits and said no. It took me some time to reassure him that I really was fine. I walked in a dazed state for a while,”
Oh to be young and foolish and to weigh 12 kds less! One of my biggest regrets is that too few pictures survive from these trips!
I visited Amsterdam and Groningen in Holland in 2002. I was appearing for a post doc interview in Groningen! I had half a day free in Amsterdam while going back to India. It was in Holland I realized that in summer the sun was not setting even at 9.00 pm, there was twilight till 11.00 pm! And then I managed to stumble upon the red light district in Amsterdam without any intentions of ever going there! I mustered all my courage and managed to walk through it in the end, after seeing what a tourist attraction it was. If parents with prams could take a stroll, so could I!
I went to Modena, Italy in 2003 to attend an academic conference! So you see my early travels were more for work! Thank god that I started blogging too! And guess what, Venice is quite close to Modena so I actually visited Venice, my childhood dream destination. I still remember the train pulling into the main station, Venezia Mestre, and all I could see was water around me. Everyone in the coach simply stood up by their windows! I only spent a few hours in Venice but I did go there!
Then came a long gap of 4 years when I struggled with some jobs that I didn’t like one bit. But in 2007 things changed and I went to Oxford for work again! Since then I have been to UK 4 more times, making it 5 in all. UK is my most visited country till date but Thailand is in close competition with total of trips being 4 and I am still counting. So, I have been abroad more than 16 times but visiting the same country again and again unfortunately doesn’t increase the number of countries visited. Since I had started blogging in 2005, I have written a lot about UK on my blog. I have visited London, Lancaster, Windermere and Grasmere, Blackpool and Edinburgh till date. I have thoroughly enjoyed all my trips to UK. I love the fact that it is a walking friendly country. I love Oxford a little more than every other place that I have visited.
So, do you count the number of countries you have visited? If you do, will you share that number with me? I will be back with the next five countries I have visited in a post later. I will also try to dig out the print pictures from the first four trips and post them sometime.