Truk Lagoon Scuba Diving – June 2017

Dear Bloggers and Readers,

Its been long since I updated anything here. I have reduced my presence online for different reasons but would love to share some adventures with you from my trips.

 

I have been traveling last few years and after my USA trip I have gone to many other countries. Last year I had focused on rock climbing and getting my dive master in scuba diving. This year I started with no goal as such but rather see how I go as I had an injured shoulder from canyoning in December 2016.

Recently I travelled to Truk Lagoon, Micronesia, last month and it was a life time trip as a diver. There are number of world war 2 ship wrecks there. I enjoyed the dives there immensely. Here is a video that I compiled for all the thrill seekers out there.

Note: Change the quality of video from settings to get a better resolution of the video as otherwise its at the lowest resolution by default in YouTube.

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Life at its peak

For my lovely and awesome friends here, I have shared the latest updates from my life. And it also tells you about my whereabouts and why I haven’t been able to regularly post here at the moment.

http://kavitajoshitravels.com/2014/09/life-at-its-peak/

All of you who know me also would know I have this regular need for adventure in life hence whenever I can I try to indulge myself into some adventures. Here is the link to my new blog if you haven’t already subscribed to it.

I would love to keep in touch going forward hence please add me on twitter(KavitaJoshi84 ), facebook(https://www.facebook.com/KavitaJoshiTravels), Instagram, Pinterest, here and my new blog (http://kavitajoshitravels.com)

Have a lovely weekend you all!

Cheers,

Kavita

Bucket-List 2013 : Practice Indoor Rock Climbing

After finishing many other items on my bucket list I have to say that I haven’t been able to finish each and every item on my bucket list but I am proud of myself for what all things I have done after setting my bucket list on 6th May 2103 this year with 50 items and some of which were like Visit at least 7 cities of Australia in next 7 months and Write 50 Poems that took a lot longer due to the nature of the work. Also there are some really long term goals like Get my weight back to 47 KG and Complete Advanced Scuba diving course. There are many other very interesting items as well like Swim with Crocodile & Swim with White Sharks and I call them the higlight adventures of my bucket list really. Here is a link for my bucket list if you haven’t read it yet.

My Promise to live life – My BucketList 2013

Item #30: Practice Indoor Rock Climbing

This one I wouldn’t say I did very often but looking at the very less time I was left with, I did go once and I would try to be more regular next year when I might have more time in hand. But thanks to everyone to make my journey so beautiful as always 🙂 Also I would update here some more items and hopefully would post the draft bucket list for next year soon 🙂 Have a wonderful day dear friends.

Bucket-List 2013 – Canyoning

Hello My Dear Friends,

I am back with some good news about this week as I have got some update for my bucket list  from last week.

Here is also a link for my bucket list for 2013 if you haven’t had a look. My Promise to live life – My BucketList 2013

A little bit different and also another post about the fears I have in my life with a reflection of other reader’s experiences along with it. My Fears

Item Number #31:  Canyoning

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It was already late when I got home after a night with karaoke and dancing but I had to get up in few hours from now so I put a couple of alarms on my phone as always and put myself to bed as quickly as possible. I had a good and a bad day. Good because the work went ok in many days with not much stress and also I was able to do another item on my bucket list – Karaoke, bad because my phone was dropped into water and I lost the display due to it and also it was more sitting than dancing in a Cuban bar today. But anyways no where I was with no packing done and I knew that I was living at the edge by being this careless and by being out this late when I had to go canyoning and abseiling the next day and had to be in the city by 6:45 AM in the morning.

My alarm rang and I felt as if someone was calling me from a distance. I must be dreaming but I was out of bed by 5:15 AM which was pretty good considering I went to bed around 1:30 AM. Yes I know I should be more careful before a big day full of adventure and may be because this year is slipping out of my hand so I am trying to squeeze as many things as possible. But next year I would try to take more rest 🙂

I arrived at the train station but there was no train until another 17 minutes that would get me city by 6:50 AM and I was worried sick now to get late but then I realized I don’t have to take a train and I ran to catch a bus. Yes my weekends are usually more hectic and includes a lot of running due to occasional delay from my end. I know, I know I am working on it 😉 I arrived at the pick up location on time and it was not a sunny day and my friend there informed me of upcoming storm that was not a good news either. I was joking that we should change the plan and may be go to some other nice place for relaxing and touring than canyoning. We were soon picked up from there and now we were on the way to the southern highlands where we were supposed to do canyoning in the beautiful rainforest.

Soon we were gearing up and checking what exact gear fits us for canyoning as there was a 30 minutes walk to the place from where we would start abseiling. The first drop itself was the scariest one I felt as after that canyoning and abseiling was no more a fear for me but something else was. And it was jumping into the deep water from various high places. I have never jumped into water from any height in my life and it was fear of height mixed with the fact that you go under the water when you land. Even though I love sky diving and have tried bungy jumping this was a fear I realized I had deep in my heart. And today was the day when I would face it and would have no other choice but to get over it.

The first abseil was ok apart from few bumps here and there and that was good enough to get the fear out of my mind other than the fact I learned to slow down myself and tell myself not to worry about how much time it takes to get down as long as I try to follow the instructions properly not to bump myself into the rock much. Then there came the jumping part when I was the last person other than the guide there to jump. I literally begged him to choose another way to get down but he asked me that I need to do this in order to do other jumps and get comfortable. Hence here I was standing there for quiet some time as every time I would get close to the edge I could feel my heart beating faster and faster from almost 3 meter height. But at last I felt embarrassed as everyone else was waiting for me and I was holding up the whole group hence I did jump from there with my heart in my mouth. Wow it was some achievement I could feel as my heart was still pumping fast. But then there was another jump where I was second one to go and another one where you have to let go the rope and jump backwards after a little bit of abseiling and then there was this jump where you have to make sure you jump far enough not to hit the rock on the way. Boy this time I did scare everyone as when I jumped I was a meter or less away from the rock and it was a serious risk to my head that I couldn’t see coming.

I had always thought to get a proper training in a pool from a instructor to jump into the water like this. But I didn’t know that I would end up jumping with no formal training and directly into wilderness area where there was no one to save me just in case I get seriously injured. But any ways it has become a milestone of my life now as towards the end we had a slide to jump into the water and there were some volunteer jumps as well from 8.5 meter to 12 meters. And guess what I wanted to do the slide again but then half way back to slide I was standing at this 8.5 meter high place from where others had jumped and I felt the urge to get over my fear and jump from there. I was standing there when others started counting and it made my heart jump really. And the more I stood there jumping became almost impossible. But now it was more a matter of winning over my fear of height and water as I had seen others jumping from such height and still be safe. For many of you this might be like a joke but seriously for me it was such a fear that almost made me feel that I might even die if I jump into the water from this height. But I am really happy that I did it and now I think next time I wouldn’t have this fear in me anymore 🙂

Special thanks to the instructors from Eagle Rock Adventure for their support and good training for the day – http://eaglerockadventures.com.au/

Regards,

Kavita

Bucket-list 2013 – Caving: Plughole Adventure in Jenolan Caves

Hello My Fellow Bloggers,

I am trying to do things in my bucket list as you know and my apology not to be regular with writing due to being involved in a few things in my list that are taking a lot of my time and also I am trying to fit some travelling into it. Here is a link for my bucket list if you haven’t read it yet and I have brought some exciting new adventures that I have been involved recently.

My Promise to live life – My BucketList 2013

A little bit different and another post about the fears I have in my life with a reflection of other reader’s experiences along with it.

My Fears

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Item #6: Try caving – Jenolan Caves in Sydney

I was a bit nervous and could feel butterflies in my stomach that day. My friend gave me some confidence by saying that I would be alright but  I think waiting for something like this was making me utterly nervous and also I had discussed this with my other girl friends and they were not quiet sure how strenuous it might be actually. So my latest adventure was caving. I recently did ‘Plughole Adventure’ caving in Jenolan caves – One of the oldest caves in the world and one of the most amazing place in New South Wales that also had got bulb installed in the area for the first time. It was a warm and sunny day but still I packed my backpack with warm clothes thinking that it might be very cold inside the cave and I was a bit worried about getting injured there due to all the crawling and sliding. As this was the first time I was trying this activity hence I seemed to be quiet naive obviously. And when I realized it involved some abseiling as well that I haven’t done before then my heartbeat was over the roof. But soon the abseiling part was done surprisingly and guess what I did pretty ok actually. I am going for canyoning soon and this was a good practice I must say. So here we were at our first hole in the cave that looked very small but surprisingly after following the instruction from the guides we were able to pass that easily by crawling, squeezing and sliding. Next part was easy and touristic as we just walked few meters to get to the root of a very old tree that was there for couple of hundred years. Its amazing to see the underground part of the nature as well at times. And next was the rocks where we saw the signatures of all the people who had been there, including a lady in  early 1800. We did get to hear a number of stories about people who had been here and explored the various routes in the cave. It was only later when we got a chance to switch off our torch and experienced pitch black darkness.

It was overall a refreshing and self awareness activity I felt after having finished it successfully and also sometimes we don’t realize how much potential we have got and we are capable of doing lot more than we actually think we can do 🙂 That’s what I find out when I overcome my fears and try to do something new.

Hobart – 7th most famous cities in the world in 2013

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Leaving Sydney for Hobart, Tasmania

Awesome breakfast made by Sam (host)

Awesome breakfast made by Sam (host)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hobart – When I went to Tasmania, I wasn’t expecting much to be honest as the trip to Sunshine coast a few days before this made me a bit tired. And as it was going to be extreme change of weather from hot to cold so I was a bit nervous about my health as well. But then how come my trip can go without any adventure or a story to tell after all. So yes, I did have an awesome time with a lot to do in 4 days of my stay in Hobart that included meeting some really amazing people from Hobart.

The moment I arrived in Hobart I wrapped myself with scarf, beanie and a lot of clothes to make myself warm before leaving the plane and that worked really well. It was a dramatic entry to the city in the dark and cloudy night. This time I was about to experience my second couch surfing experience after Adelaide. I was a little bit nervous as this is something I am not very experienced after all and although I love meeting people but living at some one else’s place does throw you out of your comfort zone a little bit specially when saving money is not your priority.  But now when I look back I am glad that I did take the risk and did go ahead with my decision of being a couch surfer for one more time as otherwise I would not have met Sam, Steve and David. The most amazing and wonderful hosts in Hobart you can live with and have all the fun in the world. I cooked with David, learned salsa (I end up spinning in the wrong direction most of the times though) from Sam and Steve, did kayaking with  Steve and Sam, partied with Sam and his friends, watched a movie with Steve and Sam and so much more. I didn’t even feel that I just met them and rather felt like friends/family living at their place.

Seriously if you have never tried couch surfing then I would suggest to try it at least once in your life as this is such an amazing experience and if you meet some wonderful hosts like I did then you might have life time of memories to think about. Alright so what is about Hobart that makes it special. So here are some things that you should do when you are there:

  1. Visit Mona, museum of old and new art – This place defines art in some way. It is moreover based on the concept of death and sex so you might not like to take kids everywhere or may be just don’t give them Audio if they are very young. The owner, David Walsh, has described this museum as ‘subversive adult Disneyland’. This place gives you the feel of Hobart as art dominating place and it will also its opening date is same as the third MONA FOMA festival (21st January 2011).
  2. Salamanca Market – Every Saturday this famous market is held next to the beautiful dockland of Hobart. You might like to just walk around this area in case you have other plans on Saturday morning. Also this place lit-up in the night and is very famous among the party goers during the weekend due to many famous pubs and bars around.   20130808_101242      20130808_101502       20130808_102650
  3. Trip to Bruny Island – This trip usually takes three hours if you have your own car to get to the point from where the ferry leaves for the echo adventure tour otherwise day tours are also available. There is a seal colony at another edge of this island. You can spend some time knowing more about seals at this place.
  4. Mount Wellington – 1,271 meters high, this mountain is also referred as ‘The Mountain’ by the locals here. Hobart is located at the foothill of this mountain. And good news is that you can drive to the top as there is a road build by the many hard working people right up to the top for those who either don’t have enough time for trekking or don’t want to walk due to the bad weather. It was winter when I was there so I was able to get some snow at the peak of this mountain. There is a lookout near the summit from where you can get some really good views although it was raining and sky was a cloudy when I was there so I wasn’t able to spot much other than fog from here. You can read more about it’s history on the various steel slabs in this lookout and feel the part of this place itself.  20130809_16295420130809_162714 20130809_163056 20130809_163122 20130809_163605 20130809_163650
  5. Kayaking in the Derwent river around Hobart is an amazing way to explore the beautiful surroundings of Hobart

Also for more attraction other than the above you can use the below links.

Bucket-List 2013 Week 15 – 7 places traveled in 3 months rather than 7 months

Another day in paradise that’s how it feels when  you travel really. And here I am to share some of my experience with you now after I have completed the 4th item on my bucket list – Visit at least 7 cities of Australia in next 7 months.

Here is also a link for my bucket list for 2013 if you haven’t had a look. My Promise to live life – My BucketList 2013

A little bit different and also another post about the fears I have in my life with a reflection of other reader’s experiences along with it. My Fears

So where all have I been so far, part of it you already know if you have read my old posts

  1. Adelaide
  2. Port Lincoln
  3. Cairns
  4. Byron Bay
  5. Snowy Mountain
  6. Sunshine Coast ( I will share the  pics and adventure from here in my next post)
  7. Hobart, Tasmania 

Although this item is complete but that doesn’t mean I am not going to travel anymore as trip to Darwin is already planned with another trip to Coffs Harbour and Brisbane in coming months. And more adventure awaits meanwhile as well.

So stay tuned for more fun stories and updates from my travels.

Second day at Byron Bay – Hot Air Ballooning with a bunch of Sky Divers

 So far you have enjoyed the last two articles about my adventurous weekend in Byron Bay, Australia. Now I would love to share my experience of day 2 which was also full of excitement and joy. In case you missed my other two posts then here is the link to the same for you my friend.

Hot Air Ballooning with 7 Sky Divers

Hot Air Ballooning with 7 Sky Divers

Alarm went off around 4:30 AM and first time in weeks I was not frustrated as I had enough sleep this time so I quickly jumped out of the bed with excitement. Today was the day I was going to experience Hot Air Ballooning. So many times I dreamt of doing it but every time I felt I should wait for some one special to do it with. But finally I decided to do it on my own after one of my friend suggested that it is an experience that you get to feel individually anyways so why wait for some one when you can do it by yourself. So here I was waiting at the gate of the hostel to get picked up around 5:15 AM. A car pulled up next to me and I confirmed that it was from the Ballooning company. After a warm welcome message from the guy driving the car, I fastened my seat belt and we headed to the location for base(the office for ballooning ). It was still dark when we arrived at the base. I could see many people getting ready in their gears for sky diving. I felt as if I was the only one in the balloon staying back and almost everyone else was going to jump. I wished I could jump with them for a moment and this thought was interrupted by one of the sky divers. She introduced herself and a formal round of introduction kick started for few minutes. These were professionals with more than few hundred and even few thousand jumps. My goodness, I almost freeze to digest this information now. I was excited and felt a bit naive to talk to these people now as whatever jargons they were using I couldn’t understand half of them. I met Thomas, the chief pilot of Byron Bay Ballooning (http://www.byronbayballooning.com.au) and signed some forms as part of the formal process. Thomas was quiet reassuring as I was a bit nervous as well excited, this being my first balloon flight.

Thomas after successful landing

Thomas after successful landing

Soon we started for Casino, place from where the balloon was supposed to fly. I was cold but super excited. I chose to sit with other sky divers in the first van to listen to some insightful information they would like to share during this one hour journey. It was a nice ride till the patrol station where the drivers stopped to fill patrol. I was told a lot of things and these people were very nice to explain me a lot of new concepts that made me look a bit puzzled. I shared rest of the way with other set of people and got to know some more people on my way to Casino. It was an overwhelming morning I must say, so much that I kind of forgot that I was here for ballooning really.

Once we arrived in Casino, the process of unloading the balloon and setting it up started. It was such a huge balloon, I guess all of them are but I was witnessing it for the first time. It was like preparing for a festival, with so many people helping in the process and some of us trying to shoot the process or take pictures of the location. As the balloon rose, it was such a mesmerising view with all the colours rising in the sky with the bright light of  the sun. Then we climbed into the balloon and Thomas started to fill the balloon with hot air and the balloon took off. It was so smooth that we didn’t feel anything but only the view started changing as we gained height. Just so that you know Thomas has been flying since the age of 22 and has also won many awards.  So if you are in Byron Bay and feel like ballooning then he is your guy. I was trying to absorb this whole experience while also taking a lot of pictures at the same time. The basket is divided in three compartments and the middle one is reserved for the pilot with some gas cylinders. We were almost 12 people, 6 in each baskets on both the sides and out of which 7 were sky divers. Soon we rose to the height of 6000 feet and it was an amazing view. It felt so light and beautiful to see the whole area at this hour of the morning. It was around 8:45 AM. The divers were all ready to jump and soon we hit the height of 9000 feet from where they were supposed to jump. It was more scary to look at them standing on the edges of the basket. And I guess I was more excited and worried than them. Some of them were doing it for the first time which I thought was very brave and increased my respect for all these divers. Soon before I realised they started jumping from the balloon. It was so fast that I didn’t even get chance to take many pictures of them jumping and soon they disappeared from the sight. We started moving towards the destination, Thomas was co-ordinating with rest of the team to make sure all the divers are safe and have been located after reaching the ground.

Thomas started to prepare us for landing and soon we were descending fast, not that you can feel it other than the height displayed on the system. We landed on a  farm with more than 50  bulls all staring at us in not so welcoming mood. Thomas waited for rest of the team to come to this location and get the permission from the farm owner before getting us all climb out of the balloon. Once the team was here, the bulls started heading towards their vans and soon we were out of this adventurous and risky zone. And next thing I remember, we were all rolling the balloon and packing everything back in the vehicle to head back. I was still floating in the sky in my thoughts though as it is a last longing experience and it takes some time to get back to reality I can say. Thomas stopped in a nice cafe on the way and bought lunch for all of us as part of the package. I chose Spanish Omelette and you know what, it was the best breakfast ever after such a beautiful start of the day. What else can you ask from life I thought with a smile. The day is yet not over my friend and I still have to share my experience of the monthly market, beach and one of the most beautiful town/village in the area before I finish my story. So keep an eye for another post after this 🙂 Till then have a wonderful day my friend.

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Painful days but worth it – ATV ride and a fall in Cairns

Hello Friends,

As you would have already seen from my diving pics in Great Barrier Reef, I had an awesome weekend. It was not all sweet but then how can be things interesting with no down side to them. So it all started with this bucket list of mine. And here I am all happy, content but every inch of my body is shouting at me after this weekend. It is so sore and painful that every time I move my hand or legs or neck, it reminds me of the adventure I had this weekend 😉

So how did I get this sore as diving doesn’t make you this sore after all not when you have been diving for a while. Here it goes – I did have a big day driving ATV around the farm before I did my diving and before the second dive I fell badly on the floor face down. I did try to compete with the expert there and jumped my ATV over many hurdles and kept getting faster and faster. Even scared the instructor when I flew my ATV just a few inches away from his ATV and he almost stood up and got ready to jump from his ATV to save himself. And I am not sure it was my fault or what that I did take all the force on my hands to save my face and of course no scar on my face but hands are almost useless  other than typing on the computer. Yesterday I was struggling to cut even an apple.  How did I fell? Don’t even ask as it was as a matter of fact very funny incidence the way it happened and gave every one around a reason to have a laugh. The wet suit was very small and of a different design so like first dive I had to get help to get into it but unfortunately a very big guy came for help and lift the suit (me in it) and chain opened so fast that the very next moment I was on the floor facing down. Thank God I was few inches away from the door otherwise you would be looking at my Terminator kind of melting face picture 😉

Item Number #50 – Do one thing new each week

But anyways have fun with my pictures driving ATV and that can be counted as one of the new things I did last week in my bucket list 🙂

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Why do I travel?

As a human I am gifted with different senses, emotions and witty nature. I was thinking today to write few reasons why do I love travelling. I felt that it’s the basic need for me to feel human and it is something that keeps me in touch of reality. So I am writing the reasons here in my way – Why do I travel?

  • Eyes: I have been gifted with these eyes to see everyday so I want to see what ever this world has to offer. I can choose on my way to close my eyes when I do not want to witness the cruelty of others but I can still look into other’s eyes with compassion and love. I want to express myself to as many people as I can and try to know them better.
  • Skin: We have this amazing ability to feel the touch, I want to feel like a kid again and close my eyes to feel the sensation of touching something different and new everyday. I want to touch the rock in a different country, I want to take sand in my hands and see it getting washed away with water.
  • Ears: I have ears to hear so I want to indulge myself into the music of various kind. I want to hear others to know what they have to say. I want to hear the noise and voice of wildlife creatures. I want to listen to the waves soaring, rivers roaring and wind blowing.
  • Mouth: I want to talk to people from different part of the world. I want to hear how they speak their language and how they pronounce different words. I want to try and speak their language if I can.
  • Lips: I want to smile as much as I can as its the simplest act that can do wonders I feel.
  • Legs: I have been given these legs to be mobile so no reason for me to crib and sit at one place all day. I want to walk around the cities, villages, towns, forests and run in the farms, hike the mountains and drag myself to bed 🙂
  • Tongue:  Why restrict myself from the distinct taste that various cuisines have to offer. I want to immerse myself in the nice aroma of the food all over the world.
  •  Nose: I want to smell the flowers, water, wet soil, farms, food and much more all over the world. 
  • Hands: I want to give a helping hand to someone in need when I travel. I want to shake hands and make new friends. I want to give a hug to someone close to my heart. I want to a gesture of friendliness to strangers.
  • Brain: I want to use it more into creating new ideas, solving problems at hand while travelling. I want to innovate and think new concepts to make every one around happy.
  •  Heart: I want to love myself and others. I want to love nature, love the wildlife, love people. I want to stop being choosy and love unconditionally.
  •  Soul: I want to give peace to my soul. I do not want to bother my soul from the nitty gritty of life but I rather would like to relax and be happy.

 All this happens naturally when I travel. I feel closer to myself and closer to nature when I travel. 

I would summarise it in one line what it means to travel for me – ‘I finally found myself after getting completely lost’. Now that I have found myself I do not want to loose sight of it even for a moment.

I believe that we have been gifted with this beautiful planet that we call Earth. It is so big and full of wonders then why not explore it while we are on this journey of life. Why not get to know how it feels to get up every day and see a new view from the window. Why limit ourselves because the possibilities are limitless. Let’s travel or at least see the world with new eyes and accept ourselves with big and open heart with love, compassion and kindness. You don’t have to travel to far away places to do any of this if that’s what limiting you but you can rather adopt the thinking of a traveller and you will be able to see the same place you walk everyday with new eyes, you will be able to walk to work and will be able to see more, you will be able to explore new parks around the corner, natural resources for your new found happiness. I think you can change the world if you change yourself for good. Use your imagination to create a happy world out there and to do that just create a happy place inside and you will see the world changing outside at the same time.

Don’t Drink before Diving with Great White Sharks – Bucket-List 2013 Week 5

Finally with a cup of ginger and lemon tea I am gaining my senses back. It’s been quiet a long period I would say since I had left for Adelaide and from a simple weekend away gateway it turned into a roller coaster adventure with a lot of things packed into very few days.

Item Number #23 – Swim with White Sharks and Item Number #10 – Try couch surfing in Australia

Eyeballing the cage

I left for the Airport to complete another item on my bucket list and it was couch surfing and visit one of the 7 new city/town in next 7 months. It was a cloudy day in Adelaide and I was not sure what I will be doing in this part of South Australia looking at the weather. All I had planned was to book a return ticket and arranged to couch surf there. Other than this I had no clue what I am supposed to do in this new place. I am getting used to of this now – going to a new place with no plan and do stuff there accordingly. Only if I knew I will end up encountering a dozen sharks after no sleep and few drinks one of these nights I was about to spend in South Australia. Yes right, it is not a good idea to drink if you are going to dive with great white sharks my dear friends. And this is coming from my personal experience.

I arrived at the place I was supposed to stay and there was a surprise waiting for me there. I realized that I was about to meet few fellow couch surfers and talk all day about life and philosophy and learn a lot of new things today. I didn’t have much sleep the day before the flight so I was a bit tired and cloudy weather seemed perfect to relax and wind down after 16 very busy days of my life (including sailing lesson and attending many social events other than trying to come up with many ideas to finish few bucket list items and not to say full time work with two night time deployments). I was feeling so happy to finally get this weekend for myself. I was at the door of my host in Adelaide and Sebastian, fellow German couch surfer welcomed me in this new place. It was a different feeling to be in this house. Something spiritual about the house and peaceful environment. I felt so happy instantly and started to relish the beauty of this new place with a garden, a pet cat and few chicken in the backyard. The lady who was hosting me wasn’t around so Sebastian, who was also couch surfing there gave me a quick run of the place and offered me some Jasmine tea. It was quiet refreshing. We talked about a lot of things including bin diving or so called dumpster diving. The people here were doing some bin diving which I had no clue what it was so I really enjoyed learning about it. And guess what here is a complete guide about it as well – Dumpster-Dive

Then I met another girl named Ariana, who was living there with the host (lady). She is a brilliant and charming 19 years old Indian girl. I enjoyed my conversation with her about India, social problems in India and a lot more. I already felt that I am going to miss staying here once I am back. Marion, the lady who was hosting me here, also arrived from Victoria as she was gone to attend a retreat and we discussed her experience there. Another couch surfer Nick joined us towards the night. Marion is a great lady and an awesome host. Last year she hosted more than 200 people at her place. Amazing right. Here I was enjoying my first couch surfing experience with such an amazement.

Next day I prepared cheesy egg frittata with Nick for three of use (Nick, Sebastian and myself) as Marion already had her breakfast and Ariana had left for her Art school workshop. And guess what it was the best meal I ate after a while, may be because I was cooking 😉 Anyways I felt home at that place and we started making plans for the day when I started checking about Shark Diving in the area as mentioned by Ariana a day before. I am not sure what came over me and I booked the returned ticket to Port Lincoln in another two house for the dive as it was one of the things on my bucket list. I was lucky when I called the tour company and they say the tour is being operated everyday and there are quiet good chances to see shark these days. Only issue was my return flight was around 6:30 PM and the tour doesn’t usually end till late evening. I was a bit in mess now as I had to be back somehow to be back at work on Monday morning. Here I was sitting in-front of the chair and wanted to bang my head against the wall thinking of my hastiness at times. But any ways I saw this as an opportunity to complete the task on my bucket list and felt quiet enthusiastic and somehow I felt I can make it and things will be alright. So I booked a night in Port Lincoln and early morning (6 AM) tour for cage diving with the great white dangerous sharks. I left Adelaide with a note that if they don’t hear back from me then I might be in some shark’s stomach 😉

I arrived at the hostel where I was staying for the night – YHA. I already started meeting people who were going for the dive or who had done it. I was so excited that I can’t put it into words. I met this group of English guys and had my dinner talking to them about their experience with the sharks and sharing my experience of my bucket list so far. More people joined us and here I was playing different weirdly named card games (one of them was shithead, I wasn’t sure if it was the right name really). I was enjoying the game when everyone started drinking wine and I was offered some as well. I thought for a moment but then joined everyone else. I am not sure what was I thinking really as after few drinks I was not sure how am I going to make it for the early morning departure to the port. And on top of that I agreed to go to the pub with others. Here I was feeling all uneasy with the constant reminder of the tour so I went outside the pub to get some air. The worst was still waiting though. When I wanted to go back the bouncer didn’t allow me in saying that after 1 AM no one is allowed back into the pub. It was one of the most stupid thing I had ever heard whereas the group I came with was still inside. I called a taxi and made my home to get some sleep then. Only when I arrived at the hostel I realized that someone from the group had borrowed my key as they didn’t have their key handy. This was not looking good anymore. Fun time seemed to be over. I had two choices – Try to sleep in the living area in the couch. But then I had to get my key back to check out in the morning. I tried to knock on the door but no one opened the room I was staying. I was already regretting over the decision of drinking tonight. I decided to stay awake till others come back and get my key back to let myself into my room. It was so hard to keep my eyes open. I made my way to the kitchen and made some tea for myself. There was some free food in the fridge and I got some munchies from the shelf to make sure that I am fully awake this night no matter what. It was getting really hard to manage things at this stage now. I was partially awake when after few hours may be around 3 AM when two guys came from the group and asked me what I am doing here. I explained that I do not have the key. They felt sad for me after knowing the whole story and stayed with me in the living room to wait for others to be back so that I can get my key back. I was more assured now that I might be able to make it to the port tomorrow morning.

Finally I got my key around 4 AM and let myself in the room and got ready to sleep for two hours as the tour bus was supposed to be there by 6:30 AM. It was going to be the most ridiculous thing I had ever done I felt. But anyways I was in the flow making my journey more adventurous then it could be I thought. But it was still not that easy. There were many knocks on the door all night as there were quiet a few people drinking from my room and none of them had key. Yes it was a day of loosing key I felt. 6 AM – Someone’s alarm went off. I woke up quickly and saw others getting ready to leave. And I ran after them and realized that they didn’t bother to ask the driver to wait for few minutes. Here I was all ready but had missed my bus. I called the tour company and thankfully they send me another cab. I was finally able to catch the boat.

We all were welcomed with some early morning snacks. And I got introduced to this couple from Perth who were here to celebrate their second anniversary. What a great way to celebrate, although people were making jokes around wife to have a insurance for the husband. I didn’t take much time to drift to deep sleep when we left for a 3 hour journey to Neptune Island for our dive.

Finally some one from the crew woke me up and asked if I can go with the first group. Wow, this was quiet a wake up call now as my stomach was hurting with this bumpy ride till here and I still was suffering from the hangover. Really, Do I look so keen? I felt that it’s better to just go so I accepted to be the part of the first group. And they gave me all the gears to get ready.

It was quiet a relief when I came to know that we do not have to carry cylinder as they had tubes to supply oxygen in the cage. We were soon getting interviewed about how excited we were to see the sharks. To be honest I couldn’t be more dazed doing something like this after a really big night. But I had to smile on the camera no matter what as it was going to be my big moment, if only I survive and not get eaten by any shark interested in me. I finally got into water and felt a surge of excitement in me. My inside diver was coming out full of curiosity. I soon was a normal diver with my brain functioning quiet well now under water. And I started looking for the sharks around. It wasn’t long that we started spotting few of them swimming around. Soon we were a bit shaken in the cage by their excitement to catch the food thrown from the boat. One of them even hit the cage so hard that I had to hold myself back not to swim out the gap in the cage. It was mind blowing to see them so close where I had an eye on the gap as there are stories of small sharks entering the cage through it.

Finally after an hour we went out the cage which was good as I was freezing by then and was done with shark seeing. We had our lunch once we got changed after a shower. I was tired and happy and excited all at the same time. I felt as if I was mesmerized by these beautiful but dangerous creatures. I was so lucky in terms of timing as today it was a small group of people and we got to see shark soon as compared to other days. Hence we headed back way too early – 2 PM. And got back by 4:30 PM and I had enough time to catch my flight back to Adelaide.

With Dan, Skipper

With Dan, Skipper

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Posing with Dani, the host in the tour – she is just awesome 🙂

I am lucky when it comes to meet people I guess as on my way to Airport I got to share the taxi with this another amazing group of Tennis players who shared their experience of traveling around the world and it didn’t let me feel bore on the way to airport or another hour spent there. I was over the moon now after everything was falling in place. When I got back to Adelaide, I went back to the same place I was couch surfing. I met Marion and Sebastian there. I offered to cook some Indian curry and rice. We all shared the meal and it was the perfect way to end this trip really. Next morning my flight was very early (6 AM). Yes, this is early for me usually as I had to be there by 5 AM and that meant I had to get up by 4:30 at least. Marion was so helpful that she offered me lift to the airport in the morning. We enjoyed music – Santana by Carlos Augusto Alves Santana, a Mexican and American musician. I loved it. I was able to catch my flight to Sydney and went to work straight from the airport. I have done it few other times last year so it was OK to see people staring at me thinking I might have lost my way to enter with my big backpack.

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Back in Adelaide airport

So this was my adventure for this weekend. I hope you enjoyed it with me 😉

See you soon with more updates on my bucket list dear friends. Till then have fun 🙂

Why do you travel?

Hi My Dear Friends,

How was your day so far? I have been thinking about the various reasons why people travel or why they would like to travel in their life and have been intrigued by the myths around not travelling and the reasons for the as well. Here is a very basic image that I created in order to understand the advantages and disadvantages of travelling. On the left hand side are some of the reasons to travel and right hand side are the fears or reasons not to travel. Please share your insight in this as most of you do travel or want to travel so give me 5 reasons for travelling and few for not travelling. I would love to hear from you on this 🙂

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Travel Myths

We call them myths because we ourselves are creating them.

  • Its expensive
  • I would not have any job if I travel
  • Danger – I may get killed or robbed
  • I have kids
  • It’s not safe to travel
  • I am alone
  • It’s irresponsible
  • Its a stupid risk to leave your job and travel
  • I am vegeterian
  • It’s bad economy so can’t leave job
  • I have a husband and he doesn’t want to travel / I have a wife and she doesn’t want to travel
  • I have a house and stuff here
  • I am planning to travel in future
  • I don’t want to be called crazy

Let’s share some insight and experiences that you had around this as many of us might have some issues while starting on their various travel expeditions.

Bucket-List 2013 Week 1 – One item complete with few fun days

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Hello my dear blogger,

You know what, I can call myself a bucket-Lister now. And you know why because I have already started the adventure from yesterday. Sorry couldn’t give you update as I was busy with an awesome event I was attending and came home really late. Wait I will share all my fun with you of course.

Here you go first thing first – As you know I had finalized my bucket-list for 2013. If you don’t know yet then here is my adventurous and fun list for this year.

Bucket List for 2013

A little bit different and also another post about the fears I have in my life with a reflection of other reader’s experiences along with it.

My fears

So now you know what is my item number #46 ? Right ‘Have a schooner at Australia’s oldest pub: Fortune of War pub, Sydney‘.

And guess what I have done it…yippi…today. I thought why not cross of some easy and quick things during the week. But as you would know from my list of fears – one of them is to go to a bar or pub by myself. So here in this item it was not just one thing but two really. It was about completing the task and what made it more challenging was that I can’t  walk into a bar/pub by myself. So here I was avoiding to go there and end up working in office till 7 PM and finally thought to go home and leave this task for some other day. Then suddenly a thought came in my head – what if I just do it that way I will be able to cross of one item from my list and say that I have done it. And then I started walking to the oldest pub in Sydney – ‘Fortune of War pub’. And while going there I tried to be cool about the whole thing so started listening to music, although my brain kept telling me to go back as I was getting so nervous thinking what will I do there? Will I be able to even name the drink? I have of course been to many pub/bar but just not by myself. It was the longest path I ever walked to any pub I think. But as soon I got there, I smoothly entered there and ordered my drink. It was surprisingly smooth. As if I am just used to of going to pubs and drink by myself. Although a nervous feeling kicked again looking around and not seeing many girls and none of them were by themselves. But there were many guys by themselves. I don’t mind to talk to any stranger but this is not the kind of place I really prefer as people have different agendas and I was there just for my bucket-list and it could be a hard job to explain that to some one really drunk. But anyways I was lucky to get a call from my flatmate and I had company on phone and she couldn’t believe that I went to bar myself and couldn’t stop laughing. And it took me 30 minutes to finish my drink and then I finally took a train home. And the picture above is not from today as guess what I didn’t take any picture as that might have looked a bit too much – going to bar and taking pictures 😉

Now also few more awesome things happened today and yesterday. Let’s finish stories of today first. I was coming back home when I saw my next door neighbors sitting outside their house. I went inside feeling that I would like to get to know these people. I felt a but shy going to them and initiate a conversation at my own. But then the beer early this evening was handy. I went back and said hello to them and it turned out into a more than half hour session of laugh and get-to-know-each-other time that I just loved it. I then realized that I have awesome people living not far from me. So yes, sometimes if you feel something in your heart its worth doing it or at least giving it a go. I am just learning this as I have my own fears and hesitations. But this year I will set my soul free…lol…or at least try to do so.

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Martin Place – On the way to the bar!

Now time for the weekly item #50 – Do one thing new each week

What could I have done? Guess..oh just take a wild guess…alright I will tell. I have been vegetarian all my life. Only recently I had chicken in the plane from Sri Lanka to India when they mixed my choice of meal and I didn’t want to stay hungry so I got myself into eating chicken. I should make it clear that I don’t have any religion restriction for the same as I am not religious. But its moreover my choice. So yesterday I was out with other people and they ordered steak. And I thought why not do this as new thing for the week. And I ordered it without knowing what it is exactly. Then one person in the group realized that I am vegetarian and they felt I might have ordered it by mistake but there I was not going to back out from it even after know what it was now. I wouldn’t say I liked it but at least now I know how it taste. It’s more about trying new things and opening my senses to things and tastes, smells, feelings and a lot more this year. I still prefer vegetarian food but now I can survive no matter where I go as I have removed that hesitation from inside me.

Item Number #50 – Overcome one fear

This is an area where I have been working upon more than one fears at the moment. You can check them out in my list of fears. Here they are:

  1. Fear of loneliness
  2. Fear of boredom
  3. Fear of rejection
  4. Fear of unknown

I am working on my first two fears by staying happy and comfortable with my own company at home. I write and try to lessen the feeling of not being able to do anything when at home by relaxing and writing and then listen to my heart and do something fun if I feel like. Not by planning but more spontaneous I would say.

Third one (rejection) is something I am working upon as well by reasoning the reason for others reaction or behavior and also by not taking things personally. I can notice the difference in small things now which is a good sign. But you know what I am not even feeling that people are rude as I am trying to put myself into their shoes. But of-course it will take some time.

Go go go….Rest of Sri Lanka is waiting – Part 2 (Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days)

So where were we…yes it is in continuation of my last post as I promised..but don’t worry if you missed that as there is no such connection that you would need to know something in advance to read this one. So go ahead and have your share of fun – at my expense 😉

Here is the link for my last post though in case you are thinking what fun you might have missed:

https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

Now I was in the bus to Polonnaruwa, second old capital of Sri Lanka. Although after visiting Anuradhapura I was not going to be surprised to see thousands of years old buildings and their remain I thought but being a traveler you are always curious for unseen and new places and things. So here I was in another town. It was a bit difficult to get seat in the bus so I preferred to stand like many other locals and tried to use my biceps muscle power to keep myself from falling on the floors or outside the door as I was close to the front door. I then realized that I had made some good biceps picking up my backpack in last few weeks of travelling in Nepal and here. Not that I am going to use it as my strong point as I am not into body building or something but it helps when in the plane or other places I can just lift my big backpack with one hand and fit it into any high place at my own…hehehe..funny though 🙂 But finally when I gave up and sat on the floor then a gentleman offered me his seat as he was getting down. I enjoyed sitting for half an hour and got ready to meet this new town and enjoy what it has to offer now.

It was evening and I was very happy with myself now as I had enough time to find a place to live and get some decent food after all this hard work. Yes, this is what I call hard work when I travel – successfully execute challenging targets ;), like getting at places on time…hehehehe…See I told you, you are going to have fun on my expense…go ahead I don’t mind.

I saw one guy approaching me with a card of a hotel and he told me that he can offer me great price. But here I was all over-confident about my capabilities of finding a better place than this. So I politely raised my hand in a gesture of saying no and started walking towards the town. I walked for 15 minutes and saw a bunch of girls walking towards my direction. Being a girl I felt that it will be easy to communicate with the same gender. But what I didn’t realize was that none of them could understand even a single word of English. Now that was a sign of trouble. I regretted the decision of not listening to the guy at the bus stand. But with my attitude it got hard to go back so I continued. See sometimes tiredness of travel can make you stupid and rude. And I walked into another hotel which was way too expensive than what I was already been offered. But my luck is good at times and I saw that guy again. This time I was very happy to see him and he asked me instantly if I am happy to stay at the hotel he mentioned. Next minute I was on my way to the same hotel with good price and close to the market.

I got a nice big room for my own. In Sri Lanka there is not much of a backpacking culture but if you are travelling with your friend then its very cheap to get a room and it gives you more privacy and freedom rather than sharing a place with 6-7 other people at times. But still both have their pros and cons. Anyways soon after getting fresh I got an awesome deal that if I want then the same guy can arrange an Auto for me to see the town and it was 3 PM so I didn’t really mind it as it could free me the next day to explore more places. Soon I got the auto and started taking pictures of this new awesome and old place. This place had the same rule – either buy the pass or get the auto rickshaw to show you around. I was too tired to walk all around it so I chose the second option.

Entrance Ticket for Polonnaruwa

Entrance Ticket for Polonnaruwa

This place took me by surprise due to its tall and huge buildings and remains of the kingdom. Nothing like Anuradhapura and I felt good about my decision to come here. I was taking so many pictures to make sure that if I miss any details then I can revisit them again. Also here are some of those cherished memories for you as well.

It was sunset again – my weakness for some reason 🙂 Yes, I know it sound romantic but I think I am in love with nature then…hehehe. So I started taking pics of the sunset. Please note that in pilgrimage places you are asked to leave your footwear outside the gate at most of the places. Tip: Try to keep it in your bag. Why? Here is the answer – After I returned from the temple, I could not find my sandals on the gate. I searched it for 30 minutes with head torch. Not that it was a gift that I could not live without, but I had to walk  to the next temple barefoot, which believe me is not very comfortable for your feet on concrete and uneven ground.

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I got a bit angry at the fact that whoever took it didn’t even think of the inconvenience that would cause to the owner. But who thinks that right. I got a very beautiful on my way to the next temple in the night though. So I would take that as a reward.

I got home a bit upset and went to a hotel to get my food. After dinner I got normal again with my smiling face. Also I tried Sri Lanka breakfast (Hopper and String Hopper)

20130326_190645 20130326_190544for dinner which I didn’t have a clue is actually eaten for breakfast, till I read it under the breakfast menu the next day somewhere. I also tried the Watalappam (sweet dish). And then I retired to bed with content heart and peaceful head finally.

Good morning! New morning and new  things to look forward to. What else you want in life? But unfortunately my adventure never leaves me feeling this way. I paid for my hotel and caught a bus to next place – Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock. Its a 200 meter high rock basically which was chosen by the king Kasyapa for his capital due to security reasons (it was easy to see from the top of the rock if some one was approaching the castle). I got dropped on the way from where I was supposed to get another bus to Sigiriya. When I arrived there then I was informed that I have to pay another 30 USD.

Lion Temple

Lion Rock

Now this was enough as I was paying everywhere and this was not in my budget (poor planning). But I was not going to back down by this fact so God listened to me and a local told me that he can show me another temple from where I can actually see Sigiriya clearly and would need to pay only 2 USD. What a deal, I got ready instantly. I went to this temple with him as he was happy to show me around (nice people).

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This temple is called ‘Pidurangala’. You can have an awesome view (carry binoculars if you need a super close view). I visited temple and then the local guide told me that I have to keep walking to the top.

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Due to the trees I was not sure how much clear view I was going to get of Sigiriya. But I had lost my appetite to see it due to the high entrance fees really, specially when you have to pay to see every damn thing. Pardon my language but that was how I felt really. So I kept climbing the stairs. Stopping on my way to take pictures and then again climbing up.

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My heart beat was high in unusual manner and I though it might be due to this exercise. But then I realized my feet are giving up. And I had to sit down on a rock. Instantly I calculated the time we took to get here and a quick observation of my situation made it clear that I was going to faint soon as I was dehydrated. Wow, that can be taken as a big zero for my carelessness. How could I not carry water? How could I be so careless? Everyday I do drink enough to keep me going but today I had no water and as I woke up late so skipped my breakfast as well. No lollies or any snacks in my bag. That’s it. I felt that it was over. At this strange place with this strange person, I am in deep trouble now. I asked the guy to bring me water. First he denied asking if I can walk back rather. But after insisting he got ready to get me some water. I literally prayed to God and said sorry for being so irresponsible. Then I found a place to lie down and get some air as I was breathing hard. Then not sure why but started thinking what would James Bond do in my situation to hide the passport and other important things I was carrying in my bag to secure them. See this is called movie buff when you are about to faint but still thinking that you are smart as James Bond….lol. But fortunately I didn’t have to show my smartness and I was feeling better soon. Also the guy brought me some water and I drank all of it. Then what, we started climbing again. Crazy right….yes I know. But I came here so far then how could I turn back. So I kept moving and after some rock climbing, as its not as easy as Sigiriya (proper stairs are available there), we arrived at the top. And there it was awesome view of the Lion Rock (Sigiriya). I felt alive again. This was the 360 degree view for which I worked hard till now. It was worth I would say.

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On the way there was this most amazingly beautiful statue of Buddha as well. Now why don’t I continue in another post. Hope you enjoyed this post and come back to read another one. Hopefully tomorrow 🙂

Me - All revived after this nice view in-front of me out of nowhere

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We could have been the meal of the tiger that day – Lesson: Rice Terraces can be way bigger than they actually look

The lesson from the story seems to be a bit weird when it comes to survival in the jungle, I know. But you would soon realise why this seems more appropriate rather than saying that don’t try the treks that you are not aware of when tigers can be around at the same time.

Sarankot (1610m) – day hike – 5/6 hours from the town called ‘Pokhara’ in Nepal

4th Day in Nepal, we had successfully climbed up this day long hike but one problem was that we started a bit late. It was the day after Shivratri so me and my friend were of course not in the best state of our mind but we had been thinking of being more active and lose some weight in the holidays that we had gained from the various cuisines we already had so far. We anyways got determined to do this trek which didn’t look very threatening looking at our level of fitness and it was around 1 PM when we started. It was very sweaty but still refreshing to get to the top. We took our time to take some nice shots and admired the beauty of the town from there.

 

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I have already posted some really nice pictures that I was able to take the same day of sunset (only that I didn’t mention that it was half an hour before we were getting our new lesson in life https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/a-magical-evening-from-nepal/

).

Soon we realised that we have been descending for quite a while via road and it does not seems to take us anywhere near the town hence I pointed out to a trek that was near the road and looked like a short cut. My friend agreed with me and we both started following this trek more quickly than we had thought as the sun was on its way home much too quick. We heard few kids laughing and saying there are tigers in the forest but their tone didn’t seemed to be serious hence we assumed it to be a common joke around the locals.

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Soon we had arrived the rice terraces with no one left around and we are still descending. We could see the town somewhere far away below but it was still a long way to go. Now there was no clear trek so we started jumping one rice paddies at a time. Then we spotted a farmer winding down his day and thought it as a good idea to ask him for the direction. He looked a bit amazed looking at us, two girls, in the middle of nowhere and keen to make our way in this wilderness into the dark. But he anyways pointed out to the right side and said good bye. As usual we obeyed to any guidance provided by this so called only available local expert in this foreign land but soon we realised there was no way that we can go ahead in that direction, else we will end up being in the very dense forest. And if we try to climb down the rice paddies then it was as high as the wall of an average room so there were quite a few chances of breaking our legs in case we jump from there. We thought that we were following the easier trek earlier (before we took the promising direction guidance from the farmer) so we might want to go back (to the left). So we thought of backtracking our way a little and successfully did half of it in one direction. But now there was no staircase like paddies left, all we could see were high walls all around and it was getting harder to imagine ourselves climbing down those with any success to getting close to the city. We scrambled few bushes and tried to follow the water streams between the gaps of two rice terraces vertically but then it was getting dark all too soon.

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Then we made an unsuccessful attempt to cross the rice paddies horizontally via the water stream and got ourselves into a very steep rock soon and back tracked the same to reach the top of the paddy. My friend was brave to say that it’s ok if we have to stay in the forest and back of my mind I started counting the resources we had to stay there – none. No tent, no water, nothing to eat, nothing to cover ourselves and no torch (battery of my mobile was also dying). She was confident to an extent that she was telling me to climb the tree if an animal shows up and here I was not trained in all these traits of climbing trees, living in the forest with nothing. Ouch, I felt a bit scared and my mind started racing to find a way out. I asked her if she is ok to back track the way up and go back to the street from where we descended at least that way we will be close to civilization and will be able to get a ride home if nothing. Thankfully she agreed and my heartbeat got a bit normal. Then next challenging task was to lead the way and I volunteer to do that. Soon I felt as if I had eyes of a cat (people used to say that I had catlike eyes – hazel), but joke apart, It really helped because I was able to see my way in very dim light from the moon.

Finally after 30 minutes of struggle we were able to see few people sitting near the farm. I can’t explain how relaxing it was as if we found the lost treasure there. Now I was more hopeful thinking that we would definitely be safe and alive now. But there you go, a guy from the group said that he can help us to go back to the same rice paddies and show us the proper track that we have just missed. This was not happening, as it was really dangerous to go back but he tempted us with the time it would have taken to get home through this short cut. And a moment later we were following him through the same path. Annoying – yes it was at that time but survival was more necessary than any other emotion at that point of time. My friend snapped at him once as well when he started doing the small talk by asking where she is from. She replied – ‘How does it matter at this time?’ and it was true we were there stuck in the middle of nowhere and not at all in the mood of this kind of conversation. But after a while we became more relaxed as we realized that he knew where he was taking us. My phone was of some help with the light to show us the way as well.

But the happiness of being found didn’t last too long. There it was – he said it. He started telling us that there is a tiger or may be a few in that forest and he even confirmed the path we had taken after being guided by the farmer few hours ago was where they saw the tiger few days ago. I gulped and didn’t know how to react. I was not sure to look ahead or look back to make sure no tiger is following me. Not that I would say that I am afraid of dying. But at least I wanted to be ready. My friend wanted me to take her picture looking into the eyes of tiger in case she encounters such situation and put it on Facebook (lol). But now that looked like a really bad joke when in the dark I was not sure where to look for this dangerous creature. It was not even like going into a national park to spot one…here we were not willing but still in risk of seeing one in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to shout or cry not sure what but I had to man up and focus on the way.

Soon when we were just able to gather our calm and cool again he threw another piece of information on us about a Japanese girl who got lost there like this almost a year ago. I was expected some kind of horror story now. But thank God it was alright. He told us that she gave him a lot of money to save her life, not that he fought with the tiger and all. But it was when we were ready to follow the track at our own when he asked if he can stay with us. Now that was awkward. We told him that we can give him money but he should find his way back home after that. There was a little discussion now on this as I preached this guy about morality and pointed out that we are happy to pay for what he is doing for us and we really appreciate his help. We realised that he was more risky to be around than the tiger then we decided to pay him money and track our way back home from there. We did that and finally got to the main road and took a deep breath. Our first reaction was a little shock realizing that we are safe and alive but we had a laugh soon when we started walking in the middle of road and my friend said that it would look very bad if after surviving through the forest we got hit by a car there.

We stopped for dinner on the way home in a nice looking restaurant, not that we were looking very good to enter there but we stopped anyways. We really needed some good food after no lunch all day (just late breakfast) and all this adventure. I liked a quote from my friend that we should be really good friends that we didn’t fight during this crises today. I really felt relaxed after all this and the meal tasted as if I never had that good a meal in my life. It was a meal after you just got another chance to live 😉 Now I think I am exaggerating it.

Thanks for reading dear friend. It was one of the experiences I will always remember and I am glad that you lived it with me again.

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Awesome days doing River Kayaking – Thrishuli River, Nepal

Loved the thrill, fun, fear and adventure

Fiji – Another name for ‘Freedom to Live’ (Part 3)

Next day another adventure was waiting for me. Being a naive to sea and swimming I was having a ball with all the water activities. Now it was time for some cave diving. It sounded so exciting that I could not stop myself from booking next day trip to another island to do the Cave Diving. Although many questions started bothering me after I booked for it – Will I have to stay underwater too long, do I need to be a good swimmer to be able to do that, will it be scary, will I be ok after doing it. But I was rest assured that I will be fine as there were two guides and all the fellow travellers knew how to swim so to be honest I had more trust on others than myself.
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Next morning I was even more thrilled thinking – here I was in the middle of this big island with strangers doing stuff that is another name of peak adventure. Best thing ever, I told myself. We were all geared with the swim suit and a life jacket after boarding the boat that was going to take us to this another island. We arrived at our destination. The water was crystal blue and the view was breathtaking. It made me feel envious of the people who were living there, thinking that they are able to live in paradise every day.
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Finally we climbed the steps towards the Qara ni Bukete (Pregnancy Cave), named so because it does not allow any woman who is trying to hide she is pregnant. It was a bit dark in the cave but we could see some light coming through the slits. I jumped into the water in the cave after a little bit of hesitation with my life jacket on of course. I thought maybe this is it? It was easy. But nope there was another cave through this bigger cave where we could only go through a narrow passage under water.
Two guys went in with the guide. We did not have any proper equipment for diving so we had to hold our breath for at least 30 seconds and the guide was supposed pull us underwater towards the other cave. Once on the other side the guide will go back and bring another person. Now it was the test as I could not go under water without my life jacket. Guide was back and wanted one of us to go with him. Everyone in the group started staring at each other as no one was sure how risky it is in the dark. I was scared but excited and didn’t realise when I got voice and said ‘I will come’ to guide. He stared at my life jacket and asked me to take it off. I told him that I am not a good swimmer and he smiled (maybe he was thinking I must be joking as I had come for a cave diving after all) and assured me that I will be fine. I took off my life jacket and the guide took my hand and asked me to take a deep breath. I followed his instruction and he pulled me under water and I felt all I can do is trust him. I could feel my body moving through this narrow tunnel, touching the walls of it. Soon when I was still in dazed state I was on the other side of the cave. He looked at me and smiled again and asked me where I am from. He must have sensed my fear. I told him that I am from India, living in Australia for few months and have just started to learn swimming. He looked amazed but asked me to leave his hand as he had to go to bring other people now. I was scared again as I was in this cave in dark and with no floating device to hold on to. I quickly swam across the cave with my breast stroke techniques and tried to hold the holes in the wall like a lizard.
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Other girls also came to this side after seeing me. They must have thought that when a non-swimmer can do it then they can as well. After few moments when my eyes got adjusted then I realised most of the people in the group who chose to come were here and we had to swim to the other side where the guide was taking us. There was a small area where there was some light coming from a slit and it felt very nice to see few rays of light as they were like rays of hope. It was an amazing experience of my life. We came back and I was still dazed with the whole day adventure. Next day I had to leave the island and head back to home. I was overwhelmed by the welcoming behaviour of the people in Fiji. I left but the memories stayed with me forever.

Fiji – Another name for ‘Freedom to Live’ (Part 2)

Beachcomber – It was the first island where I was supposed to stay and after listening enough about it I decided to stay there for 3 nights and then move to the northern islands. Leaving the land from Denarau, a very beautiful and well planned place to live was a nice experience. I had some pictures clicked in water before jumping into the express boat to island and had a fun trip with some of the fellow travelers in the boat. Travelling alone being a girl gets you enough flirting there I would say. But the guys are really nice and gentleman I realized as they would flirt with you but will not cross the line and that made it easier for me to travel alone. Now here I was in the famous party island called Beachcomber. The food is awesome and the backpackers here have bunk beds in open area with no walls which was a bit different from my imagination. But it was so warm that you don’t want it anyways. My first day was nice with some snorkeling and sun bathing. I met few other fellow travelers and chatted the evening away. It was after dinner I realized that the island was really small and you can walk around it in less than 20 minutes. When travelling alone I try not to drink too much or not at all. Or it was something I told myself. But who tells you that there is peer pressure at times. So I got drunk on the very first night in the resort. What happened after that – I was told the next day. I was swimming in the sand and was telling the people that I would swim and go back home. Wow that was new for me and I was getting to know more about drunk myself. That was the day and I promised myself that no matter what I am not going to drink anymore.
After two days of fun and a little bit of boredom (as I was not drinking and the whole island is about partying), I hopped on to the boat and started for my next destination – Nabula Island. There were amazing views on the way and first time I realized that there are bigger island than Beachcomber around Fiji. I got my hopes up after seeing so many beautiful islands. Nabula Island is almost at the top so you have to cross almost all the islands except Blue lagoon, where the movie Blue Lagoon was shot. It was refreshing as well as relaxing to come to this island. There is a tea shop nearby where you can get the most delicious cup cakes to eat with your evening tea. It’s open till 6 PM only so I missed it on first day but was able to get on second day. Although the electricity was not available after 8 PM but no one seemed to mind it and it seemed like travelling back in time when there was no electricity. Unlike Beachcomber there is no buffet system here. The people in the resort here serve you whatever they cook (you can choose vegetarian or non-vegetarian though). It’s like going to some one’s place where you will taste the food as per the host’s wish. It was not bad on first two days being vegetarian and only on third day everyone was looking at my plate when I was served with noodles and a boiled potato for lunch. I would not say that food was the best part here but the welcoming people here make up for that. I loved the village tour and met so many nice people that I didn’t want to leave this place for long time. Although the reality was that I was here for 3-4 days only.
I planned to do some reef Jumping now as there were some very cheap tours available here. I was the only one in the group doing it which I wasn’t aware of till everyone got dropped on the way for island sightseeing and I was the only one left with the boatman. He was a nice guy and helped me with the life jacket when he realized I am not good at swimming. It was the most adventurous things other I did till that day – snorkeling in the middle of two very big island where there was no one to see till many kilometers. I was a bit hesitant but then jumped into the water trusting my life jacket. I snorkeled for 30 minutes and you won’t believe but I couldn’t believe what my eyes were witnessing there. One of the most beautiful reefs is found near these islands and I was able to see them just few meters below my nose. There was a sense of happiness, fear (when the fishes were coming too close to my face) and excitement all in few seconds at times. Then I got a bit tired and called the boatman. He didn’t move and I could only see his boat a few meters away so I swam across to the boat. I was so tired that I could feel it in my arms, my legs and on my face as well. Finally I climbed to the boat and he told me there are three reefs that I am supposed to visit as part of the tour. So we went to the other reef. I had another amazing time jumping into another place. But by the end of second reef, I was almost dead but he insisted that the third one is the most beautiful and I must visit it. I mustered some courage and literally pushed my limits by jumping for the third round. Then the boatman told me that the island is not far and I should better swim towards it and he will go and check on others while I snorkel here. That was it; I couldn’t believe he just asked me to swim towards that far looking island. And before I could recover from the news he was gone. What’s now, I was here in the middle of nowhere surrounded by this marine life I was not sure I could trust. I had no choice but trust myself and submerge into the water to enjoy the beauty down there and forget about my tiredness completely. Having no other option I started to focus on exploring the reef and soon I was encountering a bunch of small fishes teasing me on my face as if they are asking me what I am dong in their territory and I had no choice but look at them innoMarine Lifecently as if I am pointing to the boatman who left me here without my own will. I somehow covered 70% of the distance towards the island. Now during rest 30% I was bloody tired and felt like crying. I covered the last 25% distance and I was overwhelmed by the swimming. The water was only knee deep now and I realized that I can rather walk now. But my will power had given up so I kept swimming till my face was rubbing against the sand and there was not enough water to swim. I somehow managed to stand up and walked towards the shore. I didn’t want to see that boatman just now due to my anger for what he did so I walked towards an isolated place on the beach and sat there for a while. I didn’t even realized when I lay down there and slept till a little girl woke me up by asking to buy a bangle. I then realized that it was the best sleep I had in ages. I felt that a surge of relief flooded me after that thinking that I am still alive and I have witnessed the most beautiful place on earth (as this was the first time I had done reef jumping). I had no anger left in me but sheer joy.

Fiji – Another name for ‘Freedom to Live’ (Part 1)

If I would be asked to choose how I would like to live then I think I would like to live like Fijian. People in Fiji are the most happy and content I have ever experienced. They are happy with what they have and live life to the fullest. No pressure and no regrets. I fell in love with the place and the people in the very first visit. It was my first trip to another country at my own.  It was not that I was not old enough but it was moreover the culture I came from (India) that people thought that I am mad when I told them that I am going on holidays by myself.  But it was the best trip of my life so far. It was adventure, fun, exhausting, risky, and emotional and a lot more in one package.

When I landed in Fiji I was welcomed by the very authentic music at the airport so I took it as a good sign. First mission was to find the cab sent by my backpacker in Nadi. Oh yes I forgot to tell that it was the first time I had decided to backpack while travelling, may be that was another reason people from work find it weird that why I was interested in living with strangers as in India it’s not that common at the moment. But living in Sydney for 8 months had made me a little bit Aussie I would say 🙂 So there I was on my first backpacking adventure in a foreign country. But my looks gives me some advantages when travelling to such countries as people think I am one of them as long as I don’t open my mouth of course.

I was picked by the cab on time and I arrived to my backpacker, already booked for 2 days as I had thought of travelling the land and book the accommodation as I go. I had to be a bit brave to hand them over my passport and expensive things to put into the safe when I was living there. But then I realised that it was common.  I had no clue how I shall start the conversation with the strangers while having my dinner in the backyard of my place. So I just smiled at couple of fellow backpackers and finally retired to my place for a good night sleep. The next day I wanted to take the public transport so I asked a guy working in the backpacker and found he was interested in telling all about himself while showing me the way to the bus stop. I found it very moving the way the people there trust you and tell you about themselves.

I loved the ride in the bus as there was some pop music being played in it. There was a natural air conditioner in the bus as there were no windows in it. It had got a bell attached to a long string that goes along from the front to the back on both sides of the bus to help people signal the driver to stop it. It was just amazing how things were working here. Then unfortunately our bus broke down and gave me an opportunity to talk to some locals who were very excited to talk to me making me feel special. We waited for 20 minutes and got another bus to get us to the market where I was planning to do some shopping for fruits and possibly few other articles as I was just travelling with my carryon bag and no more. And the limit is just 7 KG hence I usually carry just some essentials and few clothes when on holidays. I will explain some more adventure related to this habit in other post. I was touched by the courtesy of a lady who in the bus realised that it is the first time I am in Fiji and showed me around the place and stayed with me for 2 hours. I was thinking that she might be a guide and thought of offering her some money. But she told me that she was just helping. It was amazing how she took so much time from her day and helped me to get all the things I needed from the market and showed me around.

After two days I shifted to another backpacker as I was not very happy with the first one. This new place was more like home as there was a Kava ceremony arranged here and I end up drinking enough to go to sleep after some time. I met two girls here who were very friendly and first time I was talking to someone also travelling like myself. Next day my opinion was changed to travel the land by my experience of getting into bus and sitting there for few hours to get to Lautoka from Nadi in hot and sweaty weather and I end up booking a tour to the islands in Fiji. 

Going to Singapore, end up in Bangkok – Holidays turned into Adventure

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It was a sunny and beautiful day. I had packed everything I need. I was sure that I am going to enjoy this well deserved break as I reached Sydney airport. I was so excited to go to Singapore for the first time for 5 days. I was flying with this airline also for the first time. All arrangements were done – accommodation booked, sightseeing pass was booked and I had all the required documents with me. This time nothing is going to be wrong – no delays in reaching airport (as I missed the plane few months ago when I was going to Brisbane due to relying upon the public transport), no paper missing and all is good. Now it’s time for holidays. Hurrah!!

But I didn’t know that there is a surprise waiting for me. I handed over my passport to the person behind the checking counter. She looks at the passport and looked at me quizzically. Now what could go wrong I thought? She told me madam you cannot fly. What she said, I repeated to myself. She sensed my confusion and answered without any delay that I haven’t got the appropriate visa to go to Singapore. But a friend of mine informed me that we can get visa on arrival.  I told her about the same but she then informed me that I hold an Indian passport hence I should first apply for visa and she can postpone my flight. I was not sure how is that going to work as I have got leaves for 3 days and 2 days over the weekend and no way was I going to get visa before that. I had to leave the counter any ways to decide what to do now.

There was a moment when I wanted to let the tears trickle down my cheeks thinking here goes my holidays and I should not be preparing for my own travel now onward  But then a voice came into my head and said – You are not giving up. You are going to fly today to Singapore. I instantly ran to check internet in the airport to see if there is a way I can get some help in this situation. I called the embassy but they said it will take at least 4-7 days process and that too in Canberra not like I could drive to some office in Sydney for immediate assistance. And I couldn’t postpone my holidays due to the deadlines I had to meet at work in next couple of weeks. But I was determined to get out of the country and have a well deserved break after working almost 4 weekends in a row.

I went back to the checking counter and asked if they have any alternative in my situation. They didn’t want to take risk of flying me to Singapore just in case I can’t get visa in Singapore so they gave me an option if I fly out of Singapore and go to some other country then I can get transit visa in Singapore maximum of 3 days. She asked me if I want to go to India from Singapore. It sounded like a joke as I wasn’t sure whether she was familiar with the geographical distance from Singapore to India and that too when I had only 5 days of leaves. It was like having a holiday in the air, touchdown India and come back to Sydney. Although I didn’t express my amusement to her, but I knew I am never going to forget her suggestion.

I checked the available options with them as they could fly me to Japan, Bangkok and few other places. Suddenly I decided to fly to Bangkok and asked them to book the same. I lost money on the return ticket from Singapore to Sydney and paid extra money for the flight from Singapore to Bangkok but the money didn’t matter now as I need to do this. Although in the first place I made this plan because of the available deal on flights. So it was getting funnier when I was paying even more than regular price of flights. But somehow I had to make a choice between the holidays somewhere nice or back to work behind my desk. So I chose the holidays. I checked in with the new itinerary and a new destination – Bangkok. I always wanted to go to Thailand but not in this manner. I had dreamed to go there for at least 2 weeks and enjoy and now I was going to be there for 2 days.

But no worries I am on the plane and its going to be awesome I told myself. Although the story doesn’t end here. There was more to come. I had booked a flight to Bangkok but not from Bangkok to Sydney yet which means I can go to Singapore but not Bangkok without having a return ticket. I thought that I can manage as I will book that online. And I am good at finding good deals anyways. So here I come, Singapore – city of beautiful buildings I felt. I loved the idea of going to Singapore as I have always admired the well planned cities not that I don’t like the old cities. I felt a sense of triumph after landing in Singapore as I had passed the first hurdle – flying to Singapore. And now I had to deal with another one – Flying to Bangkok. But that can wait as I have 3 days here and I don’t want to muddle that. I was given strict warning in the Airport saying that I should not be staying in Singapore for more than 3 days. I was alright I thought, no big deal. But I was not aware of what’s there in store for me still.

I checked-in in my place and explained that I have to leave in 3 days and not 5 so asked them to charge me only for 3 days. With a little bit of discussion and explaining my situation that got settled. Now it was time for dinner – It was late in the evening so I went out and had a quiet dinner and came back to check internet in my place with a strong feeling that I will book the tickets for Bangkok now. I searched various options and the price first blew my mind as I was paying fortune to go there for two days. Still I muster some courage to book it, now what’s that – A message saying that a security code is being sent to my mobile to confirm the ticket. Bugger, I haven’t activated international roaming on my phone. I never do when I travel so that I have some quiet holidays without any interruption from the people I know. I never had to book anything from other countries either so I never found out the options to do that otherwise I could call my bank and deactivate the phone security for some time. Now I felt that I was in soup. It was 2 AM already and I had to visit many places next day. I checked Facebook  no one from my inner friend circle was online who could help me with the ticket. I had no choice but sleep.

Next day I told myself to forget about the ticket and focus on visiting the places I have got the pass for. I started my day very enthusiastically and cover 3 places in a day with my excellent management. I know the other matter doesn’t show much of that but things happen and there is first for everything. So any ways I was back in my place all tired. I chose internet over food and got some fruits that I could binge upon while trying to book the tickets again. I saw one of my friends online today. I felt it’s my lucky day. My friend was working in Europe at that time. I felt a bit embarrassed but came to the point very quickly and asked him to book my ticket explaining my situation. He was so nice that without much fuss he started booking the same. I gave all my details but then he pinged me on Facebook chat back that the payment page is leading him to another page saying that the site can’t be trusted. Now it was new. He tried couple of time but the same message and I didn’t want to trouble him anymore. Now I had one more day and it was too late. I send an email to another friend of mine explaining the situation and went to bed thinking about the next day.

I woke up bit uneasy thinking about the ticket and checked my email first thing in the morning. A reply from my friend was waiting for me giving me few options with flight he could book for me. A sense of relief flooded me. I quickly replied to him and started for another day’s adventure more carefree today as I was going for the forest adventure that was going to tire me physically. I had an amazing day even the rain in the evening didn’t touch my excitement and I did the night safari in the zoo. I came back and saw that the ticket was waiting for me. I could fly on time to Bangkok now. I utilized the last day in Singapore to explore a toy museum which was nice as it brought back the memories from my childhood. Although it was another adventure to go to Bangkok without much preparation but I loved my holidays and saw more things than I could imagine in 5 days. It was tiring but full of adventure I would say. Thanks for reading this. I am looking forward to my next holidays now.