Whats your best Birthday treat – Mine is a flight to Antarctica for myself

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One of the best thing you can do for yourself – treat yourself the nicest as you so deserve it. Here I am sitting at the Airport to fly to Antarctica..a unique way to celebrate my birthday that I would never forget 🙂 Thank you all for an awesome year here.
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What do you do in the plane? Is travelling by air easy?

Did you say sleep? But not always right and if you travel very frequently then you would know what I mean. Who loves the window seat. I do but only when its a short flight. If it’s a couple sitting next to me then I prefer to take a aisle seat to make sure I don’t have to knock to go to washroom or a stroll in a long flight. People love the window seat from where you can see the view when plane is landing and taking off. But do you ever think the use of it when its a night flight. I see so many people booking the seats mindlessly as if they are going to watch a movie in a theater and the choice of seats are always fixed – center back. I have learned this lesson long back when people on long flight like to sleep and to go to pee you have to keep trying to wake them up in most polite way and then once again if they fall asleep till you come back. So what’s your preference for seat when you fly?

I like to keep a book handy in case I get a cheap deal with flights and then they would not have any movies to play without buying each one of them. Also I like to keep my camera handy as you get free view from the sky, like a helicopter tour in case you are sitting away from the wings. If movies are free and good quality then I don’t mind watching a few and keep myself updated. But then you would also want to get some sleep in a long flight, whereas people get a bit anxious in a short flight as its too much hassle for an hour or so flight to check in and then looking for checked in baggage. I travel light with only a carry on backpack which people stare for long when I get in the queue. And quiet a few times I have to either throw stuff (I do have spare things in case I don’t get time to check the weight in advance) or wear some more clothes. I do not prefer to let my backpack get out of my sight as it otherwise can turn into a loss of property which in turn might ruin my short trip anyways. And for few days we don’t need much anyways so carry on is a good way to save money and travel easy with no worry.

Do write about what you like to do when you fly. I would love to hear all about it.

Regards,

Kavita

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 🙂

Little things can make big difference

Life is struggle and fun at times. Sometimes its hard to live each moment when stuck in hardship, whereas its fun living a day or week when happy. But the most important thing to remember is that little things can make a big difference at times. I felt it so many times. For example waiting for the plane for two hours in Hawaii and then came to know that the flight is delayed for another two hours. I was tired and exhausted as had to wake up 4 AM in the morning to catch the flight and now it was cold and long wait in the waiting room. Could not get enough sleep as was worried to wake up this early and now extremely cold in the airport so can’t sleep any ways. Then finally came close to board and got a compliment from the security that you have got beautiful eyes. Don’t know whether my eyes were partially closed or open but I think that made a big difference at the start of my day and brought a smile on my face.

There was a guy sleeping on the floor as we were boarding the flight and I felt that he hasn’t realized that the flight has started boarding so I shook him to wake him up and asked if he is waiting for this flight and if yes then the flight has started boarding. He was a bit dazed (may be too tired) and then gave me a grateful smile and thanked me that I woke him up as otherwise he would have missed the flight. I met him again in Sydney in the airport and he thanked me again for waking him up. It was just a small thing but it made a big difference in his day.

I met the fellow passenger in the plane sitting next to me. I started talking to him and he informed me that he is sponsoring a child in Philippines for last few years. He pays 50 AUD every month and it pays for the school fees, clothes and other necessary things for this kid. It was amazing how 50 Dollar each month made such a big difference in some one’s life.

It is true that we shall never ignore that one small act of kindness can make a huge difference is some one’s life. Its not only money but even a smile can give some one else a reason to smile. So lets start every day by one simple act and if we practice every day then we are actually making difference in 365 lives at least. And this is a big number. I will try to do this and lets see if you can try as well. Let me know what did you do different as it will inspire rest of us as well.

Hawaii Here I Come….Here begins the adventure

How does it feel when you have planned a holiday but were so busy that didn’t even have time to enjoy it. I am most of the times in this situation even today, when I have been heading to one of the most beautiful tropical place, Hawaii. I have always wanted to go this trip but never got a chance. It was only before New Year that I saw this offer and it about to expire in one day (of course I saw it at the tenth hour), so it made me decide quickly that before I head to India I must visit Hawaii. It all happened in 5 minutes as I thought of booking the flight and sent my boss an email for leave. I was so excited. But then by the time my leave got approved which I was not sure of, the offer had already expired. I cursed myself under the breath thinking why I didn’t take the risk and booked the ticket as it was a good offer. I regretted this for two days and started thinking of cancelling my leave as it was two good weeks that I had to spend with no plan. I was in train and uselessly searching for the flight rates again and guess what I got the same price (650 AUD) from Jet Airways as I saw in the offer whereas the normal fair is usually 1000+ AUD. I almost jumped with excitement. I booked my ticket in next few minutes and felt the happiest soul on Earth (yes I know it does not take much to make me happy).

Since that day when I booked my flight, I didn’t get chance to rejoice the whole thing. Now today I am finally flying and I hope I get all my travel bugs cuddling me soon. I am all packed with lots of advices from friend and this might be a life changing trip of my life. As I have resigned from my job and now have to serve extra two month in India and after that I am a free soul. I have never done anything this big in my life – I mean in terms of leaving a job without getting another one. But there is a first for everything. Now I have two choices either look for a job or go travelling with whatever savings I have as this opportunity will not come again when I am single, no mortgage and no liability so far. Then once I am done travelling for months then I can plan to settle down and buy a place to leave etc.

Now today is a big day – of course I am not getting married but after managing all my stuff in Sydney (as I am living here for two years so I do have a lot of stuff and believe me girls usually do have more than usual), I am finally going to Hawaii, the dream destination at this point of time. I will keep you all posted about my trip and once I am there I will be able to tell you exactly where to go and where not to 😉

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.