Japan – A positively overwhelming and colorful experience

Please find my latest article about my trip to Japan and I will be posting about each place seperately as there is so much to talk about when it comes to Japan.

http://kavitajoshitravels.com/2014/09/japan-a-positively-overwhelming-and-colorful-experience/

Please subscribe to my new website (kavitajoshitravels.com) as I would be posting there in future and currently I am migrating from here to my new custom build website. Thanks for all your support.

You can connect with me through facebook as well – https://www.facebook.com/KavitaJoshiTravels?ref=hl and Twitter – https://twitter.com/KavitaJoshi84 so that we don’t miss each other’s communication. I would follow you back as well.

Here is the list in chronological order of all the places I went in 10 days of my stay there.

1. Nagoya – Fly in

2. Hiroshima

3. Miyajima – Very close to Hiroshima but I would love to write a seperate post about it as I had a moving experience there along with some adventure

4. Osaka

5. Kyoto – C ity of ancient culture with beautiful temples and shrines

6. Tokyo – I never thought Japan has such a massive city

7. Kamakura – I was lucky to attend the lantern festival in a nearby island, Enoshima,  during my visit to Kamakura

7. Mt. Fuji – It made me cry and it made me laugh is all I would say before I write the details in the coming post

8. Kariya – Met one of the best couch surfing host here who helped me after another host of mine changed the plans at the last moment

9. Nagoya – Sightseeing and fly out from here

Bucket List 2014 – Travel, Fitness, Food, Learning (Balance among mind, body and soul with lots of fun and adventure)

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Hello My Fellow Bloggers and Beautiful Readers,

If you are interested to know what all amazing things I did last year than here is the link:

https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/category/bucket-list/bucket-list-2013/bucket-list-items/

You must be wondering what’s happening to my bucket list for this year. Well this year I wanted to do things differently and I think I was able to do it to some extent. My idea initially was to do things as they come and then once done add them to my list. As after last year, having achieved so much changed my perspective towards the bucket list concept. I have already done few things this year that I would love to share with you and doing it already as well. I would again categorize my list in terms of body, mind and soul area to balance my actions for this year. Last year was fantastic in terms of the places I travelled, adventures I did, people I met and feeling of peace and calm that I felt.

Travel, Fitness, Food, Learning and miscellaneous – for Mind, Body and Soul

  1. Visit Antarctica
  2. Visit at least 2 new countries
  3. Visit at least one natural wonders in the world
  4. Cities / Places – Visit at least 6 new places in Australia in 12 months
  5. National Parks – Visit at least two National Parks
  6. Rivers – Visit at least two of the famous rivers
  7. Islands – Visit at least two of the famous islands
  8. Prepare for Spartan(obstacle course/ run)
  9. Prepare for True Grit (obstacle course/ run)
  10. Get some visible abs
  11. Do one race of any distance
  12. Run a half marathon (example: citytosurf in  Sydney)
  13. Run 7 days in a row and then run for a month at least 3 days a week
  14. Do my Master Scuba Diving
  15. Dive in Fish Rock
  16. Prepare meal for at least 7 days in a row
  17. Start eating 5 small meals a day
  18. Prepare your own drinks/juices/smothies
  19. Learn Spanish to be able to speak as a beginner
  20. Learn to surf
  21. Learn how to write with your left hand (as I am a right hand)
  22. Organize my first house party in Australia
  23. Hold a Guinness world record in something
  24. Go on a blind date
  25. Fall in love with someone with no expectation
  26. Participate in an event in some other country
  27. Visit Taronga Zoo in Sydney as I have never been there
  28. Participate in a flash mob
  29. Take Vow of silence a day/ a week / a month
  30. Find 10 fears in myself and overcome some of them  (example: approach some one and ask for a coffee date, cycle around Sydney)
  31. Spend a day of gratitude and no transaction of money but rather live like a monk
  32. Mamoth Cave
  33. Weekend Canyoning
  34. Buy a car
  35. Get my driving license
  36. Learn to surf
  37. Take an African Safari
  38. Plan Christmas and New Year in some awesome place – yet to decide
  39. Attend a huge rock concert
  40. Go on a sailing trip
  41. Do something for a homeless person
  42. Write list of fears like last year and overcome some of them (insert the link here)
  43. Go on a diving trip
  44. Do 10 things that make you the happiess
  45. Plan to participate in Carnival in Brazil
  46. Create a custom website for my travels and other stuff
  47. Try ice skating
  48. Do something completely spontaneously – may be five thing
  49. Ask a stranger for coffee
  50. Buy someone lunch
  51. Write a book
  52. Make a documentary

Note/ Question: I have updated the list and now its just over 50 so what do you say shall I make it a 100 ??

I would add more items here soon to make it a list of 50 like last year and let’s see how many I can achieve this year 🙂 Wish me luck as I would need some wishes my friends 🙂 And now get ready for an adventurous journey for this year my friend with me where nothing is predictable and anything can happen as this is my life. And as you already know it is full of mysteries to unveil on the way and lot of adventure to see.

Warm Regards,

Kavita

Back to LA and now on my way to San Diego and then Miami and Orlando

Well you already know the adventure I had so far in USA on my trip to Los Angeles (LA) and Las Vegas so far. If not then here is a link to my adventurous travel including hitchhiking from Las Vegas to LA : https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/los-angeles-to-miami-a-journey-full-of-adventures-including-a-very-unplanned-hitchhiking/

Now here is the rest of my travel in North America with some more stories and fun things –

It was a fun ride back to Los Angeles. If you haven’t read about it then please do have a look at my hitchhiking adventure which wasn’t planned but somehow happened during my trip in North America.

Now it was time to visit beautiful San Diego and I was all excited to see some of this nice place I had head about after all. I didn’t get to visit most of it as I was there for one night and half a day only after getting to LA so late the other day. But I did get a chance to shake a leg in the pub there and also visit the maritime museum there. It was lovely to see this place I had heard about so much. And then soon it was time to head to Miami for New Year.

It was a bit sad to say good bye to my friend in Los Angeles but few things you got to do after all you are on the road and you never know whom you are going to meet on your next stop. But I love travelling for that reason as you have instant connection to people on the way and you have those precious memories in your  heart afterwards. Now my first sight of Miami was the foggy morning and the bus stand where I waited for 15-20 minutes for the bus to go to Collins Ave on North beach. Now I felt better that I booked my accommodation in a nice area. There were big hotels all around and it was 10 minutes walk to the beach from my hostel. I walked to  Miami beach in order to get some food and choose to walk by the beach to do some sightseeing as well on the way. So many people were running and I felt a bit out of track after watching them pass by every now and then as I guess I still need to work on the exercise part when I go travelling other than walking of course.

Soon I was in Miami Beach and now I chose a beachside restaurant. If you are not strict then the people from restaurant can be a bit pushy to ask you to come-in and buy food there. I end up getting my breakfast at one of the joints after walking past few places. It was nice to finally have some food after the long flight. Now I was all set to see the place again but I end up going shopping in a shopping mall there and after clothes I did buy some food as well. Now I was loaded with so many shopping bags that I had to put them down to wait for the bus. The bus system is good in Miami so don’t worry if you like to commute the local way. I love riding the busses and trains as it gives me a feeling as if I am local. But remember not everyone speaks English there so if you are not equipped with Spanish then it might take a while to start chatting with the locals.

Now it was time to celebrate New Year the next day. First I went to the so called famous mall that everyone tells you to go called – Aventura Mall, Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL, United States. It was a good and a bad thing. Bad that I spend the whole day walking and shopping there and good that I did buy some nice clothes. But yes if you live in Australia then you would certainly appreciate shopping in States as the clothes are more fashionable and affordable hence I could not let this opportunity go away from me. In the evening I went to attend a hostel party in Miami beach which went very good after I met many people and also a couple from France. I had one of the best night with these people celebrating the New Year’s eve dancing and more dancing as I didn’t drink….Cudos 😉  Yes I did it..I didn’t drink at all on this trip.

Next day I had some more time to relax and go to this awesome museum called Vizcaya Museum & Gardens (Address: 3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, Miami-Dade, Florida 33129, United States). To get there you would have to take a bus to Downtown Miami. And if you are at all interested in art and history and architecture then this is a place to be. I loved the whole day that I spend at this place and took a lot of pictures as well. After that I took a tour to go to Orlando the next day to visit Disney World. It was really big, so big that you have to take busses or train to get from one park to another. Soon after I returned from Orlando, it was time to head to the airport as I had an early flight so I chose to stay in the airport for couple of hours rather than sleeping in and missing my flight by any chance. This was very long flight as I was supposed to catch another plane once I got to Los Angeles from here and then to Sydney from there. It was going to be a long flight I thought but wasn’t quiet ready for the bumps on the way yet to come.

Funny enough I had an interesting night in the airport as I was totally wet from the rain in Orlando and my shoes, cap, jeans, jacket and few other clothes… everything was super wet so I had to now dry them all to reduce the weight of my luggage and still keep it as carry on. Now if you ever tried to dry anything in the drier in the washroom other than hands then you would know what I am talking about. It took me four hours to dry everything and it gave me a chance to talk to the lady cleaning the place as well. It must have been weird for her to see the door of the washroom closed for sooo long and hear the drier. I know I have this was not something people do but I had nothing else to do in the airport anyways although it did make me laugh thinking what all things I can do at desperate times….LOL. Anyways you always remember such things so I don’t regret now.

Another stop was at Atlanta where we were supposed to change planes. I soon had a heavy breakfast after de-boarding the plane which I regretted soon as it was way too heavy for my stomach. But soon I realized that it was a good idea to have some food as we were stuck in Atlanta for next 6 hours now due to the weather conditions. Storm was coming from New York and all the incoming flights were either delayed or cancelled. After 3 hours I started to get worried now as I had to catch another plane in Los Angeles and that too with different airline with no insurance in case I miss the flight. Zeez it started to get a bit scary as every hour passed. I started to loose my nerve now after almost no sleep last night and waiting in the airport for so long. I soon went to get another boarding pass (this was fourth in a row) and made a joke to some one standing near the machine while getting the boarding pass. I was almost into tears but then this guy made me feel better by talking to me about the whole situation and about my travel in USA. Some times I guess just the human touch can do wonders. And that’s what I felt after I talked to him after being so frustrated. Finally we boarded the flight. Once I got off the plane in Los Angeles, my friend there came to visit me and we went for dinner before my next flight back to Sydney.

 My friend then dropped me back to the airport only for me to realize that after all this travelling (day and night), I had forgotten the actual date of my flight and was in the airport a day early. My god, jetlag and lots of planes with no sleep can do that to you I thought. But I was lucky as the lady at the desk pre-poned my flight and got me on a plane the same night due to the cancellation of lot of other incoming flights.  And I was able to come to Sydney on Sunday rather than Monday morning just before work. It was really good as I did need to take some rest before I could go to work again. Pffff…so this was my journey to USA, first time in the main land other than Hawaii last year. And I can say it was hilarious, scary, emotional, adventurous and fun. Nothing that I every thought of but for the best. God Bless USA 🙂

Warm Regards,

Kavita

Bucket-List 2013 : Plan for New Year and Christmas in Miami and Los Angeles

A smile and hug from Sydney. I had an amazing weekend this time like many others and I am back to share some stories and experience with you including my bucketlist adventure. Here is a link for my bucket list if you haven’t read it yet.

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

Item #11: Plan for New Year and Christmas in Miami and Los Angeles

Looks like things are falling in place and I am off to Los Angeles for Christmas and Miami for New Year. Awesome holidays after hard work at the job. I am lucky to have you all to share my happiness as well. I am planning to also visit Las Vegas and Grand Canyon when I am in Los Angeles. It should be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to this break now.

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.

You got to have hope and a smile – Rest will follow

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“I would rather be dreaming than living,
Living is just too hard to do.
Its chances not choices,
Noises not voices, Day is just to hard to get through.”

These lines made me think how easy it is sometimes to loose hope. But rough times are only there to remind us that we need to change whatever we are doing and get back to the good things to make it a better start and a better life for ourselves. I have changed, in last one year my life has taken several turns and as a person I have developed a lot, learned a lot and found a new me. In this journey I went through different phases – phase when I was giggly, phase when I was calm and happy, phase when I was upset, phase when I was sad and depressed, phase when I had this unknown fear of new things, phase when I found this new courage in me to do stuff which I never thought I could do before. It was amazing how life has changed so much in just one year. Now when I look back and see where I was and where I have come, I can see what all choices I made and what all options I created myself. I would never regret any of it and if given a second chance I don’t think I would like to change any thing either. I am standing in a booth in the airport, about to embark on another adventure this year, thinking how many people I have met and how many lives I have learned about. The roller coaster of emotions have been overwhelming at times and I have been stubborn not to face the truth several times but yet I have come so far and that’s what makes us all who we are. We keep going in this journey of life and things happen but the truth is ‘it shall too pass’ no matter what. Thats’ why it’s very important to keep your head down a little when time is bad and think ‘it shall too pass’ and keep the light shining in your eyes when you know time is little to enjoy the good things that are happening in life. Make choices that comes from your heart and every once in a while try to disconnect yourself from rest of the world and think about who you are and what you would like to do if rest of the world didn’t exist or didn’t matter, those would be few things that would lead you to the light hidden in your subconscious that might be worth discovering.

I am still learning, every day and every moment as some passes me in my sleep and some catches my fancy when I am awake. But this journey is worth enjoying as we don’t have another life to wait for or loose this one to find another one. Things that haven’t happened yet doesn’t exist in this universe, things that have happened are lost on the way, only things that are happening to you are worth thinking about and living those moments in them. Rest all is just a creativity of your mind as not even a single thing other than present is really true. So try not to focus on past too much as it would take away the time you have to relish your present and don’t plan too much for future as that might have nothing to do with your imagination. I don’t say leave everything and chase your dream yet as before that you might have to go on a journey of self discovery and then only you would know what dreams are real and what are just fantasy that you just picked up on the way. As while going through my own self discovery journey I have learned that the dreams that I had when I was a child have changed quiet a lot. I have got a different understanding of the world and more awareness of myself. I would still like to stay in touch with myself and learn more and more about this world and myself and things are changing every moment as I am writing this and as you are reading this. But that’s brings variety in life as change is the only constant and we need to learn to change in order to survive or rather I should say that we should become change and rest will follow.

With hope and smile, welcome every new day. It might be sunny and beautiful someday whereas it might be raining and cloudy some other times (as we have in Sydney these days). But remember ‘this shall too pass’. Life is not hard its just the choices we make some time that lead us to certain difficulty in life. And once we are aware of this then we make an effort to give it a thought before making any choice. I don’t say wait for too long as the opportunity might pass otherwise but don’t get into mad rush and run blindly everywhere. Open your eyes as even if you end up on a difficult path you would be able to figure out a way out.

To all my friends out there in sadness and happiness, in need of a friend or in need of a voice to help them. This might not give you everything you need but this might help you to think few things on your own and find your own path in life.

Regards,

Kavita

Whitest Beach in the world – Awesome way to spend weekend

Whiteheaven is one of the whitest beach in the world. So if you are in Sydney then try to go to Whitsundays and from there you can sail to Whiteheaven, Hamilton and many beautiful islands. The closest mainland area is Airle Beach and you can get there from Sydney in 1 hour by flight. Or you can choose to fly to Mackay which is bit cheaper and take greyhound bus to Airle Beach. The bus only runs once in a day each way so plan accordingly. It was a hectic trip due to less number of days but it was an amazing experience. I would share some more tips and details of my trip in the next post. And more pics from the Daydream island where I spend half of my day eating good lunch n relaxing near the pool bar so stay tuned 🙂

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Guide to a happy return after travelling

 

Stanwell Park

Stanwell Park

 

I know it sounds almost impossible to be happy when you love travelling and now it is time to go back to your old life with a job and regular day to day life. I have felt this many times and I am sure you have too. But this time when I came back and I knew I can not travel international for rest of the year as I just got a new job and to get my citizenship in this country I might have to be here at least 1.5 years then I wasn’t happy thinking about it. But then as a matter of fact you don’t stop living with so many things in your mind and you have to find a way out. Here are some tips that I would like to share with you that I am using in my day to day life to make my life with not enough travel happier and more content.

  •  It’s never over – You should never think its over as travelling can never finish when you love travelling. Hence it is just a refreshing break from the long or short term travel and time to reflect back with awesome memories till you go back again to some more awesome places.
  • Don’t stop completely – You should still plan some short term or weekend gateway away as that keep the momentum and its always good to get away for a change. That is the very reason you started travelling and even you go to the places you have been before those places would be different for you this time with a completely new perspective.
  • Do something you really love  Sometimes travelling restricts us from doing many things that require to stay at one place or more money when we are not earning. For example: you always wanted to learn dancing or martial arts. This is the time to do it. You love doing these things then do it. No matter whether travelling or dancing makes you happy, doing something you love will make your life so much more happier.
  • Be grateful – Very important rule in life – if you want to be happy then be grateful for what you have and never take any thing for granted. And when I say any thing that means literally anything as many people out there don’t have it and they would be very fortunate to be able to have your life.
  • Make new friends – This you can do everywhere even though when you are travelling you feel more confident meeting new people. But try meeting new people in your own city/town this time as it would make such a big difference.
  • Make the world travel to you – Invite people to visit you. What if you can’t travel but the world can travel to you. Couch surfing is a great way to meet people from around the world. Or you can even join meet-up groups (http://www.meetup.com/) for different interests or age groups.
  • Stop comparing – You are not missing out while others are travelling as you are just taking a break and when others would be back then you would be out on the road. A lot of times we are not unhappy due to our own issues but rather unhappy due to others happiness or activities. Stop comparing as who else is doing what as that will reduce life time of your miseries to be honest. I know its hard but if you think about you have something else which others might not have and you are learning something else in the course of life.
  • Stop being lazy – Now that you are home you don’t get up early anymore even on the weekends as you think travelling was the time you had something to do but now its boring life again. I have started doing tours or things I wasn’t able to do while travelling like – advanced scuba dive course, salsa classes. This gives me a reason to wake up early and go. I wasn’t going to gym for a long time and I find it good to join back and get on the fitness track again before I hit the road again.
  • Indulge yourself into food – You can always try different cuisines even in your home country. Or at least you can try cooking for a change if you like. I put this thing in my bucket list try 10 different new cuisines and guess what, I got introduced to some amazing flavours that I never knew exists before.
  • Friends gathering – You miss to meet friends when you are away and even when I am travelling more domestic on weekends I miss my friends so I make a point to meet each one of them when I am back. That way I am in touch with them and its always something happening to keep me busy.
  • Learn something new – You can always learn something new. Either it’s a new language or new skill. You would have more money and time to dedicate yourself to learn these things when you are back and before you go on travelling again. It will even enrich your experience when you travel next with all these new learning’s as well.
  • Plan  – You can always plan where and how you want to travel in new future. One of the best thing about travelling is to look forward to travel and you can always maintain it with the plans and discussion around your travelling. I am excited even after just having thought of going to South America next year with my friends. Its always gives you a reason to smile and something to look forward to.

Travel Myths

 

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  • It is very expensive
  • I do not have a job so I can not travel as of now
  • I have a family and travel is for single people
  • I have pets and I can not leave them to travel
  • I have a good job so I can not travel
  • I may get killed or abducted
  • I am a responsible person so I can not leave everything and go travelling
  • I am not crazy to go travelling myself people will think I am mad
  • Not now but someday I might get a chance to travel
  • It’s not safe to travel alone
  • How can I travel alone as my partner and friends are not interested in travelling
  • I am vegetarian so I can not travel as I might not find good food
  • My family might not like it
  • I do not know many languages, how will I survive in foreign land
  • I do not have to run away from anything so why travel
  • Break in my career would not look good so I can not travel
  • I have a mortgage for house/car/education so its not possible for me to travel
  • I watch all the places in TV and travel show so why travel
  • I am not sure where to go as world is so big
  • Its not a good time to travel in this economy
  • I am too young to travel alone
  • I am too old to travel alone
  • No one travels alone from my culture, what would other people say
  • I am not retired yet as then I can go travel when I would have more time

We have so many excuses/myths not to travel even when we dream to go to beautiful places to experience wonderful new cultures, food and interaction with different people. So what can you do? Open a notepad and start writing why would you want to travel and I am damn sure that the reason to travel will outnumber the reason why you are not able to travel. Life is short and if you like travelling then nothing should stop you other than procrastination. So stop making excuses and book your next destination as even when you can’t leave your job and go away for long time, but you can always plan short trips with family, friends or your own wonderful company.

I had never travelled alone in my country as my parents would not let me go even to the next town alone. And my brother would always tag along wherever I went. Not that I didn’t like his company but I never really got the confidence that I can make it alone. But here I am after many years, travelling solo almost everywhere for last 2.5 years after my first solo adventure to Fiji. So if I, a single Indian girl, can do it then so can you. Just need to take a step at a time and then you will see that a whole new world of opportunities is waiting for you.

Happy and safe travels!

Last minute check before travelling

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Most Important things:

  1. Passport / ID card depending upon where (domestic/international) you are travelling is available
  2. Air/train/bus ticket handy
  3. Visa is stamped if required
  4. Stay is arranged at the destination
  5. Backpack / suitcase ready for travelling
  6. Clothes packed as per the weather of the destination
  7. Medicines are available as per the individual requirement
  8. Copy a list of important numbers and save them separately in case of emergency (phone’s battery is dead)

Other Important things:

  1. Printout/copy of all the booked tours is handy
  2. Camera is charged and handy to take pictures with enough memory
  3. Phone is charged
  4. Phone has got the roaming activated if required
  5. Web-check in is done as it expedite the process while you are in the airport these days
  6. You have got the credit card working and also have some cash with you
  7. Check the fees that is charged on your card and keep the online banking details handy

Last but not the least keep smiling as sometimes preparation can be stressful but you need to remember that travel makes you happy 🙂

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.

10 must do things when you are in India

 

  1. Attend a festival – We have so many festivals in India that every month you can count a few.  India is the most colorful land when it comes to festivals. No matter which month you go, there is always something going on. Although few big festivals are Holi, Diwali and Dussehra are the main festivals.
  2. Attend a marriage – Indians have big fat weddings and some of the riches are famous for show off as well but it’s worth attending a marriage when you are there as it is an easy way to immerse yourself in the culture and get the feel of the soul of Indian culture in short time that too with a lot of fun.
  3. Cook an Indian meal – You will learn so much about different spices that Indians use in their food as well as the reason to use them. Ever spice has a property that helps either in digestion or healing or something else in your body that you will discover when you try cooking some of the stuff. Do learn how to cook ‘daal’ and ‘saag’. You would be able to boast when you go back that you can cook some Indian food and guess what lots of people around the world love Indian food.
  4. Watch any classical dance performance – We have many
  5. Go to temple and worship in traditional way. Every evening devotees gather to sing praise in temples and it is music to ear and one of the things that you must experience
  6. Eat at the stalls by the side of streets – Give it some more time when you arrive in India as you might be new to this kind of non-hygienic way of eating but locals eat on such place almost every day. Even the corporate professionals walk down the street from their work place to enjoy some snacks every now and then. Make sure that you eat something that is cooked in front of you and not sitting there for quiet a while. There are some hygienic but little expensive options to try the same things in good restaurants like Haldiram where hygiene is guaranteed. Although many Indians think it doesn’t taste as good as the roadside food but it should be fine as long as you can get the feel of various food here. Like everywhere else you can also get McDonald here but with an Indian touch. Although I would suggest to avoid that if you are not feeling home sick.
  7. Shop from the street market and bargain the price – One of the surprising experience you might have when you buy something less than 20% of the actual cost. You need to know that most of the times shop keepers rise the price when they think you are a foreigner. So make sure not to get ripped just because you are travelling. One of the tricks to get a good bargain is not to show much interest otherwise they are smart enough to know that you like the stuff and you might be happy to pay any price they ask for.
  8. Live with a local family – This is the closest you can see and live the soul of the very culture in any country. And India is no different. So make friends and try to live with some one’s family and eat home made food. I bet you wouldn’t regret it.
  9. Get a pic on a rickshaw and bus – You will see the difference immediately from other places. It’s fun though.
  10. Travel by train – I know its is a little bit tough and scary at first but after listening to many fellow traveler I can say one thing. You can see true India here. Just few hours of journey and you will make lots of friends and hear many stories. But make sure you keep your bags around you all the time in case something is not insured.

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

One more item completed – Smiles to share with two of my articles published

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Item Number #48  – Send one article to get published

Hey friends,

I got two of my articles published in a travel website. Hurrah! That makes me very happy and I am here to share some of it with you all. Here are the links for my article that got published if you wish to have a look 🙂

A Pit Stop in the City of Festivals – http://www.thehostellife.com/news/item/453

9 Rivers Routes to Go Kayaking In Nepal – http://www.thehostellife.com/news/item/452

Regards,

Kavita

How to save money to travel

 

  1. Cut back on the movie night outs and get a DVD with friends and family and enjoy at home.
  2. Try to prepare healthy meals more at home – saves the cost and you might get into more cooking and that will really help when travelling for long and guess what it will also help you make new friends as people love good food 😉
  3. Make sure that you check your wardrobe before going for shopping as most of the times you might already have enough clothes or other stuff that you might be thinking to buy. So better give the existing stuff a try.
  4. Subscriptions – So many times we subscribe for magazines or other things and pay for them month after month that we never even use. Try to find out if you are paying for something every month and not really using it as much. It’s better to buy it once or twice when you really want it then a monthly or weekly supply in that case.
  5. Party – Many of us love partying, but it is always possible to throw some economic ones where everyone can bring their own booze and something to share. More variety to share and no one has the burden to do a lot.
  6. Alcohol – This used to make a big hole in my pocket every time I used to go out as this used to deduct a good amount from my budget while travelling. Now it wouldn’t be the case as I quit drinking, but you can also save some money by making sure that you do not drink too much outside as it is far more expensive to drink in the pub or bar, even better if you can get your friends at home and buy from the wholesale shop as that’s cheaper as well. Dry July in Australia is also a good way to stop drinking for a month as it will immensely motivate you to save and then once you know how much you can save by not drinking, you might be tempted to do it more often.  Just keep a jar in the kitchen or a place where you can see it regularly and put the money in the jar whenever you think of drinking and label it a picture of your dream destination – mine is Greece 🙂
  7. Try to take a walk every now and then instead of warming your car every time you get out of house as this will do some good to you health wise and also will save you some bucks.
  8. Make a list of things that you do on regular basis – hobbies, outing with friends or family and try see the activities where you might be spending more money and see if you can reduce the frequency of those activities and replace them with less expensive activities. Example: Go outdoor rock-climbing than indoor that way you can save the cost for entry every time you go for rock climbing and will get more experience in the real world.
  9. Many times when we are free then we tend to spend more money without realizing at times so my advice would be to take upon some hobbies like hiking, cycling or running as this will give something to utilize your time and will be good for your health at the same time.
  10. Make new friends with the similar objectives to save money either for travelling or house or something else. As this will help you to get motivated and also you wouldn’t be forced to spend more money each time you go out.
  11. Many creative activities are not so expensive as writing, photography or painting etc. This way you can still live a fun life without getting bored and still saving for your travel.
  12. Make sure you are staying in reasonably priced place as this can be a big part of your weekly/monthly expenses whereas you need a place to sleep every night and relax really. I myself live in a place which is comfortable enough but not very expensive on the other side. At times I get tempted to get my own place but that means easily three times the expenses and when I travel I live in backpackers anyways so why spoil the habit way too much. So it is very important that you choose carefully where you live.
  13. Make sure your phone plan is according to your usage as sometimes we hardly use the credit we pay for or we get a plan for everything but we never even use much of it. This seems like small thing but we have number of such expenditure that accumulates into big money.
  14. Also because you are planning to travel so make sure you do not buy anything extra unnecessary that you might have to get rid of soon.  If you can cut back on any new expenses then do that. I have not bought even a single piece of furniture other than a single bed since I moved to Australia for last 2.5 years. No TV not evens a heater. People think I am rich but I would say that I am really good with savings as I have no support but myself to do all the things I have been done in my life since a very early age so I would give credit to my ability to save and know my priorities well.
  15. Use online banking often to see how much money have you got in your account and try not to use credit card too much as it makes you lose account of the money you owe very easily and next thing you know – you are in big debt and that becomes another reason not to be able to travel. Also if you do use credit card then sign up for rewards on credit cards.
  16. If you put your heart on travelling then it’s a good advice to be extremely cautious before taking any loan as that can restrict you with time and money both. Go for house loan only when you are sure you can rent it out for good amount of money when you go away and still pay the mortgage as that is one of the biggest reason people can’t travel many times. Once you are done travelling there will be plenty of opportunity to think about such long time commitments but till then it’s better to keep an eye on your ambitious plans about owning things.
  17. Make a list of things you might like to do before you travel and then prioritise them as many times there are things that make you happier and are less expensive to do so this will give you a clear picture as to what you might like to do to save money and still stay happy.
  18. Open a saving account and transfer some money to that account when you get your salary and forget about it as this will make sure that you are saving some money every month no matter what. And then either you can contribute to it more or take out from it in case of emergency.
  19. Take up another job if you can and also think of starting something new that can help you support while you are travelling. Example: online business, travel blog etc.
  20. Keep an eye on the flight deals for the various destinations. Also few airlines give cheap tickets on certain days of the week so better plan accordingly as it can easily make difference of 10% to 50% sometimes.
  21. See if you can do without the gym membership as sometimes a good gym can cost quite a bit. And if you are already doing hiking or running outside then you can keep some weights and few other things at home and make a mini gym to work out for no fee at all.
  22. Buying used stuff can sound not so good but at times it is worth considering for furniture and other stuff if you really need it. Also make sure you can differentiate between the things you may want and things that you need. As many times we have huge expenses over things that we want and not really need.
  23. Deals and coupons’ are a great way to save money. Since I have moved to Australia I myself have done so many things with some very good deals. And if you are flexible enough then you can get yourself a very good deal for the things you want to do or for food outlets.
  24. Sometimes we have so many things that we can use so go for a garage sale and try to get rid of the stuff you don’t need. This is a win-win as you make money and also get rid of extra stuff.
  25. Make a diary if you can with some pictures of various places you want to go in the front few pages and write down the inflow and outflow of money every month. You can do it with the online banking and see how much you are earning, how much you are saving and how much you are spending. Once you make this habit then you will start thinking in the direction of saving money and you will be able to come up with new ideas to save money as a way to go to these dream destinations. Think how much fun it would be to sit in one of the most beautiful locations in the world and think about all the smart thinking you put in all this planning that successfully got you there. It is worth doing I promise.

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.

Is money more important than happiness?

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After having read the basics about money in my last post  Money is a good servant, but a bad master, I would like you to take a moment and think about todays situation. Why is that we feel that money is very important. Even when we are growing up, money seems to be very important in life so we always have the desire to have money and to save it if possible for the times when we can spend it for our various needs. But what do we do at times, we become so obsessed with money that we start loving it and try to save even a single penny and avoid spending on ourselves. So either we are on the other side – extravagant or we are too cautious to spend it at all. If any of us have seen financial crisis while growing up or have gone through such times at any point of our lives we start taking money as a source of happiness and security. No matter it does make us secure financially but to some point. As after that we need to be able to spend it on our requirement to grow every now and then. I have been one of those people I guess who have given too much importance to money, not that I start mistreating people or something but when it used to came to myself I would hardly spend any money. It is from last two years that I realised that it’s my money and it’s OK to spend it on myself or to fulfil my needs and desires through it if needed.
It struck me today that I am on the path of being free from the fears as part of my bucket list for the year, but then I also realised I am not free at all. I do have my own attachments and one of them is money. There have been such times that I avoided having food when I am travelling to stay on budget. And I am sure everyone has gone through this at least once when we feel like it’s better to save money for something better than using it for some immediate needs. I am on a mission to find everything about being happy so this is also one of my concerns. This doesn’t mean that we need to go to 5 start hotel everyday to have the best meal, but it does mean that doing small acts like saving a meal at times can also make us fall in love with the attachment of money and start trading our needs in terms of money.
I have been trying to imagine a world without money. Wired right, but then I was thinking about the original purpose of money as well. Why we invented this tool – to fulfil our needs. Right, and what are we doing with it? Accumulating a lot of times. People coming from rich background might not understand it fully that there are emotions attached to money at times. What happens when we start storing it for endless future – people who are not able to earn enough go through poverty. How would be life when there is a balance in terms of money? Don’t you think people would be happier? Did we invent money thinking that there might be people who are buying aeroplanes and on the other end there are people who don’t even have enough food for a meal or shelter for shade? Was this the purpose of money that our immediate family is only the owner of our stored money whereas some of the people around the world are starving to death? How did we let this happen? We didn’t want this did we? That money – piece of paper will become more important than life. How is this fair to mankind that we start trading people for money and selling ourselves for money? Didn’t we devise this tool to make it easier to exchange daily good and food and not to make nuclear bombs? Haven’t we have been spreading unhappiness by creating lack of money in certain countries or areas?
As I am writing this my heart is crying thinking about those new born babies who have to see poverty growing up and who will come to learn that we humans have made money everything and they are nothing without it. My soul is feeling so cramped with this notion that we have limited the natural happiness that is universal and unlimited by our own invention called money. I can’t make people happy today as all they think is if they have money then they can be happy. I can’t bring smile on every face today as they haven’t eaten for few days without money. Why things can’t be simple and we can use the things given to us by nature to feed ourselves and grow rich spiritually. God or whoever made this universe didn’t put a price tag on anything but we did. Everything in universe is really free to survive and live but we are selling even water. We love to own things and trade it later whether it’s land, water or even forests. How can I bring people close to themselves when they are lost in this vicious circle? Share your thoughts on this.

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.

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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Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days

You would say I was crazy to travel 9 cities in 7 days in a new country – Sri Lanka. No, I did see all the attractions, climbed a mountain, worshiped in temples, prayed in monastery, walked around the world’s end. How did I manage to do it? Yes, that’s the question I am looking for now. For some reason I am usually a very fast traveler. I traveled around Bali in 14 days which was reasonable good amount of time to see most of the places there. But this went crazy when I arrived in Sri Lanka with only 7 days in my kitty and no patience to wait till the next visit to see more.

Yes, I did go crazy otherwise how do you suggest I could travel there in 7 days via public transport and still manage to see most of the things without skipping anything. Of course there was a high level of discomfort, specially when you realize that being a travel doesn’t guarantee you the seat in the 5-6 hours of bus and train can be delayed for infinite time sometimes. But then you get used to of it and you start using your tired brain for nice ideas like accepting the situation and use your time to read a nice book in the train station and sit on the floor on the bus to save yourself from ultimate tiredness.

Now, I didn’t promise it is going to be a luxury trip – did I? So here we go…

1000 KM and 9 cities in 7 Days with 150 USD cash (excluding airfare) – Crazy Travels (You don’t believe? Have a look at the facts then)

Bandaranaike International Airport –> Colombo
31.0 KM, Estimated: 51 minutes, Actual: 3 hours
By Auto and Bus

Colombo —> Anuradhapura
202 KM, Estiamted: 3 Hours and 25 Minutes, Actual: 6 hours 30 minutes
By Train

Anuradhapura –> Polonnaruwa
107 KM, Estimated: 1 hour 39 minutes, Actual: 3 hours
By Bus

Polonnaruwa –> Sigiriya
58.8 KM, Estimated: 57 minutes , Actual: 1 hour 30 minutes
By Bus

Sigiriya –> Dambulla
18.8 KM, Estimated: 20 minutes, Actual: 40 minutes
By Bus

Dambulla –> Kandy
72.8 KM, Estimated: 1 hour 33 minutes, Actual: 2 hours
By Bus

Kandy –> Nuwara Eliya
73.4 KM, Estimated: 1 hour 8 minutes, Actual: 2 hours
By Train (Famous for the view)

Nuwara Eliya –> Ella
64.6 KM, Estimated: 1 hour 3 minutes, Actual: 2 hours
By Bus

Ella –> Kandy
138 KM, Estimated: 3 hours, Actual: 5 Hours 30 minutes
By Train

Kandy –> Negombo
104 KM, Estimated: 2 hours, Actual: 10 Hours
By Bus

Negombo –> Bandaranaike International Airport
9.9 KM, Estimated: 15 miutes, Actual: 30 minutes
By Bus

60 – Approximate walking
60 – Auto in the cities

Now this is an approximate that I was able to get via Google maps and that can result in few KM here and there. So you are ready to start with me? I am going to take you on a brief trip with me now.

I arrived in Sri Lanka Airport and realized that I didn’t have to bring all the jumpers with me looking at the humidity. But that was just the start. Then I decided to take the public transport to get to my hostel and was welcomed by rain on the way to the gate. I had more trust on my strength than any auto around so I started walking to the bus stand which turned to be further ahead than I was suggested by the locals. But then I was being talked into taking an auto to get there only after walking for at least 15 minutes. I was then able to secure the back seat in the bus. Soon I was relaxed after no sleep for one night and two days (My flight was early morning around 5 AM from Delhi to Chennai and Chennai to Sri Lanka, this was the reason I came to the Delhi airport in the night itself to make sure I don’t miss the flight in case I sleep in and also that was a pre-caution for security I thought was worth taking rather than taking a cab in the night in Delhi). So here I was successfully arrived in Sri Lanka on my own.

[Also I would like to add some more details to it. This trip was a result of 3 hours of confusion as to what shall I go for a relaxing week before going to Sydney from India. And then I had to cancel meeting a friend over the weekend as I was now heading to the Airport in the evening..lol…I know it sounds crazy but this is the reason that unlike many other times I had no idea what I am going to do in this new country.]

Now back to the actual story – I felt a pull on my purse and realized a guy sitting near me was trying to take my purse. As soon as I realized this I lost no time in shouting over him and rest of the people came to help me but he was quick enough to run when the bus driver stopped the bus hearing all the noises from the back. I some how managed to get the second bus to my destination now after the bus driver and conductor tried to rip me off by telling me wrong currency conversion. Thank God I knew how much it was though. A nice local helped me in the next bus to get the correct fare finally and I got to my hostel. I was tired and angry with the situation but didn’t take much time to cool off when I met other travelers from different countries. See this is why I love hostels at times because its always good to meet people when you are in such a situation. First of all its distracting and then it helps to share and cools you down a little. Not that I am an angry woman but wrong doings can make me really agitated to be honest. Till then I am a happy go lucky person 😉

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Then me and another guy took out the map and started planning my next few days itinerary as I was there for the shortest time. And that way we both were also making notes of nice places to see in various cities. I took few pictures of map afterwards as there was only one map in the hostel (Yes I know I am so badly prepared with any thing at all). Then next day I left Colombo to go to the city of ancient kingdom, the first capital of Sri Lanka – Anuradhapura. It was supposed to be 3.5 hours by train but it took 6.5 hours. So don’t be amazed as it happens there as well as in India. So have a buffer whenever you are planning to take train there. And also the trains run only few times a day so be careful and make sure you plan accordingly. Finally I arrived in Anuradhapura with no booking for hostel as I was assuming to get there in the afternoon and find the place accordingly. I met few locals on the trains and two ladies from them called a known auto-rickshaw driver for me to search a hotel. I finally found a nice place that was way out of my budget so I had to use my bargaining skills to convince them that its not a loss for them to give me room as at this time when they have half of their hotel empty not many tourist are going to come. I got the room and took a much needed sleep after a day long train trip. Next day I was ready with my back pack and called an Auto to show me around and then planned to catch a bus to my next destination – Polonnaruwa (Second capital of Sri Lanka).

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I loved this little cave….place used for prayers

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At this place more than 300 monks used to pray almost 1000 years ago

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I have never met such an intellectual auto-rickshaw driver in my life. This guys knew each and everything about the town. Its a common practice there that if you book an Auto then the driver is also your guide. And one more very important thing – there is an entrance fees almost everywhere in Sri Lanka. So there is an option to either buy the ticket yourself and roam around at your own. Or you can book the auto in the same price and they arrange the ticket for you and show you around. I was aware of this fact from the guide that I read a day before coming here. So I chose the second option due to lack of time. So I was able to see the old town in few hours and he even dropped me to the bus station.

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Bath for royal family

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Remains of Stupa

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Cave Temple

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Luckily people in Sri Lanka were celebrating festival

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Prayers

Oh it seems that my post is getting very long and I have to share the pics as well so why not I post the rest of it in next post 🙂 I would love you to come back and have a look at the next one as then I can tell how was I able to spend so less and still have a wonderful experience in this beautiful country 🙂

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Stupa – Sign of world peace

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I was told that the circle of life is represented by this half moon

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Walk on Water – Sydney Harbor Bridge

Constructed till19th January 1932 and opened since 19th March 1932, Sydney Harbour Bridge has been used by countless people on foot as well as by other means including bicycle. The bridge was designed by a British firm called  Dorman Long and Co Ltd. Still standing tall as an icon it was also known as “The Coathanger” because of its arch-based design.

New year is Sydney is spectacular and the bridge is an integral part of it. Also the more adventurous souls can try to climb this bridge and get an amazing view of the city. I was walking home one day and while crossing the bridge thought of clicking some pics of the bridge that I would like to share with you.

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Now that you have already seen the pics lets take a look at some very interesting facts about the bridge:

  • It a 1439 steps climb to the top of the bridge
  • A very interesting fact is that the pylons are only decoration! They don’t really hold it up
    Fact shared by Lyn (http://theencouragingscribe.wordpress.com) – Actor Paul Hogan, of Crocodile Dundee fame, used to be a rigger on the Sydney Harbour bridge and spent his days painting the iconic landmark.
  • It is the second longest single arch bridge in the world after the Bayonne Bridge in the US (70 cms longer than this)
  • Average traffic has increased from planned 11 thousand to 160 thousand till date
  • The Bridge is painted grey because it was the only paint they had enough of at the time!
  • The area it takes to paint it is the size of 60 sports fields.
  • The payment (20 million dollars) of the  bridge took 56 years to be made.

Some more typical facts about the bridge:

  • The Length of each arch span is 503 metres
  • The Height to the top of the aircraft beacon is 141 metres above mean sea level
  • Width of the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s deck is 49 metres
  • Clearance for shipping and vessels is 49 metres
  • Height of the Bridges pylons are 89 metres above mean sea level

Also refer the below link for more information on the same:
http://sydneyharbourbridge.aussieblogs.com.au/facts-about-the-sydney-harbour-bridge/

Hard to travel alone being a girl – Interesting experiences in Sri Lanka

Yes at times yes pretty much specially in the male dominating culture. In places where not many local girls are seen in the beach, you will feel a little bit harassed as you are the only eye candy there as a tourist. I am leaving Sri Lanka today. I would love to say I would miss everything here but can’t specially because of one question being asked repeatedly – ‘Are you married or do you have a boyfriend’, even by the Auto-rickshaw driver. I end up lecturing one on last day telling him that it’s rude to ask such questions when you don’t even know the person well.

I headed to the airport and the same story there in the shops or at the security gates. Its one thing to be nice and another to be able to avoid such things. I had no issue with the person trying to snatch my bag on my way to hotel first day in Sri Lanka. I also could tolerate that somebody stole my sandal when I was visiting the pilgrimage place in Pulunawarava. But when it happens so often that even the person doing work in tourism pester you when you say hello, then its a bit too much.

I would love to come back to Sri Lanka but these things make me think how to avoid this frustration when you meet such guys around here. And one more thing I can’t understand that they need to know their limits and let the others enjoy their holidays. It was not totally a bad experience and I would say 90% locals I met very amazingly good to me. I met a family that made me feel home, a local restaurant owner who helped me in getting a hotel as a friend. I did make many friends here so hopefully I would return one day. Still I would say it was a very interesting and spicy experience where I also got angry at few people which I usually don’t due to their behavior (repeating themselves after getting totally drunk). And my heart melt when the lady at my home stay offered me tea expecting no money after days of paying extra money for everything. And many people who helped me in getting from one place to another with directions and local information.

Sri Lanka – A very beautiful country as per the geography and very interesting because of the culture. Loved it, hated it, got angry at but will still miss it

Hawaii – Day 1 (Started with a stranger and ended up with bunch of friends)

I made it just in time and it was first time I suppose that I did not have to wait in the queue and got myself checked in quickly. As usual I was travelling with my backpack that makes for the carry on as per its weight (less than 8 Kilogram). Now had to grab some snacks before my flight as it was 6 PM and I didn’t want to end up eating something in the flight that I might not like.  Thats it, plane is flying to Honolulu, Hawaii finally. My holidays started and I am more than relaxed thinking about it. My co-passenger is a girl and we have the seats at the very back of the plane. It’s the first time I was sitting this close to the toilet. Although it was not that bad as I was thinking. Rachel, the girl sitting next to me started talking to me and we had an initial introduction. Not sure it is the usual me or the travelling thing as I went on and on with her and we discussed a lot of things, enough to be friends in future. Also we shared some snacks in the seat between us where fortunately no one was sitting. It was really cool to meet her as we didn’t feel that we were travelling on our own as we couldn’t stop giggling. And than we watched a movie on her laptop with shared pair of headphone. Overall we both cherished the experience we had and start planning to hang out in Honolulu as she was staying there for 3 night. coincidentally we both were staying in the same place so that was easy. We both caught the bus to our place. Shuttle bus is 13 USD since the regular bus is 2.5 USD and you can reach almost all the places in Honolulu. So you can choose the option accordingly.

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I was staying in ‘Hokondo Waikiki Beachside Hostel’. The staff is very friendly there and they helped us with our backpacks by storing them for us, when we reached there early (directly from the Airport).  It was only then when I realized that my card was not working. New travel card that wasn’t activated yet which was very embarrassing. But the people in the backpacker were friendly and let me check in while I was checking with my bank about the issue. Meanwhile we headed to the beach when I realized it will take few hours to resolve. And there it was the most breathtaking view of the day – beach. Crystal clear blue water..just the most awesome feeling I had that time. We soon jumped into the water for a swim. It took some time before I was able to sort out the issue with my travel money card. Tip – If you are going to buy the travel money card for travelling then do register and check the status and all online to make sure it’s activated by bank as in my case they had forgotten to do so. Finally I checked into my room and met my new roommates including Rachel (girl from the flight). Now it was time to socialize in new place. Fortunately all my roommates (few were missing from the room) were very good and friendly so I didn’t have much trouble making friends. After few hours we headed to get some good food.

Time in Hawaii is 10 hours behind Sydney which makes the next day also 31st January (same day I flew for Hawaii). It is cool as it feels like you have time traveled into the past. You keep thinking that it should be the next day but time wise it is not. It took me a while to get the confusion of date and time out of my system.

We had dinner in Lu-Lu’s, a famous bar and restaurant among backpackers and they have special Tuesday nights in Waikiki beach with 10 USD entry fees. You can go there before 9 PM and get the band for yourself for free and then you don’t have to pay the entry fees when you enter after 9 PM. Few friends of mine did this. I was too busy hanging out with other sets of friends to carry out this. But any ways we had dinner with blue Hawaii cocktail and Pina Colada.

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Then after returning to the hostel our new roommate shared some very funny and interesting stories of his friends which made it even more fun. A new girl came to share the room by now (we were in the 8 people room, two rooms each with 4 beds). She joined in the discussion and we just loved the evening. After few more drinks we bid goodnight and had a peaceful and relaxing night.

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 😉