Have you been finding it difficult to sit on the same chair for hours every day? Do you often catch yourself browsing the Internet for exotic destinations across the world? Has your boss caught you doing that too? If yes, here’s the moment of truth; you’re in a bad need of a vacation. And, if you think that a single vacation won’t satiate your wanderlust, here’s an even bigger truth you need to come in terms with! Dear, you and traveling are a match made in heaven; soul mates indeed and all you should be doing now is, ditch that 9 to 5 job, pack your bags and get going!
Not sure whether you want to do that? Here are 7 signs that you need to watch! If you’re showing even 5 of these, its time your reconsider your plans to continue the couch potato job!
1. Your New Year Resolutions Talk Highly About Traveling: Yes, every year when you create a list of resolutions, traveling takes the first place. Every new year is an opportunity for you to create a new travel bucket-list.
2. Your Social Media Accounts are Full of Travel Quotes: If some one would have to find a perfect travel quote for a school project, they would find the best ones on your Facebook and Pinterest. You are absolutely crazy about inspiring travel quotations. You have a hidden urge and capacity to post a quote every 5 seconds!
3. You Have a Special #TBT Strategy: It is like your personal social media travel promotion strategy. You have an entire collection of pictures from your old trips that you have planned to put up on Instagram with the Throwback hashtag in future. #TBT is your thing!
4. Your Friends Turn To You For Every Travel Info They Need: Your friends and colleagues know it that you’re the best person to turn to when it comes to planning vacations. You will be there best source when they come up with travel plans. Even if you have not visited a place, you will find every bits of information hidden in every corner of the Internet for your friends. It’s like a thrilling project for you!
5. You Often Fall Asleep Dreaming About Travel: And, the next morning that you wake up, all you have is an afterglow of the night you spent dreaming about traveling to far off places.
6. You Have a Capacity to Pre-Plan a Year in Advance:
You: “OMG! I’m going to Goa Sunburn in December”
Friend: “Wow, this December is going to cool for you!”
You: “December 2016, I meant.”
This is a common conversation. And every day, you spend hours creating you Goa itinerary.
7. You Feel the Happiest While on the Road: Lastly, travel infuses a certain peace in you. It refreshes your mind and makes you unstoppable. You find yourself smiling looking out of the window while traveling. It brings you peace!
*Do you relate to these? Yes!!! Go, catch a plane now, you wouldn’t want to miss on the one true love of your life, would you?*
15 more days and 2015 will be there staring at us. Every year all of us try to bring out a set of resolutions; some of us succeed while some fail. Personally, I’ve had a tough time standing up on my bucket list 2014(I still think, I accomplished a few things). And yet again, with my undying zest to complete a bucket list, I’ve come up with a new one. Go through my crazy list here!
1. T R A V E L ! T R A V E L ! T R A V E L! Yes, I mention it every time and just like the last year, I’m doing it again! Eversince this Manali sojourn, I’m even more smitten by the hills. Atleast 4 new places, I aim to travel in 2015.
2. R E A D! R E AD! Yes- after traveling that is the next thing which keeps my me going. One new book every month! (I could use some suggestions in the comments 🙂 )
3. Buy a New Laptop! So yes, I’ve got to save money and then work my ass off for this one!
4. Last year, my bucket list had a thing about joining a Master’s Course and a Creative Writing one. The latter is done! Former still in the winds. So, a Master’s Course again!
5. Tattoo number 3. My Tattoo spree for 2014 is done! It is a beautiful quill tattoo on the wrist. This year, I’ll get something small, beautiful yet strong! (Open to suggestions)
6. Be a Better Writer. I’ve been writing for 2 years now. I still feel that I’m not putting my soul into it. I want to explore the better side of it.
7. Be a Good Human. Yes- the more you grow, the better person you should aim at being. I don’t want to be a person who seems cold and bitter. An act of kindness can definitely bring you a lot of peace.
8. Mediate and Exercise: In short, Feel Good and Look Good 🙂
9. Get Atleast One Write-up Published. I want to write one story or one piece which really helps in changing the mindsets of the masses. If not hundreds, only a handful would go!
10. Be a Storyteller. I just want to create my own world of stories now!
11. Spend One Month in the Lap of the Mountains. Come flood or fire, I’m going to do this and for real!
12. Relocate– Well, maybe! I think I need a change from the place now. It’s high time I explore my options, career and the life!
13. Forgive! Mastering the act of forgiveness is a big thing. I want to take the first step towards it now.
14. Meet New People and Make new Friends.( I love talking…I just love talking to people, listening to their stories and blabbering my own!)
15. Let go atleast one bad habit.( I still have to figure out which one! :P)
I know, it isn’t a very fancy list. It’s do-able though. Do let me know about your resolutions and bucket-list for the next year, in the comments below!
*Finally, I’ve fished out some time to write. I’m suddenly a changed person; a changed perspective! I’ve always written about my love for writing and travel. I’m sure by this time you’ve all understood that when I start writing a blog with how I’m evolving as a person, it is either about writing or traveling. It’s been a while now and I haven’t really shared a travel-story. Obviously, it is because I did not have enough time to get my backpack to use!*
*Get your reading glasses ready! I’m taking you to Manali. On a journey that I started with soul-searching as the only thing on mind.*
I would call November the most eventful month of the year. Just before lying on its deathbed, 2014 gave me memories for life!
Writing down a few last mails of the day, I rushed past the office door early that evening. With a child-like excitement, I drove across the honking cars and traffic signals knowing that in next 10 hours I would be staring at the glorious mountains! *4 days, 3 friends and the lap of mountains, P E A C E*
Departure: 5th November 2014, 6:30 PM: Our cab was waiting for us! After a few hugs to the families and we three left our homes for a vacation *a much-needed vacation*. After a 40-minute drive from Panchkula to Sector 22 Chandigarh and then another 15-minute hop to a dark and spooky spot (waiting there for a few minutes), we sat in our bus around 8 PM. This is that time of the year when Manali attracts a lesser number of tourists. So, the bus just had us, a few honeymooners and a few groups of students, heading back to their hometowns for the weekend. The bus left Chandigarh at 8:30 and thus, began a journey, I’m never going to forget. It was bumpy yet peaceful. The stars shone above our heads, the nip in the air slowly turned into spine-chilling cold as we slowly moved towards our destination. The bus only stopped twice or thrice on its way to Manali; once for dinner and the next for a breather ( as I call it). While the other two slept for a while, I spent a good part of the traveling just gazing at the stars. They just made me forget everything about the stress, the work, the studies et al. I did sleep for good 3 hours curled up in my seat. And, when I woke up, we had almost reached Manali. The river, the mountains, the forest; I fell in love with the place the moment I opened eyes that day. *It was the third time, I falling in love with Manali, had visited the place twice back in the year 2007 and 2008. It was the same; even more beautiful. Maybe, November made it look even more fresh!*
Day 1: 6th November 2014, 6:30 AM: Exactly 12 hours later, we jumped out of our bus; looking no less than backpackers this time. We came across a nosey taxi-driver who had some real plans to spoil our good mood. He spoiled good two hours of the day by taking us from one hotel to another. *Lesson to be learned: Pre-book your hotel, even if it is off-season!* Finally at 8:30 AM, we checked into our hotel, Hotel Chichoga Holiday Inn Manali. Decent, Good Service, Clean Rooms, Good View: In Short, Value for Money.
We freshened up a little a got ready for the second eventful and thrilling journey of the day. Rohtang and Solang were calling. We hopped into a cab; the hotel manager had arranged one for us. 12:30 and we left for the beautiful and enthralling journey. The weather was in our favor; it was a sunny, bright day. *I’m a lover of sunny days.*
Though, this was my second trip to Rohtang, it was even more beautiful around this time. Warm yet chilly, every inch of the mountains was glistening under the November sun. Just B E A U T I F U L! We reached Rohtang around 2 PM, climbed up the mountain to find some snow.* Excruciating and breathtaking ’twas!* And, then, there at one spot, you could see the mighty mountains smiling at you and the sky trying to hug you. This one moment, that I heard the winds whistling; I can never forget it. Pious and cleansing! I had forgotten the world and just wanted to sit there on the stone for hours altogether. *Though, the altitude was killing me.* Some pictures:
After spending a few hours in Rohtang, we moved towards Solang. The valley wasn’t was that eventful this time around; off-season to be blamed. Sipping some coffee and soup, we returned to our base in Manali around 7PM. We were tired of all the traveling, so had dinner at hotel and slept tight!
Day 2: 7th November 2014, 10:30 AM: We woke up a little late and rushed out of the hotel after a scrumptious breakfast. Manali sight-seeing was the plan! The weather showed us its cold side on the second with absolutely no sun. Our first stop was at Van Vihar. It was funny how Manali had been left to its solitude with very less tourists. Although, no rush and traffic jams; it totally worked for us. Here, we sat at the banks of River Beas. A photo-session and then rushed to Hadibma Temple which was at a distance of 3 kilometers from the main Manali Mall Road area.
At first, we decided to walk but then these street dogs din’t left us alone and we took a short auto-ride. Just as beautiful as ever. The temple premises were so peaceful and tranquil. The pictures have everything to say!
After an hour or so, we headed towards the Old Manali. Roamed around in the streets here and shopped a little for the families. After stopping for dinner at a cafe in the vicinity, we headed back to our hotel early. The next day, we knew was going to one hell of a journey!
Day 3: 8th November 2014, 11:30 AM: That is when we checked out of the hotel. Where were we headed? Into the magical valley; the Parvati Valley. We boarded a bus from the Manali Bus Stand for Kasol, a townlet near the pilgrimage area Manikaran Sahab. This is where we had decided to pitch our base for the next two days of our journey. The day was cold but slowly as we took the turn towards the valley, the smiling sun welcomed us. The mountains and the gradient, all singing joyous welcome songs for us. River Parvati flowing on the side, was just amazing. The lush green trees, the narrow curvy roads, soaring mountains and the turquoise blue river; what more could I have asked for. It was thrilling, scary and gorgeous. We reached Kasol around 4:00 PM and got comfy in a hotel. This was one called Deep Forest; and hell! Deep in the forest it almost was.
The best part about Kasol was that it was silent and enticing in every form. The food, the people, the gorgeous mountains- it was all crazily beautiful. Food was a main highlight. We tried some yummy street food and then gorged onto the delightful Israeli cuisine for dinner, and my goodness, wasn’t it some tasty meal! I’m big time foodie and am always a game for trying new food. If you’re visiting Kasol soon, try stopping at the Evergreen for a meal. They’ve got a wonderful ambiance, soulful music and super-yummy food. Italian, Spanish, Israeli, India- Everything!
*I’m quickly jumping to day four: this is the best part*
Day 4: 9th November 2014, 11:30 AM: After night watching the stars and mountains, we woke up around 10 that morning. Food was of course, the first thing that came to our minds and we headed to Little Italy. This is where the testament came into play. They say, you ought to save the best for the last and thus, the last day of our vacation started with a platter of awesomely deliciously scrumptiously yummmmmmyyy food. Italian breakfast! Goddddd, what more could you ask for! Good food, favorite people and mountains: I was falling in love with my life.
After stuffing up our tummies, we moved further to Manikaran Sahab. I have my faith vested in Gurdwaras and so visiting Manikaran was really important for me. The vacation would have been incomplete. River Parvati was at its melodious flow here; steamy yet soft. Another part of the trip that brought peace to me!
A few peaceful moments here and then we moved to Kasol Camps. A place where you can sit near the beautifully flowing river just bask in the nature’s bounties. This was the best part of the vacation. Just the river, the mountains, the winds and us. This is where my soul-searching ended. I knew I was taking back a lot of sanity, peace and calm. In those two hours of my stay there, the river, the mountains gave me so much about life. I noticed how the river started from a source and moved along with its course, romancing with the boulders, seducing the rocks and flirting with its banks; covering a journey towards a destination unknown. So much like our lives.
The towering mountains picked up my dampened spirits and said, “Look, don’t be weak and stressed! You can do this.” I was going back a changed person that day.
Our next stop was a cafe hidden in the mountains. You can to take a scary suspension bridge to reach this one. Concluding the trip, we shopped a little in the town market and then started the packing spree back in the hotel.
Back Home: We checked out of our hotels on 10th November and took a bus from Kasol to Bhuntar. The vacation had not yet ended. River Parvati flowing back with us, was bidding us adieu and telling us its life stories all the way. We jumped off our bus in Bhuntar and took another bus to Chandigarh!
*November 11, 11 AM: Sitting at the office desks, creating the songs and chatters with our keywords. And thus, the saga came to an end. Indeed, it left us enriched with stories and memories for life. I did find the peace. Also, this journey left me with a question, the soul that I was searching for; was that of a gypsy! Eversince, I’ve come back to Chandigarh, all I have thought about is going back again! Am I turning into a Gypsy?*
Just like every other Indian girl, my childhood also went away dancing to the tunes of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Dil Toh Pagal Hai. I still remember how my Sunday would go by dancing infront of the mirror and dreaming about all the good things that happened to those ‘grown-up’ girls (actresses) in the movies. *Admit it! you were just 6 and all you would do when a song from Dil Toh Pagal Hai played, was to start dancing right away with an imaginary soul mate of yours. Well, I did.* For us Indian girls, these movies have somewhere been the cause of unrealistic expectation and then of course, disappointment. They’ve made us dream and then when those dreams didn’t come true, they’ve made us cry. We were never told until we became teenagers and our premonitions about the ‘Bollywood’ life grew strong, that these movies had very little to do with the life out there.
Without yapping much, let me tell you which 5 movies set my expectations of life out of this planet. Some of my expectations from life and the disappointment that brews off from them is because of these movies. The list is a huge one, but I’d like to tell you about the top 5 here:
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai:*The movie still makes me swoon.* Wowwwww!!!! “Rahul, Take a Chill Pill”, was the dialogue I rehearsed at that age for like a million times. Every other time that I came across a kid named Rahul, I would say that out of the blue moon. *I tell you, I was pretty good at it.* Not just that, like Anjali turning into an Indian belle from a tomboy was something I thought would come to my life sooner or later. And yes, that hairstyle Kajol sported for the first half of the movie, I did the same of the later half of the year. I even had a dress with ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ monogrammed on it. *Suddenly, feeling silly.*
Hum Aapke Hain Kaun: I was in my mother’s lap when this one was released. But, Of course you get to see all the epic movies when you grow up a little. With this one and Madhuri Dixit looking beyond beautiful, I thought this is what weddings are like. Every wedding I went to after watching this movie, I had a signature outfit. Yes, the white and green one that Madhuri wore in one of the parts of the movie. Not one, but 10 weddings, I wore that! *Godddddddd*
Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum: In my pre-teens, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum set my dreams for college just too high. Yes, Pooh is what I’m talking about. I always loved Kareena and with this one, I followed her on everything. *The ‘Wateva’, hasn’t left me alone till date. So, you know what I’m talking about here.* Everything about Hrithik and Kareena, the college was superb. I actually thought I’d be going to King’s College London for my grad studies. Let’s not talk about where I eventually landed up. *I don’t want to see you guys in tears.*
Jab We Met: Kareena Kapoor, again!! Watched the movie around 57 times and eloping to Manali is still on my list. However, not for a guy! The idea of being like Geet and falling in love with someone like Aditya, blew me away! I actually heard the song ‘Aaoge Jab Tum Oo Sajna’ almost every night for months altogether. *Yes, and I’ve even cried to it a million times.*
Queen: Yes, the latest Queen is what I’m talking about. Getting dumped on the eve of marriage doesn’t scare me now. Flying to Paris is now on the list. *Come on, Solo Traveling is not a big deal today, how does it set your expectation high? That’s what you’ve thought right?* Not every girl from a middle class family in India can do it even today. Getting drunk and dancing to ‘Humgaammaaa Hogayyyaa’ in a foreign city, that’s not something every girl can do. And, with this movie, we hope (fickle one) that if we face a similar situation, going on a solo honeymoon is what we can do.
These Bollywood movies have really kept us Indian girls away from the real face of life for years. We all have something to say to these virtual projection of perfect lives. My list doesn’t end here. Movies like DDLJ, Hum Saath Saath Hain, Vivaah etc etc etc etc etc etc etc ETC are a part of this unending list of mine.
Your relationship of 7 years just came to a halt, you’ve lost your job, your coworker is a pain, you’re underpaid, your neighbor’s a douche bag, you’re out of cash for the buying booze this weekend, and your friends are bi**hing about you…are these your life’s major problems? M A J O R!! Really?
Are you really that full of yourself that you don’t see how fortunate you are, to not going through the really problems of life? Have you ever considered taking a look around? I didn’t, until today! Relationships and career issues cannot be classified under ‘Life Problems’, is what I realized today. *What am I talking about? Wait for that.*
We often see our lives clouded in the problems and call them to be major ones while, they are nothing but mere situations which we have no clue on how to deal with. I mean, how is getting fired from a job called a major problem? You created a situation which you let out of your hands, it became worse and the result was that you got fired. Bad luck is also what we can call this. It’s not a problem. *Why am I saying this again and again?*
We are so much absorbed in ourselves, our lives and our motives that we’ve actually started putting tricky situations under the category of ‘Major Life Problems’. We need to stop; like this very minute! This is simply making our lives worse. It is only an invitation to unnecessary stress and nothing else!
You know what problems are:
Facing a natural disaster, losing your family and home to it; that’s what you call a problem.
Living on the streets with one child clutching your finger and the other one on its way to this world; being homeless: that is a problem.
Being abused and molested by your husband for dowry; that’s a problem.
Fighting with cancer for your life; that’s a problem.
Living in a war zone; that’s a problem!
Okay, what’s my point?
Stop seeing your problems under the magnifying lens. You’re doing nothing but wasting the life you’ve got, worrying about things which you can handle easily and which are not so big that your survival might be under jeopardy. Next time you face a ‘problem’, brace and tell yourself that this is just a tricky situation that you’re facing and you can deal this with a little wisdom and patience. Look around yourself, see those beggars on the streets; look at the lives they’re leading..that is what a life problem is. Your career, your lover, your friends..they might come back to you one day, but this..poverty, natural disasters, abuse; there are bleak chances that people going through these will ever see the sight of a new sunlight in their lives.
Kick away your ‘problems’. You’ve created them and you have the power to deal with them; however big they are. You’re going to get through it. Talk yourself into this and the tricky phase of your life, it’ll pass!
Relax and stop saying, “My Life is Full of Problems.”