It was almost 11 in the night when our giant coach pulled up in front of an over-crowded Eiffel Tower. Our tour guide hurried us to get off and run. We huffed and puffed, following his blue flag, which was eventually swallowed by the sea of people.
Have you ever really tasted a glass of wine? It’s when you take one sip, swirl it in your mouth, feel its coolness on the tip of your tongue, let your mind sway to its high, and slowly imbibe its flavor.
“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”
~ Randy Komisar
No matter when we decide to travel in our lives, there will be some sort of sacrifice. It’ll either be ditching a fat bank balance when you are young in favour of an impromptu weekend getaway, carving out time with your family to make that holiday happen, or leaving behind job security to take the plunge into travelling full-time.
I am a planner. I love planning every detail of my life; especially trips. I spend hours poring through travel blogs, listicles and Lonely Planet guides, before I step out with my backpack.
But travel planning for most people can be a daunting task. Where do I begin? Where do I go? What should step one be? And step two? It can get immensely stressful. More so if you’re planning it for two or more people.
I scrambled up one of the hilly terrains of Kumaon. It was freezing, I couldn’t feel my fingers, I was constantly slipping on wet rocks and breathlessness was slowly creeping in. There was a sharp blast of cold air, and I couldn’t have been freezing any more than I already was.
And yet, I’d take all of this over beaches any day.
Gangtok should not be dismissed as just another hill station. For one, it is more relaxed than most hill stations its size and also, spotlessly clean. No overflowing garbage cans and no spitting on roads, rules that locals swear by. Monasteries stand in perfect harmony with the cafe culture of Gangtok and the cheerful vibe eventually rubs off on you. Gangtok is blessed with a handful of sights and doubles up as a base to many other excursions, but you should probably extend your stay here to soak in the charm of this easy and happy blend of tradition and modernity.
My love affair with the mountains continues with Kausani, a tiny hamlet perched high on a forest-covered ridge.
The mist lifts to reveal panoramic views of multiple snow-capped peaks and teaches me about the joy of missing out. (more…)
We got off at the Haldwani bus stand at 3.30 in the morning to be welcomed by a harsh and cold wind and a multitude of taxi drivers. After some negotiating and waiting of about 30 minutes for other passengers, we hopped inside a cramped Alto to begin our 3-hour drive to Ranikhet. A network of tar roads that snakes through the mountains and soaring pine trees calmed our weary souls.
Under a million stars in the pitch-black sky, I let the chilly breeze play with my hair. Surrounding me were the coniferous foliage and the sound of the noisy torrents.
Himachal is like God’s gift for those who seek to escape the stress of mundane lives and nestled in these mountains is the small and charming village of Kasol. Stunning scenery and crystal-clear mountain streams more than make up for the sweaty and treacherous journey to this place. Kasol is an easy base for numerous treks and also a summertime venue for trance parties.