Costa Rica wasn’t part of my original Central America travel plan, because it seemed to be part of everyone else’s. I imagined this little country to be overrun by tourists and expats, and its culture to have been eroded by tourism. After all, it’s the only country in the region which has been extensively written about online. Turns out, I was wrong. I made a short two week trip to Costa Rica, while waiting for a friend to join me for a long trip through Nicaragua and Panama. And I instantly fell in love. The Pure Life Pura Vida isn’t just Costa Rica’s tourism mantra. It really is how locals greet each other in the hinterlands! I’m yet to meet a people who live more in tune with nature in their daily lives. I’m yet to visit a place that is as developed and connected, yet so wild and pristine. The country welcomed me with a green carpet of swaying fields in hilly San Jose. The blue hues of the Pacific Coast called out to me as I cycled along its small villages. …
There are airlines that fly you from one part of the world to another. And then there is Virgin Atlantic. I consider myself one lucky soul to have journeyed from India via London to New York City on Virgin’s Upper Class.
On my recent trip to the Philippines, I spent a night in Manila at a charming vintage Spanish villa, complete with high ceilings, old hardwood floors and tasteful antiques. It sat in a quiet bylane of a typical Pinoy barangay (neighborhood). During the day, mellow instrumental music wafted in from the large windows, and down on the streets, boys from the neighborhood played basketball, aiming for makeshift hoops. In the evenings, jeepneys and tricycles, the heartbeat of the Manila Metropolis, moved in organized chaos on the narrow roads, much like in India, soliciting passengers at every corner. This is how I like to travel.
Over 2 years ago, when I quit my corporate job to follow my dream to travel the world, I didn’t imagine I would one day land up in a township dedicated to the same ideology. Auroville is it. A place where people come to live their dreams. I’ve come across countless stories; of a market researcher turned organic farmer; a policeman turned village school headmaster; a corporate honcho turned teacher; a teacher turned mechanic. It’s a place to ditch the life you’ve lived, and live the life you’ve always wanted, even if for a few days; here your conviction to follow your passion holds more value than your salary or title (Read: Auroville: Utopia or Something Like it).
Back when I was a Delhi-dweller, I always felt a tad bit jealous of the way people in Bombay talked about the city; the je ne sais quoi, the laid back attitude, the cosmopolitan food. Every time an opportunity took me to Bombay, I indulged in the city. I talked to street vendors peddling their wares, to baristas in coffee shops, to the cabbies I rode with, and every time, the chalta hai way of life in the “city of dreams” shone through. 24 hours might be too short to experience that spirit of Bombay, but they certainly can give you a flavor of the city, literally and figuratively. These recommendations are compiled from my various trips, and focus on the western suburbs of the city:
Over a month ago, I gave up my apartment in Delhi, sold most of my belongings, and hit the road (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely). It’s been a roller coaster ride, one that has left me craving a weekend of pampering. The last two days at JW Marriott in Bombay have given me exactly that. Presenting to you, 6 ways to indulge yourself and your taste buds at JW Marriott, Mumbai:
I’ve often thought that a nomad like me is just not cut out to enjoy a city. Time and again, my two years in Delhi reinforced that belief. But when I decided to pack my bags and make the road my home (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely), something unexpected happened; I fell in love with Bangalore. Even on a summer afternoon, Bangalore was a breath of fresh air. People hung out on the streets, quaint cafes lurked around every corner, breweries served up handcrafted beers, and the cool weather was perfect for pleasant strolls. Here’s my ode to the city, and a lowdown for your next trip to Bangalore:
Over the years, I’ve travelled to and stayed in many amazing places, in many countries across the globe. Even with such high expectations, sometimes a place comes along that completely takes me by surprise. A place that makes me appreciate my life as a travel blogger. A place that I know I won’t forget for a long time. Lakshman Sagar, in the Pali district of Rajasthan, was one such place.
My drowsy eyes prick open at the sight of a massive fort, a short drive away from Jaisalmer city. Its rustic brown façade merges with the stark wilderness of the desert, and the sheer grandeur of India’s bygone royal era calls out to me. Khamaghani. Welcome to Suryagarh.
It was a sad day when I stood at the door of Cafe Zaffiro, sometime in May, and realized it had shut down. A cosy, quiet cafe with the most awesome food, fast wifi and friendly staff, it was one of my favorite places to work out of in Delhi. That day I decided to start a fresh search for the best new cafes with free Wifi in South Delhi (Read: 5 Best ‘Work From Home’ Cafes in South Delhi).