Looking back at my travels in 2013 has left me filled with nostalgia. One minute, I’m hitchhiking in Bahrain, the next, walking on a glacier in Canada. I’m going down memory lane in Singapore, and joining the Fallas street parade in Spain. I’m indulging in the most delicious Thai food in Chiang Rai, overdosing on hoppers in Sri Lanka, and sipping gluhwein in Germany. What a year it’s been!
Come with me, let me show you a glimpse of the world in 2013 through my lens:
I’ve dreamt of the Middle East for a long time. The beginning of 2013 finally took me there, as part of the Discover Bahrain program. The warmth and hospitality with which people welcomed me into their lives and homes left me overwhelmed, seeing women at the forefront of much of the country’s development left me surprised, and the food left me in love.
Land of a Thousand Friends
Life in Bahrain: A Photo Essay
Of Hitchhiking in Bahrain
I revisited Singapore in March with much nostalgia, on invitation from the Singapore Tourism Board. It was home to me for six years of studying and working, before I decided to quit my job and travel. I marveled at how much it had changed since I left, literally walked down memory lanes, sampled food at some of my favorite joints (and mourned the closing down of others), and discovered a newfound love for the quaint streets of Chinatown.
Singapore: 10 Best Free Things to do
Boutique Hotels in Singapore Under US$150
10 Must-try Vegetarian Food Places in Singapore
I never made it to Thailand in the 6 years I lived in Southeast Asia, and now I kick myself for it. I fell in love with Thailand. The natural beauty, the food, the quirky cultural norms… and I managed to escape all the backpacker crowds in my own little slices of paradise in Chiang Rai and Koh Mak Island.
Koh Mak Island: Of Hidden Beaches, Broken Boats and Beer
On my second trip to Spain with the Tourism Office of Spain, I reveled in the festivities of Las Fallas, an annual festival in Valencia where men and women deck up in traditional clothes, parade about the streets, build life-size fallas (statues of paper mache), and celebrate life despite the times! I also fell in love at first sight with Madrid, adorned in the colors of spring.
Te Quiero Madrid: A Photo Essay
Albufera: Valencia’s Best Kept Secret
Attending TBEX (a travel blog exchange conference) in Canada was on my bucket list, and luckily, I got an opportunity to tick it off. I was the only Indian blogger to be invited by the Canadian Tourism Commission, to travel from coast to coast in Canada with a fabulous group of international bloggers, and ended the trip with TBEX Toronto.
My First Impressions of Canada
The Haunting Beauty of Spirit Island
6 Lessons From My First TBEX
Video: Walking On The Edge of Toronto
I got around to discovering the beauty in India’s own backyard in June. Sri Lanka was full of surprises. The blue of the ocean on the east coast, the hospitality of its people, the finger-licking good food, the stunning hill country, I loved it all and can’t wait to go back and discover more of it.
Top 5 Offbeat Things to do in Sri Lanka
My First Impressions of Sri Lanka
In Photos: Chugging Up Sri Lanka’s Hill Country
Galkadawala: Sri Lanka’s Best Kept Secret
Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge: Tete-a-tea in Nature’s Lap
I didn’t expect to return to the Indian Ocean islands so soon, but the
sea gulls Seychelles Tourism Board came calling. I spent futile afternoons counting the shades of blue in the waters, cycled around sleepy islands, indulged in Creole food of a different kind, and got a taste of paradisiacal island life.
A Song From Seychelles
My First Impressions of Seychelles
I’ve forever romanticized winter in Europe, so when Lufthansa Airlines invited me to see the Christmas Markets, I jumped for joy. It was cold and barren (though the locals claimed it wasn’t even winter yet), yet everything and everyone was so festive and cheerful. The endless cups of warm gluhwein sure helped!
Ho Ho Ho! Christmas Cheer From Germany!
In Photos: Germany Christmas Markets
A big thank you for joining me virtually on my adventures in 2013!
Over to you, tell me about the travel highlights of your year.
ALSO SEE: My 13 “Incredible India” Moments in 2013
Join The Shooting Star on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more travel adventures in 2014!
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, “sustainability influencer,” social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes that travel – if done right – has the power to change us and the world we live in.
The list can easily make someone jealous including me :). But the amount of hard work that goes along with these fairy tales is not easily noticeable . Kudos to you and a have a great travel in 2014.
For me the two highlights were traveling to unknown Vietnam (to me before this trip) and solo trip to Turkey. I hope 2014 has in store for me some good trips. Wish me luck 🙂
Couldn’t agree more, Makrand. And Vietnam and Turkey are two of my favorite places too! Glad you enjoyed your trips; I’m sure 2014 has lots more roads in store for you. Have a good year 🙂
What a great year. I hope next year is just as good.
Thanks Debra, I sure hope so! And I hope you have an equally fab 2014 🙂 x
It was great reading about your travels Shivya…. Travel this year for me was Cancun, Mexico and Hawaii…. Both were quite good… Cancun was my first trip to the Caribbean and can’t wait to visit some other island soon… Also first trip Mexico and can’t wait to revisit again 🙂
Hawaii was spectacular… The sunsets alone we’re worth the long plane ride.
Glad you liked reading it, Shikha! And wow, both Mexico and Hawaii are on my wish list. Now I know who to look up when (and if) I make it there.
An AMAZING year! Wish I could have greeted you in Canada. 🙂
I wish, Colleen! But I’m sure there’ll be a next time. Is India on your list this year?
Dear Shivya.. so you had a fantastic year of 2013.. Hope you will have a fantastic year 2014, where you will be going to some amazing places, which you have never ventured intoand show us many more places (Blog… Blog & Blog).. Enjoy
I hope so too, for both of us 🙂
Nice to read about your travels, Shivya! Great pictures! I started following your blog from your Thailand posts and then couldn’t keep myself from reading every bit of what you shared. Just keep doing the good work and keep going places (literally)! 🙂
I also did a year round up http://bit.ly/1fQmbPS
Amazing Shivya…Am Motivated By You…Tks n God Bless !
Glad to hear you are, Ips, and thanks for your virtual company all year!
Your posts (and your attitude) are so inspirational, good on you for following your passion and making it work.
Hmm my favourite trip this year would have been our day on the Isle of Pines in Nouvelle Caledonie. The cruise may not have been everything we hoped it would be, but the places we visited were stunning, and we hope to go back again someday.
I did a brief write-up of the cruise here: http://occasionaltravels.wordpress.com/
Shivya, have you ever been on a cruise? Tempted to go?
Stay safe, happy travels and hope you have a fantastic 2014.
PS: I know you are keen to visit NZ, and if it ever happens, please drop me a line. I’d love to meet up and show you around.
Those are great photos and really good writing! Sounds like a fabulous year! Cheers! 🙂
What an amazing year of travelling!! Thank you for sharing. Wish you bliss and great adventures for the coming great 2014
Jealous doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel right now. But it also does motivate. Must.Make.Travel.Plans.For.2014!
Have a great year 2014, Shivya. With lot of travels and photographic opportunities.
Amazing and Inspiring 🙂 As about me- in terms of travel, the places I’ve explored this year include Yercaud, Srinagar, Leh, Ooty, Jaipur, (including some relegious places like Salasar, Mehendipur, Sakambari and Nathdwara), Wayanad and Kabini !!