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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.