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!
It’s hard to believe that 2013 is coming to an end. This is the year I truly, madly fell in love with the sheer beauty of India, despite the challenges that travelling here is laced with (Read: 120 Days on The Road). I experienced the “other” side of the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, ventured deep in the interiors of Assam and Rajasthan, and developed an unexpected fascination for life in the wild. In search of an India Untravelled, I met incredible people dedicated to preserving the country’s beauty, ecology, heritage and traditions. These are 13 moments from 2013 that make me all mushy about how much I love this crazy country.
This is officially the longest I’ve been on the road. I’ve lived out of my backpack for four months. And while I don’t long to have a home to go back to, the romance of being location independent is slowly wearing away.
Between my recent trips to sunny Seychelles and festive Germany, I was drawn by the call of the wild to Svasara Jungle Lodge at the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. My jungle adventures in Madhya Pradesh earlier this year made me a wildlife tourism enthusiast (Read: Wildlife Tourism: Are We Saving The Tiger?), but Tadoba left me intoxicated. I can’t stop dreaming of forests brimming with unravelled mysteries. Or the sheer beauty and intricacy of their ecosystems. This is a glimpse of that world beyond ours.
I first caught the travel bug as a college student in Singapore. I had very little money, lots of spare time, and all of Southeast Asia to explore. I would pool in my savings with friends and try to find cheap ways to travel far and long. The tables turned when I landed a job with the Singapore Tourism Board, one that left me rich (relatively speaking) but at the mercy of weekends, public holidays, and a kind boss who understood my need to head out every chance I got.
I’ve forever romanticized about a white winter in Europe. The kind where I would watch snowflakes gently descend upon cobbled streets, and look poetically at the gloomy skies for a ray of sunshine. On this whirlwind trip across Germany with Lufthansa and German Tourism, I did just that. I sipped my first of many cups of gluhwein in Frankfurt, found myself in a time warp with Rothenburg’s medieval era festivities, fell in love with the colorful celebrations in Cologne and Berlin in the backdrop of quaint old churches, and revisited Dresden with much nostalgia. It was festive and charming, but just so cold, reminding me of What I’ve Learnt From Winter in Europe. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on my way back to sunshine! *** 1. AERIAL VIEW OF DRESDEN’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS from a Ferris Wheel! Glittery festivities lie in contrast against gloomy midday skies, symbolic of winter in Europe. *** 2. A LOCAL ARTIST’S WOOD-CARVING COLLECTION at Cologne’s Christmas Market aka Weihnachtsmärkte on the Alter Markt; wood-carvers, crystal painters, glass glazers, all showcased their …
Guten tag from a cold and festive Germany! I’m on a train from Frankfurt to the quaint Bavarian village of Rothenburg as I pen this. Outside, the landscape is a stark contrast between bare brown forests and colorful countryside homes. It’s symbolic of winter in Europe; introspective and festive at the same time.