Innsbruck, one of Austria‘s oldest cities, is probably every woman’s dream of old age; the only thing that gives away its 900 years is its charm. Right out of the train station, I’m awed by the towering presence of the Alps. People are going about their daily affairs – eating, strolling, chatting, catching a bus, cycling – as though the Alps are invisible, as though they’ve discovered how to look away from the gripping beauty of their snow covered peaks, as though there’s nothing extraordinary about living in a city surrounded by one of the most endearing mountain ranges in the world.
“Experiencing a country through its cities is like judging a book by its cover.” ~yours truly. Welcome to Gargnano. An unassuming little village on the northern shores of Lake Garda in Italy, away from the touristy towns of Desenzano and Sirmione. Here everyone knows everyone else. Two days is how long it takes for the locals to know me, despite my broken language.
Time stands still. I gaze at the colors of the lake. The waters are transparent, but they reflect the green of the marine life beneath and the blue of the sky above. The combination forms the shades of an artist’s palette.
It’s hard not to fall in love with a country so beautiful, a people so full of warmth and energy, a language so passionate, and what’s probably the best food on the planet. When you travel, sometimes the most unexpected of places feel like home. That was Italy for me.
Greetings from Chamonix. If you can close your eyes and imagine yourself in the clouds, surrounded by stunning snow-capped peaks, you’ll be just a little close to what I’ve experienced in Chamonix. I use the word breathtaking perhaps too liberally, but if anything does justice to the word, Chamonix does it.
Annecy is a breathtakingly beautiful lake town with the Rhone Alps in the backdrop. The Annecy lake is a huge expanse of clear water that changes shades with the time of the day. Like Paris, the sun doesn’t set here until 10 in the night in late spring & early summer.
Europe holds a charm for travelers that few other continents can boast of, and I finally have my own Eurotrip to write about. Paris to me was a canvas of architectural brilliance. Forget the Notre Dame and the Eiffel tower, unforgettable as they might be; every nook of Paris has a tastefully carved structure worth gazing up at.
My 17-year old self landed on the shores of sunny Singapore in 2005, filled with curiosity to see the other side of Asia. Despite my 5-year long stint, some things about this tiny country continue to surprise me, and I’m not talking chewing gum bans and jay-walking fines.
The way you travel defines who you are. Perhaps that’s why they say that the best way to get to know a person is to travel together. I first heard of the Empty Backpack concept in George Clooney’s movie, Up in the Air. It professes to traveling & living light, without unnecessary emotional or physical baggage. Here’s sharing some of my Up in the Air inspiration with you: Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack. I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel ‘em? Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things, the things on shelves and in drawers the knick-knacks, the collectibles. Feel the weight as that adds up. Then you start adding larger stuff… clothes, table-top appliances, lamps, linens…your TV…The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. And you go bigger. Your couch, bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in there. Your car, get it in there. Your home, whether it’s a studio apartment …
Update: Thanks everyone for getting in touch. Keep up the enthusiasm! I’m working with a small bunch of you to refine the idea. If you’ve indicated your interest, I’ll keep you in the loop of developments. If you’re interested to join the initiative, feel free to drop me an email or a comment 🙂 India is a beautiful country. It’s richness of culture, natural wonders, people, traditions, festivals, landscapes, history, art, food, languages and wildlife, is as stunning as it is overwhelming. Even for an Indian, it’s impossible to explain in detail the diversity of India’s travel offerings or the riches in its every nook and corner. So here I am, excited at the thought of a social experiment, aching to make my contribution to India’s economy, with an idea to facilitate tourism in India through social & social media collaboration. Here I am, inviting you to join me in this social experiment, because I know you’re aching to be that spark for India too.