Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Unplanned Travel Diaries #TheBlindList


"The unplanned moments make the best stories"                                                                                        .. and so did mine.

Late July is the time when monsoon is just around the corner, so it highly recommended to avoid going to certain places. With limited choices and a complete checklist of time and budget, it is almost impossible to plan an "apt" trip in monsoon season. Me and my friends had been planning to travel in greener places like Kerela, Srinagar, Cherrapunji or Shillong, since quite a long time. After tons of research and scheduling we were no where around the full and final plan.

So, at last, the only thing we finalised was the dates on which we were going to travel. This was somewhere around the early July, so we decided to commence our trip on the 19th and keep it for around 4-5 days. This time, we promised not to ditch our travel plan (which apparently had no planning except for the dates).
No one had a clue where we would go, whether it would fit our budget and still be fun or whether the place would be safe and fit for travelling. The only thing clear was that we were going for this blind date to have the time of our lives.

All of us got our leaves approved and backup work done. Now, it was high time to decide the destination, as it was only a week left. All our bucket list items were clearly out of our reach as flights and accommodation were way too expensive, for it was the main season for vacation. The only choice left with us was to travel places that had their off season going on, that weren't quite advised for travelling in the time we were going to travel.

Although, we were aware that it might be risky and we might not be able to have as great views as we would have witnessed otherwise (if we'd go in some other season). But leaving all those thoughts aside, we were ready to #SayYesToTheWorld and make the best of our trip.

Out of the blue, we heard a song playing in the background, which was from the movie Barfi. Promptly, I imagined myself travelling in the beautiful toy-trains of Darjeeling, smelling the tea leaves and treating my eyes with beautiful scenes all over the place. So, Darjeeling it is, I said.
We immediately booked our flight tickets for Bagdogra which had the nearest Airport from Darjeeling. We knew Darjeeling is ideal for travelling either in the Summers from April to June or in the Winters from October to December. But, we didn't let our skepticism over power our excitement.

On reaching Bagdogra, one of my friends suggested that while we are in Bagdogra we can go to many other beautiful places which were near to Bagdogra and then go to Darjeeling from there. It sounded awesome to us, as we were already short of plans. After some time of googling and asking the locals, we realised what we were about to miss all the fun if we had gone straightway to Darjeeling. Sikkim was just 150 km away from Bagdogra and had never crossed our minds. Soon, we decided to go for it and explore the well received place.

Luckily, a great guide and an even great person met us at the airport who was going to accompany us throughout our journey. He was very kind and helpful, but above all, he was really entertaining. I never knew people in the east are so interesting and nice. We also met a couple of other locals during our commute to Gangatok, Sikkim. Everyone was so welcoming, which is the reason why we felt warm even in that chilly weather. I got the hang of some legit interesting cuisine which included food like Wai Wai, Thukpa and a better version of Momos. By the way, thukpa is nothing but a bowl of noodles soup a.k.a Heaven..!!

I am one of those people, who are very curious to study and comprehend different cultures. And their way of talking, their cuisine, their dressing sense, really amused me to an extent that I was ready to live there all my life. Gangtok was nothing but amazing, we didn't feel even for a second that we should have come in the right season. We got to know that the weather was very foggy from last few days but it just got cleared on the day we arrived.
Perhaps, when you're openminded to embrace anything, even the world gets in your favour.
The best part was, since it was an off-season, there weren't many tourists, the only crowd was of the inhabitants. This was the main reason why we enjoyed the most. All of the place was ours, we didn't need to wait for our turn to click a good picture in front of the waterfall. The entire place was ours to adore. What a bliss!

Although I wasn't ready to leave Sikkim, but I was equally excited to explore Darjeeling. So, we left for the same and saw some of the most beautiful sights on the way. The fact that everything was unplanned but was just so right got me overwhelmed.
Perhaps, it was planned by the universe, which is why it was perfect.
Again, since everything was unplanned, we had to ask the locals for some good sights. Since everyone was so helpful and cooperative, we didn't face any kind of setbacks or disappointments. Also, disappointment is only the outcome of false anticipations.
Since there was zero anticipation, there was zero disappointment. 

I lived my dream of travelling in the toy-train while admiring the view outside and listening to my kind of music that took me to an unmatched level of pleasure. We also got lucky to spot the red panda in the Zoo, that was their speciality, but it was a matter of luck to spot them as they were always hidden somewhere inside. Smelling the tea leaves and clicking the best pictures with greenery all around, buying some interesting versions of teas and adoring some of the most beautiful flowers in their flower exhibition are some of the highlights of the fun we had in just two days.

..And we still believe and will always believe, it wouldn't have been possible to have this enriching experience if it wasn't unplanned and spontaneous.

Planning is so conventional, in today's world of unconventionality, be the odd one out, be spontaneous and be your own travel inspiration. Follow #TheBlindList and the bucket list will be achieved on its own.

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Sunday, 7 October 2018

If I Were A Globetrotter #TheBlindList

Travelling. Exploring. Wandering. Wayfaring. Rambling. Hiking. Floating. Loving. Embracing.

Ahh.. beyond just any bliss, beyond just any happiness, is what travelling could be. Don't believe me? Just try it once without any baggage of overthinking and you would know yourself.

I could stay forever in an isolated island or somewhere lost within the hills or perhaps within the streets of unknown but beautiful cities without any wifi, without any money, without social media and I would still be the happiest. Although, you might be thinking that I must be a globetrotter by now, but alas, I'm not. I have never travelled outside India. Yes, as much as I have my love for travelling, I have not been to many places yet. 

Money and time are two major constraints that have always barred me to go beyond my imaginations. Also, there are other constraints such as my mother's possessiveness for her little, not-so-little daughter (Me). She has not yet reached at a mindset where she could let her 23 years old daughter to travel alone in an unknown place especially outside the country. Also, I am not one of those who would lie to their parents about travelling, so I am still stuck somewhere in the middle of convincing my mother and working hard to earn a good amount of money that will be enough for my blindlist of destinations.

I have always wanted to travel alone. Why?

A. Because I don't think there is any one, (at least not in my known ones) who could match upto my level of curiosity. I would literally go and see every corner of the place I'm going to. I don't feel like wasting even a second of that experience. At the same time I also want to take some time dedicated to that very place and sink into that aura. This is my kind of crazy. Everyone has a different personality and I personally, love my own company the most.

B. When I'm travelling I always prefer to spend more into exploring the places (sightseeing, hiking,  adventures etc) than into personal comfort (5 star hotels, food, shopping). So, family- is not an option, rich friends- would not understand, friends with similar salary- are too prudent to spend money. So, I am again either left with no choice, or I have to limit my travel plans.

C. You must stand alone to stand apart. No, Just Kidding! That's not the reason, I only said it because it sounded cool. ;)

The good news is, imaginations have no constraints or boundaries. If there were no boundaries in real life too, my imaginations would have definitely come into play. Everyone has a Bucket List, but I want my life to unravel my Bucket List for me, without me planning it. I want my life to be a blind date with new experiences with every turn I take. I want to discover things without any anticipation. I want to try out the unconventional and see how it turns out. I want to be my own travel inspiration some day.
I would sing

Safar, Kaisa Hai Yeh Safar
Manzillon Ki Na Hai Koi Khabar

by Bhuvan Bam

..while roaming somewhere midst the hills, meeting new people, learning new languages, experiencing new cultures. Oh how much I would love noticing different kinds of people in different areas of the world. And the best thing about strangers is that they won't judge you on any grounds as they don't know you. That would really help me to practice open-mindedness, knowing the fact that I'm longer being judged by anyone. I'd capture the beautiful moments of the scenery around, the sleepy but furry dogs, the weird but interesting cuisine and the helpful people who would guide me across my blind journey.
I would listen to 

Ude, dil ke jahaan main khaabon ke parinday
Oho, kya pata, jaayenge kahaan

from Zindagi Na Milegi Dubara

..while on a roadtrip of unknown European cities (perhaps, a month before I get married, living my Kajol dream). Staying in hostels, carrying a backpack and a journal into which I'd jot down my thoughts rambling into my mind while I ramble into the streets. I'd probably take any local bus tour, would jump off at any place and stay wherever I find my peace. I would rent a bicycle and drive all the way to blind(unknown) places.
At last, I also feel some adventures should be accompanied by a partner in crime. So, I wish to travel with my future "to be", in an isolated place and tap my feet on the hums of

Kyon, naa hum-tum
Chale tedhe-medhe se raston pe nange paanv re
Chal bhatak le na baawre

from Barfi

..with no clue of how we'll survive without the basic necessities but if it's possible I would definitely want to experience that at least once in my lifetime. Because life's short and I don't want to miss out on any fun or on any experience whatsoever. You wouldn't know anything's good or not until you experience it yourself.

I would capture all these memories, collect souvenirs like fridge magnets to place them right in front of my eyes, so that I could cherish them all over again and be proud of my precious possessions. These experiences would indeed make me richer than any other possession ever could. As I am ready to #SayYesToTheWorld with open arms, warm heart and high-spirited eyes. Are you?

Now, your dreams and imaginations could help you experiencing a thrilling and exciting blind list. Excited yet? 

Participate in Lufthanza's mind-blowing contest to win some unexpected #TheBlindList prizes. 
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