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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