Looking back at Year 2013
Another year has passed and it’s time to look back and take stock of my journeys, not only in terms of travel but the journeys which opened a new horizon in front of me and helped me see the world with diverse perceptions.
As I always say, I count my memories, not the places and I am happy that my travel memories are far more and better than the destinations.
Marina Bay sands, Singapore
For this recap post, I haven’t tried to remember or browse thru my photos to check how many places I have visited in 2013. So the photos & the mentions of places are not in any sequence and it is possible I may have missed out a few places or events.
Did I travel enough?
I think yes. The year 2013 took me places & brought me laurels… both in India & abroad.
At times travel was hectic. There was a time when I flew out of Mumbai four times in a single month… once within few hours of landing from a country in west to fly to a country in east! There was a time when I had to decline 3 international invites within 10 days, not to mention several others that I declined.
When Tata Motors offered me a car immediately afterwards, I took it to Pune, my first visit to that city. It was a pleasant surprise when the Tatas sent their video team to shoot an outdoor video with me … driving, speaking et al. I felt like a celebrity and quite shy when people stopped and watched the shooting.
An invitation to ICTT (International Conference on Travel Technology) India saw me flying to Trivandrum. After the 3 day conference I travelled with two Australian speakers in an Innova on a week long road trip of Kerala. It was our first trip to Kerala (their first to India) and we visited a new place everyday. It was an interesting experience to explore Kerala with foreigners and to know what they thought of our country.
The old town of Ibiza in daylight! It looks even more beautiful at night.
When Tourism board of Spain invited me a second time within 6 months to visit their beautiful country, I requested them to postpone my return ticket. After the FAM trip got over, I stayed back and backpacked in Catalan region exploring the little known gems. I always enjoy solo travelling & this was my first in Spain. I didn’t know a single word of local language just like they didn’t understand English ! But I found people of Spain extremely helpful & friendly. In fact I should write about my experience with them.
Exotic Turkey happened next and I was mesmerized with belly dances and rocky Cappadocia the most. I felt very bad that I couldn’t extend my stay in Turkey as I had prior commitments waiting for me in another country.
I state with pride that I am the first Indian to be invited as a travel blogger for any FAM trip.
I flew to Kerala once again, this time to Palakkad via Coimbatore. It was a totally different experience to live, eat & breathe in an Ayurvedic ambiance.
Another invite from Ford came for their EcoSport and this time we drove down to Goa for a week. I chose Diesel model and Mars Red color. In Goa we wanted to do something different from the touristy circuit & explored the unexplored.
In the meanwhile, I was approached by a Travel talk Radio show of the USA and was interviewed live for half an hour. This special experience will linger for a long time in my mind. The interview was scheduled at 12 PM EST (9:30 PM IST) over Skype which would be relayed live on their Radio show. But this is India. Only 5 minutes before the scheduled interview time the power went off ! I was alone at home. It was pitch dark; I fumbled for candles & my mobile showed no network!! Rest is history how I managed to get thru. Nonetheless, the show went off very well. I received many mails, messages from all over the world complimenting me.
I was also interviewed for DNA newspaper and featured in other media as well.
My first visit to Madhya Pradesh happened when I was invited by Pugdundee Safaris for a week to explore the jungles of Kanha & Bandhavgarh. I chose to spend the entire time only in Kanha instead of rushing from one place to another. It was my first official week long wildlife experience. The Tiger welcomed me on the first day itself!
It was an honor to be chosen, along with another person from Delhi, to fly to Malaysia to cover the famous Ramadan festival for a week. Bazaars, cooking classes, walking food tours and what not greeted us. I can never cease to love mouth watering Malaysian food.
In between these trips I went to Bangalore. Exchanged and shared some gyan and experiences with a few friends and bloggers.
I, along with an editor from Delhi, represented India as a two member team at Creole festival in Mauritius. Swirling skirts, African beats, glasses of Rum and local authentic food stole the show. I had the opportunity to see the festival from the front as well as from the backstage on different days. There were journalists from 80 countries and I was happy that India was one of them.
When I accepted the invitation from Poland, I had mentally decided one more thing…. that it would be my last trip of the year. I said a firm NO to other invites. In spite of a cold, snowy winter in Poland, I found it very WARM. The warmth & hospitality of its people made me appreciate the country even more. I would like to visit it again, there is so much see & learn!
Now you decide for me, how was the year 2013 for me?
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