In which trupz says Travel helps builds character

In the last decade, I have made so many friends who love to travel! Some of them travel often, some of them travel together as a couple, some solo and some travel not as frequently as they would like to. But, if there is one thing that is common among them, it is that they are ‘different’. No, they are normal human beings, but they choose to think different about LIFE and everything around them in general. This got me thinking, why? Why are they different and what makes people who travel stand out from the crowd? Eventually, I came to conclude that traveling and exploring new places helps develop your personality and adds to your character, here are some reasons why:

1. Travelling gets you to shake out of your comfort zone

Dalai Lama has said, “Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.” Very few realize that traveling does not mean collecting travel stamps on your passport but it means to gain new experiences. There is a thrill in traveling to a new place. For me personally, right from taking the flight or train to reaching the actual place, every milestone is thrilling. Every journey has its own flavor and that’s what makes it special. When you travel to a new place, at first it is unknown, a couple of days spent in a new place and it all starts becoming familiar, the air, the surrounding, the people start feeling known and you begin to fit in. Learning to communicate with absolute strangers, walking in a lane you have never before, trying a new dish or even participating in some cultural activities in some way force you out of your comfort zone to do or try something different. You often find yourself in never before situations when you travel and that’s the true fun part.

2. Travel to learn something new

In school, I remember reading about Hsuen Tsang, a Chinese scholar who traveled extensively in India. Traveling teaches you much more than what you would learn from a classroom or your job. For some of us who are students of LIFE, traveling is our only EDUCATION. Thanks to the internet, you have all the information at your disposal. Until you don’t experience what you read first hand, you are still left wanting. Don’t get me wrong, when I say learn, I don’t only mean learn about the place, you learn more about yourself also.

There are so many beautiful places to see around the world! The ancient relics and monuments are the living remnants of history, as we know it. Travel makes you more open-minded to explore and experience new things. Learning about different cultures, food, history and the people. I’ve been amazed by some of the people I have met on my travels, their stories and the experiences they have shared have helped me realize a lot about myself.

3. Traveling is good to be able to disconnect and reflect

In our constant and relentless effort to be connected with everything and everyone, we have forgotten that we have the option to disconnect. Whether it is social media, television or other distractions, the need to know and keep up with everything is so strong that it has engulfed our personal space, time and become a routine.

Travel helps me break this routine. When I am traveling I like to imagine the world without cell phones and Internet. So my first instinct is to buy a map of the place I am going to then rely on Google maps. Traveling slows things down, giving you time for self-exploration and introspection. Travel helps to listen to your instincts and act on them. Away from crowds, familiar surroundings and away from distractions helps me put things into perspective.

Most of us living in cities are overwhelmed keeping up with the expectations of big city life! Being at 10000ft, in the cold winter of the Himalayas, having to wait for a good 30 minutes only to be able to drink a cup of warm water made me realize how taken for granted these luxuries are for us in cities. A sunset with splashing colors or viewing millions of stars under a clear sky, one realizes these are the rarities of life we have forgotten to appreciate in comparison to the man-made grandeur.

4. Traveling taught me to do the best with what I have

Even the best of plans can go awry in an instant! Traveling comes with its set of problems, missing flights, losing baggage or being lost yourself. How you handle them all while being in unprecedented territory helps you grow as a person. There is only so much one can plan and be careful about! Traveling though is not about certainty, its what you do and how you react to a given situation that differentiates a catastrophe from an adventure.

My trip to Ladakh a few years back was one such adventure where catastrophe turned into an adventure of a lifetime. The group was stuck in a village called Rumtse a few 100km before Leh. A small village, Rumtse had room for maybe 300 people, but because of a landslide, a huge part of the road was literally washed away and now close to 1000 people were stuck. We had to spend the night in someone’s kitchen. 6 people with our luggage in a room which was no more than 10ft x 10ft. Would you believe this is one the most famous travel story told and all 6 of us reminisce about the incident? That night we all learned a lot about each other, our tolerance, ability to adapt, our problem-solving skills and who snores the most :P. The positive that came out of it was that despite the slight roadblock in Rumtse, everyone wanted to carry on further to the trip and remaining 13 days were most memorable.

5. Travel and learn to manage your expectations 

Someone has said, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey!”. Each travel journey is different and extremely personal. In the very same place, on the very same path, at the same moment,  different individuals have different experiences. At times you become aware of your own strengths and capabilities, and sometimes you have to come to terms with your limitations.

So where are you planning to travel next?

Check my travel-related posts on the Travelblawghh

In which Aditrupz went to the Gliding Center at Hadapsar, Pune

Gliding center at Hadapsar, Pune

Soon after misadventures of paragliding, I was told about the Gliding Center at Hadapsar, Pune by a dear friend P. She told me you only had to go register your names there before 9 am on any Sunday and it had minimum fees for it too, only Rs. 187/- plus taxes.

This was super exciting, the Gliding center at Hadapsar was so close to home and the costs were so cheap that the following weekend itself, on 6th March we decided to go. Left from home packed with all anti sun gear and lots of water and fruits, we reached the Gliding center at Hadapsar at around 9.00 am. The sign in register already had 18 names before us and we were numbers 19 and 20. In the hangar, we saw the glider planes parked. They were 6 in number, as usual, the counting in my head began, I assumed that if all 6 were out, we would be in the 3rd round of flights that will happen. Much to my amazement, although “Strictly No Photography here” signs were all over the place, careless onlookers went all out with their cams, I did not, at least not within the hangar. Around 10.30 am we were asked to move towards the airfield while planes were getting ready. It is a huge task to move the gliders from the hangar to the take-off zone. The glider is trolleyed behind a van while someone has to walk the length of the road holding up one wing.

How do the gliders at the gliding center at Hadapsar operate?

Gliding is a wind dependent activity, it is absolutely necessary that wind is in the opposite direction of the take-off. These gliders are all motor-less and flown with help of a winch, the winch is connected to the nose of the glider and long rope connects it to a vehicle like a jeep etc which a few hundred MTS away. The vehicle pulls the winch rope and launches the glider skyward.

Readying for Take off

 

Take Off

The pilot’s capabilities of managing this machine in the air are put to test when the wench disengages and glider goes into a free fall for 3 – 4 seconds, it is most awesome feeling you get, till you are back to normal again. The gliders are only 2 seaters, for obvious reasons the controls for the co – flier i.e I in this case are removed. After we settled into the skies, there was no sound of the motor and a pristine silence which echoed inside the planes pit. As land below began to fly by, I could actually gauge the speed at which we were going, it was quite a pleasant ride. It’s a different flying experience when you can see the ground, the one man space inside the plane is hardly a comfort zone and more like free flying. Ariel view of Pune was extravagant. The landscape marked with buildings with Sahyadris completing the backdrop.

Ariel view - Pune city

Ariel view – Pune city, Hadapsar, Magarpatta locality

 

Inside the Glider

What to expect at the Gliding center at Hadapsar

My Joy ride lasted about 7 – 10 minutes. The landing was bumpy but smooth and for the first time I realized the meaning of the phrase “Brace Yourself” – the descend was super and for me the highlight of the entire experience. There is a real skill in maneuvering these planes since they are all on manual control. No fancy gadgets to guide you around and the pilot cannot put this machine into Auto mode. Being able to read the controls, familiarize yourself with geographical conditions and identifying landscapes are critical for being safe Up in the Air. On the whole a super experience and worth every bit of waiting in sun and praying for wind God’s to make this happen.

Gliding center at Hadapsar: Google Map location

Travel Blawghhing – Nainital,city of lakes

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The first trip of the Blawghhers together in India. And we chose the most secluded stretch of India to travel to – Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora, and Kausani in Uttaranchal. This one particularly not frequented by many tourists – at least that is what we were told but in India, it is hardly possible now to go anywhere and not find crowds.

But since the idea was to travel and explore on our own, the trip was charted as per the destinations we wished to visit and stay at as per our convenience. We refused to be lobbied around in buses / private vehicles as other “honey – mooners” with the days and nights planned much beforehand and strictly followed :).

In the adjoining picture what you see are the most pristine waters of Uttaranchal – the Saat Tal lake made up of literally 7 lakes intertwined.

The seven Lakes Of Sattal are
Panna Tal or Garud Tal
Nal-Damyanti Tal
Purna Tal
Sita Tal
Ram Tal
Laxman Tal
Sukha Tal or Khurdariya Tal

Breathtaking scenery and snake pass roads makes for a pleasant journey but not so delightful for those with a light stomach 🙂

The typical dhabas serving rajma, parathas and dal fry rice are some of the places which are a must visit for those who want to eat some local cuisine. Of course, the 3,4 and 5-star hotels have infiltrated the region and for ones particular about diet and food there are various multi-cuisine diners available.

With the well spent 14 days, we also managed to make it to the Jim Corbett National Park, only for a day though.

More travel stories coming soon…

Some more pics

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In which trupz writes about everything that can go wrong with air travel and more

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Everyone loves and lives to tell their travelogues – there is something unnatural that happens to everyone on their journeys; it could that you forgot to put locks on your check in bags or lost your luggage, missed your flight – or even leave your tickets at home and even disastrous one ‘Lost the Passport’. I for one am proud to say that I have been through all of these – not all at the same time of course- but every trip is full of stories that I would love to share here.
When I forgot to lock my bags
It was my first ever international trip – let alone that – it was the first time I was to step on any plane for that matter. Any hoo bubbling with all excitement I reached the airport said my long good byes to everyone – naturally I was to go for a year and a half for my higher studies to UK. SO sure and confident that everything is under control I walked to the desk – showed my ticket and put my bags on the weighing machine – 63 kgs exactly, well under the allowed weight of 64 kgs for students traveling. Whoosh I saw each of the bags drawn over the conveyor belt to accompany me on my flight. Proudly I collect my boarding pass and walk away to my next check post only to realise that the little locks that should have been on the bags are still in my pockets. DAMN!! No need to elaborate what happened ahead – it was a flight full of fear anxiety and excitement – big butterflies in my stomach – packed like a bomb about to blow off – luckily when i got my bags all safe and sound – it felt like my plane had actually landed
When Vandana left her tickets at home
In January 2004 Vandana was to travel to Denmark for 2 months for training through her office – she was a complete wreck as this was told to her only a week back – so there was not much time to pack etc – since she was the first of my clan to partake an abroad trip – we were clueless as to what could be in store. Her parents, my bro and mum were to drop her to the airport – for some reason i opted out and stayed at home instead. An hour and a half later i received a frantic call from my brother – I could make out there was someone yelling in the background- it was my mum!! Not quite sure what is happening I was trying hard to focus on he was saying and picked up a few keywords – ‘Vandana’, ‘Tickets’, ‘ At home’ – I almost sprung from my seat when it actually dawned on me what had happened. The lass had left without her tickets. I turned the whole house upside down looking for them; finally to find them nicely tucked away in an envelope on the bed. I wasn’t sure how it would be of any help with me finding the tickets – cause the flight was to leave in 2 hours and there was no way I could make it there on my own in the middle of the night. While I was trying to make any sense of this the door bell rang – I saw through the peep my neighbor – he knew what was going on and was ready on his scooty to drive me to the airport. Armed with our helmets and not ascertaining entirely how cold it would be outside -freezing, we drove. We made it in 45 minutes – it was a record!! All in all yes I handed over the ticket and the usual ‘rona – dhona’. Another point to be noted during your travels – check all your documents! Againnnnnnn !!!
When I lost mah luggage
Off to trip to OZZIe land, in December 2007, my flight was delayed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by 2 hours – Malaysian Airlines, to Brisbane – Via KL. I was getting a lil panicky as my transit flight from KL to Brisbane was due soon after I reach KL and I didn’t want to mess up my plans. Several enquiries and assurances later the Airline staff confirmed that arrangements for all transit passengers would be made. I landed in KL at the time when my transit flight was to take off – was rushed off directly from the runway to the waiting aircraft – like a swing airborne to airborne again. Happy that I made it I slipped into a deep slumber. Waking up at SYDNEY I was reminiscing what a flight I had – chatting up with some of my co passengers who had similarly been evicted. AS I waited for my luggage I had a weird feeling that something was wrong. And it was indeed – my bags had not arrived – they were still stuck at KL while I was being swinged away. It would take 2 more days for them to arrive and would be sent directly to my hotel – of course I was handsomely compensated for the grievance. I didn’t have much to complain as all my essentials were with me just my formals missing; but the compensation was more than enough to help me shop!! What a great trip – landed in Australia and the first thing that I do is shop.
When I missed my flight
Just as I was thinking that I have become a pro at globe trotting another disaster struck. June 2008 I was traveling to UK for a conference – I did the regular check – my flight was on time – I did a web check-in, a window seat as usual. Packed well in advance I drove to the airport sans ADI who was in Goa with his office guys. Too proud to show off that I can do things on my own without him! Just as I made a call to the Airline to check my status I could feel the sweat balls become bigger on my forehead. The departure time for my flight read 0130 hours and I had literally translated that to 1.30 pm in the afternoon. What the customer service lady on the line was informing me was that I had already missed my flight!! Tears rolling down my cheeks I informed everyone of the mishap – BABA insisted that I should still go to the airport and check. Making desperate calls to the travel desk and customer service I was a nervous freak when I reached the Airport. On reaching I went in straight to the Airline counter who very patiently heard my situation – there was no way I could cancel this trip – the booking for the conference and the hotel etc had been done in advance and there was also no way I could cough up money to buy a new ticket. The airline guys first gave me some water and then said they could put me on another flight that was to leave in an hour if I had my bags ready. I only had to pay some ‘no show’ charges for missing the earlier flight. There was nothing else that could have made me happier as I had already typed my resignation letter in my head, if the unexpected happened. I ran out with new found legs and picked my bags and was soon aboard my missed flight!! An important lesson learnt is to never back away from adversity – there is always a way out, I would have been in more trouble if I had decided not to go to the airport.
Hehehehe – when I lost my passport
This was an unbelievable event – I actually laughed my way out of it – on my flight back to London in 2006 my passport fell off my lap in the airplane. I only realised this when I had to present it at the immigration counter. I checked my bags inside out and traced my way back to the security gates near the boarding deck. I was almost embarrassed when I told the officer there that I want to go back on the flight. Very surprisingly he quipped, “Don’t you like London!!” I explained what had happened and was amazed when expression did not change. All he said was “Are you sure!!”, and all I could say was “Positive”. He took me along some doors that read “Officers Only” and I found myself in the security zone. He made a few calls on his walky talky and made me go through the Metal Detector gate and frisked my bag – then another door and I was in the lounge where all Airlines had their desks. Suddenly I realised that internally the airport is a small managing unit just feels much spaced out!!! Any hoo I ran all the way to Airline desk where there was Q. Mustering up my courage and convincing myself that this was an Emergency situation I skipped ahead of the Q. Thanks to all people ever so considerate. As I approached the lady at the desk she told me to hold on for a minute. She picked up her mike and on the Public Address System I heard, “Attention all passengers just arrived by the *** Airways Flight ** ***, Miss Trupti Mulajkar, could you please approach the closest airline counter’ – this was repeated thrice. Not sure how but involuntarily I yelped ‘That’s me!!’ and she still continued to complete the announcement. When I finally went close to her – I saw the look on her face just like my mother’s and felt that a hard smack was on its way to my cheek. Luckily she just smiled and handed my passport. “You should be more careful with these things”. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and thanked the security officer for helping me out – He said he was glad I can see London now and didn’t have to go back – of course I could see the sarcasm. If I would have not found my passport then we would both be traveling back home on separate flights!!!.
Such have been the amazing stories behind all the beautiful pictures and memories – they would have been different if all would have not turned out to be fine. But you know what they say “In the end everything is ALRIGHT – if it is not alright then it is not the END”. Rock ON!