A Horrid Travel Nightmare

Travelling by yourself, as a woman is definitely a risky, frivolous pursuit be it to whichever country or place in the world. I traveled everywhere with my son since he was a toddler. And a single mother traveling alone with a toddler or even a ten year old could not be any less challenging as it would be for a 16year old teenage girl. I too have had several ackward, scary or could have been more dangerous situations during my travels, however this one really scared me off.

Once in 2010, We traveled to SRI LANKA, The Pearl of The Indian Ocean, a very beautiful island country in the Indian Ocean with spectacular coast line , diverse wildlife, an amazing history and endless opportunities for adventures. We had a lovely holiday exploring the sparkling white beaches, watching the freely strolling elephants at Udawalawe National Park, the turtle hatcheries, the Buddhist temples, particularly the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic at Kandy. The SriLankans are absolutely the kindest people I have come across among my many various travels. Even while the country is slowly recovering after the island’s decades-long civil war, the generousity and hospitality is still alive in SriLanka. And I would definitely want to visit again.

However we all know, Protagonists and Antagonists are both essential characters of most stories. And thus this story👇

My son 7years at that time and myself were on our way to the airport, to board a flight Colombo-Mumbai scheduled at 7am. The travel agency had arranged a known taxi for us. Considering the distance from the hotel to the airport 3 hours + 2 hours early arriving at airport before departure, our taxi journey commenced at 2am. 30 to 45 minutes through the journey, I realized something was amiss.

Raised by an alcoholic father, the odor of alcohol wasn’t new to me. I understood the driver is drunk. My son dozed off in my lap..The driver switched on some dirty music and started singing along with it loudly..I requested him to switch off the music but he didn’t or didn’t want to hear me. I could feel him staring at me intently through the rear-view mirror. I started feeling scared but I decided not to exhibit my fear, I avoided eye contact completely. I noticed 2 of 3 mirrors were directed towards me so anywhere I looked he was looking at me. I rolled down the windows and it was pitch-black outside, we were on the highways,with no roadlights I couldnt make out if we were passing a jungle or any kind of waterbody. The air in the car was getting cold. I squeezed my arms around my son tightly. I was wishing if I could see any police patrol car, I would wave or scream..All kind of dreadful thoughts in my head – what if he raped me, then kill my little son and me.. while I was lost in my thoughts, suddenly he put his left hand on the seat head next to him, partly pointing towards me and watching thru the mirror if I was reacting.He still was singing and had a dirty disgusting smile on him attempting to get reaction from me.His hands were so close to me as he had pushed back the front seat .It was getting more and more scary, I then saw the city lights approaching.. Saved. We reached the airport, I rushed out my bags and without a single glance at him, I took my son and vanished into the airport..

I am not sure if I have been able to convey the horrid experience in my writing as I had encountered it..oh well I didn’t spare him at all, once I was inside the airport I immediately called the hotel and told them about it, the man was arrested and lost his job too. This was the worstest of experience I had of many, so close and spine-chilling but as you can see, none has hindered my love and keenness to travel..every such awkward experiences has only made me more tougher, more confident and a careful traveler.. Keep reading for more stories from my travels ❤️.

“LIFE IS EITHER A DARING ADVENTURE OR NOTHING AT ALL” ~ HELEN KELLER


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Wanderlust

After my first solo trip I realised that there is a whole world outside there. Idea of traveling alone was definitely daunting in the beginning. But then it had its own perks too. Traveling without family and friends but with total strangers helped me look at life to a wider perspective. I learnt to face fears which I never thought I would otherwise. I understood that having differences aren’t always bad. Made many friends on each trip, some good some wierd. I loved listening to people’s stories. I traveled to many near, far, small, big and new places, I wish I knew one day I would blog then I would have taken plenty of pics and retained memories.

I can confirm that my life has been entirely unpredictable. When I thought my life would be confined to that room in my parents house with sadness, fear and worry as my companion, the idea of fleeing home struck me and destiny opened the doors to travel for me.

Marriage was never attractive to me as my intense and irresistible desire for freedom was above all. But there was this tremendous urge to feel loved and wanted. so I embraced motherhood 🙂🙂 Since then I lived every moment thousand times with my son. Him as my travel companion from the age of six, we traveled to many places in India and abroad.

Traveling independently at such early age made him fearless whether it was jumping into the ocean or even seeing incredible huge elephants or making his own choices at a very early age due to interacting and communicating with people during our travels. And best of all, as mother and son, we would have unending conversations about anything in the world, be it a worm, a stone, a star, a tree or the sea or the waves or anything that seemed wonderous to him. I could see that he would easily connect with people all ages or culture or nationality. At an early age of 10-11, he learnt to pack his own travel bags as he had started to understand the things he would need while heading for a particular holiday destination, a beach or a mountain. Overall as he was growing up, he was becoming more and more independent, more understanding, more patient, more considerate and compassionate. With every trip we undertook, our bond strengthened encouraging us to have more fun and adventure together.

Now my son’s a teenager and makes his own plans. Though I miss my travel partner in him, I have not cut down on my travels. Rather, because he is now independent enough to manage his affairs by himself, I am able to expand my wings further to more travels and travel to farther places while I am still young and healthy. Every travel I make, my body and mind is reset into a newer person making me more strong and independent woman that I am today.

😊🧚🏖️🏝️🌅🌄 My life feels most fulfilling when I’m traveling and living through new experiences. This world is full of amazing people with beautiful stories and beautiful places and I want to meet or see them all..

Backpacking to the Abode of Clouds

Northeast India being somewhat different from mainland India, has always been an attraction to backpackers and so this time I decided to backpack to an offbeat location – The Meghalayas

#Backpacking has always been a way of relaxing my mind, by connecting with like-minded strangers, listening to their adventure stories and making my own too. There are great ways to explore the world however every experience comes with its own opportunities and obstacles.

This backpacking expedition I joined a group of young & enthusiastic backpackers, I oldest of them all. When traveling with younger travellers, initially there is always a doubt about acceptance due to the age factor, gradually diminishing.

I arrived late night at Guwahati and was joined by other members at the hotel. I was very excited and looking forward to making new friends in my co-travellers. From Guwahati, we had our tempo-traveller for our forward trip of the next 6 days. After a comfortably lavish breakfast ahead of Guwahati, we proceeded to Meghalaya.

Meghalaya is an unexplored heaven on earth. The view of the lush green layered hills, cloudy enthralling blue skies, turquoise waterfalls, pristine lakes and the dew-drenched meadows filled my heart with ecstasy and delight. Call it as perks of the pandemic, we did not have tourist crowds anywhere, we could move around in ease and every little pleasure was to our sole discretion.

Visited : Mawphlang Sacred forest; Mawryngkhang Bamboo Trek, Nohkalikai Waterfalls; Umiam Lake; Living Root Bridges; the cleanest village of Asia Mawlynnong; Krang Suri Falls; Monoliths; The Garo Hills; India-Bangladesh Friendship Gate; Mawsmai Caves, the wettest place in Asia, Cherrapunji. Relished the traditional dish Jadoh (ja’ means rice and ‘doh’ means meat). Missed the famous crystal clear waters of the Umngot Dawki River, which wasn’t so crystal clear due to rainfall the previous night.

Mawryngkhang Bamboo Trek was the most amazing experience for me. A 6449 ft, 4-hour trek one way. Our group had few first-time trekkers and so the group leader walked behind with them and I was left with the only other solo co-traveller in the group. We had all the freedom to explore into deeper areas of the forest, click abundant photos and videos. The entire trek involved walking through thick forests, rocks, rivers over man-made bamboo bridges tied with cane ropes. A local tea vendor shared that wooden ladders and bamboo bridges in this entire bamboo trail was constructed by the forest people without taking the help of the government.

Some bridges looked a bit shaky and we both were quite unsure whether they would keep our weight. But ofcourse in the midst of the jungle, half way through you simply have to keep your faith and continue walking and we found the bamboo bridges strong enough to take us across. Of course, we moved across the bridges one at a time. In the beginning, the track was a descending one until we reached a rocky gap and we had to literally squeeze beneath the rocks. Some places the trail were both uphill and downhill. At one point there was an arched bamboo bridge in the middle across a dangerous-looking ravine. This was the scariest of all the treks I had ever done because there were few parts which fell at the edge of the cliffs and had to walk-over for 7-8 minutes. The final part was a 100-meter-steep climb up a bamboo ladder that took us to the legendary king of Rocks U’Mawryngkhang.


Few months ago, making plans for this trip I was very intimidated about going #backpacking somewhere outside Mumbai for the first time. But after having completed this trip successfully, I have realised there’s never any one right way to do things. Once you have made up your mind and you are on the road, what you want and whatever you need everything will fall in place to get us to that point.

Well personally, with sightseeing and everything, all went well. However, as a group, by the end of the trip there were mixed feelings, pleasure, displeasure! Group travel is altogether an interesting challenge by itself. Different people, different habits, different moods. Sometimes, showing up late would ruin the day’s schedule, sometimes asking too many questions would get someone annoying.

Group trips suit extroverts who appreciate meeting new people and to me meeting people is the main feature of my travel expedition. In group tours, I have always had a wholesome experience of say – networking and socializing, I have always found people like me who are often traveling alone and have stories to share. And having cherished their company few have become friends for life.

All of us 10-member group and major part of the group from a particular region; at such times there is often friction because they are often amongst themselves, talking and joking in their own language, making their own plans, dining separately and doesn’t mingle much with the group. And so other single members feel neglected. The more number of people, language barriers, negative comments, whining, complaining, and small disagreements become inevitable. And then slowly the uneasiness seeps in. And so our group too had our share of all ups and downs to go with. We need to remember, in a group tour the harmony needs to be kept alive so that the trip can be enjoyed, so unpleasant needs to be ignored or accepted. Myself though, made several lovely friends in this group..

You can only venture into the unseen if you have the courage to stray into the zone that is not your comfort zone and invite struggle and uncertainty to be your travel partners. Remember, that these travel imprints are going to make us laugh, cry, and smile for years to come…🖖🥰

Kheerganga- A Trek to remember

#HimachalPradesh is a land of countless beautiful treks. Anywhere you turn to is a valley or a mountain and tucked away into this wilderness is The Kheergangaa very refreshing and surreal trek. This 13 km trek is said to be covered in 4-5 hours at a moderate pace. However we took a good 6-7 hours at leisure to arrive at the top.

Kheerganga trek wasn’t on my program list. I had overheard a conversation at the breakfast table of the camp and decided to join this group of boys, accompanied by two tour guides from the camp. The boys moved at their own easy pace. Hiking you can only do when you have the determination in you. And so the guides and me proceeded by ourselves. 

Being stationed at Kasol, we had to reach Barshaini by a taxi and that was a 45 minute journey from Kasol. Barshaini is a small village from where we were to start the hike. At Barshaini, we checked into a cafe, had breakfast of potato stuffed parathas with tea, and filled our bottles with water. After a scrumptious breakfast, we decided to start our climb by 11 in the morning. I was suggested to change my shoes to suit the snow and ice covered trails ahead, so we hired shoes from a shop nearby. There were plenty of small shops that gave out hiking shoes, winter jackets or hand gloves on very minimum affordable rents. We advanced on our journey with sticks and enthusiasm. Me, Vivek and Nitish.

From Barshaini, there was a trail that went down from the dam, where there was a bridge over the gushing Parvati River. Upon crossing the bridge, we were now on the trail to Nakthan. The beginning of the trek was a short gentle climb or rather a casual walk upwards. However, being a sunny day, in the absence of any tree cover it started to get tiring and hot. After around 2 hours, we reached Nakthan village, a traditional Himachali village with small wood and stone houses which seemed from another age or frozen in time. A stone platform is made above the ground level to give strength to the wooden superstructure above it and also preventing it from snow and ground water.

There were a few cafés for travellers and trekkers, where we stopped to relax a bit. It was sunny and therefore exhausting hence stopping for a while, chatting away with smiling locals was relaxing. Fortunately, my travel partner had alpenliebe candies with him, which according to him is a great choice on uphill climbs, it helps the throat to not get dry and also provides energy from sugar. All three of us popped in a few and continued our walk uphill passing by pine forests, a huge waterfall. After the waterfall, the trekking trail began to get a little challenging, however there were several nice places to sit in the shade of trees where we could sit and share some cordial conversations to relax.

The weather had now started to feel cooler, and we could now see traces of snow ahead on our paths. The Sun had begun to hide behind the mountains and darkness had begun to pitch in. And so I was suggested to not take many breaks and move faster. News had reached that there had been heavy snowfall above and therefore the paths are covered with snow. I could now see that the pine forests and green valley’s ahead were blanketed in snow. The paths were extremely narrow with valley on one side and the gushing Parvati River at the bottom of it. The slippery trail had to be walked with extreme caution as one misstep and there you go plunging into the ice cold river never to be found again. Here I learnt that walking on fresh snow is not the problem, but walking on ice settled by the snow is the tough one. It was now pitch dark, every one walking hand in hand, making noises to let others know they are following. With mobile lights on, we just walked on for another two hours and finally reached the top. We could now see several tents and small lights, many people in small groups had arrived.

By the time we arrived at Kheerganga top, I did not realize my feet had begun to get wet due to the snow and ice. My finger tips and toes had frozen and therefore had no sensation and I was losing my breath as well. For a few moments, I thought I was losing it. But with guidance and support from co-travellers, I could regain my state back to normal in few minutes. To Kheerganga, the first half of the trek is moderate and second half is steep and slippery, very difficult particularly in the snow weather.

We spent the night in the tent chatting on our forgotten childhood stories and playing games, local food from the campsite kitchen. The whole night was severely windy and breezy, the weather had dipped to -21 degrees. However after the long day, we snored away, blanketed in 3-4 drapes.

Morning next day, the campsite at Kheerganga offered views that seem straight out of a Christmas card. I was standing in the midst of snow covered mountains, my feet in knee level snow, I could hardly speak and hear my rattling teeth due to the chilled weather. Usually it is said the best time to visit Kheerganga is between the long periods of May and November, however I chose December as I wanted to experience snowfall and here I was in full snow. All the trouble during the climb made it worth having seen this view. Oh yes, the best view definitely comes after the hardest climb.

After breakfast, and a photo session, we started our descending at 10am. Coming down is far more difficult as you tend to slip downwards over the icy wet tracks. However the feeling of accomplishment is motivating enough to energise yourself and pep your walk. Also long walks with a friend is something I have for long wished and so it was definitely special exchanging various experiences on the way down with my tour boys who had now become friends.

We came across few fresh waterfalls, where we filled our water bottles with clean and pure water. The paths were a bit slippery due to small streams here and there. We also stopped at a cafe to enjoy a cuppa Maggie and some snacks, before making the final push towards going down. On the way, we passed by the Rudranag Temple, perhaps I had missed noticing it while going up. Rudranag temple has a waterfall beside it. I remembered that we had to cross over the bridge near Rudranag to get to the other side of the mountain, upon which the high altitude meadow of Kheerganga’s actually beauty unraveled. At some points, the trail was extremely precarious due to vertical slopes, extreme downhills and some slippery tracks.

With the spectacular views and various challenges faced, it absolutely became an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime. And without the positivity, enthusiasm and camaraderie of my brilliant trekking heroes cum tour companions Vivek & Nitish, It would have undoubtedly not been possible to remain so upbeat and cheerful throughout this expedition. I owe them big time😍

#kheerganga #Barshaini #Nakthan #HimachalPradesh

The Kasol Extravaganza

#Kasol This was a trip I took on impulse. The pandemic was a total spoiler, cancelling all my 2020 travel plans one after other. Group tours were getting cancelled and friends weren’t willing to accompany as government was laying more stern covid rules for travelers. And not traveling for almost an year was frustrating me inside out. And so I decided now to travel alone. The idea was bit scary but exciting at the same time. However I decided to push aside the negative thoughts to the back of my mind and start off on my own. Initially I was planning to do the Leh-Ladakh and then it changed to Chadar Trek, but none worked out however I was holding valid tickets for #HimachalPradesh. I decided to experience SNOWFALL.

The first time I traveled by myself was in my early 20’s. Desperate to escape home & always an impulsive decision maker I had decided to travel and feel the outside world. Those days for someone as dreamy as me, without mobile or Google, I could only imagine the beautiful world from the bollywood movies. And thus I had fled to Himachal Pradesh.

For some reason, then too I was totally fearless to explore what’s to come next.Having lived and survived a childhood utterly hurt, disappointed, criticized and fired, nothing else in the future life felt any challenging ever. And now as I am in my 40’s I am less fussy, free-spirited and fiercely independent. Also I was now not too nervous, shy or any concerned about what others thought of me. I guess I have lived long enough to realise that unexpected events happen for a reason and should be of nobody’s bother.. The more I traveled, I got reinforced with a positive self-esteem making me more and more confident and fearless.Of course, you don’t have to be on a personal self-help journey like I was the first time. Anonymity is a powerful tool when you’re in a brand new place u have never been before. Basically, no one knows who you are, so live and breathe in that experience.

The flight travel contained a lot of anxiety, wondering if I would clear all the covid rules at the airport however I arrived smoothly and spent almost half a day within the airport, made friends with the airport security, the prepaid taxi counters, the snack counters, and by the evening one of whom guided me through the underground metro to my bus station. This person kept a track on my safety till I returned back home after my trip. The supreme power has invisible ways of guarding you at all times..While traveling single, one of the great things that you realise is goodness and kindness does prevail and it restores your faith in humanity. Met some amazing co-travellers who chatted away for hours about their careers, futures, plans, childhood stories and so on.

After a night long bus journey, I arrived in @HimachalPradesh, The Land of Gods. The bus dropped us a little away from my actual destination. Hopped onto a local bus, drive of an hour, and finally arrived at @KASOL or say the Little Israel of India.For me a Paradise on Earth, for here is where I met the most amazing friends who made home in my heart for life.

When I finally arrived my destination, I was full of anxiety about the kind of people I will be meeting and will be with for the next ten days. I had my sightseeing tours all mapped out – KASOL, TOSH, MANALI & KASOL again. However, I had absolutely no idea, that my next few days were to decide the fate of my trip. The Himachalis have such warmth which I never experienced in all my earlier travels.This person from the camping agency met up with me, and we walked, infact a mini hike towards the camp location. This camping location sits atop, admist several beautiful hills offering spectacular views of the neighbouring valleys. I felt content like arriving home away from home.

Every morning I would wake up to the charm of an enchanting Deodar trees that surrounded the camping area. One such morning I woke into an absolute wonderland, covered by a thick blanket of snow. The tents, the trees, the mountains everywhere, everything was covered in snow. Every evening we would sit by a bonfire at the camp during night time singing, laughing, talking. By we, I am referring to my new found friends, the locals and the staff from the camping location. I honestly felt so safe and happy here. I learned about compassion, how people can be so accepting, hospitable and courteous – even to strangers. Every passing day, I was becoming inseparable from the place and people.

After a comfortable two days of relaxing, I joined for the Kheerganga Trek led by two amazing people from the camp and who were to become my friends in future. The trek was all the more difficult due to the paths being slippery due to snow turned into ice, however will truly remain a memorable experience for me, given me the feeling of Alice in Wonderland.

The fourth day was descending, the fifth day I was to leave for Tosh as per my itenarary. Tosh is a quaint village near Barsheni which is the base to start the Kheerganga Trek. However having done Kheerganga already, dropped Tosh and spend the day totally relaxing, explored the jungles near the camping site by myself. Everyday spending hours amongst the Deodar trees in the jungle was a beautiful pastime I thoroughly enjoyed. By the end of my holidays it was like I knew every tree in the jungle. I spoke to them every day and wanted them to remember me and miss me when I m gone.

The sixth day as per the itenarary, with a heavy heart I had to leave Kasol to spend the year end at Manali@HimachalPradesh. Last few days with the Kasol Gang of new friends like family, had been out of the world, having explored the craziest and unimaginables, I found a new me, like a child who had been locked for days had found freedom, a sort of Nirvana.

The Journey from Kasol to Manali was extremely heart breaking, the feeling of separation was heart-wrenching and I wasn’t prepared for it.Kasol to Manali is 2 hr 50 min (75.7 km). Arrived at Manali by noon, met up with my travel aide, a sweet girl, though having completed her engineering, travel being her favourite passion turned into a independent travel consultant. We went to the famous Mall Road, often referred as the heart of the town is a famous street of Manali. Spend the entire evening by myself exploring the shops & eateries, snuggled into a restaurant, quiet and cozy and treated myself to a delightful chicken sizzler. The evening was getting chilly and so we returned to our abode at the high end of the street. I found Manali to be an extremely crowded place, very commercial and noisy as compared to Kasol. I had chosen this stay for its very happening evenings with live music, live barbeque to suit the year end celebrations. However I wasn’t enjoying any of it without my Kasol friends and hence retired to my room early to sleep. The night was not at all comforting and I kept tossing and turning till I finally came to a decision.

Thus on the 7th day, I was back in Kasol by 7.30am, barging into their tents, surprising everyone still in their sleep with my glee. Another four days were spent like they were the last days of my life. The last day of the year was rather tragic as for celebrations, because the electrical power supply was sort of damaged and we had to do without music and hence New Year 2021 came in rather quietly but yet with plenty of love and hopes.I came across so many people in this trip who made the trip for me more than I thought it would be.

Rightly said that ‘Life is made up of a collection of moments that are not ours to keep’ and so my days in Kasol ended here.

And I am so happy that my solo travel experience has been an extremely amazing, empowering experience that I am now so much more motivated to continue doing so.

Also having shared the challenges and triumphs I have experienced, I hope I will be encouraging other women to embark on their own life changing solo adventures.

#Kasol #HimachalPradesh

A Loner

Many a times, I have been called a #Loner, for I prefer to go to a movie alone or for I travel alone or as I prefer to celebrate more of ‘Me’ time. The word may have plenty of definitions to it – A Recluse, An Introvert, A brooder etc etc, however it is to understand that the behaviour totally depends on the context of the situation one has had to deal with in the past. Inside one’s chest there is always a heavy alone feeling and one discovers that the past cannot be locked away because no matter what, unravelling the anger and pain is impossible. Even in the warmth of family and friends, the hard-bitten heart still keeps searching for love, the broken soul is still looking to finds peace.

I have no qualms in calling myself a Loner, I am one. And that’s what led me to the world of travel. Brenna Smith once said Travel is the best way to be lost and found at the same time. However just for enjoying solo travel, it does not make one a Loner, because solo travellers are not lonely people. I do not prefer to travel alone because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to.

Yes, I do prefer to travel alone. Because I can travel at my pace, decide for myself, choose my place and most of all it allows me to embark on an inward journey of self-discovery about myself. It allows me to seek some inner peace and self-exploration.

When I traveled for the first time as a solo traveler, I did not have a confirmed destination, a tour plan or a traveling partner. When life began to suck, when I could not see a clear picture for myself, when I did not see anyone who could guide me or hold my hands, one night I packed my bags and started on my journey, with a suitcase of clothes, my certificates, a small financial arrangement and but most of it in plenty, I carried courage in abundance.

In those days, or atleast in the environment I grew up, we did not have too much or any access to the outside world so did not know the risks for a woman traveling alone. Most of my childhood were spent alone in my room, to escape the verbal and emotional assault arising out of my mother frustations and drunken behaviour of my father. Staying alone in my room I was learning to deal with my inner thoughts and feelings. I preferred not to initiate a conversation for the fear of being rejected and gradually, I had learnt to repress my emotions. My small world were my comics, storybooks and novels in which I read about and imagined of the lovely people, beautiful green hills, rising or setting sun behind the mountains and moonlight on rivers. And that imaginary world was an amazingly beautiful, peaceful, loving and kind place unlike my home. I wanted to reach that place where the land meets the sky. Today I believe, perhaps I was forever a loner and so I had a dreamy world for myself and I wanted to reach there somewhere.

And that somewhere I am still searching. Life is a journey which has no destination they say but if it is so, then where is it I want to reach, what is it I am searching for. I hope there is no answer to it, because I don’t want to stop, because if I stop I would be no more. Because LONER that I am, I need no other companion but this journey I am on. Not because I am forced to keep it that way but because I prefer to keep it that way.

A Mountain calling

Boredom was at its peak, when I decided to go trekking for the first time, three years ago. I randomly chose a trekking group online and registered for the trek to Vikatgad Peb Fort, about 2,100 feet above sea level in Raigad district, of Maharashtra, India.

The entire week was spent in anxiousness about several things. This was my first trip after I returned from the Andaman’s with a fractured ankle. I was secretly worrying about my frequent lower back pain due to spondylosis and what if I get into complications like heat stroke and exhaustion as my water intake was poorest. I did not share my trekking plan to anyone at home or among friends, for the fear about what if the entire thing would become a blunder if I failed.

Well I had one week with me to prepare for this trek, which I began whole-heartedly. I started regular jogging, drinking water every half hour, reworked my diet chart, resting my back as often as possible. Personally my energy levels have always been quite high so I knew I wouldn’t be tired or anything but the fear that my lower back would dump me somewhere on the way up was constantly hitting me. If I failed halfway, one of the trek members would have to discontinue his trek and attend to me, which I would not let happen. I reminded myself that I am a brave girl and I have come out a survivor at the worst of times in life. This too I definitely can do. That gave me some confidence, smiling I pulled over the bedsheet, and slept for a few hours.

Early morning at 5am, I reached the gathering spot with butterflies in my stomach. A group of 14-15, all in their best of youth, I felt secretly out of place. Aiming at a fort located at 2100 feet above, we initiated our climb after a set of instructions from out trek leader. Thankfully, I did not fail anywhere, at many junctures I was leading the group. Due to my over-enthusiastic and no-patience nature, while the group would wait to relax or take pics, I would keep walking leaving them far behind. I enjoyed the company of two young engineering lads who reminded me of my son, yacking all the way to the top.

The trek was a moderate one, along deep ravines and cliffs with narrow routes with beautiful views of the mountains. A nice cave temple was on the way. There was also a forest, walking through rocky climbs. The locals shared that the great Shivaji Maharaj used the caves on the fort as silos for grain storage. The clean and green sorroundings after the monsoon made the picture look splendid. Also the temperatures were low in humidity due to the winter weather making it a delightful trek experience. At certain points, the trek offered adventurous activities like ladder climbing, bridge crossing and ridge walking etc.

Overall, My first trekking experience was truly an enchanting experience, and thereafter I did several treks within Maharashtra.

Keep reading my blog for my travel stories.

AlsoVisit my Instagram @wings.2travel

Ringing into my dreams

My life’s adventures had begun very early in life and although all of it happened in a hustle when I think of it today, it all feels like a dream. I was 24 and had fled from home and all I knew was that I should be at the farthest place away from home.  I had learnt to enjoy my own company from early childhood and so I guess that is why traveling alone too wasn’t a big deal. Taking your first solo trip can be scary and overwhelming, particularly for any mentally disturbed girl of my background at that time. Totally unplanned, unorganised there I was with a bag of few clothes and limited cash on a train to Delhi at 6.53am in the morning.

Delhi Station and sorroundings was a heavily crowded place, horribly congested traffic and not very pleasing at all. The station building looked very much similar to the Red Fort, a shopowner where I stopped for a bottle of water said it was constructed by the British Indian government in the 1900’s and thus the Victorian look of the building. The taxiwalas, tangewalas and hotel agents thronged me to offer their services. Finally I settled with an open horse-drawn carriage to feel the thrill of it. He offered to get a good hotel on the way and I was very naive to understand his intentions agreed to it.

A slim petite girl traveling alone wasn’t an everyday sight to the locals, that everyone wanted to rub their hands on. I can say at one point I was very close to being molested by the horse drawn tangewala. Disappointed and scared, I decided to move further away from Delhi. Walking towards the Delhi bus station, I was drawn to a marvelously decorated tourist bus and I boarded it. Was quick to make a friend with my co-traveller in the bus. I learnt from him that it will be a 12 hour journey to the destination. And so began our unending conversations on various subjects making me comfortable and secured in his company. Thus, One transport to other and then to other, so very late into the eerie night somewhere in the world there I was with a friend of not more than a day, trusting my instincts for the second time, checked into the same accomodation as he. I could feel my bones freezing due to the chilling weather. Also I could hear the sound of gushing waters, that I assumed would be a river nearby. Exhausted to the core after three days of non-stop traveling from one end to another, all I wanted was a room to myself and so skipping my dinner I digged into the king-size bed snoring away like a 🐻 not knowing that #Adventures of my life had already begun🌐.

It was the best sleep of my life. When the curtains were drawn in the morning what did I see. I saw the most amazing view of my life – An Apple Orchard and Snow Clad Mountains! It was the most beautiful place I even knew existed. I could even hear the noise of the same rumbling waters which I discovered later was the mighty BEAS River.

From Mumbai, I had reached #Manali in Himachal Pradesh. We spent two days in Manali. Ours was a Residential hotel near the Beas River Bank. My new friend knew this place in and out, we crossed an old rope bridge and went into the jungles to explore. This was one amazing experience, standing on the loose hanging rope bridge and watching the river beas flow below in its fullest strength, can’t say it wasn’t scary. And then we walked in the woods thru the tall Deodar trees, ate at Dhabas in the chilling weather. The sorroundings were extremely quiet and serene, except for the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind and the rushing waters. While walking around, he shared a few mythological stories of Manali, that how the Pandavas had invoked the mercy of Mata Gayatri at the Manu Temple, the story behind the Hadimba temple etc etc.

I enjoyed his company as much as I enjoyed the beautiful sights. We talked and talked at lengths, there was someone who was willing to hear me out without judging me. I felt very secured with this stranger, surely his upbringing was visible, he treated me with utmost care and affection and at the same time we would do the silliest things and laugh to no end.

After two days, we proceeded towards DALHOUSIE, which is called Mini Switzerland of India. We visited the Dalhousie Public School too. I was lucky have a glimpse of the famous DPS School. The teacher-nuns, the open green lawns, well-dressed students, overall everything seemed like a scene from an English movie. My Friend was a Dalhousie regular as his nephew studied at the DPS. And so he was an excellent tour guide to me. We visited the very famous St John’s Church, which is the oldest church in Dalhousie and is an embodiment of the Victorian era.. The church had stunning glass paintings of St John the Baptist and St Peter, and also a very large library.

We spent two beautiful days in @Dalhousie exploring the hills, walking through jungles, eating at dhabas in the valley etc. Finally my travel acquaintance and now a friend had to return to his Delhi home. And I was alone to explore my next destination.

The memories of that trip remains very close to my heart. I regret I did not keep in touch with my first travel friend after that. Gone from my life forever, but never gone from my heart ❤️ I realised there was more to life than I visualised from my drawing books and comics..

#dreams #adventures #Delhi #manali #dalhousie