Looking back at the past is nice sometimes… It gives a sense of where you have reached despite the several things that occurred on your way. Last year I had made a photo story of my travels comprising of 1 important photo from each of my trip during the Year. By the time I compiled it, I came to realize that I had travelled on ALL 12 months of the year! I don’t want to repeat the same format for 2019 and would rather do it differently.
Although I don’t like to associate myself to being called a materialist, I’m a sucker for collecting souvenirs. And most of the time, the souvenirs that I look for are inexpensive and something that have strong stories to tell. Despite travelling abundantly this year, I couldn’t really find such significant things to bring back home from my travels. However, there are other things that well-wishers bought for me or some things that I gifted myself as a reminder of something important. Here is the list, in no specific order 😊
Gifts from friends to me:
Only people who understand me know my love for travel and what things get me excited. I appreciate their efforts in getting me these things which make me happy and treasure each of them. A few such things from 2019 are:
- Rakija, the national drink of the Balks was brought from Belgrade in a set of 4 Cokanj (the narrow necked traditional shot glass of Serbia) placed inside an Oak container: If you understand the effort in getting this potion all the way from another continent and take effort to read up a little on google about the importance of this drink and oak in the Balkan culture, you will know why I treasure this souvenir so much.
- The commemorative arm patch from 51 Squadron of IAF depicting the downing of Pakistan’s F16 by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman: It was an event that unified the entire country and getting my hands on an original piece was a dream come true.
- A sharpener that is also a miniature globe was not something that was planned and bought. It was something that a friend instantly associated with me when her eyes fell on it on a random grocery shopping day at a supermarket. The spontaneity is what makes it special.
Gifts from me to myself:
I am not someone who loves shopping. I don’t usually buy things unless it is an absolute necessity. But occasionally I like to invest on small collectibles that have certain significance associated with them. A few such things that I bought for myself in 2019 are:
- The HMT quartz watch. Yes, I had one which I lost on a tour in Jammu. Ever since then, I had been fearing when will the last piece go off the shelf from the stores and had been longing to have its replacement. Finally I managed to get one this year. Not just one, I ended up buying HMT watches for each member of my family 😀
- A Casio F91 digital watch. This is the last gift I bought myself for this year but one that was long due. I had NEVER worn a watch that had digital display ever in my life and as a growing up kid, I was always fascinated by the lights that were in certain watches worn by my older brothers. A light watch was something that I fancied wearing and somehow never got one. So this year, I let myself own this piece of luxury- The famous ‘Terrorist watch’ that also looks cool for my outdoor expeditions 😉
- The hair braid done up by the beach. Well, this is something that will remain with me for a while, to mark many important events that occurred in 2019. Firstly, I got this braid in Gokarna thus marking my first as a trek guide. Secondly, this reminds me of a failed date of mine which followed a solo trip to Varkala where I had conceptualized the original plan of getting the braid from 😛 Thirdly, I am nearing the end of my 3rd decade of existence. So, I needed something wacky to mark all those years of toil and faith gone into chasing the unfruitful life so far! What better way than a woven braid, right? 😀
Travel for me, is beyond going to a place. Even if it means going somewhere familiar, I seek new experiences. I treasure it more if my presence brings joy to someone else around me. Here are my top 3 travel moments that I cherished through this long year of hectic business and personal trips.
- Catching the moment when the Mysore Palace is lit: It is that One moment my friend and I sat up, to watch from Chamundi hills where a golden patch would go ON with a wink. What added to the fun was, two days later the newspaper read that the same parapet wall we had sat on, to watch the palace had given way down the valley due to a landslide 😀
- Getting a surprise favour returned by a stranger who paid my restaurant bill at Varkala: I met a random lady on the beach and struck a conversation albeit we both not knowing each other’s language. She could speak only French and we conversed with google translate. I helped her to strike a good bargain on buying a musical instrument called Hapi drum, something she had been eyeing since days of her stay there. The following day, I was surprised when the waiter refused to take the bill amount after I had lunched alone. It was pre-paid by a lady, I was told. (Click here for the full story)
- Having goosebumps as I watched Chandrayaan-2 take off into space: It was living a childhood dream of watching a rocket launch and it couldn’t have been more special than watching my country reach a new milestone in space technology. (Click here to read the entire struggle of watching the launch). The Coincidence was that the Lander (Vikram) in the spacecraft eventually lost communication with earth. Since then, Vikram also became TheLostLander :p
And finally, I’m someone who does not believe in chasing big dreams but in living many small things that bring immense joy that moment. Here are my joyful accomplishments for 2019:
- Getting a full-page travel article featured in a National newspaper (Click here to read the complete article).
- Completing the certification course in Honeybee keeping (Click here to read the complete article).
- Getting through as a Trek lead, to putting in all my travel experiences into real testing now, by leading teams! (Click here to read about my first day)
How has 2019 been for you? What nice things do you want to continue to do in the new year? What would you have changed if given a chance?