Solo Travel- hear the noises within

Posted By : Faisal Rabbani/ 339 0

Stagnation begins in the realm of comfort. It is only the absence of the same that ensues a path for a change & in search of motion you find change. Travelling solo is just that. It is a beginning of the change, within and without.

Solo Travel- Hear the noises within

SOLO TRAVELS

In the quiet you hear the noises within

Stagnation begins in the realm of comfort. It is only the absence of the same that ensues a path for a change & in search of motion you find change. Travelling solo is just that. It is a beginning of the change, within and without.

The fact is that solo travel sets the individual on the trail of self discovery, as he finds himself ushered in the unexpected and unforeseen forays of this journey and make no mistakes, there is every possibility of him desiring to have a repeat! Bravo!

Solo traveling is yet to catch the fancy of many, at least in India and remains a vastly unexplored part of today’s travel culture. This could be due to the popular belief that human beings cannot survive in isolation! Sure but aren’t we constantly striving to break free from the mundane, the ordinary, to feel liberated, to be with the self and why not? After all, our existential truth is ‘the self’, is it not?

Folks, travelling solo is definitely worth giving a try. Ask those brave souls who have already taken the plunge and the answer would be an emphatic yes! Hope this settles the issue.

However, apprehensions that come with taking a solo plunge are quite understandable. So let me guess what is ticking your mind eh. Is it the fear of being lonely? Well maybe, but every solo traveller I know, says that it’s far from being lonely on solo travels. Rather you feel more connected and open than ever. Being unsafe? Mother nature beckons and protects, does not harm. To add to that if you maintain street-smart behavior, you will be much secure. Being bored? Highly improbable as you will be busy exploring, experiencing & connecting. What else? Scared of running out of dough? Proper budgeting and bookings done in advance takes care of that, unless you intend to shop till you drop even on a vacation! Now this is terminal unless it turns funny when you see aunties rushing for the shawl shops and uncle biting into hot samosas while sipping on fragrant tea, completely oblivious to their awe inspiring surroundings.

Coming back to solo traveling, if some doubts still cast a shadow on your plans, let me share my own experience. I had my reservations before taking my first solo trip. After a lot of pacing back & forth & motivational speeches from fellow travelers, I did finally go & I am pleased to tell you that “DRUMROLL”, travelling solo is beautifully refreshing and uplifting. You experience an innate sense of peace. As you dust your dreams to a shine- you stumble upon a brand new self, in complete harmony with the serene surroundings, more confident and relaxed, brimming with renewed energy and zest; and who knows more surprises could be awaiting you, in the form of some valuable friendships which you strike during your solo journey! If nothing else, solo travel will enable you, for those few days at-least, to do or not to do as you please, which is luxury in itself, isn’t it?

So come-on, take the risk. Pick one destination and do your research. Be well equipped with bookings, road maps, travel applications on your phone; parasols, thermals, raincoats, extra woolens if need be, sunglasses etc. Update your medical kit, get you own food and drinks; extra care in dealing with strangers goes a long way in ensuring your safety. If traveling by road- your vehicle should be in the best condition and lastly- please give your mobile a shutdown, give yourself a break, quite literally. Your frayed nerves will thank you.

Hopefully more of us will embark on this amazing path in the future & bring back endless stories, which we all would love to hear, share and savor. Happy travels.

How to survive the Indian Pickpocket!

Posted By : Faisal Rabbani/ 375 0

Pick pocketing is essentially teamwork; though, solo artists too exist. Pickpockets, both males and females, operate in crowded metros, city buses, railway stations, bus terminals and daily markets. Good wallet-lifters are egoists; they pride in their trade. The best have self-inflicted blade marks on their forearms: a sort of status symbol, says a cop.

How to survive the Indian Pickpocket

Hi Folks,

The inspiration for this article is a recent group from the US and UK visiting India for the first time. And guess who greeted them first at the railway station. The very swift agile and hungry Indian pick Pocket or (pocket maar in local lingo), Yes that’s right, though the loss in foreign exchange wasn’t much ;), it’s still a mood dampener. So here’s some advice on how to beat them at their own game!.

Pick pocketing is essentially teamwork; though, solo artists too exist. Pickpockets, both males and females, operate in crowded metros, city buses, railway stations, bus terminals and daily markets. Good wallet-lifters are egoists; they pride in their trade. The best have self-inflicted blade marks on their forearms: a sort of status symbol, says a cop.

Popular public places, transport hubs or local shopping areas are the breeding grounds for the pick pocket. They come in all shapes and sizes, Short, wiry and reasonably articulate, who hardly invite a second glance or may be dressed in a worn-out jeans and a beat-up eggplant colored T-shirt that screams, Rock and roll rebel.

I for one have not been pick pocketed until now, lucky I guess! So these are the few things I make sure are in place if I am entering a crowded public place.

  1. Nothing works best than being alert; in the know of who’s around you.
  2. Look out for any face trailing close to you for long.
  3. Always keep your wallet in the front pocket, makes it almost inaccessible.
  4. If lost always or asking for directions, always ask a cop or any fellow traveler or a auto rickshaw driver.
  5. When paying do not take out the entire wand of cash you might be carrying, always carry loose currency in change.

The local Pickpocket slang, must you hear it you know what to do now!

* Machine: Main pickpocket of a gang.
* Thekbaaz: Assistants mainly used to distract attention.
* Paplu: Potential pickpocket’s target.
* Phool: Meeting place.
* Bater: Back pocket.
* Chhati: Front pocket.

Rest , enjoy the vacation, love the people and experience the culture. Remember all that we have talked about here is out of experience and all this is ineffective if you are not alert about your surroundings. These basics will help you not get robbed.  Cheers!

Here’s how popularising Leh is playing out!

Posted By : Faisal Rabbani/ 353 0

As soon as these passes open for public, pictures start flooding social media  platforms~ facebook / instagram won’t stop buzzing with selfie’s and groupies or solo pics capturing the breathtaking background. Once the euphoria settles and satisfaction prevails ~ the sense of belonging to the place also fades away.

Here's how popularising Leh is playing Out!

When it comes to Bollywood, our very own version of Hollywood,  we Indian’s are a proud lot .Movies play a significant role in our world of entertainment. Be it Fashion, Humour, Style, Culture, Haute-Couture or Travel ~ movies have been, the first influencers to the millions of audiences young and old! Two such movies Dil Chahta hai (2001) and 3 idiots (2003) ~( Check them if you haven’t already! ) play out storylines which are close to a lot of heart’s ! but then here’s the frame we want to focus on~ both these movies were shot in Leh and this box office result wasn’t pleasing. Here’s how the consequences of popularising Leh played out, read on!

Tourist arrivals have increased rapidly especially in the past decade which has undoubtedly given a boost to its economy and created more jobs. Leh has evolved as one of the most visited destinations in India in the summer months. As the terrain in Leh is extremely fragile, it is subject to more carbon footprint, more plastic waste and very little water to sustain the needs of the tourists. It is wrong to blame these movies for the most part of the modernisation that Leh is subject to and it is upon us as tourists/travellers to practice ways that conserve the nature rather destroy it.

When I first visited Leh in 2010, bikers trailing the Manali ~ Leh route was an uncommon sight ,fast forward to present day one can witness score’s of bikers and tourists alike wanting to experience this magnificent place -but here’s what’s missing – their actions to preserve and  conserve this pristine landscape they so much enjoy. As soon as these passes open for public, pictures start flooding social media  platforms~ facebook / instagram won’t stop buzzing with selfie’s and groupies or solo pics capturing the breathtaking background. Once the euphoria settles and satisfaction prevails ~ the sense of belonging to the place also fades away.

I am not sure how many of us are aware of the fact that Leh is the only cold desert in India with extreme temperatures, very little rainfall, ingenious agriculture and heart-warming culture. The region was opened for tourism in 1974 and about 500 tourists visited the destination in the first year, mostly expats and a resident population of 15,000 locals.

Conserving this very fragile ecosystem remains our responsibility. As travellers or tourists these are a few small things we should do to make a difference, a real difference and effect the ecosystem in a positive way.

-Do not Litter –

This holds true for every place that we visit but more importantly in a place like Leh. Avoid buying plastic water bottles, instead carry a bottle with you to refill. It is heartbreaking to see the lakes/passes littered with bottles of Coke, mineral water etc. Carry the non-biodegradable waste back home – Yes, it makes a huge difference.

-Use Compost Toilets –

Water is a limited resource for the people of Leh due to minimal rainfall. They use every drop of the melting snow to fulfil their irrigation needs and sustenance. Tourists are used to flush toilets which end up using a great amount of water + produces nitrogen rich waste. Adopt the local practices just for those few days to make a difference

-Chose local travel agencies and homestays –

Plan your trip with the local travel agencies which support and practice ecotourism. Give up the urban way of living for a few days and experience the hospitality by the locals.

-Hold or be a part of the workshops –

Help the local community and contribute your time in collaborating with them. You can do a number of things based on your skill set – English teaching lessons, music, writing, ways to enhance sustainable tourism and more.

-Save Water –

It’s okay to not take a shower everyday, yes that! Use solar heaters or room temperature water than promote the use of geysers and electrical equipment.

A famous quote reads – the use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are. We must inherit these practices as a way of life and conserve this place as is. We are already late but every single effort counts….. let us  be heroes just for one day!

Please feel free add to the idea’s mentioned here. Do leave your comments/suggestions or write to us at hello@ecohunters.in.in.

Real-time travel tips for introverts

Posted By : Faisal Rabbani/ 324 0

Travel is  about being open to experiences, both even and odd ones. Overcome your apprehension of an event by being open to any outcome , even it is not upto your liking. Spend time doing the things that your persona is comfortable with.

Real Travel tips for Introverts

The travel bug hasn’t spared even the meekest of individuals to step out and explore. Pictures of half naked revellers jumping off a lagoon, may be a opportunity to meet a beautiful someone or an experience which translates to some real soul cleansing !  While all of us look forward to such a get away, some  can’t seem to indulge in the moment ~

Read On to make the most of  your introversion on your next trip …

# Dive in Alone

Travel is  about being open to experiences, both even and odd ones. Overcome your apprehension of an event by being open to any outcome , even it is not upto your liking. Spend time doing the things that your persona is comfortable with.  If  that  means spending time alone ,do it, eventually you will find a sweet- spot between your travails for alone time and urge to socialise. And in due course when you  crave company you will have no choice but to socialise. Be it hopping on the next flight to meet a friend in a neighbouring city or striking up a conversation with a fellow traveller, your inner extrovert will find you.

# Travel with a wing-man or a wing-woman

If you are not a compulsive lone-wolf , consider travelling with one or two close friends. This makes for a perfect dynamic. When you need alone time you can easily break away without the need for any odd moments. Approaching other travellers will be easier as you will be comfortable in the knowledge that you wont have to indulge in small talk alone. Your travel partner will be a hand in glove in things that you aren’t comfortable initiating.

# Be Yourself

Introverts as the popular notion goes are not anti-social. They are individuals who need more alone time between intervals  of socialising. But here is the take away ~ introverts are always absorbing or observing the atmosphere  around them which makes them more perceptive and hence can connect at a deeper level with a individual. So when they bond they are definitely beyond Facebook friendship.

# Get Off the internet

This is probably one single popular reason why  people miss out on people! Get off Insta Scrolls , Facebook updates, Whatsapp texts. Use them strictly when necessary. Doing this will help you fully engage with your surroundings and  people. You will not miss out on that sudden photo op , may be even exchanging a glance with that someone! ~ this is possible only when you aren’t staring away at one of your smart gadgets!

# Resisting FOMO

For unaware souls FOMO is fear of missing out.

Instead of enjoying what’s around you, you spend more time worried that your travels don’t look the way they’re supposed to. There are  probably these images running in your head about whats it supposed to look like ! Oh yeah all those gazillion images online can trigger the feeling~ but what they don’t display  is the myriad edits these images took to get to your screen.

# Assume

ASS-U-ME, thats what assumption does. Don’t assume about a situation , place or a individual. If there’s anything on your mind or if curiosity is getting the better of you, step up and confront the thought through an action. If not the non-action will eat into your bliss and you would not have an answer to the question~ What if i Had~ this is your insurance for a similar situation in the future.

#Be Content

Don’t worry about how many likes your social post has got or be anxious that everyone else is having more  fun while you’re chilling on your own or that your buddy got lucky  while you couldn’t ! This is your trip and you can perceive the experience the way you want to. If  what you return with is a few titles ticked off your reading list, a tan on your body  and a smile on your face, that’s cool. Theres always a next time for those incomplete wishes or secret desires.

Hope you liked reading through our post. As always please leave your comments or write to us at contact@ecohunters.in.in for any suggestions.