I’d discovered the pleasures of road-trips last year, despite being an anxious road traveller. This year, my romance with asphalt, dust and gravel continued. However, 2014 also led to newer discoveries and experiences - surprise, surprise – solo travel!
I know what you’re thinking: solo travel isn’t very unusual or path-breaking for many travellers. So, why the hullabaloo? For starters, despite being in my thirties, I’ve never taken a holiday without company. Let alone holiday, I’m the kind of person who is uncomfortable eating alone at a restaurant. And though I love my moments of solitude on holidays, I enjoy having just the right company in that solitude, to chat with or share experiences with. Now, having overcome my misgivings and travelled solo, I would happily do it all over again.
On the whole, travel has been very sparse in 2014. I miss those years when I travelled almost every other month. However, this break from travel was probably a blessing in disguise – it allowed me to process my backlog of images from last year, as well as write many stories.
This was a long-awaited trip to celebrate a momentous milestone. The date for this was hence set in stone – Jan 2014. After a lot of discussions based on our interest, weather suitability in Jan, ease of getting a visa etc, hubby and I zeroed in on Sri Lanka. This misleadingly tiny island effortlessly sustained our interest for 3 weeks, during which we explored west, south and central Sri Lanka. Lovely weather, incredibly friendly locals, scenic landscapes, fiery local cuisine and lots of outdoorsy activities left us with lingering memories. Hiring a car and driving around Sri Lanka was one of the best decisions we made; it was a great way to experience local culture and make serendipitous discoveries at nondescript little villages and towns.
An emotional brother. A benevolent visa officer. Generous parents. Timely summer break in the college I teach at - these sudden turn of events gave me 5 weeks of a much-unexpected holiday, beginning with my brother's graduation. To be frank, USA was nowhere in the top half of my travel wish-list. However, after crisscrossing the country solo, visiting Atlanta, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Chicago, Philadelphia, the Poconos, New York, Boston, New Jersey, Atlantic City and New Hope, I ate humble pie – I thoroughly enjoyed the country! I napped in parks, fought pizza wars in Chicago, star-gazed in Yosemite at midnight, stood through the sun-roof of a speeding car, fought over that last cronut, got drenched in fog in SF, pub-hopped in Boston on a weeknight, lived on a couch in New York, and made jam using berries I plucked – a few of the varied experiences I had. Travelling by intercity trains and buses allowed me to strike up interesting conversations. I walked for an average of 8 hours every day, exploring each city. This, I think, is the primary reason I enjoyed this trip – the experience on foot is unlike any other.
This was my umpteenth visit to the region of Coorg. I didn’t have high expectations from this trip, based on glimpses I’d had of Dubare. Staying by the river Cauvery, I sought out the lesser-known experiences Coorg had to offer. And, Dubare proved to be a pleasant surprise – a little bit of river, some wildlife, a few dilapidated monuments, and lots of lore and coffee.
Read about this trip: http://nomadandabag.blogspot.in/2014/12/a-river-runs-through-it.html