In a world of travel bloggers, travel entrepreneurs and perennial travellers, a non-traveller with a ‘routine’ life is an amused bystander, a spectator and ‘like’er of their posts. I love to read their blogs about living life nomadic style, having the entire world to call their home and no fixed address (their digital address is probably the one constant thing in their lives). It is a great read, a window to what lies ‘out-there’, but am just a fan, a supporter and that’s that.
So now that we have cleared out where I stand, would like to share a moment of epiphany that I had just yesterday, triggering the urge to write-it-out.
Out of curiosity to learn more and to better my style of blogging, was wandering the depths of the Indian travel bloggers and hit a chord with a post that listed out the ‘Top Indian travel bloggers 2016″. It is an extensive list (seems like only I think so) with 61 top travel bloggers who write about their never-ending travel tales. The one who wrote the post has done a commendable job getting that many people to answer questions and has done justice to all the listed bloggers. I was more in awe of the sheer number of women listed. Happy reader! Scrolling down, I reach inevitably to the comments section. It should be noted that I generally don’t read them if I don’t have a strong draw to a post. But this one made me curious, so went on reading. Grave mistake! I should have lived within the bubble. I popped it and there’s no coming back.
What I read in those comments took me by total surprise and the magic spell was broken. It was a wordy rant of all the other bloggers who hadn’t been listed – asking what the criteria were and why they dint make the cut. Bloggers who were featured but were listed in between – they wanted to know if there was an order to the numbering, if not that should have been mentioned at the start of the post. Bloggers who demanded as to why their name and their blog’s wasn’t on the list – for they too had travelled ‘many’ countries. Basically everybody was imposing an idea of their own. Of course there were many who were grateful to be listed (but this post isn’t about the good ones).
It was my impression that these eclectic travellers, the “Digital Nomads” were a class apart – an earthy bunch, who by their tenacity and resilience had built a sustaining lifestyle that afforded them and their travels. I was inspired by their will to take life one day at a time, quite literally. Their stories were vibrant and effused vitality that cascaded to the readers.
Their following on social media and readership was akin to that of the movie industry. There’s a part in each of us who love to be a someone in the movie industry or at the least would be glad for an association. For me, these travellers are like that but with a twist. For all the travelling they have done, the places they have seen, the people they have interacted with and heard stories from, the foods that they have tasted, the hardships they must have had choosing to tread an unconventional path – I really believed they must have been humbled by the whole experience. Am sure, many many are, but it has made me think and question all those notions I had built in my head.
How many of them are doing this for bragging rights?
Are these people any different from the constant ‘look-at-me’ posers on FB and insta?
What if they had no one to tell their stories too, if social media cease to exist – Would they still do all these travels and adventures, as they do now?
Are they all truly enjoying the journey, the quest or are they looking at them as different paragraphs of their blog post?
Are they living in the moment or making mental notes to recall the story?
Are they contributing to those many small societies and ecosystem that they live in? If so, how?
Are they the new-age rebel-without-a-cause?
The questions are popping up like wild mushrooms. Answers anyone?
PS: Photo credits to SalaamGateway and Pinterest.
After a month long hiatus, am back with a post, not just as a blogger but as a creative content writer for an amazing adventure travel company adventuresindbad.
Here’s the story of the start of this new chapter, my learnings and my writings.
My foray into the blogosphere was primarily driven by my love to write, about issues and topics that interested me or I had an opinion on, also, I had wanted to build a platform to gauge my skills or to improve it. So, thanks to all my readers for some amazing positive feedbacks, I decided to give a shot at content writing and posted in Sheroes, and am glad that my first prospective employer took the chance, let me weave stories befitting the beautiful photographs of his travel in the Western Himalayas. The travel bug in me got excited at the prospects and the past month has been a journey of words through the amazing land of Ladakh, India’s very own shangri-la.
The very first write up is photowalk of the trek to the 6000+m Mt. Stok Kangri. I am really excited to share the first 10 of the 30 photographic travel series.
I just hope that all my fellow bloggers and the readers take this as an expression of my passion, a pinboard for my writings and nothing else.
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ From today we will be posting the Stok Kangri Climb series taking you along our acclimatization walk and climb to the summit of Stok Kangri in Ladakh – a peak which has become the common man's Everest over the years. ⠀ ⠀ The lung ta prayer flags at Matho La Pass symbolises the balance of natural elements as one views the Stok Kangri Peak(6153m)⠀ ⠀ For the adventure enthusiast, seeking a High Altitude Mountain summit, Stok Kangri Climb offers a surmountable challenge as it is one of the ‘Highest Trekkable summit’ in the Indian Himalayan Range. The trek of its steep slopes tests the physical tenacity and resilience of the trekker and not their mountaineering/climbing skills. The craze of the Stok Kangri is fuelled by this achievability. A short 40 mins to an hour's drive from Leh, its ease of reach is an added advantage for the trekkers. The entire trekking expedition is wrapped up in 9-10 days, the first few days it is necessary to get acclimatised to high altitude and rarefied oxygen in order to avoid AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). For the acclimatised, the trekking exercise – reaching the base camp (3 -4 days of trekking) followed by the attempt to reach the Summit and the final descent (1 day) just about takes 5-6 days.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://buff.ly/2pHdEwu⠀ ⠀ Talk to an expert⠀ +91-9886022521 | firstname.lastname@example.org⠀ ⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #ladakh #leh #ladakhdiaries #stokkangri #stokrange #stok #climb
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ The Matho Gonpa – Standing tall overlooking the Indus and the Matho Village, enveloped by the deep gorges of the Zanskar Range.⠀ ⠀ The Trek to Stok Kangri starts from the Matho Village, adjacent to the Stok village. The trek is along a small trail on the side the Matho Chu river, which is primarily a Shepherd’s trail. The trek to Matho la is a preparatory trek to get acclimatized to the high altitude of 4900m, the same as the Stok Basecamp. It helps Adventure Sindbad trekkers to reach the Stok base camp with better temperament and physical readiness needed for the Summit night. The first day is a short trek of 2-3 hours, and then resting at the campsite next to the Matho chu river. A visit worthy site is the Matho Monastery en route the Matho la (pass) and for the culturally inclined, the monastery is home to a 600-year-old Buddhist painting on cotton or silk called Thangkas which are elaborately detailed. Also popular for the Oracle Matho Nagrang Festival, it is celebrated to welcome the oracle spirit god "Rongstan" who inhabits the body of the monks, and through a ritualistic dance foretells the events that would play in the life of the Ladakhi people in the year that follows. ⠀ ⠀ It is befitting to start the Stok Kangri trek from this temple of spirituality, a place to surrender the Ego and Be humbled. For the trek to the summit is not a conquest but a submission to Nature's Magnanimity.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://buff.ly/2p0wBey⠀ ⠀ Talk to an expert⠀ +91-9886022521 | email@example.com⠀ ⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASstokkangri #ladakh #leh #ladakhdiaries #stokkangri #stokrange #stok #climb
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ The ascent to Gangpoche from Matho Chu campsite, takes us through arid, sun-scorched slopes of the Matho Valley that reflect off a beige sandlike hue.⠀ ⠀ The next leg of the trek takes us across many small streams and through vegetation of willow and sea-buckthorn shrubs, leading to a steep slope, from where it is an hour to hour and a half trek. This stretch of beige, sand like hue of the mountains is the first of the many hues the trekkers get to see throughout. This steep ascent flattens out to the vast expanse of the Gangpoche – the next campsite.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://buff.ly/2pLOzPa⠀ ⠀ Talk to an expert⠀ +91-9886022521 | firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . . #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #stokkangri #ladakh #incredibleladakh #aridlands #colddesert #summer #trekking #Himalaya #adventuretravel #matho #yolo #optoutdoors #laceup #getout #livetotrek #livethelifeofyourdreams #bluejackets #trekker #dry #sunscorched #tripoto #picoftheday #lonelyplanetindia #natgeoindia #stokkangritrek #landofbuddha #stunningview #solo
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ The Aurora Borealis of the Himalayan mountain range, as seen from the immensely vast expanse of flat land that is Gangpoche.⠀ ⠀ The burst of purple with patches of green reminds us of the Northern lights (Aurora Borealis). There is a dance of colours, a feast for the eyes of the trekkers who climbed up the barren slopes. Gangpoche campsite offers an astounding view of the various mountain range surrounding it. The grounds of Gangpoche are dotted by the stone enclosures called 'Doksa' that the shepherds put up to safeguard themselves and livestock against the unforgiving cold of the mountains during the night. At crack of dawn, the shepherds take their sheep and goats to the higher areas of the mountains for fresh grazing lands and only return at dusk to their Doksa. Apart from the domesticated livestock, chances of sighting a 'Bharal'- a blue sheep, are many in the campsite of Gangpoche.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://www.adventuresindbad.com/adventures/stok-kangri-climb/ ⠀⠀ Talk to an expert⠀⠀ +91-9886022521 | email@example.com⠀ ⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #stokkangri #ladakh #incredibleladakh #summer #trekking #himalayan #adventuretravel #india_gram #nofilter #hiking👣 #tripoto #lonelyplanetindia #cntravelerindia #instagood #coloursplash #shepherdsofinstagram #arid #auroraborealis #naturetrail #indiashutterbugs #ig_india #earthpix #_soi #aridlands #instaventure #mountainlife #bluesheep
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ The shepherdess of Gangpoche, is distinctly recognizable by their hard sunburned exterior and the warmth of kindness in their eyes!⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ At the Gangpoche campsite, the trekkers get to taste a bit of the local lifestyle, that of the shepherds and their families. The women stay back at the Doksa, taking charge of their homes and family. Although shy to speak, they are courteous and invite trekkers to enjoy a cup or two of the 'butter chai' – a salty buttery tea, the salt helps with altitude sickness, and the butter is to avoid chapped lips :). If possible, we should not forgo the chance to savour some of the local dairy products like fresh goat milk, Chupri (cheese from Yak's milk). Also, not be missed is Chhaang – the local brew, made from barley. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://www.adventuresindbad.com/adventures/stok-kangri-climb/ ⠀⠀ Talk to an expert⠀⠀ +91-9886022521 | firstname.lastname@example.org⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #stokkangri #ladakh #hiking👣#india_gram #tripoto #adventuretravel #humansofladakh #picoftheday #ig_india⠀⠀ #nofilter #shepherdess #kind #warmth #hardlife #chasethedream #locals #cntravelerindia #instagood #beinghuman #mountainlife #atpeace #himalaya #storiesofindia #homeawayfromhome
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ Morning at the Gangpoche campsite is the time to 'soak up the sun' before the day's activities begin!⠀ ⠀ Adding patches of colour to the landscape is the ensemble of camps and the campers. The small white tent is of the Horsemen's, the big military green tent is usually the kitchen or dining tent, and the rest of the colourful ones are the camper's tent. The morning at the campsite is a hustle and bustle, very uncharacteristic to the mountains. The campers pack up their tents for their next stretch of the trek, the kitchen party serving them some tea/coffee, untethered horses and mules grazing and waiting by the Kitchen tent for some leftover veggies and their skins, are all part of the commotion in an otherwise quite plateau region. The Adventure Sindbad trekkers move forward to cross the Matho La, and descend towards Swankormo or Yuruley.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://www.adventuresindbad.com/adventures/stok-kangri-climb/ Talk to an expert⠀ +91-9886022521 | email@example.com⠀ ⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #stokkangri #ladakh #hiking #hikinggram #morningcoffee #soakupthesun #india_gram #tripoto #adventuretravel #picoftheday #ig_india #lonelyplanetindia #greenmeadows #quechua #campsite ⠀ #nofilter #cntravelerindia #instagood #mountainlife #himalaya #storiesofindia #horses #indiaclicks #lifeinthemountains #altitudetrekking #folkgood #underthestars #sustainability
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ From the arid plateau of the Gangpoche campsite, to the juniper shrubbery, the terrain contrasts as we walk along a not-so-difficult slope to cross the Matho La(4900m) ⠀ Adventure Sindbad trekkers walk on to their next pit stop with their heaving back packs and trekking poles. This leg of the trek is not a steady steep slope but is a less taxing gradient which can be covered within 4 hours. The descent after crossing the famed 'high pass' of Matho La at 4900m surely culminates with a prize that gratifies the tired soul of the trekker.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://www.adventuresindbad.com/adventures/stok-kangri-climb/ Talk to an expert⠀ +91-9886022521 | firstname.lastname@example.org⠀ ⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #stokkangri #ladakh #hiking #hikinggram #india_gram #tripoto #adventuretravel #picoftheday #ig_india #lonelyplanetindia #campsite #nofilter #cnn travelerindia #instagood #mountainlife #himalaya #seabuckthorn #_soi #wilderness #walkaway #natgeoindia #travelgram #wanderlust #inthewild #incredibleindiaofficial #decathlon #camelbak #liveoutdoors
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ The prize at Matho La is an astounding and breathtaking view of the Stok Range. We truly comprehend the comparison of Mountains to obstacles in our life. For climbing one or overcoming the other, leads to a view so spectacular even an atheist would exclaim – Oh! My God!⠀ ⠀ We get to view all the hues and shades of the various mountains in the Stok Range (Stok Kangri is not seen) from Matho La. The brown with green merging into greys and the white of the snow-crested peaks is a sight to behold not only with CMOS sensor but also to be etched in our memory. Adventure Sindbad trekkers get to see the actual silhouette of shadows that the clouds cast on the Mountain ranges. It is not that often a city dweller gets to view an expansive layout as such to observe them.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://www.adventuresindbad.com/adventures/stok-kangri-climb/ Talk to an expert⠀ +91-9886022521 | email@example.com⠀ ⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #travelwithus #ladakh #ladakhdiaries #heavenly #OMG #stokkangri #lonelyplanetindia #cntravellerindia #natgeoindia #incredibleindiaofficial #instaclick #ig_india #Passionpassport #earthpix #tripoto #picoftheday #folkgood #photographersofindia #_soi #travelgram #canon #canonpowershot #nikon #nikon5300 #landscapephotography #pictureperfect #magnificent #hikingculture
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ The Matho La(4900m) is adorned by the Wind horse prayer flags, strung onto a pile of rocks – a rudimentary Chorten (Stupa). The wind that flutters the flags is believed to carry the prayers of compassion and wisdom to the people in the valleys. Hence most high passes and summits of mountains are adorned with prayer flags.⠀ ⠀ Matho La (La-pass) is like a horse saddle – that allows movement of people and animals through the mountains. The passes are the lowest points of passage in the mountains. The significance of the passes is highlighted by the presence of the stone Stupa (Chorten) believed to symbolise the 3 aspects of enlightenment – compassion, wisdom and power. The prayer flags colours also symbolise a similar aspect of Buddhism. The five colours – yellow (earth), green (water), red (fire), white (wind) and blue (space) stand for the 5 basic elements and their balance needed to attain enlightenment. For the dog lovers, the powerful Tibetan Mastiffs are the local shepherd dogs, which sometimes follow the camping party for the leftovers they offer before returning back to their masters.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://www.adventuresindbad.com/adventures/stok-kangri-climb/ ⠀ Talk to an expert⠀ +91-9886022521 | firstname.lastname@example.org⠀ ⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #stokkangri #stok #ladakh #ladakhdiaries #ladakhdiaries #prayerflags #tibetanmastiff #windy #Buddhism #enlightenment #peace #compassion #wisdom #hiking #hikinggram #indiaclicks #canon #canonpowershot #nikon #nikonD90 #lonelyplanetindia #natgeoindia #cntravellerindia #stupa #mountaineering #ig_india #_soi #wanderlust #caravan
www.adventuresindbad.com⠀ ⠀ The (almost) unstoppable horse train kicking up the dust along the descending slopes leading to Yuruley.⠀ ⠀ A common sight and a joy to watch on the slopes of the Ladakhi Mountains are the horse caravans, lugging camping equipment, kitchen items, trekkers luggage and various other climbing gear that support and help sustain the trekkers through ascent and back.⠀ ⠀ The first to break camp and leave are the Adventure Sindbad trekkers with their backpacks along with the trip leader and an assistant. Rest of the crew (the kitchen staff, camp boys and helpers) load up the horses and lead the horse caravan. They usually and always catch up to the trekking party, who would have to make way for the caravan lest they get engulfed by the dust. The caravan and the crew accustomed to the terrain walk faster and reach the next campsite at Yuruley. They set up camp, ready to welcome the trekkers to the homes that the shelters have become.⠀ ⠀ Adventure Sindbad has a fixed departure to Stok Kangri between Aug 23rd to Sep 2nd, 2017. More details at http://www.adventuresindbad.com/adventures/stok-kangri-climb/ Talk to an expert⠀ +91-9886022521 | email@example.com⠀ ⠀ #adventuresindbad #ASStokkangri #stokkangri #stok #ladakh #ladakhdiaries #hiking #hikinggram #indiaclicks #canon #canonpowershot #lonelyplanetindia #natgeoindia #cntravellerindia #mountaineering #ig_india #_soi #wanderlust #caravan #horses #travelwithus #incredibleindiaofficial #instaclick #Passionpassport #earthpix #tripoto #picoftheday #folkgood #horsecaravan #mountaincolours
I was using Namma Metro after a long time and was taking the ride back to Byappanahalli from Trinity. There I saw the stall of ‘Walnut Stores“, I was pleasantly surprised by its presence there. The surprise was not because it was a novel way to shop for groceries, but more so for the parallels, I drew immediately with another such shopping idea from a different country – Korea.
Some time back, not sure how long, I had seen a video that was shared on Whatsapp about how the people taking the subways had a virtual store presented on the walls of the subway platforms. They looked like the regular store racks that displayed food items to scale. And while one is waiting to board the train, they could scan the respective QR codes for the food and grocery items, add them to the cart, pay for it and it gets delivered just after one reaches home.
This was done by TESCO in Korea, which rebranded itself to HomePlus and brought on this novel way to shop to increase their sales no’s without actually opening any new physical stores. They became #1 online store and came a close 2nd in the offline market.
I had thought of this as a very unique and an innovative idea. And someday would find its place in India as well. And this is what was so pleasantly surprising for me.
The Stall was full of little pockets that held staples in handful quantities and a QR code next to them. They mainly displayed staples like rice, dals, pulses, cereals. An added Ah-ahh moment was that they haven’t just displayed staples but actual staples, that one could touch and feel, to gauge its quality before buying. I just smiled to myself thinking that the novel style has arrived in our own country.
The story behind the Walnut stores is detailed in a post by Indiannewz. Their main claim-to-fame is that most of their staples are sourced directly from the farm. They only deal with staples and dry fruits. They have stayed clear of easily perishable fruits and vegetables and no FMCG or packaged food items.
I haven’t yet tried the store but would like to shop once at least, to extend support to a novel idea.
In Chris Martin’s Voice – “A Sky full of stars” takes you through the ebb and flow of emotions one feels gazing at the night sky!!
This post is inspired and written in response to IndiSpire Edition 164:
Each of us, the young, the young-at-hearts and the ever-young have a connection to the night sky. There is a magic in viewing the night sky, scattered with stars and for the more involved – the constellations they make. Amazing glitterati in the backdrop of a clear black sky! Is a sight to behold and takes you away into a different realm, even if it is only for few moments. Continue reading “A Sky full of Stars, A Heavenly View!”