Tackling The Sublime: Mt. Bromo

As soon as my feet touched the ground, I retracted. It was two in the morning when we decided to get up and get ready, but the task seemed ridiculously difficult at the moment. Snuggling back in the blanket, I gathered as much warmth as I could to make this less dreadful. The floor was too-too cold to walk on.

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One cup of hot ginger tea and four layers of clothing later, we were finally in the jeep, going our way up. It was chilly outside, yet the amount of jeeps and bikes were plenty. People were all over the place, sipping coffee and getting ready for the trip ahead. Everything seemed oddly satisfying, maybe because I had no idea of how high up we were, or how deep the valley was to my left. Nevertheless, I was enjoying every bit of it and something told me I was in for a big surprise.

Mt. Bromo is situated in the midst of a  plateau, surrounded completely with mountains, which offer spectacular views of the sunrise and the ridge itself.  Even so, this was where the real struggle began. By now it was almost three, and the air was so chilling, making me shiver to an extent where I had no other option than to rent a jacket. So now, five layers of clothing later, we finally made it to the sunrise point.  The reason we decided to reach so early was in the hope to view the Mt. Bromo Milky Way. When the sky is absolutely clear, you can see the stars arranged in such a pattern, it looks more like a replica of the Milky Way. Professional photographers set camp for days to capture this moment. But heres the trick. The weather on top keeps changing every moment, it could be clear once and cloudy the other. So basically, everything here depends on your luck. Unfortunately for us, Clouds filled every spot around us, that is why we also missed the sunrise. But we stayed a little longer, which means we waited long enough for the clouds to clear and were able to get a sunshiny view of the mountain.

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To say it looked beautiful would be an understatement. It was more than just beautiful. It was magical. The sun was almost up and you could see the rays hitting the surface of the mountain making it absolutely picturesque. You could hear photographers at work, cameras clicking everywhere around us and for some unknown reason, all of this made me feel on top of the world. Its at a moment like this when I feel happy to realise that travel isn’t just an obsession to me, infact, these are the kind of moments I want to live for. It made me realise that my choice to travel will never be a wrong one no matter what situation I am in. That I shall always have a reason to live. And that everything will turn out just (bearably) fine.

So now it was around six thirty when we started our journey down the mountain, to get to the actual crater. And let me tell you, the ride itself made me go WOAH! The path was extremely steep but the view it offered was like a mixed blessing. Jeeps are parked at the base of the mountain, which means two kilometres of sand walk and one kilo meter of the climb. You could opt to climb a horse and ride up, but then whats the point in that? Its always better to earn what you get, so obviously we decided to go on foot. Mt. Bromo is an active volcano, last erupted in 2016. But unlike other volcanos, this one erupts very less amount of lava and more of sulphur powder. Since its active, it continuously gives out sulphur in the air making it difficult to breathe, so its best to not visit this place in the summer. Luckily for us, the rain settled the dust around, making the climb comparatively easy. There are exactly 250 steps up till the crater, and the thought of you standing right above hot lava could give anyone the heebie-jeebies.

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Until you reach the top, you cannot hear a single sound from the volcano, except for people chattering around. But as soon as you arrive, its as if the volcano is roaring that its active and is ready for any sacrifice you are willing to provide. Your first reaction will definitely be a WOW up till the time you get so absorbed in watching the view that it makes your hair curl. All of a sudden you realise that you are actually standing very near to the mouth of an active volcano as if you din’t already know that. With nearly no protective barricades and two-feet of a width for a pathway, I refused to move at all, just wanted to simply stand there and watch the smoke coming out. I was so engrossed in it, losing all sense of any kind of movement around me or to actually calculate how high up I was. This was definitely something I wanted to remember so a huge shedload of pictures later, we were finally making our way down.

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Obviously once you are done with everything, all you want to do is go back there and relive it. Have you had any experiences like this? If yes, comment it down below and share your story!! I would love to hear it out!!!!

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The ‘Notorious’ Fever: Wanderlust

Have you ‘researched’ all the new places to visit around the world? Or do you get restless, like me, when you stay home for holidays?

Or worst, do you have this insatiable desire to travel?

If yes, then my friend, you have this fever. And, its possibly the best thing that can happen to you.

 

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Once you are bitten, you realise life is more than the materialistic gubbins you buy and are rewarded with this untamed passion and desire to travel. All you want from life now is to either stand in front of some majestic piece of art in Rome or to dive in the Caribbean. Travel impacts your life in a very strong manner. You never happen to talk in a ‘if’ but rather its always ‘when’. A four-day vacation no longer satisfies you, and you have convinced yourself that you deserve more. Travel for you, will no longer be just a luxury, quite the contrary, it would be a necessity. Your success is measured in terms of the number of places you have seen. Your experiences become more important than worldly ownership.

But sometimes, this can act as a curse as well. Staying at a place too long simply makes you restive. For me, it initially turned out to be a curse. I was in high school and I could not risk travelling at that point. High school in India is an exceptionally huge deal, which is why I was sustained in the confinement of my room for quite a few months. And that, made me horrible. I have had an emotional breakdown so many times, just because of this. It may seem quite absurd, but I am pretty sure my travel buddies could relate to this.  The only thing that gave me hope, at that point, was the promise of being free. My mother used to get scared seeing me like this and she kept telling me to not let this dream die, to always have faith in yourself and believe in your dream. And I (for a change) listened to her. She was the one to encourage me to start this blog, to keep talking to some one so that my dream is always alive. I cannot even begin to thank all my high school friends who listened to me while I rambled upon this topic, literally, day and night. They were probably the ones who had to bear with me the most. Yet all in all, travel did change my life and it definitely turned out the best thing to happen to me.

Have you been bitten by the travel bug as well? If yes, I would love to hear how that turned out for you! Leave a comment below sharing one of your experiences and tell us how you feel about it.

If no, then don’t worry. It is going to happen very soon. Be prepared.

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Until next time!

SAYONARA!

Phone Photography: Unspoken Tips


If you had to learn swimming, how would you start of? Would you jump directly into an ocean? No right. You would start from the shallow end of the swimming pool and then gradually make your way up. Similarly, when you first start photographing, it does not make sense to directly jump to a professional lens camera. It is always best to start small and then grow.

My initial days of blogging involved a lot of smartphone photography, and I looked up many blogs that offered me guidance on how to start small. However, I guess I learned better when I started experimenting with it. Every other blog tells you about how to add lighting and exposure and ISO factors to your photos. Honestly, these are terms that flew way above my head when I first read them. Very few talked about how to click a picture with a theme, or a story, or even in a perspective.

So here I am going to tell you what a picture needs to make it look aesthetically creative. Things mentioned here come in the picture as well, but are not talked about a lot.

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1)Tell a story: I think I saw this in a National Geographic magazine. If you noticed their magazines, every picture in it represents a short story. Whether it be a poverty problem, or of how beautiful women around the world are, their reasonability depends on how impactful their story is. You do not have to look for moments that display a topic of serious crisis in a country, but show their culture without having to say too much to justify it, is the kind of picture I am talking about.  Take a look at this one. It does not depict something deep, just a mother-daughter bond that no matter which country it is, will always remain the same.

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2)Give it a perspective: Yes, I am more or less talking about the angle. But not about the bird view or all that jazz, I am talking about an entirely different point of view. A view that has never been explored. A ‘through my eyes’ view. Being able to capture something that you see with your eyes is not so common. What we capture could be a little different than what we see. Try it and let me know in the comment section.

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3)Add an element of you: I am not a big fan of poster pictures. People need to know that this picture is mine, which is why I like to add some element of me in that picture. It could be your legs, arms, fingers, or even, you know, your face. Something that tells that you had been there and you had fun exploring their culture.

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4)Be creative: It’s not something you are born with, but you learn to think out of the box once you start practising it. When I started with photography, I saved pictures from Pinterest and tried to recreate the same picture in my own ways. Now, I know what element to change or add to make the picture look original. Gather ideas from where ever you can. Explore. Learn. Recreate.

That’s it! That’s all I got for you guys. But in case you need a pictorial reminder of pointers on how to click a good picture, Aura Frames, makers of next-generation smart digital picture frames, managed to put together an info graphic about everything that goes into a good picture. Take a look:

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You can stick by this and I am sure you will manage to click awesome photos!

Do you have any tips you could add to this? I am all ears! Comment below your tips and tricks, and I am sure to incorporate them in my next photo!

Until Next Time!

SAYONARA!

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How To Plan The Perfect Vacation

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Planning a trip could be an extremely daunting task. Especially for Indians, because we tend to set our home wherever we go.

I was given the opportunity this year, to plan a trip for our annual family vacation. It seemed easy, but well, its not. There is a lot of thinking involved in deciding your means of transport itself, forget about the other need. This was probably the first time I had decide something so huge, which led to me being on the verge of pulling my hair out and almost abandoning the thought of travelling ever. ‘Almost’ being the key word here.

But again, at the end of it, I learnt how to tackle the task and managed to jot down some of the ways I could make it easier to deal with. So now, every time I look up a place, I try to check that these needs are taken care of and none need to be compromised.

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  1. Always try something new: The world is such a huge place. It has so much to offer, then why stick to going to the same place every year? Being a traveller does not only mean you shouldn’t roam around with a selfie stick, you could explore, find something no one cared to think about and capture something that has never been captured.
  2. Know your type: This is kind of the whole basis on which you choose your place, plan your trip and enjoy it. You need to know your type. You need to know if you are a summer person or a monsoon person. You need to know if you are up for leisure trips or adventure camping. And lastly, you need to know the difference between backpacking and a family vacation. Being a traveller, you tend to be an all season’s person because you choose your destination in accordance to your time and not weather. But if you are not a traveller, according to me, summer can be experienced best on a beach, monsoon’s in a hill station and winter in a desert.

When it comes to leisure or adventure camping, my type would be adventure.All the four of us are adrenaline junkies,so every year, we made sure that there was some form of adventure sport included in our trip, no matter how big or small. You, on the other hand, can decide in accordance to your thrill handling tendencies, what kind of adventure sporting you want to indulge yourself into.

I looked up a lot of AirBNB’s when I was searching for places in the north of India, which were pretty amazing, although here is the place where you need to know the difference between backpacking and a family vacation. There are a lot of limitations that come with a family vacation, in comparison to backpacking (which could differ with every family) that need to be acknowledged for the perfect trip. Your lodging could one of the mains. Choose a place which offers the right facilities and tends to accommodate every need. Which obviously fits your budget, that leads us to the next tip.

3)  Budgeting: Trips do not happen for free. Plus, tourism is a business of its own. That is why it is better to plan way ahead of time for your trip. Also, you will have to put a little bit of more effort to save money to get that laid-back trip you dreamed of

 4)  Pack like a minimalist: 

     ’The sun only took one hat and a t-shirt on his holiday. He was travelling light.’

     Nothing is more annoying than handling four bags at one time, alone. Its always better to pack only the necessities, although I know we girls pack as if we are spending an entire year there (Been there, done that). So, with experience, I would suggest you to mix and match the same pairs of clothes to lessen the amount, which, not only saves additional space, but also allows you to go shopping. In hindi its called ‘mauke pe chauka’. Go for it.

I would love to hear if you have had an experience similar to this. Leave a comment below!

Also let me know if you are interested in a blog post on budget travelling. I got a few tips there as well to share with you guys!

Sayonara!