Call me a late bloomer. But it was only in 2016 that I realised that Instagram could be a powerful platform for absent-minded travellers like me to keep track of their travels.
No, it wasn’t just for the Warholesque 15 minutes of fame that I got from posting each photo. But rather for the fact that I could use my Instagram to make a proper timeline of my daily travels, sights and activities. Something like my project365, but without as much effort. I am not a regular blogger, and don’t always get time to write a blogpost during a trip or even immediately after a trip. In fact, there are trips that I have undertaken 7 years ago, and still haven’t wrote a blogpost about!
So, posting a daily pic on Instagram became a silent modus operandi for me. I would leave behind short anecdotes, minor details and daily experiences along with the pictures on my Instagram. I became something like Arundhati Roy’s God of small things – only the Insta version of it. And when I finally decide to start writing an entire blogpost about the actual trip – which is usually months or years later – I have an easy reference for the sights I saw, the stories I heard, and other details which I may not remember after a while.
Hence, when it came to taking a stock of how my travels have been through the year of 2017, I looked back at Instagram again. And boy, what a year it has been!
14 different countries in 4 different continents. Except July, travelled every other month of the year. And towards the end, nearly 5000 kms of solo motorcycling in North-East India, as I am currently underway in my K2K2K solo ride while typing this post. Countless stories, endless adventures, and a bottomless pile of memories.
And I looked at good old Instagram to relive those memories again.
Suggested reading: Have you seen my Instagram roundup for 2016? Some say, it was even better.
I had been in Mauritius since Christmas, and the new year celebration continued there. Apart from road-tripping through the entire island of Mauritius, I spent some time partying in the capital city of Port-Louis, and enjoying its various sights.
Something felt incomplete in the month of February. In January, I had visited Mauritius and Reunion island in the Indian ocean, but had missed out another country. Seychelles. So, I flew back there on some discounted Qatar airline miles. The blue waters and white sandy beaches were beyond blissful!
Took a 5 rupee bus ride (50 cents), without checking the destination. The bus goes along the East Coast Road (sorry, Singapore and Chennai, the ECR here is waaaayy prettier), and I wanted to get down at EVERY damn stop! I mean, look at those white sand and blue waters!! #mahe #victoria #seychelles #island #islandlife #eastcoastroad #bustravel #cheap #backpacking #backpacker #beachlife #beach #indianocean
One of my favourite memories of the year, was visiting Rio De Janeiro for the Carnival. And what an atmosphere it was! Unlike most tourists, I did not visit the touristy sambadrome for the Carnival. I went to the streets, and partied with the locals in what the Brazilians called ‘the blocos’. I definitely cannot keep up with the Brazilians when it comes to partying!
April was spent much closer to home, with a couple of trips. One was to Chiang Mai for my second Songkran festival. (I do love chasing festivals!) and another was to nearby Jakarta, which I have not visited at all.
While I had been to HongKong, Macau and Taiwan already, I have never visited mainland China. Well, May 2017 fixed it, as I ended up in Shanghai for a few days, even becoming a VIP the fastest train in the world. And followed it up with a trip to Europe: eating at Osterias in Italy, hearing the Pope in Vatican city and walking through the misty streets of San Marino.
The castle St. Angelo was a bright, delightful maiden when I visited her. The angels shone upon her - and me - perfectly. . . . . . #romephotography #rome #italy #italyphotography #travelphotographer #travel #travelblogger #instatravel #instagood #followforfollow #indiantravelblogger #indiantraveller #indianphotography #castle #stangelo #roma #travelphoto #photography #photooftheday #picoftheday
When the mist finally cleared, I began to find out that San Marino had a lot of sculptures of the female form. Like this female nude by Francesco Messina. . The only thing that surprised me, was that he seemed to have made this at an age of 80! . . . . . #sanmarino #sanmarinocity #sanmarinophotography #visitsanmarino #italy #italyphotography #travelphotographer #followforfollow #travelphoto #travel #indiantravelblogger #indiantraveller #statue #nude #femme #sculpture #art #instaart #instapix #instatravel #instagood #photography #photooftheday #picoftheday
"Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment." . . In-frame: @summer.dien . One last shot from the green rice terraces of Bali, before the desert beckons. From tomorrow, will be in Bahrain for a few days, celebrating Eid, and hopefully seeing some interesting locales/people. . . Have you been to Bahrain? Any tips you want to share? . . #bali #yoga #riceterraces #yogajournal #yogapose
Change flavour! From the greens of Bali, to the russet browns of Bahrain! . . The Qalat Al Bahrain (Bahrain fort) is a UNESCO world heritage site. But the interesting thing is, there are not one, but multiple historic forts on this site. Since 2300 BC, the Dilmuns, Kassites, Greeks, Portuguese and Persians have all been building fort on top of fort at this site. . . And the best part? Not sure if its because of Ramadan or because its a holiday, but the entry was free, and there was not a single tourist around. . . manama #bahrain #castle #qalatalbahrain #fort #ig_bahrain #ig_bahrain_
July was the only month in 2017 when I didn’t travel anywhere from my home, which was Singapore back then. But this meant I had enough time to explore the many little known secrets of Singapore.
Checked off another item from my bucketlist! Visited the Chernobyl nuclear reactor sight, and explored Kiev, Lviv and Odessa in Ukraine.
No major travels in September, because I was packing up to leave Singapore. But did manage to make a short trip to Philippines to do the Pinatubo crater lake trek. A surreal experience it was!
. Woahhh… All that climbing, and that ass-crunching ride on a tricycle and a 4WD, it was to see this one view. And - oh boy - was it all worth it!! All my sweat dried away from the cool wind at the top of this crater lake. And I stared at it with my jaws dropped down. . . I wanted to desperately jump into the lake for a swim. But sadly, that was not safe, due to all the sulphur present. . . . . . . . . . . . #Pinatubo #Manila #Philippines #crater #lake
. Going through my last week in Singapore, and I am now exploring places that I have never done before. Especially those way off the tourist scene. . . When it comes to mosques, the Sultan Mosque in Bugis gets all the tourists and the photography. But there is a lesser visited mosque in Singapore which is just as beautiful in its own right. The Abdul Gaffoor Mosque in Little India is a 100 years old and is often covered from the eyes of preying tourists, by its huge walls on Dunlop street. But if you manage to peek in, the result is often amazing! . . Tip: Visit around sundown. The twilight matches the shades of the mosque wall really well. . . . . . . . . . . . . #abdulgaffoor #masjid #mosque #dunlopstreet #littleindia #singapore
Quit my job, packed my bags, and became a long-term traveller! Again! Started with a trip back to Kerala, just to see the family for a bit and explore nearby hidden secrets. Then moved to Thailand to see the eccentric Phuket Vegetarian festival.
. As much as it looks like New Zealand or Bali, it isn't. . . This is Kariyathumpara, a scenic spot near Kakkayam dam in Kerala. It’s so off the tourist trail that this section which I visited had no other tourists in the vicinity. Total win. . . . . . . . . . #kariyathumpara #kakkayam #kozhikode #kerala #lake
. It was not hard to spot the Masongs. In a sea of white, they wore colours. Bright red and yellow robes, which stood out even in the red and yellow backdrop of the brightly lit Taoist shrine at Saphan hin. . They walked, ran, danced around in a frenetic trance, with a flag in one hand and a whip in the other. People threw fireworks at them. They danced on top of it. And every once in a while, someone asked for their blessings. They put them under their flag, lashed their whip on the ground, and murmured something to the gods. . . . . Intense scenes at the intense Phuket Vegetarian festival yesterday night, at Saphan Hin in Phuket. I will have to post a few more pictures of this beautiful - yet hard-to-watch - festival. . . . . . . . . . . #phuket #phukettown #phuketvegetarianfestival #nineemperorgods #saphanhin #prayer #blessing #taoist
Another bucketlist item got checked off. Visiting the Lantern festival of Chiang Mai, which was a dream for the longest time. After Thailand, returned back to North East India, got my motorbike shipped there, and started riding and exploring the least visited parts of the country.
. The khasi engineering style is ingenious! . This is the living root bridge at Riwai, one of many arround Meghalaya. The Khasis designed this bridge by growing 2 rubber trees on 2 sides of the stream, and facilitating them to fuse together. I couldn't believe I was walking along a living, breathing organism! . Tip: Go before 7AM if you want a picture without any tourists. Like this one. 😉 . . . . . . . . . . #khasi #meghalaya #bridge #livingbridge #livingrootbridge #desi_diaries #india_ig #indiaclickindia #igramming_india #natgeotravellerindia #storiesofindia #indiaclicks #yourshot_india #ngtdailyshot #natgeoindia #igersofindia #india_gram #_soi #_woi #iiblogger #india_lens #beingindian #indiaphotoarts #inspiroindia #iiframe #creativeimagemagazine #tripotocommunity #indiantraveller #indianphotographer #indiantravelblogger
Became a full-time rider! Started in Assam, moved through Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh as I am writing this. Visited Shillong Cherry blossom festival, Nagaland Hornbill festival and Manipur Sangai festival in the process. Rode all the way until Kibithoo, the Easternmost point of India.
What next? Follow me as I ride to the southernmost and the westernmost points of India!
. So, I've been camping near the Naga Heritage Village of Hornbill festival for last few days, with @camp.zingaros and @discover.northeast. The camping has been great, but the mobile internet has been spotty. Which explains the delayed posts. . But the Hornbill festival has been a riot of colours! True, some elements of the festival are a little staged, but I will forgive that because I have learnt so much about Nagaland and Naga culture in general. . To the point that I am now convinced the Nagas are the ultimate badasses of India! . . . . . . . . #naga #nagaland #hornbillfestival #hornbill #discovernortheast #kohima #nagaheritagevillage #kisama #kisamavillage
. The secret life of an even more secretive rider. . Unlike most riders, my choice of riding gear has always been simple and plain. Those who know me, will know that I prefer to ride in a t-shirt, jeans and an open-faced helmet, even when I rode from Kerala to Bhutan. I do wear a jacket when it's cold, but it was never a riding jacket - just a regular winter jacket from Decathlon. So, other riders have been telling me for ages to get a proper riding jacket. Why? So that I can finally look the part of being 'a true-blue biker'. . Well, here is the thing. For a guy who has rode 50000 kms through the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent, I am NOT A BIKER! I am a traveller, who finds it more convenient to travel India using a motorbike. You don't see me trying to ride a motorbike in Europe, because I prefer train travel there. You wont see me hopping cities in South East Asia on a motorbike, because I prefer taking inter-city buses there. If you meet me, you wont find me talking about my suspension bars, torque, or strength of my swing-arm rods, because I have no clue about them. I can ride, and I do it well. And I do it to travel India with more ease and stop wherever the hell I want to along my way. But apart from that, my range of knowledge of a motorbike, is rudimentary at best and banal at worst. . I finally decided to buy a biking jacket in Imphal, but only because I needed an extra jacket for the cold. It even had a @royalenfield logo at the back. Because looks define everything on this brands-driven space we live in, what do you think? Do I make the cut to 'look' the part of a biker? . . . Photo taken by @patakaaguddii_ or @rdevalap (I really cant remember who took this one, as we were cam-swapping a lot!). At the beautiful Khonoma village in Nagaland, which was an absolute delight to visit!. And I didnt even ride to get here - I took a lift. Duh! . . . . . . . . . . . . #khonoma #kohima #nagaland #kisama #kisamavillage #hornbillfestival2017 #royalenfield #royalenfieldbeasts #northeastindia #northeast #confessions #india #incredibleindia #bulletjournal #royalenfieldindia #bulletrian #riceterraces #valley #motorbike #bikersofinstagram #thunderbird
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