2017: A year through my Instagram Travel Photos

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!



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!


The boulevard of broken dreams. #olympics #riophotography #travellingbrazil

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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.





Ended up once again back in Bali in June, for a yogashoot with one of my favorite yogis: Summer Dien. And followed it up with a trip to Bahrain to see how they celebrated the festival of Eid.




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!



. 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

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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.



. 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

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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

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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!



. 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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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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