2017 had its share of ups and downs and it was a big learning experience for me. I didn’t travel as much as I thought I would but I learned and experimented with life more than I did any other year.
Here’s my travel review of 2017
2017 started on a good note with trying wine tasting for the first time. I loved the overall experience of tasting 7 different kinds of wine, and the making of it!
Golden Chariot train
Royalty galore aboard the Golden chariot train. On the same lines as Palace on wheels of Rajasthan, Golden chariot is the only luxury train in South India. It started operating in 2008 and usually runs from October through March. A 7 night journey covering the various locations of South India offers a glimpse of the rich heritage and culture of South India. The rooms are cozy and comfortable with attached bathrooms(My oh my god moment!). With 2 restaurant coaches, a bar coach, gym and a spa room – it comes fully equipped. It is altogether a different world in itself! . #luxurytrain #goldenchariot #karnatakatourism
I had been dreaming about a luxury train ever since I read The Great Railway Bazaar, and within a month, Golden Chariot happened to me(I would like to think of it as The Law of Attraction). The only luxury train in South India, Golden Chariot is on the same lines as the well known Royal Rajasthan on wheels. Living on a train, experiencing the heritage of South India and meeting fellow bloggers was an experience like no other!
This year I explored the pristine landscapes of North East India. Kaziranga National Park was the highlight of my trip in Assam. While staying at a heritage homestay near the national park, I came to the realization that the Assamese cuisine is quite tasty as well as healthy. And evidently, Assam has a wide range of flora and fauna. A haven for botany lovers.
The living root bridges have been enticing me for as long as I can remember. This amazing engineering marvel left me in awe. And true to its name, traveling in Meghalaya, for the most part, felt like traveling in a sea of clouds. Accidentally stumbled across the Mawphlang sacred forest and was one of the highlights of my trip to Meghalaya. A couple of hours of trail through the forest listening to the sacred stories, discovering the flora and fauna of the region, and finding so many tiny little streams made Meghalaya memorable for me. Had a great time listening to variations of stories of Meghalaya from the locals. Even though I didn’t get to see the clear waters of Dawki as per countless pictures on Instagram had me believe (due to silt settling in from the rains), nature had a way of presenting it to me in some obscure corner of Uttarakhand eight months later.
The only reason I included Sikkim initially was to experience the helicopter ride from Gangtok to Bagdogra. Even though I’m sad to say it flopped out owing to unavailability of tickets, the serenity of Sikkim, the friendly locals, the looming mountains and the colorful yaks made a special place in my heart. And, I had a peaceful staycation in Gangtok. I’ll surely visit Sikkim again for the Gurudongmar lake and tiny snowy villages of Lachen and Lachung.
One for the gram.😂🙈 . . Willing to take your scuba diving skills to the next level? Find out what it takes to be an open water scuba diver at www.therovingheart.com. Link in the bio. . ▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸 Let’s connect on other channels as well Fb and Twitter – therovingheart ▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸▪🔸 . Shot on @gopro
In 2017, I ticked one of my long pending items from my bucket list – Getting certified as a PADI open water diver. We set out in the Maldives waving colorful tiny fishes and corals and even spotted Manta rays and grey tip and black tip sharks! Stayed on a local island and explored one of the most luxurious locations in the world on a budget. Read more about my diving experience here!
Curious to know where else offers the best diving experience in the world? Find out some interesting diving locations suggested by travel bloggers.
Mussoorie Hill station
I love immersive experiences and make sure I plan my travels around some activities than mere sightseeing. It could be kayaking, scuba diving or trekking like this time. This ritual makes sure that I stay fit while traveling when I don’t get my regular dose of workouts. On those days when I don’t have any activities lined up it’s really tough to accommodate time specifically for workouts. I squeeze in yoga and stretching in the morning if possible which keeps me rejuvenated throughout the day! And finally after days of snow, I got out of my jacket and into my current favorite gym wear @zelocitybyzivame #FITTRIPPING #fitfam #yogagirl #therovingheart
Even though I have done yoga before, I have been learning new asanas and doing it consistently only this year. A beautiful sunrise in Mussourie called for a yoga session and I attempted one of my favorite asanas – Chakrasana. Went on a food trail and discovered some cool cafes topped with a brilliant view of Mussourie!
My first winter trek through the Himalayas made for a perfect culmination to 2017 with gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and lots and lots of snow!
Other than travels, I performed a new dance style on stage this year and finished a year of blogging. I started going regularly to the gym for strength training. And now I’m the strongest version of myself I have ever been! Tried new things, experimented with old ones and now looking forward to 2018.
So how has your 2017 been? Let me know in the comments below.
GiniJan 6, 2018
You managed to get to some beautiful places. Which was your favourite?
Raksha RaoJan 7, 2018
Well, it’s difficult to pick just one. Every experience was different. I particularly enjoyed the Golden Chariot train experience. I fell in love with Gangtok. But the highlight has to be getting certified as a scuba diver in the Maldives. What was your favourite?