Category Archives: 2006 Travels

My answers to a Tourism Questionnaire

My friend Bilal Ulmer from Pakistan recently sent me a tourism questionnaire for some case studies on different topics including technology,science,travelling, arts etc.

I was happy to oblige of course!

He wanted my opinion on the following questions.
1) Why you want to travel around the globe? 
I love travel as it offers me opportunities to meet new people and see places I never could have imagined. It widens your knowledge and opens your eyes to new experiences. You get to see and do things you never even knew existed.

Meeting my sponsor child and his mother in Tanzania, Africa

Meeting my sponsor child and his mother in Tanzania, Africa

2) What thing attract you the most while travelling ? 

I like people. I love talking to people from different places to me and unusual settings. Some of the best experiences I’ve had are just chatting to someone in a cafe, or changing my plans after meeting a new friend and then going off to explore together. These are friendships that last a lifetime or moments that change your life.

Halloween Party with an old Australian Friends and new friends in Cusco, Peru

Halloween Party with an old Australian Friends and new friends in Cusco, Peru

3) What thing make your passion more for travelling? 

The fear of missing out and the opportunity to see and do something new. There is always something to discover and always an experience I’m yet to have. I love the unknown.

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4) Which country you like the most while travelling and why? 

India! It’s my favourite by far. The people are beautiful and warm and welcoming. They will give you the shirt off their back and do anything possible to make you feel welcome. The food is delicious and so different to what I grew up with. There is colour everywhere and in everything, I love to watch saris blowing in the wind and people make food with the bright coloured spices. There is so much diversity, from the people, to the cities, to the foods and the languages – there is something new and different everywhere you go.

Taj Mahal India

Taj Mahal India

5) As an Aussie how you find Australia with rest of the world? 

I love Australia. It’ll always be my home and I think I’m so lucky to live here. We are very safe and we have a high standard of living. We also have a mix of cultures here so I get to experience other cultures even when I’m here at home. It’s a great fusion of people in this place, and I just can’t escape the natural beauty- Australia is a beautiful place to just drive around and look at our amazing ecosystems and environments.

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6) Which region/country you recommend for travelers ? 

I recommend Germany. It’s a wonderful country with a very interesting modern and ancient history. It’s a real centre in Europe and it’s got a good mix of everything. From skiing in the mountains to modern culture in Berlin, from traditional beer festivals in Munich and beautiful forests in the middle country. The food is incredible and the people are so interesting, knowledgable and once you warm them up – incredibly friendly.

Oktoberfest 2006, Munich, Germany

Oktoberfest 2006, Munich, Germany


Save Money on Postcards

Why spend money on Post cards home when you can simply hold them up and take a photo?

You get a lovely picture of a place you visited and all for the price of a snapshot on your camera – i.e. free.

When I did this in Munich, Germany, another traveller near by caught on fast and started picking up the photos and holding them up for a quick snap. I’m not sure the shopkeepers will be too happy, but hey, that was some coin back in the piggy bank for more BEER!

Another helpful tip from the traveller Em


Don’t judge a Traveller by their Backpack

The old saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is equally applicable to the everyday backpacker. Don’t look at another backpacker and immediately discount them as someone you don’t want to associate with, who knows, they might be a lifelong friend in waiting.

This is exactly what happened when I was in the culturally rich city of Munich in 2006. I had been staying with a friend in a town called Raubling and now I had the day to myself to explore the big city. I decided to take the free walking tour, which I had heard so much about, to get to know the history of this very pretty European city. But before I ventured out with this new group of travellers I made a promise to myself….

“Today, you will not meet another Aussie. You have come all this way from Australia. You have spent the week with German people only and you are learning so much. Get to know the locals. All Aussies are the same overseas and you want to broaden your horizons.”

And off I went!

We wandered around the great monuments and churches listening intently and snapping photographs of everything. I did want to share my experience though and decided to chat to the gentlemen next to me. A lovely German man (Yes! A local) who I had a lovely conversation with about exploring your own city… for all of 5 minutes! Well back to the tour it was.

As we walked through a lane, we stopped at a peculiar sign, doggy parking? Yes. I kid you not. Doggy parking. I had a bit of a giggle and shared a smile with the fellow traveller next to me. He took this as a good time to start up a conversation and what came out of his mouth….. well I don’t remember the words, but they were in an Australian accent!

Great! Exactly what I didn’t want to happen today. Ok, so I would be polite, have a quick chat and get back to my cultural exploration. Until! He mentioned where he was from…… 15 minutes down the road from me. Of course. Is this not always happening in Europe? Turns out we know the same bars, went to schools near each other and have one or two mutual friends. And this was how I met my good friend Adam.

Next thing we know, we’re joined by a lovely bubbly girl, also Aussie, Nikki. We’re virtually the three musketeers…. or Bush rangers…. or something Australian. We spent the afternoon together after the tour and had an absolute ball!

Who was I to deny a possible friend purely based on their country of origin. Especially one that is my own. I could have missed out on a really great day in Munich as well as someone I now treasure as a friend. Adam is still in Germany but I swear we talk more than I do to my friends who live in Sydney.

Moral of story – Don’t judge a traveller by their backpack!


Royal Bombay Yacht Club

A 12 hour flight, a bustling airport, a sea of dilapidated temporary houses, an overwhelming stench and a blur of a car trip begin my second visit to Mumbai, India. This would sound like hell to most travellers but to me, it’s like coming home. Mumbai has a feeling, a vibe, an attraction which is indescribable and a familiarity that is as good as a warm hug from mum. My return to India through this Airport and to this city was very welcome.

 

I would only be in Mumbai for one night as I would then continue on to Delhi the following day. To assist me in my brief stay a dear friend had arranged for me to stay as a guest at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.

 

Arriving at night I was unable to see the standard of my accommodation or the location but it was described in detail to me by my wonderful driver on the drive over. The friendliness and openness of the Indian people never ceases to amaze me. Upon first inspection the building seemed old and fairly run down and as it was night I had no idea of what the local surrounds looked like.

 

I was told immediately upon arrival that my friend Mr Vinoo was waiting for me and we would have dinner together. It was now 9pm. In India, this is an early dinner. As much as I love the Indian hospitality, after a long flight, all I wanted to do was sleep.

 

My Badipapa (Indian Grandfather), as I would now call him, had arranged my transportation, stay and return visit to the airport. I really do know how lucky I am to have such great connections in other countries as well as such kind and generous friends. An American woman on the plane had invited me to stay with her in her house in Mumbai if I didn’t have somewhere to stay but after informing her about my accommodation at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club and my friend, she recognised quickly that I was certainly not in need of help.

 

Seeing my dear friend was wonderful and the meal absolutely delightful, but I was exhausted and simply needed rest.

 

I was woken at 6am by my startling alarm and I was all but ready to pull the covers over my head and beg for more rest until my eyes were drawn to the window. There sat the most perfect circle of golden light I have ever seen. The sun was just rising over Mumbai and I think  I had the most incredible view of the whole city to watch this day begin. My stunning heritage framed windows allowed for the many colours of the skies early morning light to be framed perfectly and to reveal that just in front of my window lay the famous landmark, the Gateway to India.

 

 

 

The beautiful Royal Bombay Yacht Club is a heritage building which sits facing the Gateway to India with the Taj Mahal Hotel towering beside it. Behind these great structures still and calm in the early morning was the great Harbour of Mumbai. The The Bombay Yacht Club was founded in 1846 and was established after regattas were held there since 1830.

 

I could not believe my eyes and I simply stood at the window and watched the sun shed it’s light over this beautiful city. The photos speak louder then words, though they too are not necessary as the images in my mind are as clear and vivid as if it were only yesterday.

 

 

Though you must be a member or the guest of one of the members to stay at the Hotel, you can visit and admire the history of this wonderful landmark. The Harbour is lively and busy during the day with local markets, the famous Taj Mahal hotel and the tourist favourite, Gateway to India. The Bombay Yacht Club offers fantastic meals and a stunning view for a beautiful night out with a difference.

 

This has to be one of the most interesting and culturally rich hotels I have ever stayed in. I know how lucky I am to have been introduced to such a gem of India’s history. It’s a must see when visiting Mumbai.

For more information on this amazing establishment:

http://royalbombayyachtclub.com/

(This trip was taken on 25th January 2006)


India Top 5

Magic IndiaThe top 5 reasons why I love India!

 

 

 

 

 

1. The People

Warm, inviting, friendly and charming. I have never had such a wonderful interaction with such a large majority of the people I come into contact with in one country. The people hospitable and caring. They can make you feel as though you are royalty. They make you feel that you are truly special and that they are genuinely pleased to be meeting you and enjoying your company. Whether it be a man with 5 houses or a poor stall owner in a quiet village, the generosity and kindness is there. They have nothing and still will want to give you something.

 

2. The colours

The beautiful, vibrant and lively colours are everywhere in India. One of my favourite memories is driving through the streets of Mumbai and seeing a woman standing waiting to cross the road as her scarfs of many colours were picked up by the wind and swirled around above her. It’s like time slowed down and I was entranced by this vision. The beautiful bold colours are in the food, the clothing and the buildings. Even the Taj Mahal is encrusted with semi precious stones of bright blues, oranges, greens and reds. India is a delight for the eyes.

 

3. The food

I loved Indian food before I went to India but I had tasted nothing. The herbs and spices used in the foods just send your taste buds soaring. Nothing can beat a spicy dish of chicken with some soothing Dahl and a naan bread followed by the sweet gulab jamun with it’s cinnamon and spices which leaves your lips with a slight tingling sensation. If you are on a diet- do not go to India. The families and friends will constantly want to give you food and the portion sizes are sure to leave you feeling more than satisfied. My only advice would be to try everything, don’t think to much about the what’s in it as you probably won’t want to know. Asking for a recommendation is probably best as you will confuse yourself trying to choose the best dish.

 

4. The music

The music in India is as diverse as the food and culture. From traditional to bangarra, Bollywood to rap, western songs mixed with the Punjabi beats. It’s fantastic! My favourite song is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL2sFRxp8ZY which I recently re-discovered. This song played on the radio constantly on my second visit and whenever I hear it I just smile. The music has such soul and interesting rhythms and beats. Put on Indian music and everyone jumps up to have a dance. It’s one of the happiest times when the music is playing and 100’s of people are dancing around, smiling and laughing. Beautiful.

 

5. The jewellery

I love all shopping in India but the jewellery is in a league of it’s own. To pick up 3 pairs of stunning silver intricately designed earrings for only A$10,one cannot be anything but impressed. I am dazzled by stall after stall of beautiful gem stones, silver and gold frames, unique pieces and bold designs. I come home with boxes full of bangles, elaborate necklaces and eye catching earrings. India is the jewellery lovers haven. There is then the upper-class stores which host thousands of precious gemstones set into stunning yellow gold. Jewellery is important in the culture as well with people of all castes being adorned in jewels and precious metals of various kinds.

 

India. Discover it for yourself


One little song can make one so happy

I have just rediscovered my favourite song from when I was in India in 2006.

Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL2sFRxp8ZY

This song was played at least 6 times a day whilst I was in India and especially in my friend’s car. I love it. It just makes me smile, and want to dance and be happy!

It’s amazing how powerful music can be in regard to bringing back memories! This song brings back the most vivid and clear memories for me of my time in India. I was completely content, at peace and at ease when there and I met just the most amazing friends. I love that one song can do this for me.

Five minutes ago I was feeling completely uninspired. Now I want to shout from the rooftops.

Dhan ya vad India. You always know how to make me happy!Happy times in India


MIAMI – as Will Smith once sang “WE’RE GOING TO MIAMI”

Off to Miami to join my brother on the actual trip we had planned together. Well, actually it was meant to be from Orlando onward so squeezing in Miami, Key West, The everglades, Daytona and extra day in Orlando wasn’t such a bad side effect of ye olde Swine flu.

 May 12th 2009

 

MIAMI 

I decided to be the ultimate little sister and follow in my big bro’s footsteps, so off I went to Miami with him, it’s tough to be the younger sister. We met a couple of cool Germans Mario and Flo and they drove us out for a day at the everglades with air boat rides, alligator and snake talks and a lovely encounter with Mr. enormous alligator. Note to all– sitting on Alligators is risky, so make sure you can jump very high if you attend to sit on one like my good friend Mario had to do! Hehe. We hit the beach and the very warm water, didn’t see as many half naked women as I thought I would, hmmm stereotypes didn’t live up to standard.

 

Jamesie and I had a lovely day trip to Key West where we ate Key lime pie, sampled chili’s and went snorkelling on the rough Caribbean waters. A night out to a German restaurant where we tried to put our heads in Steins (1 litre beer mugs) and then on to the famous Clevelander bar… which led to 2 hours sleep and me boarding the bus to Orlando in my attire from the night before!

 
The trip continues….. in ORLANDO!


Nagarkot in Nepal

2nd February

Today we were off to Nagarkot, a mountain famous for it’s view of the sunrise and sunset. I had to be up and ready by freakin 5am!!!! I was not a happy bunny. But I knew it would be worth it once we were there.

 

Still feeling unwell, I was quiet in the car and just stared out the window into the darkness. As we travelled on shapes started to form and as we got higher up the mountain I could see the crests and falls of the valley and the surrounding farm areas. The road got narrower and narrower as we climbed steeper and steeper. I had fath in Sundar’s ability though as he has travelled this road many times. To see the more rural areas of Nepal was nice but it was still dark and we were in fact racing the sun.

 

Once there we waited in the lovely tea house as the outline of the mountains solely started to reveal with each more ray of sunlight. IT was so exciting to see the day start like this and I shared the moment with the little boy who worked at the house Gautem. He was 12 but had never got to see this part of his country before. I was glad to share that with him. And the sunrise was breathtaking, every minute was more beautiful then the last and it was a truly magical experience. When the sun actually appeared, it resembled the top of a little face, popping up over the clouds shyly, and then slowly revealing himself as he becomes more confident. Once confidence is fully gaines, he within seconds jumps up and shares his light with all the world. We stayed for an hour, until the skies were compelteyl blue and the sun was in it’s place for the morning.

 

 On the drive back down we were able to see all the villages and the step farming that I heard so much about in the mountains. Also as it was a clear day, we were able to se the outlines of the mountains, even a few snow capped ones, which gave me a little thrill.

The sun rising up was still radiating in my brain, and hopefully those beautiful sights as well as the photos will ontinue to keep those moments in my memory for a longtime after.


Intro to Nepal

An excerpt from my year away. This was the next stop after India:

Next stop on my adventure would be Nepal. I had met another industry colleague at the conference in Udaipur, India in 2005 named Sundar. Sundar is a colleague of my fathers who works in the freight forwarding industry. He met my dad about 5 years ago at a conference and became close friends with him when there was a conference here in Nepal in 2003. Dad was very eager for me to meet Sundar in Udaipur at the conference last year and we hit it off straight away, so when I decided to go to India on the way to England I knew I had to take the chance to see Sundar in Nepal.
My father had been to Nepal twice and had raved about it ever since. The first time he visited was when I was 5 years old and he brought me back a little Nepalese costume. From that moment on, I had been fascinated and had wanted to go to the land of such pretty clothes. Sundar had arranged for me to visit for 6 days and would show me all that Nepal had to offer. Again, it’s so great to have a friend, guide or host in a country to see the true nature of a country.

 

Nepal is full of culture. It is a world away from most anything I had ever known and it is certainly all unexpected. There is a lot of information and news about India but there is not much about Nepal, so I was very intrigued to get to know this small mountainous country of the North.  

 

Nepalese people are just lovely. People would smile at me as I walked down the street, and the children run up to me and say hello! I love the children here, they are all so beautiful and I love to see their small little faces looking up at me. it breaks my heart to see so many of them living in such a poor lifestyle; if I could I would take them all home and adopt them. I thought then it might be lucky England as I cant take them home, so maybe if  come back via Nepal on the way to Australia I will grab them up and take them home.

Well I should probably explain how I got to be where I was in Nepal before I jump in full force. I went  to Nepal on the 31st of January. It was strange to be travelling again, and it actually felt natural. It felt like I had been away for so long as I had already experienced so much but at this point I had only been away one week.

Sometimes you have to pinch yourself during these journeys to remember that it is real. This is really a year away and it’s actually happening. I made it!

 

On the plane, I was again approached by a lady sitting near me. I am starting to wonder what my facial expressions are on planes as I must look like I need talking to or I’m desperately lonely and scared. This woman, Indrani, was from India and was working in Nepal for some months on a project. She worked for a Not for Profit organisation called Planted Finance which works in microfinance to build economis of thirs world countries through trade and tourism. She was in Nepal to work with the European commission and hence her interest in my visit. Her organisation also arranged visits to rural areas so that tourists can see the true Nepalese way of life. The project was in support of the indigenous and farm people of Nepal and they were also helping them to establish trade for there goods and wears that they make. It sounded terrific and such a great experience for a western person to undertake. It was really wonderful to talk to someone who was also foreign to Nepal about visiting and the things to see and do there. It got me more excited for the trip ahead. She also pointed out the beautiful Himalayas which were to our left for the entire flight. It’s amazing to see some of the most famous wonders of the world that close.

 

Indrani was curious as to my situation and she after only a short time of speaking offered me to stay with her in her home there in Nepal. I was so stunned at people’s generous offers! I ensured her I would be fine staying in the hotel and that my good friend Sundar would be taking care of me. We exchanged details once we arrived in Nepal as I hoped to meet her again during my stay.


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