ROADTRIP – SAN FRANCISCO TO LAKE TAHOE

Hey folks, Hope the last blog post was helpful for you and if you felt so do share it with your friends as well. Let’s get back to my baggage lost story in San Francisco(SFO), After getting my baggage lost form receipt and a whopping offer of $150 to purchase anything of my choice, my family friends picked me up from the airport and I just had to explain them about all the delay. Got back to a 45-minute drive to San Ramon hills next to SFO. Such an amazing house, those were the initial days in the States and that was the very first time ever I was visiting my family friends place which was their own. Mind was like could you even afford to buy such a house, that too in SFO. Well, at least now I know it’s not a big deal if you are gonna live in the US for more than 20 to 25 years. Stories apart let’s get back, borrowing everything from Uncle except my inners 😛 . The shirt and pant were just as loose as it can get lol. Anyways I didn’t have a choice.

I came home around 11.30 pm and we started at around 4.45 am to the location that I haven’t still revealed. Back then I didn’t know how to plan, how to go about places, the modes of transportation, even driving was an issue. This trip was an eye-opener to see how people travel here with family. They were a couple and they had 2 sons as well as 3 relatives visiting them from India. So, we were 8 in total. We had two 7-seater vehicles Uncle drove one vehicle and Aunty drove the another. Finally, we started off to one the coldest location where it’s gonna be snowing and they gave me the snow weather dresses as well. You could look at me and say that wasn’t my dress haha.

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The drive was to LAKE TAHOE, one amazing place I wouldn’t regret going any number of time. Even when you guys see the picture you will feel the same. Such a beautiful place you can enjoy both your summers as well as winters. Summers for the lake and the winters its snow, skiing and the amazing ski resorts.  Cars were allowed only if it had a 4-wheel drive or a chain attached at the wheels to not skid during the snowy areas. So, we were on a drive to the snow resort over in the Lake Tahoe. It was a mountaintop, throughout the way after crossing Sacramento ( Capitol of California )the way was completely capped with snow and it was my first time having a sight of that sort. I just started feeling the awe moment and started taking videos all over. Yet I didn’t see the snowfall. We started driving to the peak of the mountain where the ski place is.

 

 

Even then when I was in parking I didn’t see anything that was making me all excited. The moment when we got out and felt the – 40C with the beautiful snowcapped mountain view I just fell for it. I could get over the view even today. Got ourselves with the skiing kit with the kids. We went to the skiing area and I was like wow how do these kids do it so amazing. I just felt it’s kind of so easy to do it. Trust me when I wore those skiing kit and took a step ahead I was like, can I give it back and look at the amazing people doing it. But I didn’t leave the spirit to let’s see how far it’s going to be challenging? I was a beginner was assigned to a trainer and then he literally thought me as you would to a child as in how to move, how to stop and pretty much how to turn. I took so long in learning them, in the meantime, the kids with started getting hungry.  So, had lunch probably a burger I suppose.

The Few Shades of me Skiing 🙂 

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Then the real fun started as in to go in a rail to reach the top of the ski area and ski from the top, as the evening proceeds the temperature again started dropping. In the coldest of weather snowflakes all over I did try skiing, it was mostly falling and getting off from the top a mountain. But I never quit, kept on trying even at a point where my one leg got caught in the snow and another one moving, in the numbness of the cold I just felt my legs are done it’s for sure a fracture. I couldn’t feel my leg nor I was able to take my ski pads stuck deep in the snow. Somehow pulled inch by inch to get me out of that trap. Finally, we called the day off, then someone remembers about the baggage claim, don’t have to think who is that. That’s none another than me lol. So, when we started driving to stay at a closer resort in a different city called Reno. It was an hour an and a half drive from there. In the meantime, I was calling up United airlines and they were like “Sorry sir, but the bag is still stuck in SFO and it is in Transit”. I got really mad but I couldn’t shout at them as I was with my family friends. Anyhow he increased the price to an amount of $250 (As a matter of fact my ticket was priced at only $280 ).

We were travelling back to a small but a beautiful city called Reno. And stores close around 9ish because the city was famous for its casinos and pretty much it. I literally didn’t have anything to wear the next day. So I was in a compulsion and I needed to get everything before the store closes. Somehow I made it, So happy that I made it plus I can shop for $250. It was quite some time since I moved over to the US, and that was really a great amount for me to spend on a one-day shopping. I did get all the clothes from all expensive brands lol. Finally done with shopping and getting back happily, I see my delivered it to my room in the hotel. It was a like a buy one get one free kinda feel.

With this happy note, let’s see how we spend the next couple of days in such a beautiful location 🙂

Love,

Praveen 🙂

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TOP 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE TAKING A FLIGHT

Hey everyone, how is the heat treating you? Yaas summer it is, but honestly who cares about heat when you get time to travel to beautiful destinations and with sun everything is a just a notch brighter and prettier.  Today’s blog is just a guideline for you if you are a frequent traveler, a newbie to travel or a traveler on and off when you got time. This post is gonna help you not miss, get all your desirable perks and be a pro in a flight travel. Not to boast but giving you the background, I have traveled almost 5 to 6 international airlines and more 10 domestic airline carriers across the globe. Yes, I have made so many blenders which I don’t want you to commit. So here you go.

To accomplish all this, all you need to do – is to just follow the 10 steps below 🙂

I am letting you guys know what I learned the harder way, do follow this and I am pretty sure 99% you would not have any hiccups in your flight journey or maybe with respect to any sort of transportation.

1. Checking your Name, Date of Travel and Place of travel:

The most important and the first step you need to do is make sure all your details that you input for the flight are in accordance with your actual schedule (Dates and months to be verified) and as per your government documents(Name and Date of birth). Most flights have the option for the travelers to change it within 4 hours to 24 hours from the time of booking. So, make sure you guys have a check once you book your tickets, usually, we conceive in our mind what we had given is right but double checking is always better.

Courtesy: ndtv.com and travelvisapro.com

My experience: Did this mistake N number of times, I went to meet my friend in Seattle and I was supposed to fly to Los Angeles on 31st of December to have my new year gala at Los Angeles. I was about to check in on the 30th of December and my ticket was booked for 30th of January. Well, pay another $160 for a silly mistake. This list doesn’t stop from name changes to schedule changes. Well, I was fortunate enough to escape because of the 24-hour flight change policy quite a few times- but honestly why to risk it instead of verifying a couple of seconds.

2.  Checking-In in Advance:

Hey, is it a big deal to check in within 24 hours of the flight? Well, the answer is yes, it is. It’s not that it reduces the time drastically but also makes sure you have a seat. There are chances if you don’t check in earlier you end up waiting in the general line where people wait to check in the luggage (This reduces your time for security check, time to sip a cocktail at the lounge or even have some delicious food from your favorite restaurant). The list doesn’t stop right there, It can make you wait for a seat even till the last moment till everyone board (Your mind voice: Is this guy serious? I am not kidding, It has happened to one of my very own friends). One more additional advantage, I am not sure of domestic airlines of different countries but the domestic airlines in the USA charge less if we check in our bag when we check in.

Courtesy: Iberia.com and American.com

3.  Dress as per Destination:

The common mistake we do as a traveler or even just as a passenger is we get to pack dresses as per the source place instead of the destination. If you are traveling for whatever span, you always have the option of finding on the internet, how is the weather going to behave for the days that we are gonna stay at that place. Just a fun fact mostly in the world we assume June, July and August are summers but those are winters for people who live in Australia. So always make sure pack your pieces of luggage with the right combination of dresses in terms of climate as well as culture (If you wanna blend in a little bit 😛 )

Courtesy: thefashiontag.com and basecampadventure.com

4.  Gate Change Update:

Well, one more Concerning thing that you as a passenger must know. Is it fine if I am done with security check and get to the gate? Can I relax and don’t care about anything until they call me to get on the flight?

Hell No, that’s when you gotta pay attention to every announcement that hears by your ear. Gates that the boarding pass say is not always going to be final, it can change due to technical reasons. It is even more catastrophic if there is a terminal change (Which usually doesn’t happen that often). So, the only thing we need to do is pay attention to the announcements and try to sit in the gate where our flight was intended to fly from.

Schiphol Gate D, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Courtesy: familytravelck.com

5.  Do’s and Don’ts for a Carry-On bag:

There are always restrictions in Carry-On baggage in terms of size, weight as well as things. One of the blog posts which gave a complete description of the restrictions has been added please go through it if in case you have any doubts about whether you need to carry them or Nah. (Carry on restrictions).

Few things I always have doubts about personally are Will I be allowed to carry food? Since they have restrictions on liquid, Can the food be semi-solid? As I guy Can I carry a razor? Few questions which knocked my mind when I was penning down my thoughts.

Answers are yes we will be allowed to carry food as long as it’s not semisolid or liquid. For example, I am a south Indian who loves parota with salna – which I usually don’t get in most of the Indian restaurants (For those who don’t know what it does mean just google it or I am putting up the link where I purchased in the USA – Restaurant) Well no shamming I am proud foodie 🙂  The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) didn’t allow me the salna or gravy whatever you wanna call since it was semi-solid. Razors, as well as a solid food substance, are fine to carry in a Carry-On baggage.

Any liquid item has a restriction and TSA’s official page has its description on what the weight we need to carry and exceptions on stuff like medication and infant items – Have a look a the link. (Liquid Restriction)

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Courtesy: Cil.com and travel.gc.ca

6.  Size and Weight restriction:

As a traveler, the thing you would hate the most is to pack and unpack within the flights constrained weight allowances. Every carrier has their own restrictions and allowable criteria make sure to check the respective weight criterion of the airline you are gonna travel. Usually when its international you would be given with two check-in baggage (23 Kgs each), a carry-on baggage and a personal item. In a domestic flight, it completely depends on the country and the carrier varies from just a personal item, or just a carry on with it or even free of cost check-in baggage. This completely depends on the carrier. This is more important when you need to choose what the purpose of the visit, if you are shifting from one location to another (It is better to prefer the airline which gives free checked in Baggage) or If you are going on a short trip for three days you wouldn’t even require a carry on Baggage so prefer to choose a cheap and non-baggage friendly airline. Blog post for size restrictions( Size restrictions ) Always double check with the airline for the latest update. 

Courtesy: Target.com and Vincentloy.wordpress.com

7. Parking / Uber Choice:

The Choice of transport to/from airport depends on three factors,

1. Traffic 2. Distance and 3. Economy

Traffic: So basically, in a city like Los Angeles or Bengaluru traffic gets in the way so badly that it can take several hours for us to reach the airport. God bless Google map, keep checking the estimated time of arrival when you are planning on driving or even using the public transport such as a bus or a metro.

Distance: If you live far away from the airport and your trip is as short as 2 to 3 days. Most of the Cities have parking next to the airports and those parking centers provide shuttles to the airport. So, it’s a win, you arrive on time, don’t have to wait for a public transport and obviously more comfortable.

Economy: Three options, Either we just use Uber (Something similar to the App like Lyft or Ola), Or have our own car parked in any of the airport parking centers or use a public transport. As a traveler work out the math which comes out to be cheaper and ofcourse use the effective one.

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Courtesy: Medium.com

8. Netflix/Song Download:

Flight experiences are amazing but at the same time if you fly in the nights or its really sunny outside and you don’t open the shades on the window. you are going to be completely bored especially if you travel alone. Adding to it, if you completely have a boring or a silent person next to you. you are done. That’s why always when you know you are gonna fly, download songs and shows of your Interest so that you never get bored. Few flights provide WIFI service in the air but it’s too pricey.

        Courtesy: makeuseof.com and wikipedia.com

9. Free Upgrades to Business Class:

Have you ever heard of this concept? you pay for an economy ticket and just because there is an availability on the business class the airline company upgrades your ticket to a business class one. Well, I am not kidding I have known friends who have had this amazing opportunity. I wish I can get one day but it has never happened as of now. It’s always better to go and ask when you are check-in in your baggage or even at the gate when you are about to enter your flight. If there is an availability for a business class and if their answer is yes we do have but you gotta pay for it. All that you can answer as well I am good for now, I was just looking for a free upgrade if in case you guys have it. It’s okay to not get but it’s not okay to ask lol. You never know whether that’s gonna be your lucky day.

Emirates 777 New Business Class

Courtesy: pointsguy.com

10. Baggage Loss:

The 10th and the most important section is baggage loss. What should I do if my baggage is lost? The answer is to keep calm and you are definitely not responsible for it. Make sure to complain to the respective airline companies baggage claim team and fill out the required forms.  The airline company or the insurance company take up the complete responsibility to bring the luggage to your own home address. Apart from that as a customer we also can purchase things for the amount sanctioned by the airline company during the phase of getting our luggage to our phase. Every airline has its own limit if you are not sure of the amount then check their website or call customer service which is always a better option. Just not waiting for your baggage delays might as well use your flying perks.

Any doubts you guys have feel free to reach out to me. I’ll try my best answering them or at least try to guide on where could you find the answers for.

Feel free to share with your friends who would need these tips 🙂

Have an amazing weekend you all <3

Love,

Praveen

 

GATLINBURG – LOST SEA ADVENTURE- A DAY OUT- ICE SKATING- TUBING

Still with those beautiful views from smoky mountains last week. Yay welcome back guys. what’s up?

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Heading over to THE LOST SEA ADVENTURE

During my whole week of stay in Smoky mountains, one day was off, so we were kinda let free from the camp. There are so many beautiful destinations across Smokey mountains. One most important and beautiful destination is Gatlinburg. Since we were there during the month of December, it was misty, cold and yet so beautiful.

Before we hit the spot we were planning on going to THE LOST SEA ADVENTURE – yes the name was kinda intriguing for me as well, as you all are thinking right now. It was a privately owned Cavern ( What is it Private? Yes it was fascinating to me too that an Individual can own a cave in the USA ). The entry to the place is $20.95. It is a cave, completely dark and a constant temperature of 65º F ( 18º C). It was one such experience guided by individuals who take us on a tour around explaining its reasons for the erosion and all the minerals present and suddenly we see a pool of water with fishes swimming around. We were also taken a ride around- Such a beautiful start to the day. Then we were heading over to Gatlinburg.

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Gatlinburg is a small town in Tennessee and has the best views, best wine tasting and alcohol(Moonshine) tasting in the country. The thing about that day was everybody was on time so we could leave as early as possible out of the camp and come back late. we did make it as per plan. It was like a couple of hours drive from our place and reached for lunch and to my surprise, everything I did on the day was just my first time ever.

We went to dine in a restaurant, and I could eat something simple like a chicken burger. There was a log of meat got served by the waiter to one my friends and I was like what is this? and he replies “what the heck haven’t you tried ribs?  Don’t you know what ribs are, expect the human rib cage lol ?”. Well, the honest answer is a NO and I did say it. He cuts a part of it and insists me as in I need to complete it. It was so nicely done that I started loving Ribs the very first time I tasted it.

Then we had a plan of events lined up for the entire day starting off with going to an Ice skating arena. And kid you not, the shoes felt weird when I actually saw them as they were a single piece of metal welded to the shoe and again the question arose was “Haven’t you done Ice skating?”. What will I say them, I am from a tropical country where the temperature is around 30 – 35 degrees Celsius approximately literally throughout the year. Being my first time, I fell on my ass every single time I tried to skate. Then everyone came to my rescue and taught me how to do? Held on to my hand and took care of me like a baby bro haha.

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Strictly NO JUDGING on my Ice Skating skills 😛 

The most enjoyable experience was the snow tubing, its fun guys.  If you guys would have done it, you would probably accept the fact. It was open and freezing in spite of my leather jacket. It wasn’t a lot of people which means we get more turns to do it. Let the pictures explain you better.

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Gatlinburg is a small beautiful town famous for its architectural experience, Moonshine, breweries, and their amazing wineries as well as their outlets (More important free tasting – SAY NO TO FREEEEEEE right 😛 ). We went on the Gatlinburg sky lift- like it was one of a kind views from the top of the mountain. The ride was amazing and thrilling as we went higher it was steep and scary. Overall worth the cost.

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Then after a tired day. We went on a walk to purchase some souvenirs, but the walk was so beautiful following us with the creek next to us. the sound of the water over the rocks, lights of the city, and the amazing architecture of the city was all worth the while. When we were on the lookout for restaurants, the wineries didn’t let us pass through. People from the shop were so welcoming and explained us about the complete procedure of preparation of wines. They were really a rare collection compared to the rest of the country and the aroma and taste were on point. Passing by every winery, none left us without tasting, never seen a bunch of people this courteous to serve free alcohol.

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When we were done with the wine section, Moonshine stores didn’t let us pass by without tasting. Moonshine(Link to explore more about Moonshine) is a type of alcohol mostly specific to smoky mountains area. This is a mystery drink as it can generate two flavors, for example, they had a cinnamon apple moonshine which tasted cinnamon while drinking and when you exhale it gives you an apple flavor. The storekeeper made sure, we had a taste of all the flavors. (I still didn’t understand why are people too nice :P)

PS: Drink responsibly, drink only if you are above 21 are moreover drinking can be injurious to health – I see you guys better behave, just kidding keeping in control is always better.

After such an amazing day, we did grab some food from the McD’s if I am not wrong and back to our forest zone at 11.30 pm.

TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS:

  1. Make sure you have a plan based on your interest.
  2. Hotels and resorts are pretty expensive, try to book it beforehand. (Options for cheaper booking: Hot rate hotels @ Hotwire.com)
  3. Keep your activities in the morning, so get ample time to explore the city at night.
  4. If you are a Wine lover, Never forget to taste raspberry and blueberry wines pretty much from all the outlets. Buy a few which suits you- they are amazing for the cost. (Average price $15 – $25 per bottle and cheaper when taken in a case)

THINGS TO DO IN GATLINBURG:

  1. Skiing, Ice tubing or Ice skating – So many options to choose from (We went to Ober)
  2. Creek walks around 7 pm if its winter and 9pm if its summer.
  3. Try out the wines from different local wineries.
  4. Amazing Barbeque places. (Choose based on google ratings – It works)
  5. Go on to the top of the mountain – Use Skylift (Tickets for $7)
  6. Moonshine tasting is a must if you like are a Whiskey Lover.
  7. Climbworks smoky mountains for zip line lovers.
  8. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster.
  9. Wild Bear Falls Indoor Waterpark. (Pretty amazing place for some family time in the water )
  10. Mountain mall (Both for purchasing souvenirs and spending some time )

Hope you guys had an experience exploring this beautiful city. Let’s explore my first flight journey in the US and check out next week to see where I flew.

Love,

Praveen

TENNESSEE – Alternative Break experience

Hope you guys read about the 16-hour long journey from Miami to Tennessee through the beautiful city of Atlanta. welcome back, readers how is it going?

The whole experience of AB was just impeccable, from being without connection with the world (Just as we say – wander where the WIFI is weak), having a routine, open up and speak to people from a different origin. Getting to understand what and how these America born kids are brought up and how they react to things. Overall it was just mind-blowing. I am so excited to share every bit of it. It was a 7-day experience, I can write every single day as a separate and a unique experience. But, I am crunching in all the information into subcategories. Hope you guys love it and learn a bit about Cherokees (If you wanna know who they read it through 😊 )

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  1. Hosts:

we were with a family who organized everything for us including the food and shelter. They live in line with the nature eating fresh produce, working in the forest, sometimes they even go out for hunting (Scary right 😛 ) and the list goes on and on and on. Even for these American kids, it was new to them, as they were used to city life and they had a whole new experience with the wild and nature.

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The beautiful host – who managed us throughout the week. 

Morning Prayers:

As we were a part of Alternative breaks supporting Nature, I would say we were at the right place with the right companionship. The Old couple was really the right individuals for learning a handful of things within this short span. The First one of which, Singing the morning chores – The song of the  Cherokees ( Cherokee reference ) (They were the tribes who were native to this area). Glad I had a video to share with you guys. (To be honest – I completely forgot the verses.) Do check it out, it might seem funny but this is the way they welcome the Sun (Considered to be sun god – Used to be their daily morning ritual, cool Isn’t?)

Friendship:

We were a batch of Alternative Breaks students from Florida International University, Florida. Similarly, a group of people came from Georgia Southern University, Georgia. It was super fun and guys they were a batch of 7 girls and a guy. If you are a guy woohoo, Right (If at all you smiled you know to yourself you imagined, I see you ha ha…..Just kidding 😛 ). They were all amazing and very courteous. Everyone was friendly and helpful indeed. TIP: If you love traveling, open up and come out of your comfort zone. It fetches you so much of advantage to learn, get you stuff that you need and benefit you in so many ways.

 

Games- Cherokees play:

How do Cherokees get married?

Ans:  Everyone from the Cherokee clan used to assemble and there used to be pole with something tied which can hold a ball and there used to be individual sticks with guys and they need to pick them and hit the ball to the top of the pole and once it hangs on to the post, while a few of them objecting to throw. The guy who hits wins and gets to marry the girl.

Ps: Guys needs to play with their bare body- That’s what the story we were said.

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All that I could see is my eyes lol 😛

And we were told to play this game, it was freezing as low as 100 C. They told us just to take off only our shirts. Thank god none of us were gym freaks by then, hope you guys understand. When we were running out to pick up the ball and throw it into the pole all the girls were asked to obstruct us. Damn it was 4 guys and almost 15 girls. Literally took the energy out of us.

Food:

No complaints but the one day in between we got off. We literally went off to the city and drenched our tummy just with all the food we wanted. Because it was one and the same every single day. For Indians -bread, bagel, and cereals for the breakfast itself are new and on top of that if it wasn’t that great. But when you go for camping you must be ready sacrifice these issues.

Activities:

The main purpose of the trip was to go to such a beautiful national forest and make trails, clean up where we needed to, sawing unwanted trees and transporting those logs. It was all completely new to me and worth the experience. I hope the pictures explain you better.

Stay:

The stay varied depending on the place we went to serve. The actual base was the wooden house where we all stayed and the place we use to bathe was a wooden bath too. A very pretty place <3. But once we went to make trails in the smoky mountains to a different part in North Carolina we stayed in a church a whole night. The experience was amazing, as we were all chit chatting and playing cards. It gave me a nostalgic experience reminding me of my school days and our camping experiences.

Fun with Kids – Childcare:

One day out of these 7 days, our group from FIU was instructed to serve the child care in North Carolina. Oh, my god, these kids are the cutest, loved every moment of that day. My pictures would explain them much better  😊

 

We are into Pick -a- boo game (Don’t disturb us, haha)

So much fun with the kids 🙂

Views: 

Are you a beach person or a mountain person? well, I am a beach person but this trip made me think twice, gave the experience to view such amazing viewpoints and magnitude of beauty is just unimaginable. You guys need to see in person to feel it literally so beautiful. I could give you a glimpse of how amazing the place is.

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Fun with the band:

We had an amazing host who took us, to the band. which was pretty amazing. It was also amazing to see how people of their age perform and it was quite motivating for me.

Pretty much I have covered every aspect of the Alternative break and the different activities we had. Yes, everything is fun but what do you learn from those is the most important.

This experience gave me the opportunity to completely be with a new bunch of people who haven’t done anything like what I have done in term of practices, the way of living and the list goes on.

Don’t try to bring the change, Be the change.

See you next blog with an amazing experience to one of the, To go places of Smoky mountains(Smokies link).

Love,

Praveen

 

 

 

MULTICULTURAL DRIVE – DRIVE FROM MIAMI, FLORIDA TO GATLINBURG,TENNESSEE

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THE ROUTE 

Welcome back my wonderful readers, hope you enjoyed my First trip in the USA. You know what people who follow me regularly on social media might know, I traveled a few weeks back to Boston, it was a crazy ass experience which I will write separately. But for the very first time, I wrote my blog in the flight, the silence, the height, flying in the air, the sound of air passing by and a traveler retrieving his memories- Whaaaaattttttaaaa deadly combination. I just loved it😊 I also had an amazing Chinese friend Jess, who was visiting her boyfriend in Boston and sharing her experience of travel within China and elsewhere. A good Conversation Indeed, I love what I do and I am glad I can share it with you all.

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A Co- passenger cum traveler Ms. Jess from China

To start with the actual trip. This is again a nerve wrecking for a guy just moved to a completely new world, Yet beautiful experience. When you go any US university for education, at least most US universities, they have something called Alternative Breaks (AB), which is basically a group of like-minded people who join supporting a single cause, for example, supporting Homeless, Supporting Environment, Supporting education so on and so forth. I was a part of a group where we supported Environment (Guys we all need to start doing something positive towards the environment, that’s the need of an hour). It was six of us, such amazing souls, all were doing their Undergrad and I was the only one doing masters. But the difference is they were born and brought up here in the USA. But I was the only one immigrated from a completely different Place. I as a person, don’t bother with any such differences, however, insecurities start to kick in such as adapting to the situation and what would they be interested in which you can speak but gracefully adapt to the situation and start learning is what I eventually did.

Believe me or not. It was such a learning experience from the second I gave the interview to be a part of this group to the day we all said bye. Still, we all are connected to social networks despite living in different cities having different walks of life.  One mission was to work for the cause, but another mission was to travel and have fun at the same time. Then comes cost cutting as we are all still students and we planned to drive 13 hours(15 to 16 hours with break) instead of flying which was way cheaper. We even did a fundraising for the cost of the fuel. I wish I had pics to show you guys how I use to fundraise (I just used to have those fundraising chocolates with a hanging flyer which says 1 chocolate FOR $1 just like a street vendor next to Library – But it worked, lol) We made enough money as we planned to make, A little more wouldn’t have hurt but yea, that’s all we could manage.

The day came as semester got over the previous day, I was at a party with the Asian Student Union from the evening (Pic’s below) and we were supposed to leave at 4 in the morning. Finally, I managed to leave the party place at 2 Am somehow, came back Shifted my stuff from University dorms to our very own 508 paradises (That’s the house I use to live in Miami).

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One of the Crazy Parties till date – Asian Student Union

And I got off with all the required stuff and the excitement to the core because I was going to cross Florida state line and enter a new state for the very first time. We were renting a van at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Carpooled and reached there. Inside I had the thing I am the only Indian, how are we gonna get coped up with them for the next one week. However, I was confident and ready to take it on but at some corner of the heart, I don’t know whether it was an inferiority complex or not having the sense of belonging.

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The huge vehicle we drove for the 15-hour journey 😛

There were 4 drivers including me because the not everyone could drive the crazy ass vehicle, We hit University of Florida, Gainesville as early as to get breakfast after 5 hours of drive. The deal was to have breakfast come out and I’ll drive. Had an amazing breakfast at Cracker Barrel(Cracker barrel link – if you wanna try ).

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   Ain’t the Skillet Yummy 😛 

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I took the vehicle, and it was the first ever time I am driving such a big vehicle ever. I managed to turn, come outside the building and start driving opposite side of the road (Not kidding – I am like so serious ) everyone shouting Praveen and I press the freaking brake so hard and everyone displaces from their seat and everyone was like let others drive. Felt so shameful and I didn’t literally open my mouth until we reached next stop. I was just feeling weird, just the emotion that they thought I didn’t know to drive. Then smoothly I was calming down and all Finally we crossed the Florida border. It was my first ever time that I crossed Florida.

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Florida – Georgia Borderline 

A drive of few hours we reached Atlanta in the evening. It was completely new to me from the atmosphere, the temperature,  and the aura itself. It was pleasant and chilly. Unlike Miami, there wasn’t a lot of commotion, not a lot of noise, even the downtown was pretty and silent. After a short visit to Mc Donalds,  for lunch, we started driving back and we all started binding with each other pretty well. However, they had issues with my accent but pretty much it went well.

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Atlanta Downtown

As we were entering Tennessee, the sun was set and drive got scary as there were just a GPS and no mobile network for any of us. It was quite adventurous, scary and most important it was freezing cold outside. Finally, we managed to find the place through the woods. It was really steep and we were guessing that should be the place. As expected that was it. It was a wooden house with bunk beds surrounded by mountains and trees (Such a wild and serene experience). Everyone was really tired after a 16-hour journey. Same as you are after a thousand word write up, just kidding.

Hear our funny voices discussing how weird and creepy was the town 😛

Glimpses of Atlanta and surrounding 🙂 

I’ll see you in my next blog with all the adventures we did, the new school Alternative break group we met, and all the fun we had.

Have a great weekend people.

Love,

Praveen