First ever Travel – Juniper Springs

How is your week going, Fellas ????????? welcome back ūüôā

Let me take you on a virtual drive to my ever remembered first trip in the United States, Fun times man.¬† I could recollect all those moments even today. All my roomies planned to go to that place, really didn’t have a proper understanding of what a spring was?

Waking up in the dorms (I use to live for a semester on campus – One good and the bad decision I ever made :P), getting ready with a bath and all stuffed packed really didn’t know what to take and what not to be taken back then haha …

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Such an excited post I still remember (Freaking I used to upload every single thing )

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Walked all the way to my Paradise (My previous home :0 ), everyone just waiting for me in a 7 seat minivan wondering where the hell I am. Took off the drive, Sleepy as hell but at the same moment, I didn’t want to miss anything on the way. To all the readers one thing I wanna say don’t expect anything great than an array of trees on both sides and a¬† luxurious highway where you can’t drive more than 70 miles/hr. Well, it’s kinda scenic in few places, but most parts keep looking and staring at the luxurious cars passing by.

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For people thinking where is this place and where are we traveling – This Map describes it all.

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Drive from Miami to Juniper Springs, FL (Reference: Google Maps)

Its hard to sit idle after four years of driving in India,¬†my heart¬†says “Hey ask them ” but mind says “Dude steering is on the other side of the car “. Constantly debating between mind and heart, I took a nap for a while. Taking a couple of stops for the leak, finally came passed Orlando(If you guys love¬†theme parks, amusement parks, especially marvel, harry potter fans¬†– that’s the goto place for you ) Once we take an exit we entered into a completely different atmosphere, the vibe was fantastic. Felt like entering into a forest driving through¬†the narrow roads and¬†gushing dense trees. We could feel the change in terms of the sound and nature as in how peaceful it turned into.

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The scenic way to Juniper Springs

Stocked up with loads of food, as we are¬†were gonna camp for the night and do some good barbecue chicken and veggies. It was a¬†nice thickly packed forest, and we all were like awwwwwwwwwwww <3, parked the car and walked to the actual spring space. It was way more beautiful than what I expected. Dazzling sun shining on¬†us,¬†calling us to jump straight into the water. Crystal clear and perfect weather – who could resist this combination ūüėģ Water was coming out through the pores, a beautiful sight to engross with nature and swim in this sight. How does it feel when you even think of it.

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Hard work putting the tent up for the night. 

Heart still pounding when I think of the beautiful image when I saw it the first time. Then we decided to put up the tents so that we wouldn’t have to do it at the end of the day merely searching for light in the forest. One more beautiful¬†thing guys – NO WIFI, NO MOBILE SERVICE PROVIDER (Just felt amazing¬†because¬†nothing to interfere just the mother nature and me with the company of my friends). Decided to walk to the spring, and put my feet looking at the sun. Never have I ever had that feeling in me. “Beauty and happiness lie only within us – But we tend to search for external reasons ” PS: I just made that up – felt while inking. Started swimming in the water, really deep, crystal clear and water’s temperature remains constant at any season. Which put all together into an amazing experience.

 It looks way amazing in real (Courtesy: Google Images) 

Spending an hour in water, decided to walk back to the camping place setting up stuff for Barbeque. With all marinated chicken, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms with all Indian masalas (GUYS that was my first experience and man it was yummmm ). But here comes the twist, these guys ruined my 22 years of virginity towards alcohol. No way I can get outside the jungle, Hungry after swimming, and these guys were so stubborn about me having Beer and they claim that’s the only way I can get food. The beer was tasting awful (Mind says”I knew alcohol is horrible but definitely not this horrible” ). when they gave me the chicken, damn that feel. Didn’t pass a chicken piece came my way (So hungry ūüôĀ ) It started getting darker, it felt great – no one was on the phone, nature and the vibe. Played cards for a while and backed into tent thinking of bear warnings and slept off.

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Days like these, stay evergreen in our hearts. These are few days when I realized how much I admire nature and I am glad I am sharing this experience. Even a few who reads the blog start liking nature or enjoying nature, that’s the most fulfilling moment for a blogger.Let me provide a section of how much its costs, Do’s and Dont’s in Juniper Springs.

Overview of Juniper Springs:

  • Recreational area – Subtropical forest and oval-shaped pool with limestone caves.
  • Part of Ocala National park- Florida.
  • Constant¬†water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • $21 per site (If you travel as a bunch, It’s super cheap guys)
  • Has a 1-mile trail (If at all you have energy after swimming :P)
  • Barbeque available
  • A place for some sports like Frisbie, badminton, soccer (Whatever game you can imagine within that space – I leave it to your imagination ūüėõ )¬†
  • Canoeing and Kayaking
  • Stores available for swimming and camping gears.
  • Bathhouses, Camping area, and Picnic Places Available
  • Insects are too much, you would definitely need an insect repellent.
  • Easy weekend trip for Floridians, as it is in the center. It is maximum of 4 to 5-hour drive from anywhere within the state.¬†

Feel free to ask any questions you have about the place, or this trip either in comments or any of my social media plots.

What should I have in my bag pack? 

  • Towel *
  • Few shorts*
  • Hiking shoes*
  • Slippers*
  • T-shirt.
  • Swimwear and googles.
  • Insect repellant *
  • BBQ skewers, veggies, pre-marinated or required mix, charcoal and fire initiator ( If you wanna do BBQ ).
  • Cutting boards,¬†Knives, spoons, and forks if necessary
  • Essential toiletries and skincare (depending on individuals) *
  • Tent and sleeping bag*
  • Pillows and blankets*
  • Most important always try to carry Trash bags*- Never know when will it come handy.
  • Sunscreen*
  • Umbrella* – you never know when it rains in Florida.
  • Camp reservation confirmation*- If the previous booking is done.
  • Power bank– If you are so much love with the place and click a ton of pictures from your mobile phone.
  • DSLR preferable or a good phone would do.

* – Mandatory

PS: Couple of fun facts РNatural places are cheaper and beautiful plus when you camp there are always chances of getting amazing friendship from people of different ethnicities and culture.

I apologize for the picture quality, my pictures will be better as it progresses I promise. Trying to get these from the archive is such a pain in an ass guy.

All right you guys have a chilling weekend ahead, let’s see how was my next day on the trip goes with a different location ūüôā

Love,

Praveen

 

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Phases of Life /travel – PART 3

Hey people, Glad you guys are back!

Here goes the answer to why am I blogging? What made me write blogs? what travel got to do with me?

To all the reader’s, this is the Last one guys! I swear No more personal blogs guys…Time from¬†next week to see some colorful places and admire… woohoo !!!!!

Even before I received the undergraduate degree,the actual piece of paper which ¬†qualified me as an Engineer, I set flight to a beautiful country that gave me so much of confidence, perseverance, and ability to think¬† forgetting the fact that there is something called society which will always try to pull you down regardless of what you wanna achieve. Two questions always I have in my mind: If you won’t regret when you look back, what you have done? Are you passionate and happy about doing that? If Yes is the Answer then very well there is no place for second thought.

¬†Farewell at home and Chennai International Airport (Lol ūüėõ look at me, seriously )

I still remember my first flight to London and the connecting American Airlines flight to the US. It was like a dream, even today it is. Losing all the connections from the roots, flying 10,000 miles away with a thinking of different time zone, with people of different cultures. Will I be able to deal with it? Will I ever graduate my masters? (I swear I had this doubt РI am not even making it up), Will people accept me for who I am?

Courtesy: Google maps

Taking a break and looking at all this journey made me realize how life is beautiful and could we ever repay at least a part of it to earth, our parents or our friends. Guys take a minute and think how grateful we should be to our lives compared to a million people.

                                        First ever 10-hour flight journey to London 

                                             FIRST SIGHT OF MIAMI РSUCH A BEAUTY 

Well, everything eventually fell into place and for all the questions I would strongly answer a Yes now raising my chest proud and happy.¬† The first sight of US is still in my eyes and heart even today(As you see in the video, I am glad it came out well and I could showcase it today) – A beautiful evening from 10000 feet above, an amazing view of the south beach with the coastal vibe was so welcoming. Not forgetting the fact roommates are the most important part of anyone’s life but here in the US, it takes a notch more. They aren’t just your roomies, they are family and even well-wishers if it happens right.

We call the home I used to live “508”, A paradise. We never knew we were making memories, all we knew was that we were having fun. When I turn back and see, everyone who lived with me was elder to me (So naturally you become a little¬†bro to them ūüėõ ) It’s always fun to be the youngest whether it is family or a family away from home. They even feed me, take care of me and made sure I cope up with the culture shock and conditions.(All the face down here had influenced me, taught me and motivated me as much as they could )

The school was different, Classes were different and even exams were kinda different. But I made sure I got this but met two beautiful souls who again made sure I am doing great in school too. Again mechanical engineering gifted me 2 more idiots AKA friends to deal with all my stupidity and the craziness!  Fun times man!

The change wasn’t easy guys, to all who moved to this country or any country abroad for this matter. Let me narrate 10 things, everyone goes through, the at least¬†majority would have.

  1. Converting $1 to Rs.64,65,65…. whatever it was (Don’t smile if you have done it)
  2. Feel like speaking to your friends when you are free – But they are deep asleep at that time.
  3. Looking at the amazing cars, Will I ever be able to buy them? 
  4. Homesick (The magnitude differs though- In spite of staying in residential school from the age of 12, that feeling is real )
  5. There would be bad days where you need to run to someone for just a hug, but the fact is no one would be around you – Need to deal everything by yourself.
  6. Toilet paper (Self – explanatory – If you still don’t get it better move over to the next point haha!)
  7. You have a feeling of being in a mirage: Is this the place I really belong?
  8.  Finance being a constraint,  restrict yourself even to essential things that you would love doing (Unless you are from a status which gives you privilege not to care about finance )
  9. Your taste buds start to fade eating differently from your regular spicy food.
  10. The most important of all “YOUR INNER CHEF WILL COME OUT OF YOU ” (No other way apart from cooking ūüėõ )

Just letting everyone know, I came to the US to do my masters at Florida International University ( FIU) РA pretty amazing school in terms of schooling experience and in terms of the location and cultural diversity. Just sharing few initial pics while I moved to the school.

I hope you guys know pretty much about me.  (I hear some voices say, no more  РI got you guys !!! )

Can’t wait to show¬†you guys¬†the first travel I ever did in this Country, and many more to follow.

See you guys on next blog.

Love,

Praveen

Phases of Life /travel – PART 2

Hey people !!!! Almost crossing half of April, I am sure you guys have started planning stuff for summer.

Hope you guys read my last blog. Done with schooling and I was ready to move into a metropolitan city,¬† Chennai for college. Definitely moving into City for a guy who has spent half his childhood in a residential school would be a nightmare. Every single thing was a change from people’s behavior, dressing sense,¬† to the culture, to¬†the routine. But I kinda liked the change, was always welcome to learn, experiment and experience the city way of living life. ( Most important these guys in the pictures made it even more simple for¬† me :P)

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4 beautiful college years passed – an amazing set of classmates, the unlimited amount of fun, fortunate to have a very interesting lovely gang of people who made my change very simple and yet colorful. Never bothered about anything; still need to accept the fact I was studious in my class from my project work to internships to burning midnight oil for almost all exams, which was a quite unexpected change! ūüėõ

But, Yeah a sudden leap into school to college wasn’t that easy peeps. Needed a lot of time into academics, which meant obviously less traveling. Those days my definition of travel was way different, all that I use to think is going out for a movie with friends is fun (Well it is, not saying no to it), going out to a beach was fun. Never understood it’s just not the time I spend with friends but its the influence of the place and aura too. Wasn’t keen on observing nature or changes around me or even paying attention towards minute details.

Overall, I had an amazing set of teachers and friends who encouraged me in whatever I was doing productively. From having a cutoff of last from the second guy when I joined college to going to collect best outgoing student award wasn’t easy. Needed a lot of willpower, positivity, and determination. I went on to present our project in a television channel as well (Youtube link) Look at my amazing machine and my project team below.

IMG_1704PS: Couldn’t manage to find a better pic group pic than this ūüėõ

Places traveled:

  1. Tamil Nadu, India – Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, Kodaikanal, Pollachi, Tirupur.
  2. Kerala –¬†Parambikulam (An amazing place – you are just away from mobile networks and wifi )
  3. Goa, India (Best ever trip of my 4 years of bachelors)
  4. My first Ever International tip – Singapore ( My first International flight was just my self Since my mom was already there – A pretty amazing experience – can’t wait to share with you lovely peeps about that in a separate blog post )

 

Hope all my mechies were able to recollect few amazing moments¬† from the college – starting from mimicking in class, to not making someone not answering attendance, to having late night study/fun nights, to department fights [Which I was not a part of – but yeah stories the next day in class was so much fun ] – I can keep writing about this pages together. Okay, let’s constrain here before it overflows out and all the awkwardness comes out !!!! (Mechanical engineer for lifetime <3 )

Almost getting my Undergraduate degree in hand – Arises a Question what Next?

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 All my lifelines in Pictures <3 

You got the Answer in the next blog guys I swear, The whole story of why US, why travel…

I am sure you guys would have all had so much fun in your respective colleges, feel free to share them in comments or send me a message – would love to hear them ūüôā

If you love reading my blog, Please do subscribe – option is on the homepage.

Keep reading, Keep inspiring.

Love,

Praveen