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

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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

 

 

 

First ever Travel – Alexander Springs

Welcome back, hope your week is going pretty awesome.

Just a recap of the previous week- First road trip- crossing Orlando- camping- Swimming in Spring – Beer- BBQ- Tenting. (If it’s confusing – you have two options- check out the points below )

  1. EITHER Go the previous blog read it and come back            
  2.  OR Stay here and read this blog because it’s a fresh and a new place that you haven’t seen yet.

well, In spite of the tired day, we all managed to get off from our tents roll back everything and get to the new location which was pretty close by, like a 20 minute drive that was again a fabulous location for a day out with barbeque, smaller hikes and snorkeling (I wish back then I knew I would travel like this or would write about places – would have captured way better pics lol 😛 )

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Travel from Our location(Juniper springs) to Alexander Springs (Courtesy: Google maps) 

The sun was out, water was pure, the flora was wild   – The bliss of being in a place like this is so exciting, I try and create emotions to showcase how beautiful and breathtaking places are, but when you see with your eyes it is ten times the actual beauty expressed by me. These are places were you can just sit for hours together, by yourself or with your loved ones and admire every minute passing by graciously with this lovely piece of mother nature.

The water body was just a large swimming pool unclouded, where you can look at your feet when you enter and walking by in the silky sand only to an extent because it’s really so deep into the center. Either you know swimming or have a float to support – our whole gang almost droned a guy which wasn’t funny but when you recollect memories today it is funny 😛

      The atmosphere at Alexander Springs 

We Swam and had fun for almost couple of hours by the spring, finally, our stomachs started giving all the signs to say enough of feeding heart with happiness and brain with memories. we still didn’t listen to it, started walking by the trail, doesn’t take much time if you just take the periphery instead of the whole hike. Loaded my phones memory with enough of selfie spamming, finally remembered we don’t have any chicken or veggies to barbeque as we ran out on everything last night itself. You know what, the worst thing is you are hungry af, and people cook delicious barbeque and you are too ashamed to go and ask haha.

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Took a shower got our belongings, ran to the go get some food. But everyone is like”we need Indian Food” ” we need Indian food”. Everyone decided finally to go to an Indian restaurant in Orlando. It was an hour an a half drive through woods and rain. But the food though, OH man so Yum after so long, I knew it wasn’t that great but at least the flavor of the Indian food meant a lot to me but not the check. Which meant still  I was multiplying by 63 or 64 times the cost haha.

All my trip were memorable but this one was First on my list, always sweet and special. Sunshine state – for those who don’t know it’s Florida never fails to make me happy. With all the happiness and back to home. A four-hour drive mostly everyone was sleep except the couple of them driving. With this positive note have a look at the essential things you need to know about Alexander springs If you gonna travel there.

Travelers section: 

10 Essential things to know About – Alexander spring:

  1. Recreational area.
  2. Part of Ocala National park- Florida.
  3. Constant water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Multiple springs vent under limerocks ledges.
  5. Has a 1-mile trail (If at all you have energy after swimming :P)
  6. Barbeque.
  7. A place for some sports like Frisbie, badminton, soccer (Whatever game you can imagine within that space – I leave it to your imagination 😛 ) 
  8. Canoeing and Kayaking
  9. Stores available for swimming and camping gears.
  10. Bathhouses, Camping area, and Picnic Places Available.

What should I have in my bag pack for camping at springs? (For people who didn’t get a chance to read my previous blog )

  • 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

Have a sweet little lit weekend,

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Travel from  Alexander Springs to Miami (Courtesy: Google maps)

My weekend is gonna be lit as well

Mom is back in the US, Taking her to my Hockey final on mothers day and it’s so freaking exciting. (To all reading my blog better pray for us to win 😛 – you guys better pray, just kidding send me some love and thats enough 🙂 )

See you next blog.

Love,

Praveen <3

First ever Travel – Juniper Springs

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

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 😮 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 🙁 ) 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 😛 ) 
  • 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 – Natural 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 🙂

Love,

Praveen