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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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

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 😛 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 – I 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 – SUCH 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 😛 ) 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 😛 )

Just letting everyone know, I came to the US to do my masters at Florida International University ( FIU) – A 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  – I 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! 😛

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.

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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 🙂

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

Keep reading, Keep inspiring.

Love,

Praveen