FIRST DOMESTIC FLIGHT IN THE USA Miami – San Francisco

Hey Fellas, Hope everyone had an amazing couple of weeks. I guess you all would have guessed this week’s blog about. Flying – isn’t always fascinating? Be it we see a flight during our school time and counting them during our physical training periods or even today when it passes through the sunsets with a beautiful sight. The love for flying never settles be it five or fifty (Well except for the ones who have flight sickness). Getting to the point, did you guys have a chance to find what’s going on with Gatlinburg, Tennessee in my last blog post. Yes, it has been a couple of weeks, been extensively traveling for the past three weeks.

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                                                ENROUTE (Courtesy: Google Maps)

This blog is just about my first flight travel and the issues I faced as an amateur traveler. well, I was back home from the Alternative Break trip (Smokey Mountains trip)with my friends at Florida International University. It was just a day, did all my laundry, took rest to an extent and packed for the next 20 days to the west coast of the country. I guess, you guys would have guessed the place by now. If not give it some brain work to see what would be on the beautiful place on the west coast. Just before I reveal the place, I’ll let you know this is one of the places everyone would have dreamt at least once in your life to visit.

Yes, that’s right for those who have guessed it right – CALIFORNIA woohooooooo 🙂 I was flying to San Francisco but I had a layover at Denver.  I was flying with United Airlines. The best thing about flying to the west coast is you get to save 3 hours. For example, you take off from your flight at 9 am from east coast even after 6 hours of flight you would land at 12 pm PST. This flight especially made me learn a lot of stuff that I didn’t know that existed.

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 DREAM STATE (Courtesy: Google Images)

Learning A.K.A Bad experience:

  1. Not Checking in advance
  2. Change of flight due to air traffic at the end destination
  3. Loss of baggage.

The worst part was I didn’t know this would happen nor I was prepared for it.

I had my flight at Miami International airport. Being my first domestic flight assuming that I am arriving on time at least couple of hours early, I didn’t take the pain of spending 30 seconds to a minute to check in which cost me literally an hour of wait, as the kiosks for the automatic check-in wasn’t working. The lines were up and every minute passed my pulse was adding up as I am relatively new to this process and finally when It was 30 minutes to departure I got to the security check. Long lines moved fast and with my heart-pounding, I boarded straight into the flight running to the gate.

  MIAMI AND IT’S ELEVATED BEAUTY 

A peaceful flight to Denver. It was a beautiful sight to see mountains filled with snow and feel the cold when I exited the aircraft to the terminal. And once I came to the gate of the San Francisco (SF) flight all the chaos started happening from the flight delay, to change of flight. I was told there was air traffic in SF, which delayed my flight by 3 hours. So, I was just roaming around the alley, a completely new experience as I have started liking and feeling lively traveling alone myself. In an hour and a half the flight crew was asking as in any passenger wants to go in the previous flight and I was the first one to say YEEESSSSSS in the excitement of reaching San Francisco. I just made sure my baggage will be shifted to the right flight and they did confirm it.

DENVER  INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

All the eagerness packed in the bundle when I buckled up for the flight to SF from Denver. And you guys got to know I was the one to run first to the flight and I was last one from the flight to get out of the airport. Yes, my baggage was missing and all my belongings were in there. I didn’t even have any change of dress or even a towel. At least I wouldn’t have minded it if I was staying in SF. I was leaving as early as 5 am to Lake Tahoe (Lake Tahoe location) So nobody would be there to even collect my belongings for the next three days.

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   NIGHT VISUALS OF SAN FRANCISCO

Then the procedure of claim, refund, the purchase was all confusing and new. After a continuous hustle with the airline company, the airline company gave me a credit of $150 and asked me to purchase what I want for the time being. It was already 11 pm and I was pretty sure, it’s gonna go waste and I have also instructed them to send it over to the amazing location that I was going (Will reveal the Place next blog). It was One amazing and a learning experience.

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                                                           BAGGAGE DELAY FORM 

In my next blog post, I am gonna share few tips as a traveler of any magnitude we need to know to avoid problems related to flight travels, baggage claim, checking in and long ques in the security.

All said and done. Stay tuned next weeks blog post.

Have an amazing weekend folks.

Love,

Praveen

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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

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.

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

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 🙂

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Keep reading, Keep inspiring.

Love,

Praveen