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

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

 

 

 

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