The road to Portland – First Drive ever

Hey everyone. Hope you all had a good time entering fall season. Probably the best season out of the 4 seasons we have. Let me take you back on memories of my Seattle trip having so much fun and getting to see amazing places even though we were short on the budget (Link for those didn’t get a chance to read – Link). Having a good time in Seattle just didn’t stop me from exploring the nearby places which led to take a courageous decision of me renting a car on my own and driving my friend to Portland.

Well, the fact is I have never ridden in the USA except for getting my driver’s license back in Florida for half a day within a parking lot.  I was scared, to be honest. Woke up really early and got ready. I was boasting about my ability to find one of the cheapest rentals ever. But the happiness didn’t stay too long until we entered the FOX  car rental. I would still not forget the complete scene, we were supposed to get the car rental at 7 Am. Yes, we were there, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a work back then which automatically doesn’t qualify for a credit card in most cases. The price we were supposed to pick up the car was $45 per day. we were totally upset and we were ready to get back home and binge lol. But the store guy himself felt so bad for us, called up a couple of people and tried to arrange a car for an individual with only a debit card.

A few Minutes walk he said and pointed us towards an Enterprise, which is again a car rental company. They are one of the largest chains of car rentals in the US and they do offer cars to debit cardholders with a hold in the account. and the hold gets back as soon as we return the car safe and sound. A ride of $45 cost us $160. But since we planned already, we were not okay to ditch it even though the rental became a high priced commodity.

TIP: If you only have a debit card account, Always see if your friend has a credit card and he can be the primary driver and add your name to it as a secondary driver or find and book an enterprise car even before getting charged $160 a day lol. 

The rental was sorted but who was gonna drive? well certainly not her, as she doesn’t know driving at all. The worst thing about Seattle is that busses, metros, trams, bikes/ cycles and the whole human crowd were in the street which made my heart beat go higher every second I see one more additional person or a vehicle on road. The fascinating fact about the rental is that we rented out in the downtown which has the lesser crowd in the most sarcastic way :P. The moment I brought the car to the basement I was about to hit a stranger and well I didn’t. Swetha was like “Are you okay ?” “Will you drive that far ?”. Even today close to 4 years of driving in the US she still doesn’t let me have my phone in my arms to even have a look at the google maps. So you can imagine my first epic drive.

All that said and done I managed to steer the car to the freeway/ highway.  That’s when I got a little bit of confidence and started to play some songs and watch the amazing view. After which I never had issues till date haha. Isn’t my driving story overtaking my Portland story? what do you guys think? Okay, let’s cut it short and get to the vital part of the story.

It’s just a couple of hours drive to either Mt. Rainer or Portland. If you at Seattle and you gotta a day it’s worth spending on either of these days. The drive during the day, when we were travelling was clear yet a little gloomy setting up perfect weather for driving and hanging out. The complete drive of 2 hours was completely filled with mountains, trees and gorges all over. The effort of driving couldn’t even be felt throughout the trip due to these amazing scenic views.

The first place we visited was Forest park which was in the middle of Portland with a short hike overlooking the Willamette River. Parts were covered partially with snow and made the hike a little bit challenging yet really fun. After hiking a good amount of time and capturing those natural beauties in the middle of the forest. Our body needed a recharge before getting to the next location. All that we had in mind was to go to amazing falls that everyone who had previously visited and suggested as well. It had a good rating on Google as well.

Instead of further wasting time in the restaurant waiting for food, we thought of doing fast food and keep running to the next destination as half the day went figuring out the car rental. The next location was Multnomah Falls. That’s where the most interesting and one of the best rides of my life ever took place. While driving towards this natural beauty, we actually lost the route and within a minutes we started claiming the hills as it started to drizzle, rolling down the window to feel the smell of nature and feeling the fresh air. Further, the altitude increased and we also lost internet connectivity. Now it becomes super fun, we know where we wanna go, but we are in a new state and city, no connectivity and wouldn’t see anyone whom we can go and approach to ask for location. As we’re driving moving higher the altitude it started getting cool and started to drizzle. Further, I started driving within a span of 15 minutes all the trees were completely filled with snow.  And that sight just got my heart. Look at those amazing pics.

 

When I am able to recollect about it after 3 years and still try to express the feeling, you guys have to imagine how special and gorgeous that would have been in reality. Now I even forgot the location we were supposed to go enjoying this white beauty. when I started driving past these snow filled trees, it started to snow. Within 20 minutes of the drive getting to experience gloomy, drizzling, snowflakes over the tree to completely snowing atmosphere was just an incredible experience.

Finally, we were at the peak playing with the snow and finally got to see some people. Fortunately, they were few people not lost like us. They guided us in the right direction of the falls. But its always the road not taken delivers you the most exciting places just like what I explained. Finally, after all the detours we reached our destination Multnomah Falls. It was just a majestic site and the view was pretty lit.

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There are two picture points one just the bottom one where I have taken pictures or you can hike up to the bridge and take pictures over the there. Pretty sure they would be Pretty lit as well. We didn’t have much time to do the hike. I am going back to this city in three weeks if you wanna have a sneak peek just follow my Instagram (Link).

There are more amazing places in Portland that I need to check out this time. Then it was a quiet drive back to Seattle due to tiredness. And one of the exciting trip coming up next post. Stay tuned fam.

Love,

Praveen <3

 

 

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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 😛 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