My 25th Year in Travel

Yep, today is a personal post. I mean, of course, everything I share with you on this travel blog is from my personal experience but this one is different. It’s my birthday blog post! Today, I turn 26 and to commemorate the completion of my quarter life (assuming of course that I live to 100 years), I would like to share with you my 25th year in travel.

My 25th in Travel - Birthday Celeb at YUVA
Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra – 25th Birthday Celebration with YUVA Staff and Volunteers

May

My 25th in Travel - May Forest Festival for Shiva at Mahad
Mahad, Maharashtra – Offerings to Shiva (once-in-three-years festival), during my first trip to rural India
My 25th in Travel - May Camel Ride at Lonavala
Lonavala, Maharashtra – Camel back ride on top of a mountain/cliff

June

My 25th in Travel - June Dubstep Party at Blue Frog Mumbai
Mumbai, Maharashtra – Dubstep Party (my first!) at Blue Frog
My 25th in Travel - June CouchSurfing with Rajie at Prasanna
Mumbai, Maharashtra – CouchSurfing with Rajie at Prasanna (they met for the first time here and now, they’re married!)
My 25th in Travel - June Infinity Pool and the Arabian Sea while CSing with Warren and the gang
Dona Paula, Goa – Infinity Pool Swim while Soaking in the view of the Arabian Sea with CS host Warren and friends
My 25th in Travel - June Touring Mumbai Irish Edition
Mumbai, Maharashtra – Crouch. Touch. Pause. Engage! Touring co-volunteer Maeve and Irish friends at the Flora Fountain in Colonial Bombay

July

My 25th in Travel - July Delhi Nostalgia at Hauz Khas
Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi – Nostalgic return to Delhi (2nd time) after being dispatched in March
My 25th in Travel - July Alibaug Beach and the Naga Saga
Alibaug Beach, Maharashtra Beach and foothills weekend with my good pal and co-CSer Sravan and officemates
My 25th in Travel - July Kundalika River Rafting
Kolad, Maharashtra – braving Class 2 and 3 rapids and river rafting at Kundalika River with CSers (Koyel lived in Makati for two years and got her MBA at AIM!)

August

My 25th in Travel - August Mahabaleshwar Monsoon Masti
Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra – Monsoon masti (fun) with CSers Koyel, Hridesh (they’re the small bikers in photo) and Sravan (it’s a 6-hour bike back ride in the rains!)
My 25th in Travel - August Matri Mandir at Auroville
Auroville, Pondicherry – Co-vol and travel buddy Juls and I at Matri Mandir (temple) in a “commune” for the “Divine”
My 25th in Travel - August Bay of Bengal at Pondicherry
Goubert Boulevard, Pondicherry – The clash of waves against the rocks at the Bay of Bengal

September

My 25th in Travel - September Taj Mahal at Agra
Agra, Uttar Pradesh – The famed Taj Mahal, a testament of love and power in the Moghul era
My 25th in Travel - September Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya
Bodh Gaya, Bihar – Mahabodhi Temple during full moon

October

My 25th in Travel October Varanasi Ghats and the Ganges River
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh – Devotees, pilgrims and tourists flock the ghats and revel, soak, and observe people by the river Ganges in this Hindu holy city
My 25th in Travel - October Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai
Mumbai, Maharashtra – Me and Ma’amji Leah, my good friend from CS, after exploring the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) in South Bombay
My 25th in Travel - October Japanese Peace Pagoda at Darjeeling
Darjeeling, West Bengal – the walking hike to the Japanese Buddhist Temple and Peace Pagoda at 13 degrees was well worth it!
My 25th in Travel - October Durga Puja at Kolkata
Kolkata, West Bengal – Storytelling on Durga and the gods and goddesses with co-vols Jane and Juls during the Duhserra Festival
My 25th in Travel - October Jaganath Temple at Puri Orissa
Jagganath Temple, one of the oldest and holiest in India, at Puri, Orissa

November

My 25th in Travel - November The Monkey and its mango juice at Elephanta Island
walked in fron of us with a swag, climbed in a tree and opened a bottle of mango juice on its own – that, my friends, is a monkey at Elephanta, Island, Maharashtra
My 25th in Travel - November Carvings at Elephanta Island
Carved figures at Elephanta Island, an hour off the coast of Mumbai
My 25th in Travel - November Walking through Chowpatty Marine Drive in Mumbai
With Leah, Naren and Katie (visiting) at Chowpatty, Mumbai
My 25th in Travel - November Happy Diwali
Celebrating Diwali and wearing my first saree (borrowed) at the Yuva Rural Association office at Nagpur

December

My 25th in Travel - December Wrapping presents at VSO India in Delhi
Wrapping Christmas gifts and giveaways in VSO New Delhi office during the International Volunteer Day celebration
My 25th in Travel - December Hyderabad High Court at Sunset
Hyderabad High Court at Sunset by the Musi River, Andra Pradesh, South India
My 25th in Travel - December Chowmahallah Palace in Hyderabad
With my CS Host Bhavesh at Chowmahallah Palace at Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh, South India
My 25th in Travel - December Christmas in Goa
Celebrating Christmas at Goa, West India (a former Portuguese Colony and said to be among the early Orthodox Syrian Catholics. it’s one of the few places in India where Christmas is celebrated in all its glory)
My 25th in Travel - December Beach Bumming at Goa
Beach Bumming at Calangute Beach in Goa, at Christmas time!

January

My 25th in Travel - January New Year in Delhi
Celebrating New Year in New Delhi with VSO co-volunteers and Filipino friends
My 25th in Travel - January Qutb Minar with the Grants in Delhi
Qutb Minar with the Grants in Delhi, North India
My 25th in Travel - January Golden Temple in Amritsar
Sikh’s Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, Northwest India. It is considered “heaven” for the believers of Sikhism
My 25th in Travel - January Indo-Pakistan Border Ceremony at Wagah Border
Indo-Pakistan Border Ceremony at Wagah Border, Punjab
My 25th in Travel - January City Palace and Museum at Jaipur
City Palace and Museum at Jaipur, Rajasthan, Northwest India
My 25th in Travel - January Full and Preserved Stupa at Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad
Full and Preserved Stupa at Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra

February

My 25th in Travel - February Lakshmi blessing at Virupaksha Temple in Hampi
The Elephant Lakshmi blessing at Virupaksha Temple in Hampi
My 25th in Travel - February Vittala Temple Complex in Hampi
Vittala Temple Complex in Hampi. It;s one of the most famous and most photographed temples, especially the full/complete stone chariot in the middle
My 25th in Travel - February CSing with the Sharmas in Bangalore
CSing with the Sharmas in Bangalore, Karnataka, South india
My 25th in Travel - February Kathakali Demonstration at Kochi
Kathakali Demonstration at Kochi, Kerala, South India
My 25th in Travel - February Street Mehendi from Maamji
Street Mehendi (henna tattoo) at Mumbai streets, sponsored by Maamji. Got this one just before I went home, I think to the horror of my mother as I waved both tattoed hands at the airport. lol

March

My 25th in Travel - March Spelunking at Sagada Cave Connection
Spelunking at Sagada Cave Connection. This was the first CS Manila trip I joined. EVUR.
My 25th in Travel - March Surfing at San Juan in La Union
First time Surfing at San Juan in La Union. A lucky sillhouette shot at Magic Hour!

April

My 25th in Travel - April Escape to Nagsasa Cove in Zambales
Escape to Nagsasa Cove in Zambales. The first out of town trip I organized.
My 25th in Travel - April Trekking with a cause for Marikina Watershed
Trekking with a cause for Marikina Watershed. The last trip I had before I started working full time again. I wanna do this one more time!

To say that I have traveled a lot in my 25th year is probably an understatement. I’ve spent a lot of time (and money!) trying to explore as much as possible. I believe that traveling taught (and is teaching!) me a lot of life lessons I otherwise would not have learned if I stay put.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the people whom I have shared my traveling life with in the past year. I hope that this year, I would again meet new people and share experiences as I embark on new journeys. I thank VSO, my co-volunteers/travel buddies, my CouchSurfing buddies and co-adventurers, my family and friends who encourage (or tolerate!) me and my passion for travel. And to You, whoever or whatever You might be, for always keeping me safe and allowing me to live this life fully.

On my 26th, I know that my wanderlust will not be satiated as easily. And that my feet will be itching more than it used to be. And I know, in my heart of hearts, that no matter how tough it would be, I would always find a way. Life is short so take a leap of faith. Let’s wander, explore and discover. Come and journey with me!

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