eXtraordinary Travel eXperiences
Most of us seek extraordinary experiences in our life. For this very reason we take up activities like bungee jumping or skydiving or go for exotic vacations or check out celebrity concerts etc. But sometimes, these extraordinary experiences come calling in our life when we least expect them.
Today, I have a few of my friends sharing their extraordinary travel experiences. Read on and be amazed…
When We Got Involved in the Game of Politics
We were traveling by train for our vacations in Tamil Nadu. The train broke down near Erode. We were told it would take about 6 hours for the repairs. So we got out of the train. There was a public meeting of a political party nearby. We went there to listen and pass the time. At the end of the meeting, while getting out, a volunteer gave me and my wife Rs. 10 each. We asked, “What are you doing?” He replied, “Please excuse me. We have requested the party headquarters to increase the amount to Rs. 15 for each attendee from the next meeting.” SG
Unexpected Leap in Foreign Waters
It was an all-girls trip to Bali. After much deliberation we booked this tour and happily embarked on it. We planned to go on snorkeling. The organizer of snorkeling expedition sent us on a boat with a driver. We were so engrossed in our own chatter that we hardly had any conversation with the him. He stopped boat and asked us to dive in. Our previous experience was a guided tour In India, where the guide took us for snorkeling experience. Since none of us could swim well, we asked him for the guide. He made hand gestures again asking us to dive in. And at that moment realized he didn’t know English, hence we were on our own. For some time, there was nervous discussions on the boat and lot of chaos. After some 20 minutes we decided not to waste the day anymore and to snorkel on our own. The next question in line was, how and where we will change into our swim suits. Another ten minutes later, two of us decided to hold big towels from either ends for the person to change on the boat. As soon as we held the towel, the driver understood and in one quick moment he pulled a rope by his side. Curtains fell from above and a small changing area was created. Fast forward to one hour later, all four of us were holding hands, swimming in the sea and witnessing infinite schools of fishes, colorful marine life inside. It was mesmerizing, thrilling, funny, memorable, and extraordinarily beautiful experience for us. It was also one of the experiences where we overcame our fears and leapt into the ocean where there was no other boat to be seen. Whenever we share memories about the trip, we get that guy’s gestures and our nervous chaotic loud conversations with him. Shesha Chaturvedi
The Time I Left the ‘Mom’ Behind
A few years back three friends and I decided to take a holiday – just the four of us – no husbands, no children. It was my first holiday without kids in ten years. The moment our taxi pulled away it was like I was leaving my responsibilities behind. (A huge factor of course was that I know the children were safe and would be pampered silly in my absence.) For those two days I was my only priority and it was a liberating experience. We took breaks wherever we wanted to, tried out a variety of cheeses at a stopover, window shopped to our hearts’ content, lingered for hours chatting over cups of tea and corn cutlets and drank tall glasses of mint lemonade and strawberry shakes. Oh it was a dream, a better rejuvenation package than one at the most swanky of spas. Highly recommended! Tulika Singh
No Show, No Seat
Once upon a time in the 70s, when I was a mere schoolgirl, we were to travel by train from Ambala to Mumbai. It was late at night. When the train entered the platform we realized that we were at the extreme end of the platform where the unreserved compartment usually is. We got in and managed to find a place to sit. The compartment was very crowded and since we had never travelled in this manner, we were scared a bit. My mother said, don’t worry we will go to our berths at Delhi station and when we went into our compartment at Delhi, we found that somebody else was occupying our seats. The ticket collector told us that since we didn’t board from Ambala, our seats were allotted to someone else at Karnal. In spite of having 3 reserved sleeper berths, we didn’t have our seats. One kind man gave his berth to my mother to sleep on but my brother and I had to sleep on the floor on some blankets and bed-sheets donated by the kind strangers on the train. This was an experience which made me wary of trains and soured the experience for me. Sulekha Rawat
Kindness of Strangers
Last August, I was in Brihadisvara Temple in Tanjavore when my phone decided to pack up on me. My friend and I were staying at a home-stay about 10 kilometers from the city. My friend was supposed to pick me up at the end of the day (she was working while I was exploring the temple). There I was with no phone numbers to call, no way to reach my friend or the home-stay and the sun was setting! A very kind Tamil Nadu Tourism guide offered to help. He asked a few of his friends if they knew where this home-stay place was. No one had a clue. I just happened to mention the owner’s name (I’m not sure why). “Thiru?” asked the other guide who was sitting in the kiosk. I nodded. “He’s my friend.” he said. RELIEF! The temple campus was about to shut,too. He called Thiru who sent a car to fetch me. I love living in off-the-beaten-track places, but they can be hard to get to without an address or directions! Extraordinary kindness of strangers and circumstances helped me out of a tricky situation that day. Arti Jain
One of our travel experiences that we will never forget is a visit to the Red Light District (RLD) of Amsterdam. Until then we had only seen such stuff in movies, but as we saw theaters screening live sex shows, sex shops selling everything kinky around the sun, girls displaying themselves in counters – we were shocked and amused at the same time. It was close to midnight and it was raining as well, but the crowds kept coming in and the girls kept on entertaining them. We walked around for a while, absorbing the scene in front of us and then headed to a kick-ass patisserie right in the middle of the RLD and ordered some desserts. Hands down, it was the best New York Cheesecake that I have had in my entire life and this was right in the middle of the RLD and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud! This sure is a an experience that one would call extraordinary! Soumya Prasad
My daughters and I had planned to go on a trip to the US with my sister in law and her daughter. I left the planning to my sister in law who bought the tickets on Cathay Pacific. My husband was most upset and wanted us to change our bookings so that we travelled on Singapore Airlines. However, we kept to our original booking and all through our trip of one month, I was worried that something untoward would happen as my husband is famous for his ‘black tongue’. After a month of hectic travel from coast to coast we were ready to board our flight back to Mumbai. I was relieved that nothing had happened and said so to my daughter as we now had our boarding passes in hand and all that was left between us and home was the last flight home. Just before the boarding announcement was made, the PA crackled and announced a flash WORLDWIDE strike of all Cathay Pacific passengers. We were asked to hand in our boarding passes and collect travel coupons which would enable us to spend one night in LA and return the next day to be put on whichever carrier could accommodate us. The next morning we came back to the airport and were given boarding passes for flights to Mumbai on SINGAPORE AIRLINES. Call that freaky or what? Sunita Rajwade
Have you experienced any extraordinary travel experience? Do share in the comment box below.
April 27, 2018 12:33 am|
Omg what a compilation. The story shared by SG is hilarious, I was think what if it happened with me, I would be laughing on it my entire life. These political parties are amusing!
After Tulika’s piece I have realized my mother never took a time alone, which is so necessary for every mother after tedious routine of raising kids and looking after family. Every woman should do that, and it will be in my list too to keep me sane .
I didnt know about this rule of railways that a person will lose booking after missing a station! It was unfortunate that she had to travel like that.
Experiences like Arti’s restore our faith in humanity and kindness.
Soumya’s story reminded me of my experience in Red light destrict of Amsterdam. I felt so strange after looking at those women behind the glass. I was holding GK’s hands so tightly and wanted to get away from there asap. And if at all any man used to generally look at me, I used to hide myself behind my husband. Now I feel silly after writing all that Thanks Soumya for sharing it.
April 27, 2018 4:23 am|
We were questioning why you are giving us the money. The volunteer thought were complaining about getting less money. We used to recall this incident and laugh about this many many times.
April 27, 2018 12:53 am|
fabulous thanks Shilpa! and to the travellers! They were all amusing and colourful!
April 27, 2018 1:19 am|
Good stories, and fodder for great memories!
April 27, 2018 4:20 am|
Good anecdotes. I was expecting one of your own. May be you are reserving that as a separate blog post sometime later.
April 27, 2018 4:53 am|
Extraordinary and exciting adventures for sure! I’m not sure I have anything comparable, but once as part of a group of friends, we helped another couple move across the country using rental trucks for all their belongings. There were flat tires on busy roadways, and missed connections, and major stresses all the way; but it was all balanced by plenty of laughter.
April 27, 2018 7:02 am|
Oh what sweet tales on unexpected moments; travel really teaches one Jugaad like anything.
I am amazed at the girls for overcoming their fear of water and enjoying snorkellin on their own. That is some spirit!
Apologies for not being able to contribute to this section at all Shilpa – I have been too caught up at home these days.
X is for Xenial #atozchallenge
April 27, 2018 8:26 am|
This is such a wow post, Shilpa! Loved reading the varied experiences that travel brings! The one shared by SG was the best, imagine getting Rs 10 for standing and watching!:))
April 27, 2018 9:49 am|
Travel does teach one to think on one’s feet. Thanks for sharing these lovely stories.
April 27, 2018 10:20 am|
Had a whale of time in reading these experiences!
Most of my travel stories have at least one or the other memorable(?) xtra ordinary instance! Now that we are veterans at it, if it doesnt happen, may be we will not find the experience “complete”
Before I leave, heartiest congratulations in advance for completing the A2Z journey! (I know there are a couple of stations yet…still)
April 27, 2018 11:30 am|
Excellent idea to compile different people’s travel experiences. I enjoyed reading every one of them.
April 27, 2018 12:20 pm|
With every new post you come up with dear, you force me to say, this one was the best, am bowled over in sheer admiration by all the wonderful experiences enumerated dear. Brilliant Series indeed!
April 27, 2018 1:18 pm|
Shilpa loved the way you have presented this post, you brought smile to my face sharing the extraordinary travel experiences. I was laughing at SG s expereinces, and like the concept of taking the break without family:) I enjoy swimming and I am looking forward for an snorkeling experience… its comforting to know that the people are kind… seeing Red – I wonder what would have been my experience, gives me discomfort even to think.. thank you for sharing and i liked the fitting images too.
April 27, 2018 1:30 pm|
Such a cool idea to get us to share our experiences Shilpa. Thank you for including me in this adventure:)
X is for Xavier’s college canteen
April 27, 2018 4:01 pm|
Have had way too many extraordinary travel experiences. Could actually write a book on that. These ones were such fun to read Shilpa.
April 27, 2018 4:41 pm|
Awwww Tulika’s story melts my heart. All moms deserve such a break 🙂
Thank you for sharing my experience here, Shilpa. That reminds me, I have more pictures to share 😛
April 27, 2018 4:43 pm|
Hahaha! Interesting travel anecdotes, Shilpa! Loved reading each of them, and it transported me back to some of my travel experiences 🙂
April 27, 2018 6:12 pm|
your travel diaries is an amazing collection shilpa. i loved sg and sowmya experience. fun to read!
April 27, 2018 7:57 pm|
Lovely selection of travel stories. Thanks for sharing them. 3rd last letter of the alphabet in the 2018 A to Z Blogging Challenge. X is for Xerosis.
April 28, 2018 7:31 am|
YOu had an all girls trip to Bali???? NOw thats what I call an extraordinary expereince. I would love to do something like this, wondering when it would see the light of the day.
April 29, 2018 5:24 pm|
Enjoyed reading these experiences! Each journey is unique
June 15, 2018 9:20 pm|
Omg, this was something different to read. Loved your travel series. I agree, sometimes we encounter weird, funny, tough situations that becomes memories later. The SG Airlines once made me laugh.
June 15, 2018 9:21 pm|
Some fun and really unique travel experiences. Not to mention so many different varied places. I need to follow your lead… Don’t have any great interesting memories like this
June 16, 2018 9:59 am|
I’m yet to leave that “mom” behind and travel all alone without any responsibilities, but I so much want to do solo or girls only travel soon. Need that liberation:)
June 16, 2018 11:52 am|
Every travel story leaves behind a lesson to learn in life. Being a writer, we weave this experience beautifully.
Leaving behind kids and responsibilities is a little a rebirth
June 16, 2018 9:36 pm|
This is a great collection of travel stories! Some were fun, some freaky and some absolute bliss, loved each one of them. I can only imagine being stuck in Tanjavor with no phone and help around.
June 17, 2018 12:25 am|
Oh. Wow.. what a beautiful post.. I loved reading all those short tales.. travel is really an enriching experience..
June 21, 2020 5:45 pm|
We have ceremonies all around Phuket and Krabi provinces fom Mai Khao and Layan or Bang Tao in the north. To Patong, Cape Panwa in the center. Along with Kata, Karon, Nai Harn and Rawai in the south.
July 7, 2020 11:37 pm|
International travel is no longer a luxury. Until 10 years ago, flying internationally was a costly and difficult task. However, with the increase of aviation and companies operating in this field, this competition has reversed the situation. Still, it is necessary to look at the right place to find cheap flights.
December 9, 2020 3:24 pm|
International travel is no longer a luxury. Until 10 years ago, flying internationally was a costly and difficult task. However, with the increase of aviation and companies operating in this field, this competition has reversed the situation. great…
March 17, 2021 5:54 pm|
Every travel story leaves behind a lesson to learn in life. Being a writer, we weave this experience beautifully.
Leaving behind kids and responsibilities is a little a rebirth,