#TakeOff – Escape to Southeast Asia

#TakeOff – Escape to Southeast Asia

Islands, water and sky. Three top ingredients to making soulful travel memories. 

#Takeoff - Seychelles1
Image Source – 5starseurope

Southeast Asia is home to some of the most beautiful island countries in the world. Presenting 4 amazing and scenic island countries you should not miss!

We’ve got you covered with some amazing deals courtesy Live The World and American Express all through out South East Asia! 

Country #1: Bali

How to get there?

airplane-57-32 – #TakeOff to Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar, the capital city of Bali.

Also known as the Island of Gods, this Indonesian island has it all. May-August is the best season to visit Bali.

Beaches? Check. Volcanic Mountains? Check. Rice Paddies? Check. Coral Reefs? Check. Resort Towns, Yoga and Meditation retreats? Check and Check. 80% of the people traveling to Indonesia go to Bali and Bali alone.

Don’t travel without a deal! #TakeOff with these amazing travel deals from American Express & Preferred Stay around the world.

What to do?

There’s something for everyone to do in Bali:

Bali is popular for its rejuvenating spa treatments and yoga retreats. Take one to feel the experience!

Visit the rice fields and terraces to feel closer to the nature. Top it off with dining in the middle of a rice field.

Monkey – The wildlife lovers should head to Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, or Bali Safari & Marine Park. Keep the interaction with the animals minimal though.

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sun-2-24 –  Put on your beach outfits and head to the South Bali. If you feel that soaking in the sun does not float your boat, #TakeOff on your surfboards to take it to the next level!

diving –  From onto the waves, go down under. Diving activities are available in southeastern part of the country.

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Temple – For the religious soul, there are countless temples waiting. Marvel at the unique architectural designs!

#TakeOff Hidden Haunt – Take an early morning walk through Campuhan Ridge and witness a different side of Bali.

 Country #2: Maldives

Before we start, we have to tell you this –

American Express and Starwood are giving at least 20% off on the best available room rates in Maldives upto 31st August? Wanderlust hit you yet?! 

How to get there?

 airplane-57-32 - Take a flight to Male International Airport. 

An archipelago of around 2000 islands, Maldives is the laid back land of lavish resort with crystal clear water. 

Maldives2-compressed

Maldives plays its due to all things blue. Underwater diving, surfing or lavish dining on the water, you are covered.

What to do?

diving – Diving and snorkelling are a must do activity while in Maldives. Swim with the sea turtles, play with the Sharks, find underwater wrecks and corals.

PoolsideEvening3x2-compressed

sun-2-24 – The movie reels with crystal clear water lagoons come to life at Maldives. Spend a day lazing around the beaches or dining at a restaurant in the sea.

#TakeOff Hidden Haunt – Take a walking tour in Male, buy your own seafood and cook at a local’s home!

Country #3: Philippines 

How to get there?

airplane-57-32 – #TakeOff to Manila, a bayside metropolitan and the capital of Philippines.

Sea - Philippines

If a person decides to go to Philippines and spend a day each at all of its islands, it would take them 20 years! Philippines encompasses 7000 islands, tiny and huge.

Apart from having one of the largest coastlines in the world, Philippines also has a large number of volcanoes, some dormant and some active. Time to turn up the heat!

40% off at the Holiday Inn at Makati courtesy Live The World by American Express!

What to do?

Mountain – Mountains and Volcanoes are popular destinations to travel to in Philippines. Go take a hike, witness an active volcano or hire a bike for mountaineering at Baguio, Davao, Iloilo or Banaue.

Underground river

Temple_Philippines- Being a Spanish colony in the past, Philippines has a considerable amount of churches and along with it, some amazing world heritage sights. Banaue Rice Terraces, San Agustin Church, San Sebastian Church, Fort Santiago and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park are must visits.

diving – Diving and Snorkelling go hand in hand with coral islands. Witness life beyond the sea level at Tubbataha.

Hotels? Check out the amazing deals (15% to 40% off on Hotels) Live The World and American Express have for you!

#TakeOff Hidden Haunt – Philippines has great variety and flavours in the food. Take a food tour in Manila to gorge on some amazing lip-smacking stuff.

Country #4: Seychelles

How to get there?

airplane-57-32 – The only international airport is Seychelles International Airport, near Victoria. You want to land here.

Seychelles

Secluded, untouched beaches filled with white sand, clear water and open sky. That defines Seychelles. A perfect laid back destination to laze around or take a break from our mundane fast lives.

What to do here?

sun-2-24 – Like most of the places on the list, Seychelles is also a beach paradise. Praslin and La Digue Islands have the best beaches. Clear blue skies are complementary. Snorkeling, diving and water sports are available at some of the sea sites.
wine – One of the underrated attractions in Seychelles is the nightlife. Mahe Island has the best bars and pubs.

botanical_garden_seychelles
Image Credits – Villagetaways.com

#TakeOff Hidden Haunt – Visit the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens  for witnessing an overwhelming amount of flora, fauna, tortoises and bats.

 What are you waiting for? Get your swimsuits, sunglasses and groove on. #TakeOff to these South East Asia locations with Amex.

It’s not only about Hotels – it’s also residences, shopping, & food! Don’t go to South East Asia without your Amex we say!

#TakeOff: Northern Lights

#TakeOff: Northern Lights, 5 countries where you can witness them

Northern lights are also known as the Aurora Borealis in the north and the Aurora Australis in the south.

Northern lights have been a cause of fantasy and mystery, for hundreds of years carrying legends with them wherever they are witnessed. An old legend goes as far as saying that these lights signified the dawn, Aurora is the Greek goddess of dawn. They were also considered the harbingers of war and famine during the medieval times.

Deal alert on travel in India – Look here! – Hint – #TakeOff with Amex!

The Menominee Indians of Wisconsin believed that these lights indicated the locations of giants who were the spirits of legendary hunters and fishermen. Their spirits were captured in the form of the animals they hunted.

As amazing as the legends sound, the northern lights are actually a scientific phenomenon. They are collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that manage to enter the earth’s atmosphere. These particles are gaseous in nature. The variations in the colors are due to the different kinds of gases that collide. The science of it all may or may not appeal to everyone, but the spectacle sure does.

Read on to find out how and where you could see the northern lights in the winter 2016.

  • Country #1: Norway

The carnival of lights is something Norway is famous for. You could camp underneath watching the lights dance above your head.

Go to Svalbard, you cannot go further up than that. This island in Norway is well into the Arctic circle and generally the higher the latitude the better. The season is November to February, but you could also see the Polar Night otherwise.

Svalbard does not have daylight and is soaked in an eerie blue twilight which is breath-taking to say the least. You could also spot various snow animals while you are at it.

 

#Takeoff  Norway Northern Lights
Image Credits – Visit Norway

airplane-57-32  – To get here, you could take the flight to Oslo and then onto Longyearbyen and then make your way to Svalbard.

Love travelling international?                                                                  

Check out the American Express Extra Night Offer!


  • Country #2: Finland

Have you ever lived in an igloo? Well, here at Kakslauttanen you could not only live in one but also gaze at the northern lights from inside it.

You could also prefer to stay in your own wooden cabin, typical camping style and top it up with snow activities such as reindeer safari or walking skis to explore the nearby Urho National Park.

If you want an early Christmas, you could go see Santa at his place in Korvatunturi just two hours away. Take a sled dog, just for the theatricality of it all.

airplane-57-32  – To get here, you could #TakeOff to Helinski and then make your way up north.

 

#Takeoff Finland
Image Credits – Assets Inhabitat

 

  • Country #3: Iceland

This land of geysers, volcanoes and blue ice has a lot more to fascinate about. We say, make an elaborate plan to travel all of it.

Your first stop however should be to visit Reykjavik, for the lights of course. You could also check out the Game of Thrones location while you are in the country.

airplane-57-32 – You could just get #TakeOff to Rejkjavik, but book in advance and save some money.

 

#Takeoff Iceland 1
Image Credits – Jetline holidays

Hobnobbing on international destinations this summer?

Get 20% off when you book with your American Express.

 

#Takeoff Iceland 2
Image Credits – Stuff.co.nz

 

#Takeoff Iceland 3
Image Credits – Amusing Planet

 

  • Country #4: Canada

Northern Canada, is covered by the Aurora Oval, making it the perfect place to see the northern lights.

It covers the provinces of Yukon, Northern Saskatchewan, Northwestern territories, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. The Canadian geography has a lot to offer you.

The time when you are not seeing the northern lights, spend it skiing in amazing resorts by the side of British Columbia.

You could also see waterfalls and whales around Vancouver. Also, to get here-well, it’s Canada, should not be much of a problem.

 Psst…American Express is giving 20% off on Hotels for travel in India, Bangladesh and Maldives!

#Takeoff Canada 1
Image Credits – Wikipedia 

 

  • Country #5: Scotland

Scotland, in some parts of the year is also an amazing place to see the Northern Lights. This place has a couple of brilliant locations at the northerly latitudes.

sun-2-24 – If you want something to do for the summer, you could also go to the Aviemore and the Cairngorms National Park.

Hire a bicycle and ride around the Royal village of Ballater or go munroe-bagging, soak in the beauty and the royalty that is Scotland. You may have gone to witness the lights, you shall come back with a lot more.

 

#Takeoff  Scotland
Image Credits – Travelzoo 

If you still don’t want to check out the northern lights this summer, watch this video and tell us if you still think so.

Also, watch this space for more amazing places you could #TakeOff to with your American Express!

Let SeekSherpa be the parent this summer – Kids activities in Delhi!

Kids activities in Delhi beyond the laptop, mobile phone, and neighbourhood Karate class 

Hello summer holidays, hello dreading feeling of engaging children!

For every parent out there, one of the toughest tasks in summers is to balance their work life with spending enough time with their kids, making sure that they learn new things, develop new hobbies and find their passion.

While the holidays last, change the game.

Rather than doing the same activities over and over, #BreakTheRoutine.

SeekSherpa presents 5 fun and engaging kids activities this summer that will help them #BreakTheRoutine and learn new things.

Kids Activity #1 – Rather than watching movies on the laptop, go for a photography tour!

Photography
Kids glued to the screen playing counter strike or candy crush or maybe even Instagram?

Don’t let your kid stay cooped up at home with the screen as their only friend this summer.

Send them on a Photography tour that teaches them how to capture various subjects, in the backdrop of Lodhi Gardens or capture Wildlife in action at the Delhi Zoological Park!

Book now

 

Kids Activity #2 – Rather than having Ice Cream at India Gate, visit the Mother Dairy Factory to see how Ice cream is made:

TheMilkyway

Move over getting just ice-cream at India Gate. Get on an AC Bus to visit Mother Dairy Factory!

Why not learn every behind-the-scenes detail about how milk is delivered to our homes and how ice creams are made!

Book now

Kids Activity #3 Rather than having them watch TV the whole day, send them for a hands on cooking experience:

Cooking

 

Easy to cook items and fun hands-on learning for kids! Who would not choose that over sitting idle watching TV all day?

Book now

 

 

 

Kids Activity #4 Rather than taking them to the mall, take them a AC bus trip through monuments in South Delhi:

Backinthepast

Going to malls and watching movies just does not cut it anymore.

Let kids become historians in these Summer vacations by visiting two important monuments in South Delhi – Qutab Minar and Lotus Temple!

Lunch is on us, too.

Book Now

 

Kids activity #5 – Rather than having them mug up history, make them visit a Museum and relive the history:

Musuem

Take a trip to one of the best museums in the whole of Asia, to understand the mythology and the history of art through the ages.

Conducted by a ancient history fanatic, you will be taken back to the ages.

Book Now

UberTOURISTER – A unique way of touring Aamchi Mumbai!

At SeekSherpa, we have always been a fan of understanding the hidden heritage, culture and art of your city uniquely, by being tourists in your city. The idea of venturing out to the nooks and crannies, exploring the unexplored places and treading on the off beaten paths is something that has always been our mission.

We have something very interesting brewing with American Tourister, and Uber Mumbai where you will be rediscovering the lesser known spots in your city – Mumbai, this weekend. It is not the run-of-the-mill variety action, you will be discovering the spots around your home or workplace, in a completely different light, seeking new experiences and hearing unheard stories. With Uber Tourister, a very special Uber ride will enable you to #touristeryoureveryday. After all, why must interesting things be saved only for vacations?

Whether you have been living your whole life in Mumbai, or just visiting for some days, don’t miss the action! Unlock the hidden Uber Tourister view by:

  • Opening your Uber app between 2 & 3 PM on Sunday, April 3, 2016
  • Entering the code UBERTOURISTER in the promotions tab to unlock the hidden view!
  • Selecting thee UBERTOURISTER view and hit request
  • If connected, you and two friends can choose any 1 of 5 tours listed below
  • All tours are 1.5 hours long, on foot, conducted by experts and free of cost 
  • Demand will be high, you may need to request more than once
  • Tours have limited capacity & will be available on a 1st come 1st serve basis!

THE TOURS

1. Picturesque Bandra:

PT_Bandraphoto by Satish Krishnamurthy

Explore the multicultural history and heritage of the Queen of Mumbai’s Suburbs: Bandra. Take in the street art & graffiti of Ranwar village, visit the quintessential Bandra Fort and trace Colonial & Portuguese history through Bandra’s bylanes & magnificent churches. Tour starts on foot at 4pm. Maximum tour size: 20 people.

 

2. The Fortress that Bombay Once Was:

Fort_Mumbai

Relive Mumbai’s history with a walk through the old British Buildings in South Mumbai. This tour focuses on the art & architecture of the area, visiting places like the Town Hall, Horniman Circle, Flora Fountain, David Sassoon Library, Churchgate, CST & the Blue Synagogue, with stops at SoBo’s most famous art galleries. Tour starts on foot at 4pm. Maximum tour size: 100 people.

 

3. Parsi Potpourri at Dadar:

Parsi_Dadar

Soak in the heritage of one of the most eclectic communities in Maximum City: the Parsis. Visit Rustom Faramna Agiary Parsi, followed by the largest Parsi colony in India, where legends like Freddie Mercury once lived. Experience the Parsi lifestyle and most importantly, Parsi Food, as we move on to a nearby Irani cafe for a chat. Tour starts on foot at 4pm. Maximum tour size: 20 people.

 

4. Yum Matunga: A Southie Food Trail in Matunga

Matunga_Southie

photo courtesy wikimedia commons

Ever wondered where to eat the best Dosas in the city? Quell your curiosity with delicious south Indian food in Matunga, where we explore its hidden nooks crammed with cafes and restaurants. Sink your teeth into piping hot Idlis, Vadas & Dosas! Tour starts on foot at 4.30pm. Maximum tour size: 20 people.

 

5. The Trail by the Lake in Thane

Thane_Lake

Visit the unexplored sister city of Mumbai known for its lakes, a temple and church that have survived centuries. The trail winds through the most popular of the 10 lakes of Thane: Masunda Lake, with all its calm and serenity. Make a pit stop for one of the best Misal pavs in Maharashtra, stopping for conversations about anything and everything. Tour starts on foot at 5.00pm. Maximum tour size: 20 people.

American Tourister wants you to liven up your everyday. A very special Uber ride which enables you to #TouristerYourEveryday! See you there!

 

 

 

5 Things You Need To Know About Tequila! #RedefiningTravel

The mysteries of Tequila explained…

So you thought Tequila can only be that spirit that you find in dorm parties? And that Tequila was just some alcohol used to flavour fancy red drinks? You couldn’t have been more wrong. We curate for you five facts and stories from Mexico and world over that will change your image of tequila from a juvenile spirit to one of the handsomest of alcohols, all suited up! Read on:

1. It HAS to be from Mexico if it is Tequila

Nope sir, that wasn’t a legacy right only restricted to Champagnes. Tequila comes under the Denomination of Origin, meaning that the spirit can only be produced in Mexico.

That’s a way of saying that Mexico has the rights to the name “Tequila”. (Maybe they could sue “The Champs” over their sole hit tune called “Tequila”, #justkidding).

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2. Tequila DOES NOT come from a cactus!

Fermented from a plant called blue agave, Tequila comes from something closer to lilies than cactus! So how’s that done? Real short: The centre of the plant is crushed (traditionally a 110kg core which looks a lot like a baby sized pineapple), using a large volcanic stone (WHAT!), fermented, distilled, the fibre separated, distilled again, filtered and then balanced.

“More than 60 hands (and a few pairs of feet) touch your bottle of Tequila before it reaches you.”

Fun Fact: Tequila can be made into diamonds (WOAH!) according to the physicists at National Autonomous University of Mexico. (Not diamonds for jewelry, silly, but diamonds that can be electronically and industrially useful.)

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3. Tequila is as classy as Whisky.

It has a terroir. Simple words, it has highlands and lowlands too. Just as winemakers in Burgundy could tell you about the different tastes imparted in wines from different soils, tequila tastes vary depending on where the plant came from.

Highlands impart rich, flowery, vanilla notes. For more earthy, spicy flavor, lowlands are popular.

Don’t confuse tequila with its sister spirit Mezcal. Just as all Scotch is whisky but not all whisky is Scotch, All Tequila is Mezcal, not all Mezcal is Tequila.

4. A bottle of excellent Tequila is..

-A great gift! Many companies in Mexico go lengths to dress up a bottle, something you probably only expect out of wines. A bottle of Leyenda (from Gran Centenario) comes in nifty burlap coffin, for example.

-Worth $225,000! That’s right, that’s how much a private collector paid to get the world’s most expensive bottle of Tequila.

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Fun Fact: If some of the origins of Tequila is to be believed, it was sought as the answer of God and was only made for Priests. It was used in rituals that required human or blood sacrifice. Now that’s a commitment to alcohol!

And now the best:

5. Tequila does NOT cause hangovers.

If you don’t want to be hammered, then avoid something that you take to be ‘Tequila’. Majority of this alcohol is served with more than 40% corn or sugarcane juices, the mix aptly called ‘mixto’, which causes impregnable headaches.

In reality, a 100% pure blue agave tequila (not something as obsolete as the name sounds) NEVER leads to a hangover. So if you want to kick over the morning blues yet have a kick ass night, 100% tequila, that’s what you want.

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So now, has Tequila changed from  something you don’t remember when you first had to  something you’re dying to try? Are you ready for a one-on-one with Tequila, the sophistication of Mexico? Then join us with Tulleeho.com on a Tequila Cocktail making lesson on 18th July 2015 between 4 & 6 PM at Terttulia Restaurant, Mumbai!

Know more about the types of Tequila, how best to be taken and various ways to mix it hard. Book your slot here now or book on BookMyShow now!

10 Amazing Ways We Celebrate Ramzan All Over The World – #RedefiningTravel

10 Ways We Celebrate Ramzan All Over The World!

The month of fasting and spiritual feasting is here!

Whether it is Ramadan in the Arab states or Ramzan to the Urdu born the variety of Iftar delicacies and the pop-surprises in which new generations welcome this month remains as exciting as ever.

Get culture binging with these 10 cities as we describe their quirky-ness in celebrating the month. There’s a surprise for those who read to the very end. :)

Ramzan in Cairo, Egypt

A cannon shot is heard to mark the iftar time during the month, an age old tradition that was adopted by many muslim cities later on. In Egypt, you don’t need to refer to a calendar to know the beginning of the month, because the traditional lanterns or fanous lighting up every corner of the streets do that for you!

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Ramzan in Java, Indonesia

The Javanese Indonesians follow a practice quite similar to a hindu one, they bathe in the holy springs for fasting. This ritual known as Padusa is followed by many.

Ramzan in Sana’a,Yemen

Kohl is not just for the women in the middle eastern city. Though kohl makes up for the cultural cosmetic for the this religion, during the month men get kohl applied to their eyes as a part of the prophetic tradition. 

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Ramzan in Hyderabad, India

Camel used to be offered to the God on the first Friday of the month. This practice has been halted, though, by the action of activists as of now. One tradition that is somewhat a local quirk is the development of the muharram special dish haleem now made popular during the month by cafes and local eateries for its nutritive value.

Hyderabad_Ramzan

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Ramzan in Jakarta, Indonesia

By the end of the holy month,  most employees are given extra happiness in the form of a one-month bonus known as Tunjangan Hari Raya.

Ramzan in Alexandria, Egypt

Around iftar time, the streets are lined up with maa’idat ar-Rahman, which means The banquet of the Merciful(God). These are tables put up by locals offering food to the poor or those who happen to be still on the street during iftar time. This represents the best part about the celebration that is charity and helping the poor.

Ramzan in Alexandria, Egypt
Ramzan in Alexandria, Egypt

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Ramzan in Kashmir, India

The offbeat (literally!) ritual followed here is Sahar Khwan or Drum beater. Voluntary drummers take up the task of waking up people for sehri or the pre dawn meal, walking in dark alleys beating drums.

Kashmir_Ramzaan

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Ramzan in Khost, Afghanistan

All through the month men gather in parks and hold actual(!) egg fights. Each carries a hard boiled egg and tries to crack the other’s. Kite flying is a year long practice, but it takes brilliant shape in the sky particularly during the holy month.

Ramzan in Semarang, Indonesia

Dugderan Carnival is held to mark the beginning of festivities. A parade is also held with the Warak ngendog, a dragon-like creature allegedly inspired by the Buraq.

Indonesia_Ramzaan

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Ramzan in Istanbul, Turkey

The month becomes a Halloween like festival for the kids. Often called Seker Bayrami (Holiday of Sweets), children go door to door wishing people a happy bayram and collecting candies and traditional Baklava, Turkish Delights!

Ramzan in Istanbul, Turkey
Ramzan in Istanbul, Turkey

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Read all the way? You must be super interested! Here’s a special prize for you. You get to celebrate the SeekSherpa way! We’ve got three awesome tours for you -

1. Delhi Ramzan Food Walk – A Rendezvous With Ramzan – Iftar Food Walk!

2. Hyderabad Ramzan Food Walk – Ramzaan Special – Jumme Ki Raat at Charminar

3. Mumbai Ramzan Food Walk – Daawat-E-Ramzaan – Iftar walk in SoBo

What are you waiting for? Book now! :)

The Broke Couple’s Guide to Bharat (India) – #RedefiningTravel

#RedefiningTravel With Heat & Dust Project

Relationship On The Road, Relationship With The Road

Story Behind Devapriya and Saurav (The authors)

A couple of writers and a writer couple, that’s how they describe themselves. Devapriya is a Literature and Natyashastra student, on the other hand Saurav talks energy and politics on IBNLive. Somehow they jelled together in matrimony and in adventure, shrugged off the idea of settled life like a soiled overcoat, and strapped on two backpacks instead to dig out the Indian-ness from the soils of India.

Devapriya and Sourav (The authors of the Heat and Dust Project) SeekSherpa
Devapriya and Saurav (The authors)

 

The Heat And Dust Project and its Inspiration

Think “very very tight budget travel experiences” and put that in three books, that’s the trilogy that will be the Heat And Dust Project. It started with the couple finishing their individual books around 2009, leaving their jobs and relocating in Calcutta. Soon restlessness kicked in and it coupled with the angst of going through the ‘respectable’ family chores(read work) and nuances. The pull to find answers on the road had the djinn’s enamour.

“We were the usual: nine-to-sixers, investment-makers, mall-goers, office-trippers and city-slickers. We were life-going-to-seeders.
Then we came up with an insane idea.
Everyone thought we were mad to put all our eggs in one basket: the idea of a transformational journey through India. On a very, very tight budget. We went ahead anyway.
This book (Heat And Dust Project) is the story of what happened then.”

It loomed as a Che Guevara’s The (Without) Motorcycle Diaries and soon three journeys were made (or should we say infinite?). In the first phase of the Heat And Dust Project (2010), they travelled through Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Western UP and Paharganj. During the second phase, they went through the length of India from Delhi to Kanyakumari and then back up the Coromandel Coast, then Chennai. In the third phase (2011) of journeying they backpacked through Uttarakhand, Himachal, Haryana and Punjab. The first book of the series – “Heat And Dust Project” – chronicles the first phase of their travels, the second book chronicles the second and the third and the last book in the series will consist of travels through Eastern and Northeastern India which are yet to be undertaken.

Heat And Dust Project – Book over blog/vlog/twitter feed

It was always a book for them, right from the beginning (conceived as one, it grew to three!). So why a book? The difference that they found between blog, live feeds or videos and book is the maturity of an idea that can take place in the latter. Writing a book is a personal process, an unraveling in itself, and the narrative grows to become more beautiful an expression.

Videos and live feeds are about the “now-ness” of a moment. But that does not mean that the writers eliminated dynamics from the whole process. The old book which only engages its readers once it has been published got a 21st C makeover. An ordinary book no more it became a dynamic book with the help of the Facebook community, that gathered around The Heat And Dust Project Page, pitching ideas and suggestions along the journey of the travellers and now it is almost a micro-forum-site.

Instances from their literary and literal journey

After journeying almost half the chunk of India when the couple found only 167 Rupees surviving in their account, agony hit them and life became seemingly tough. Their publisher for the Heat And Dust Project arrived with a cape(or white wings and a wand) and after listening to their travel lore, doubled the advance. A sigh of relief.

The most exciting literal stories are in the book which you can buy (buy!) but the writers confide how parties during their time in Paharganj made a worthy cultural confluence.

Well, they were always voracious readers. Their literary reading reflects in their writing, as parts of the book are influences of or dedications to their favorite poets and prose. “The epigraph to the Girnar section is from Robert Svoboda’s Aghora. The chapter on Barmer, ‘How to Survive Madna’ is, in a way, a tribute to Upamanyu Chatterjee’s English, August, while we use Ismail Merathi’s lines from a famous essay by India’s greatest coolest traveler-writers ever: Rahul Sankrityayan.

Sair kar duniya, ki gaafil zindagaani phir kahaan?
Zindagi gar kuchh rahi, toh naujavaani phir kahaan?
Wander the world, ay drifter, where will you get this life again?
And even if life remained, where would you find this youth again?

(Quoted by Rahul Sankrityayan in his famous essay ‘Athato Ghumakkad Jigyasa’)”

Heat And Dust Project Book
Heat And Dust Project Book

 

Two people with an idea for themselves have redefined travel for many who follow their articulate escapades. See how a tiny local step resulted in a global footprint? Hungry for their travel lore? Buy now! 

You can follow their ongoing and forthcoming adventures on their Facebook group here.

 

5 Things That Are Going Wrong With Your Mojito

Mojitos are universal. That’s why travellers love them!

The truth is that most people have no idea what’s wrong with their Mojito either while they’re making them or while they’re sipping them. Until the pleasures of lime, mint, sugar, & rum topped over ice and sparkling water don’t reach you in the perfect proportion or style of preparation, at best, you’re having the Mojito’s thrice removed 4th cousin waiting in line.

However the problem in this art of preparation and proportion lies in the home grown recipe conundrum where all corners of the world seem to have chosen their style of having the minty workhorse whilst ignoring the sanctity of what the Cubans really wanted you to enjoy as you lazed on the beach, cigar in mouth, and wonderful men and women playing volleyball and surfing in the sea.

With pain staking (Pfft…) effort we’ve put together a list of 5 things that typically go wrong with your Mojito either when you’re making it, ordering it, or sipping it.

Grinding Vs. Muddling

No matter who tells you what the two are completely different. Remember, grinding will make you Pudina (Mint) Chutney not a Mojito. To make a Mojito you have to put lime, mint leaves, and Sugar together in a glass and muddle the mixture. Muddling a Mojito mix is the art of light pressing and twisting to release the oils of the mint leaves and the juice of the lime. Crushing or Grinding is going ape sh** crazy on the mixture trying to make the indian household favourite Pudina Chutney. Muddling doesn’t involve breaking the mint leaves or tearing the lime. Watch this video from our friends at MyNSLC about the art of Muddling. 

2. You use Sprite instead of club soda

What’s the point of the mint, lime, and sugar to make your Mojito when you’re going to overpower it with a thoroughly sweetened soft beverage? It’s an absolute waste of time. As we said with our post on the myths about Whisky, a Sprite and Cuban rum is flavouring the sprite, we’ve got to do it the other way round!

Sprite In Mojito
Drinking Sprite? Keep it to the bottle!

3. You’re using your grocer’s white sugar which for the love of god will never ever dissolve

You can stir yourself a whirlwind but you’re not getting anywhere with the white sugar. Sugar syrup might be better to use given the ease of dissolving it with club soda and ice. IF you really want to do it authentic use brown sugar but after muddling drop in 10 ml of really hot water. If you really want to understand the difference between brown and white sugar read this. 

4. You’re shaking it

No. Mojitos are not drinks made in cocktail shakers. They’re made in a glass or if you’re really serving a large crowd then in a small pitcher. A Mojito is an intimate mixture of lime, sugar, and Mint, topped with ice and rum. You can’t make it into a hodge podge with a million tiny particles swimming in your drink. Yuck.

cocktail shaker
What your Mojito will look like if you shake it.

Source 

5. You’re sipping too fast

Slow down there. Your bartender made that drink with due care that delayed his orders a whole lot of time. You’re now going to have to enjoy it until you can request another. Bartenders love making nice cocktails but on a heavy night, you’re giving him a hard time. Moreover, your Mojito will change flavours over the course of the 30 minutes that you should normally sip it. You’re going to feel the minty and lime oils come more into your palate as you wait for the Mojito to mature. However, do drink it before it gets warm.

No. Don't do that.
No. Don’t do that.

Source

Here’s an awesome article we found that really summarises the do’s and dont’s of Mojito making and drinking by Jeffery Morgenthaler. Oh, and I almost forgot, we have a mixology session this weekend, 20th of June 2015 at Zu Tisch in New Delhi at 6PM. You can book a spot here. We’re going to be working a lot on understanding the Mojito and other drinks. Come by if you have time. :)

 

 

 

 

The Man who walked from Beijing to Germany – #RedefiningTravel

Took a selfie vlog and grew a beard!

This time, on #RedefiningTravel we are going to talk about people. People who have changed the way travel works. People who have broken away from the norm and followed that one dream. People who have truly redefined travel. These Vloggers and travel selfie maniacs are a bunch of people with the wackiest of travel ideas and experiences. We will start with —

The Man who walked across a country: Christoph Rehage

Christoph Rehage likes to walk sometimes (sic). So much so that he started a walk from Beijing to Germany and covered his entire experience into a five minute long video. A Native of Hanover and a student of Cultural studies in China, Chris decided to take the longer walk home. With all his modesty about his accomplishments he says that this video was an inspiration from his love for walking. When he realised that he loved walking more than anything else, he decided to just act upon that love.

His intense travelogue is a day-by-day compilation of his journey through the highs and lows of the walk.

“On the morning of my 26th birthday, on November 9th 2007, I started walking home from Beijing to Germany. I walked and I walked, growing a beard that got later called mighty by some and patchy by others, and then, after a year on the road, close to the border of Kazakhstan, I stopped walking.
I returned home to our village, made a video about the walk called “The Longest Way”, and posted it online. Little did I know that it would turn out to become a minor internet sensation.”   We said he was modest.

The walk was a journey of immense realizations, wasn’t easy but it led him to take up yet another thing he feared and liked a lot- writing. Since then, He has published a coffee table book about China and about ‘The Longest way’. If you stumble upon his blogs, he will tell you about the best travel books, how to be Chinese and some amazing beverages.

Check out his video here while he zip-zap-zooms you through time and takes you with him to the walk while growing a beard through his journey—it is pretty intense. Since his video went viral, he received a number of emails and requests asking him for tips and inspirations and pointers on what to do and what not to do.

Apart from his extended list of things you need to know, here is his universal piece of advice for every traveller. – “It doesn’t matter what dream you choose to follow, as long as you have one. Go follow your dream, and laugh while you’re doing it!”

Stay tuned here for more such people who are #RedefiningTravel through their willingness to stop missing out on the world, step out of their comfort zones to  explore. Explore the world, explore yourself.

These 4 Hostels Have Changed Delhi’s Backpacking Scene Completely!

Backpacking In India? Here are 4 hostels that provide comfy, convenient, and cheap experiential accommodation to the earnest backpacker!

Delhi has always been a tad intimidating to the traveller who comes for a spiritual experience to India. Whether you’re looking to go to the ghats, or the hills, or to the dunes, Delhi will be your pitstop due to its central location and convenient access to the airport, stations, and other affiliate travel services. But if you’re looking to backpack in India and you’re really looking to get in to the scene honestly, apart from the shady hotels in Pahadganj the city has never had much to offer. Until we went out with our #RedefiningTravel team to find out how does one really backpack in India? Where do you stay? What do you do? Whom do you meet? Right now, we’re going to focus on the best places to stay at when you’re travelling via Delhi!

Disclaimer – This list is in no particular order!

1. Zostel

A clever play on the word hostel, Zostel is attempting to recreate the european backpacking dream in India for both Indian residents as well as foreign visitors. Begun in Rajasthan, per their website the chain of hostels is present in Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra, Delhi, Goa, & Varanasi. Zostel receives backpackers, travel bloggers, photographers, & travel enthusiasts of both Indian and foreign origin as its primary clientele. A room costs as low as INR 499 a night. Read more here!

Zostel Delhi Common Room
Zostel Delhi Common Room

2. Moustache Hostel

When you ask Amber Jalan, the founder of Moustache Hostel in New Delhi & Jaipur about what inspired him to setup Moustache – a very clear and concise answer emerges. “India’s accommodation landscape for backpackers needed places that offered cheap accommodation that were also clean, safe, trustworthy, transparent, and fun. That’s what Moustache brings to the table and that’s the inspiration behind Moustache. 95% of what’s out there in the budget accommodation space in India is dirty, full of scams, and unsafe. We don’t do kickbacks with taxi drivers, we don’t scam people into buying more, we deliver what we promise to the best of our abilities, and we’re always looking for ways to enhance a traveller’s experience of India.” A room costs between INR 500 and INR 750 a night. Read more here!

Delhi Moustache Hostel
Delhi Moustache Hostel (L to R – Common Room, Dorm, Terrace, Double Bed Room)

3. Stops Hostel

A nondescript Harry Potterish entrance leads to the Stops hostel in Delhi 6. Nestled on the ground floor of an old building, you have no idea what you’re in for from the looks of it, until you walk in. Sprawled across the front lounge are 3 of the cutest dogs who are there all day should you feel like playing with them or snuggling in the comfy couches. Just as you’re done with the reception you walk into not just a Hostel, but a house full of curious ongoings in every corner, every backpacker’s dream! From Yoga classes to a BBQ to a planned sunrise boat tour – you can basically do anything at Stops. Oh, and they give a bed, room, & breakfast as well. Wow. You can easily get a bed for anywhere between INR 400 & 800 per night that also includes breakfast and taxes.

Travellers Enjoying The Ganges Ghats In Varanasi!
Travellers Enjoying The Ganges Ghats In Varanasi!

4. Joeys Hostel

Conveniently located on Main Vikas Marg, 200 mt from Laxmi Nagar metro station (Blue Line), 5 km from Connaught Place (City Centre), Joey’s Hostel is #RedefiningTravel by creating a non-commercial environment where backpackers in India are able relax and enjoy their travel. A fun place created for new comers to India looking for a secure and helpful venue that interacts and engages with them during their stay and allows them to backpack in India at ease! At INR 349 a night – Joey’s is the option yet.

The Lounge At Joey's Hostel
The Lounge At Joey’s Hostel

What are you waiting for? Let’s get backpacking in India! :)