A Wanderlust Daydream

I am one distracted adult. It is 7 pm on a Thursday night and I am on the second last row in my Geology class of 60 students, fidgeting in restlessness, ready to leave for the day. Right, my legs can’t always wander, so this imaginative mind takes over for it. Somewhere in between plate tectonics and earthquakes, I found myself in a whole another train of thoughts:

With distance comes clarity. Perhaps, that’s why I love to distance myself, from myself. I travel, to the faraway, undiscovered parts of me. It’s almost shameless how I kiss my changing versions of every particular country goodbye. A new land’s sunrise sees my very gently altering personality- the one that I’d vow to give to only that land in which I wake up now, temporarily. Many have called it manipulative and many others childish, unstable and impulsive. I call it being me. A sworn nomad. If I do not selflessly give away my intricately woven particles particular to the specific country, am I even slightly myself? Certainly not. An empty canvas, I let the winds sneaking through the mountains to meet me, splash paint all over my soul. Red, green, yellow and blue, I am soaked in the very curious mystery of this rich life; rich in wet soil of knowledge, grounded roots of wisdom, and swaying leaves of freedom. “Je suis libre, mon chéri”, I lovingly hum to myself this and every other dusk. ‘Flow like water, your element!’, if only uplifting self-talk was enough to make all my fond ambitious dreams come to life.

‘Has anyone been to Iceland?’ asked my professor, and I was obviously ought to wake up in a thud. I turned around impressed at the raise of four hands. They are extremely lucky to have been to a place where 90% of energy is geothermally acquired from the currents produced in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. ‘Why do you know that, you crazy woman?’, I sighed. If only I were blessed enough to be in Iceland right at this moment. Oh I would breathe in the night sky stolen away by the beauty of Auroras. I would act like wonder woman as I push away two tectonic plates underwater swimming gracefully in between just for a perfect camera shot. I would lick glaciers just to know what they feel like and maybe even take a moment to pray that they don’t melt.

Oops, floating in space again. I nodded in disappointment and disbelief a little like my mom would- disappointment because I am a spoilt kid who will chase her daring dreams in spite of her parents’ disagreement, and disbelief to the extent at which my thoughts could limitlessly wander with unrealistically high hopes. So I nodded and chuckled, carefully, so that nobody would notice. With all the time I waste each day juggling these fleeting thoughts of wanderlust, it felt kind of strange today as it was satisfying knowing in my chest that I am one step closer to my childhood dream, The National Geographic.

Never stop daydreaming,

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KAZI SHERPA – The Mount Everest Record Breaker

In 1998, a mere human being became a legend.

A Nepali Mountaineer, Kazi Sherpa, defied all odds, as he set forth for a record breaking journey – to climb the highest peak in the world aka the Mount Everest (8,848 m) in only 20 hours and 24 minutes without supplemental oxygen.  As I spent my last day in Pokhara, Nepal after having climbed two mountains on the Annapurna Circuit, I took the opportunity of visiting the International Mountain Museum. The whole visit seemed even more auspicious as it was The Mount Everest day, the day Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzin Norgay became the first ever summiteers of the mighty Everest in 1953, 64 years ago.

A little talk was given by a very down-to-earth man standing behind the podium at the assembly room. It hit me – I was listening to KAZI SHERPA, or ‘SPEED KAZI’, the 2000 Guinness World Record setter of the fastest Everest climber. Every nerve in my body lit up with excitement and I couldn’t help myself but ask to borrow a fraction of his time and interview him about his extraordinary journey. Believe me, get some tea or popcorn before reading this one, it’s totally worth your 10 minutes!

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What makes you, YOU, Mr.Kazi?

“My name is Kazi Sherpa, and climbing is my life’s calling. I have summited many mountains out of which eight were above 6000 m. I was in fact born on the foothill of the Mount Everest in Solukhumbu. Growing up, I saw people going for the Mount Everst expedition and it grew in me to do the same. I could never go to school since I was a Yak herderer in our family farm. I didn’t like what I did so I rebelliously left home when I was 14 to start climbing Mt. Lang tang (7,205 m). Lets just say that this is where my journey began. ”

Kazi was only 19 when he first tried summiting Everest. Unfortunately, his attempt failed but his zest never did. So he tried over and over, until one day, on his fifth attempt, he not only made it to the top and back, but also did it faster than any human being on the planet!

 

Can you lay out your experience in detail for us – What were the thoughts that crossed your mind throughout that day as you were climbing?

“I didn’t focus on many things, except my ambition to make a record. The only thoughts that crossed my mind were about where I had to be, at what time and how exactly. But most of all, through my entire journey, I was praying to God.”

You connect your journey with ‘prayers to God’. Can you explain how climbing the Everest could be a spiritual journey? 

“Our two main belief systems are Buddhism and Hinduism. We believe in and worship the Gods and Goddesses (as in hindu polytheism) very much. For most people who are unsuccessful in their expeditions, it is assumed that they have sinned, for example having sex with someone who isn’t their vowed partner. It is believed that the Mountains are so sacred, that they know, and they punish you for your wrong deeds.

For instance, this once I was climbing with a Korean expedition team in 1995, and I found out that they came from the Tibet side and carried a dead dog with them to eat. The next thing you know, a huge block of ice fell on them and and all except two died. That was clearly because they were disrespectful towards our religion. I thank God that I could summit the Everest.

A famous superstition is the signaling of crows. Crows are quite big in Tibet and it is believed that if a crow takes three rounds near an area, that is a warning from nature of an avalanche.”

 

Were you always this spiritual? Did you come across any intuitive signs yourself?

“No, I wasn’t a regular worshiper, but climbing the Everest is like visiting Lord Ganesha’s (Hindu Lord of obstacles) house. So I asked for strength in the form of prayers and got signs from the nature in return. Whenever I had nightmares, it immediately came to me that the day would be a rough one to climb. One time, I saw a lady in front of me, but the next moment, she vanished. When I was sleeping in the tent, I would also hear some noises of people moving around me outside, but no one seemed to be there, and no footsteps on the snowy ground when I checked in the morning. ”

Did you maintain a journal or record your journey in any form?

“I had recorded my voice through the day’s climb, but unfortunately there was a flood at my home later on October 6, 1998, and my recording device and camera was damaged.”

 

Do you know anything about the Everest that people wouldn’t know – what isn’t so much in the mainstream media?

“There is one such thing that many don’t know – In 1953, 12 years before Hillary and Tenzin climbed the Everest, a man named George Mallory tried to summit it. His body is on 8,500 m and is still intact ant frozen. A letter by his wife was also found in his pocket by a group of researchers in the US that I do not know the details of. This mystery has the ability to change history. However, we also have found records of E.Hillary saying that a true summiteer isn’t one who makes it to the peak, but is one who is also able to make it back to the base camps safe and sound.”

 

Would you like to leave a message for the future climbers?

“Yes, people should climb for greater good of the whole globe, not for individual interest. For instance, light should be thrown upon bigger causes like awareness programs about the dead bodies, pollution and little oxygen that there is while climbing. Climate change is another big one.”

Nobody has been able to break Kaji Sherpa’s record till date and to this he smirked showed us how keen he is for someone to break his record and for a good cause. He also said that he dedicates his record to his ‘Apna Rajya’ which means his nation and Nepal is obviously very proud of him for that!

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*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The cameras  used to capture these pictures are Canon EOS 50D and iPone 7. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts!  🙂

Yours,

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NEPAL ON A BACKPACK

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Nepal, a country often overlooked in terms of travel destination as it is seen as a lost space between India and China, is in fact by far one of the most substantial countries I have ever set foot in. Home to an exquisite marvel of nature, the Himalayan Mountain Range, Nepal has had a luscious history that dates back to the Neolithic Age. On one hand, it is the birth place of Lord Buddha, where a strong belief in Buddhism stems from, and on the other, a home for Hindu monarchs that used texts revived from the Vedic age to reproduce lexicon. Even though Nepal was never colonized, it was always seen as an inheritor of a blend of the Indian and Chinese culture located on its South and North respectively, as it allowed various trade routes between the two.

What sets this country apart is its genuine, down-to-earth people that I got to experience first-hand, as I travelled to Nepal this May. Sponsorship wasn’t an idea with which I started blogging, and to me, this offer seemed like a dream. I left my May semester of University courses in the US to fly to Nepal on a backpack as soon as I got the invitation. Zero regrets, this trip did not only open my eyes in many ways, but also injected my soul with pure drops of purpose.

But I shall pause, before I proceed with everything Nepal has to offer to you; something was taken away from it, from our Nepal. In its grace and magnificence, people do not notice its limping and aching cry for help. In 2015, Nepal was shook by an earthquake of 8.1 vector magnitude. Almost 22K died and unfathomable amounts of infrastructure got lost in the smoke of destruction – an unforeseen dystopia.

I stood on that land last week, exactly two years later- May 2017; My heart crumbled. Thousands of Nepali men and women, working hours in a row to preserve and rebuild what was lost- prevalence of unity. Loss of loved ones echoed as I walked down the brick walls that were constantly being renovated. Strange as it was, wherever I went, people smiled with their glistening pure eyes, as if we were their saviors; we, tourists, who were privileged and futile in every way in that very moment.

The Travel and Tourism Board of Nepal had clearly made genuine efforts to make sure they left no stones unturned for us invitees– a group of travel writers and bloggers. We landed in the capital city of Kathmandu on the 23rd  of May, and spent three days soaking in the rich culture, heritage, and energy there, before we left for a road trip to Pokhara– the gateway city to the Annapurna Mountain circuit, where we climbed the Ghandruk and Pothana Ranges for 2.5 days and spent a day white water rafting in Trishuli river on our way. Having overcome too many challenges as we adventured, our group built a sense of family and a kinship toward the Nepali culture. We celebrated our last day in Pokhara at the International Mountain Museum on the auspicious Mt. Everest day. Come May end, we flew back to Kathmandu and attended the Himalayan Travel Mart from the 1st-4th of June, a platform for all online buyers and sellers to network.

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To me however, this trip was so much more than the jest I just gave you. It was a sense of belonging as I meditated amongst monks in a Buddhist Monastery, it was the shared pride in promotion of ecotourism, the number of times strangers smiled at me and said ‘Namaste’, the simple act of running my hand through the fresh water river stream that originated from the mountains I was climbing for the first time, the sense of the fact that everything material can be lost in just a moment from the reconstruction sights that I visited, the satisfaction from the spicy as hell food in the mountains – the food I thought I could never eat, and most of all the realization that there are bigger problems that need solving than my own – an unique sense of inner peace.

One blog post obviously doesn’t do my experience justice; so I have prepared three– ‘How To Be A Nepali in Nepal: A Tourism Guide’, ‘Top Five Places to Visit in Kathmandu’, and ‘My first section-trekking experience in on the Annapurna Mt. Circuit’. I was also very lucky to be able to interview Kaji Sherpa, who broke a record of the fastest climber to Mt.Everest back and forth in just 20 hours and 24 minutes in 1998.

Looking forward to sharing the Nepal blog posts with you this week and the next, and the interview with Mr.Kaji on the 15th of June! Stay tuned 🙂

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*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The cameras  used to capture these pictures are Canon EOS 50D and iPone 7. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts!  🙂

xoxo,

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Advantages of Traveling Solo

photo-feb-19-18Arushi Sachan, Feb 2017

After walking on the streets of New York for hours in a row last thanksgiving, I went to Starbucks to take a little break and enjoy my green tea latte, as I stared outside the glass window at how people passed- they came and went, just like the season itself, and I smiled to myself.

A couple that sat beside me, asked with curious eyes, ‘You can’t be from around here?’. I nodded, asking what made them think that- they replied, ‘You look like you are too much at peace for being a New Yorker!’ We ended up talking for hours about how they came from Ireland for a week and how different the lifestyle back home was. They were happy to find someone who could relate. Today I am in touch with their little kids, who I didn’t even get to meet, who are in fact regular readers of my blog!

So why travel solo? Do you think I could have had this beautiful experience if I was with a travel buddy?

There are so many advantages to traveling solo:

FLEXIBILITY. FREEDOM. FUNphoto-mar-02-28

March 2015 @ Orlando, Fl

I call these the ‘F TRIO’ of traveling, and they are the ultimate mantra to enjoy your trip! Taking on the world one country at a time can be so much easier if it is done on your own terms and at your own pace. There aren’t travel buddies you have to catch up with or vice versa- you have the freedom to create your own timeline as you go and do whatsoever pleases you. Selfish, but for all the good reasons! There’s nothing more fun than the combined feeling of freedom and flexibility- you become a metaphor for the flowing water.

SAY GOODBYE TO THE COMFORT ZONEphoto-mar-02-10

October 2016 @ Austin, TX

Traveling on your own will push you to talk to new people, try new things, eat different food, learn foreign languages, and best of all- experience their culture first hand. The urge to try the taco in the food truck you saw while you were passing by, the train ride that wasn’t on your list of itinerary, or even a detour to an old village that is in ruins now and you’ve only heard stories from locals about- traveling solo gives you the liberty to open up your mind to an infinity and act upon your curiosity.

SELF EMPOWERMENTphoto-mar-02-15

July 2016 @ Phuket, Thailand

You will get to know yourself better when you breathe the air of a new city on your own. How? Every time you travel to a new country, you are on your own. You can either choose to stay in a hotel or go out and explore as much as you can; you could hike 5 miles and relax or you could go non-stop till you reach your destination- you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want when nobody is watching.

The only difference is, you are watching even if nobody is. Every decision you make, how far you can push yourself before you collapse, every feeling, moment and step- you are 100% responsible for!

You learn to enjoy your own company and become the reason for your own happiness. It’s pretty liberating and a very good confidence booster.

SAVING MONEYphoto-mar-02-24

June 2014 @ Kerala, India

By traveling alone, you create your own itinerary, and hence you end up saving a lot of money. You realize that it isn’t as important for you to sleep like a king or a queen at a hotel as it is to go and try your favorite food, adventure sport or visit the famous museum, and hence you act based upon your opportunity cost and get better in terms of financing your funds.

I have a few friends who even use their freedom of being solo, to take up part time jobs such as translating, serving as a bartender or even travel writing to sustain their journeys.

WIDENING YOUR KNOWLEDGE

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October 2016 @ Austin, TX 

Above all, by traveling alone, you fill the empty pages of the book that is YOU. People always tell me that I have all my life to travel, why now? I cannot undo the trips I took to new countries before I even started school (thanks ma and pa)! In school, they taught me to read about the world through textbooks. But it wasn’t the same; yes, I did learn a lot through my text books, but only traveling to those countries sparked feelings within me, feelings that are unique to each country and stay within me forever.

For instance, when you say Kenya, I instantly smell the air, feel the sensations of the fresh grass and nostalgically remember how a couple of hippos tried to mess with my room’s window when I was trying to sleep in a cabin one night. It was terrifying back then and I thought I was about to die, but it’s the reason I’m smiling as I write this today, four years later!

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June 2014 @ Kerala, India

You see, sometimes taking risks can be rewarding!

*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The cameras I used to capture these pictures are my iPhone 7 and  Canon EOS 50D. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts! 🙂

Until tomorrow,

Arushi Sachan 

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TRAVEL W/ ARUSHI: Feb 26-Mar 4🌏
•Sun, Feb 26th: Overview 📢
•Mon, Feb 27th: Being an International Student in the US🇺🇸
•Tues, Feb 28th: My 2017 Travel Bucket List 🗺
•Wed, March 1st: Tips to survive a long haul flight ✈️
•Thurs, March 2nd: Advantages of Traveling Solo 👩🏼🎤
•Fri, March 3rd: Budget Traveling Tips $

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Tips to Survive a Long Haul Flight

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While it’s an awesome feeling to be flying high in the sky, long flights can get tiring too quickly. I travel at least four times a year back and forth from USA to Dubai to meet my family during vacations. However, I dread the flight part, since it takes up to 16 hours non-stop to get  across the globe. I usually travel by Emirates Airlines, but I’m pretty certain that the other Airlines also take about the same time, some even more, depending on the different routes.

It was only realistic enough for me to start thinking about traveling smart, so that the flights wouldn’t kill me. With years of personal experience and having taken loads of good suggestions, I’ve come up with a BOMB list of tips that could really help you survive a long haul flight:

  • The Minimalistic Approachphoto-jan-07-3

It doesn’t help to pack heavy when you are travelling in a 20-hour flight solo. So pack only the things that you are absolutely sure you need at hands length in your carry on.

I usually take all my electronics and charging equipment, a book to read, my journal, a few Sudoku/Crossword puzzles, snacks and refreshment supplies in a bag pack. It helps to stay light, as shopping in Duty free or just getting around the airport also gets easier.

  • Comfortably Factorphoto-feb-27

I can’t stress this enough, but if you don’t dress comfortably, it could be the deciding factor as to how good or bad your journey is going to be. By dressing comfortable, I mean, going in your trainers, wearing clothes you could easily fall asleep in, without make up or jewelry.

It really helps to buy a travel pillow, believe me, it’s an investment and makes your life so easy. I got mine for 9$ from a CVS store in NY an year ago, because I was about to ride the 6-hour long Greyhound bus to Washington DC. I use it to this day in all my travels. Getting a pair of handy flip-flops for the flight would be good, as it allows air circulation as opposed to trainers.

  • Negotiating A Free UpgradePhoto Aug 08.jpg

Most of the times, flights aren’t even full, and the crew is generous enough to grant you an upgrade. This is an opportunity you must always avail- you owe it to yourself for the amount of money you put into buying those flight tickets!

All you got to do is ask- Either at the baggage check-in area, or in the flight itself. I’ve been upgraded to business class twice, once because I asked and there happened to be a spot, and the other, when my friends, who were minors, were traveling, and I claimed to be their accompanying adult. There are many ways to get around it, you just have to try your luck!

  • Choosing Easy Seatsphoto-oct-09-2

Think about it, 10 hours – 2 times you’d have to use the restroom; 20 hours – 4 times. Choose your seats closest to the back or front toilets! If they aren’t available, try getting Isle seats- it is easier not only to go to to the restroom, but also take frequent walks, or just ask for crew assistance.

  • Making Connectionsphoto-feb-25-2

This is, I believe, the most productive way to pass time in a flight. Talking to strangers can be so much fun! Sometimes it’s just a one-time conversation, while other times, it can turn out to be a lifelong friendship! I met many bloggers, professors and friends who were either traveling solo or with their families and I learnt a lot about their travels and themselves.

I’ve also never hesitated to talk to the flight crew- it’s okay to do that, since they are paid to serve us through the journey; just kidding! I actually find being a crew member really cool and have thought of applying to become one for a little bit to be able to communicate with passengers in different languages and also travel around the world.

  • Sleeping Your Way Through thumb_img_6431_1024

This one is my roommate’s favorite. She stays up 24 hours before her long flight back home and then sleeps like a log throughout her flight. I have never personally done that since getting food is so important and I’m just mostly restless in flights.

I believe though, that it must be so convenient to just wake up to the announcement – ‘the flight is about to land, kindly buckle up.’ It probably really helps ease jet lags too, since technically, you’ve been sleeping the entire time.

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These are my few suggestions for you to pass time efficiently and use them to your advantage during flights. Of course, you can spend most of your time watching movies if you are a fanatic or listening to music and what not; but if you can incorporate any or all of the hacks above, you’d probably not get bored, tired or uncomfortable at all!

*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The cameras I used to capture these pictures are my iPhone 7 and  Canon EOS 50D. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts! 🙂

Until tomorrow,

Arushi Sachan

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TRAVEL W/ ARUSHI: Feb 26-Mar 4🌏
•Sun, Feb 26th: Overview 📢
•Mon, Feb 27th: Being an International Student in the US🇺🇸
•Tues, Feb 28th: My 2017 Travel Bucket List 🗺
•Wed, March 1st: Tips to survive a long haul flight ✈️
•Thurs, March 2nd: Advantages of Traveling Solo 👩🏼🎤
•Fri, March 3rd: Budget Traveling Tips $

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My 2017 Travel Bucket List

Photo Feb 19-16.jpgArushi Sachan, February 2017

 

If there is anything that consumes me, it is the thought of being far away, somewhere in another part of this globe. Ever since I could remember, I’d stare at maps for hours thinking about how the earth was formed, how the the lines dividing the countries came into being, how even though such phenomenal changes are still occurring, the earth is only a really tiny part of this humungous Universe. If this doesn’t make you believe in something, I don’t know what does.

Dreamy yet organized as I am, I created a travel bucket list for this year. I am about to share it with you and also tell you ways I am going to make them a reality.

 

My Travel Bucket List 2017:

 

  • Hike the Appalachian Trail in USAphoto-feb-26-3

Last Fall, life took a toll on me and it all got too much. I realized that I needed a break. I have never stayed in a school for over two years, and since the third year of my college began last year, I felt a certain kind of suffocation and the need to get away.

I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail from July-August 2017. Not only did I know that working toward it would help me get back on track with life, I also felt a calling to write endlessly throughout the hike- fill up empty journals.

 

  • The Roman Colosseum in Italyphoto-feb-19-18

 

The news of the 20-year-old who travelled the entire world in the least amount of time, inspired me to create the first list of my own. To be very realistic, I aimed at doing the 7 wonders before I turn 35. However, something tells me that my impulse will drive me see all 7 of them way before the age.

I will be in Milan, Italy for a fashion course during June, and so I thought why don’t I get lost amongst the world’s most historically prevalent and beautiful art structures. The Roman Colosseum for instance, which is one of the seven wonders of the world.

 

  • Zip line in New Zealandphoto-feb-26

 

Come December I want to travel to New Zealand and zip line over the vast wilderness. I could hopefully hike a lot as well. I will be taking an entire semester of college off this fall, and will apply to a bunch of travel writing jobs to live the life of a nomad that I am. I hope to save enough money to be able to make this trip solo, this December.

If my budget permits, I will skydive too.

 

  • Scuba Dive in Cambodiaphoto-jul-26

 

A week ago, my mom told me that there is a marriage our family has to attend in Cambodia during summer for about a week or so. How was I to turn down her offer! As of last Thursday, I finished my final scuba dive lesson at PADI Harrisonburg, and I instantly began to picture myself scuba diving in the Secret Garden or even the Rocky Bay when my mom mentioned Cambodia.

South East Asia’s beautiful water bodies thrill me and it sucked that over the last year I travelled to Thailand and Indonesia and yet wasn’t able to dive in those serene oceans. That won’t happen anymore.

 

  • Sing Songs at Karaoke in Japanphoto-feb-25-4

 

Japan has always been high on my list because of their strong cultural traditions. My best friend from high school is from Japan and is currently studying there in Sophia University. Her humble and hardworking attitude had always intrigued me and I knew that I wanted to explore their culture first hand. I wanted to not just know, but also get a sense of why Japan is so technologically advanced.

Japan was a trip planned for December 2016, but spontaneous as we are, my family ended up picking Indonesia in the last minute. While I’m all excited to see Mount Fuji and ride the Shinkansen, it has always been my deepest desire to sing out loud at a Karaoke place preferably when I’m really drunk – and Japan is said to have some of the world’s most famous ones!

 

*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The camera I used to capture these pictures is Canon EOS 50D. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts! 🙂

Until tomorrow,

Arushi Sachan

_
TRAVEL W/ ARUSHI: Feb 26-Mar 4🌏
•Sun, Feb 26th: Overview 📢
•Mon, Feb 27th: Being an International Student in the US🇺🇸
•Tues, Feb 28th: My 2017 Travel Bucket List 🗺
•Wed, March 1st: Tips to survive a long haul flight ✈️
•Thurs, March 2nd: Advantages of Traveling Solo 👩🏼🎤
•Fri, March 3rd: Budget Traveling Tips

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