Sunday, January 10, 2010

Addicted to Travel : 2009 in pictures

Writing this post is like shooting myself in the foot! There is already a perception among friends and family that I travel too much and here I am laying it all out in the open. "Where are you going next?" was the most asked question of 2009 and pretty much every time I WAS going somewhere. While this post might be an open invitation to taunt me about my hyper-active travel schedule, It might also give me a chance to redeem myself.

2009 was a wonderful year for us. This was our first full year in India after moving back from California in May 2008. If you do something as big as an inter-continental move, you also want to take that opportunity to change a few things in your life. After working non-stop for 10 years, I decided to take it easy. I became an independent consultant which is really a euphemism for jobless. Other than an odd project here and there, I was not getting much work because of the recession. I took full advantage of this and happily settled into a routine of traveling, blogging about it, traveling some more and blogging some more and did I mention "Traveling". I joined groups, became friends with fellow travel bloggers and much to Saru's dismay, started planning trips with them. "You are welcome to join us" I offered graciously to which he replied "Freaks...all of you are freaks" (totally uncalled for!)

I was so happy doing this routine that I said "No" to a perfectly good job offer. "I don't feel like working full-time" I said and then went on to declare " I am going to do whatever makes me happy this year!". Saru didn't flinch because he is used to my grand statements - "This is going to be the Summer of my life" I said one year and went on to work my ass off. The year I declared that "I don't care about money and I am going to spend as much as I want" was the year I saved the most!

Sure enough, a week later I started worrying about my career and took up a half-time job. The other half, I said should be open for consulting work(in other words jobless). To my utter joy and delight, the job required me to travel a good bit! Work trips are usually not fun, but I would make it a point to stay an extra day and see the sights. International cuisine is something I miss in Navi Mumbai (unless you count Mumbai High that serves Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian AND Mexican all under one roof), So I would research and eat at really good restaurants. After some hesitation, even Saru started enjoying my trips. I would come back home from a trip full of juicy stories and follow him all around the house like a happy puppy talking about it. Soon, he started boasting to his friends "My wife understands what is important in life. She has figured out what makes her happy and is following it. I am proud of her". He would make his friends read my blog, and more importantly pain them to leave comments. Every comment on his photographs would increase his enthusiasm for the hobby. He joined me in as many trips as he could, and the rest, he enjoyed (or was forced to) by hearing about it a zillion times.

So folks, here is a list of all my trips in 2009. Pay attention to the words "work trip" which means that I "HAD" to go and did not have a choice. For all of you that give me grief about it, I will have you know that I did not leave Saru and go to all these trips. I HAD to go for work( Gosh....I just love this sounds so legitimate). The two non-work trips I did without him were Corbett and VOF. He could not make it to Corbett because of work and didn't come to the Himalayan hike because....I am quoting his highness here "Hiking is pointless!"
January took me to Singapore for a work trip. Walking around the waterfront area and the Jurong Bird Park were a highlight. I had fantastic Italian and Thai food, not to mention the famous Singaporean Roti-Prata.


I made my first trip to Calcutta for work. Thanks to Shantanu's blog, I found out what and where to eat. Lucknow Biryani and Kababs were delicious and so was the Thai food in Oberoi.


Another work trip, this time to Bangkok. The temples and the grand palace were magnificent. The Royal Thai massage and foot massages were just what the doctor ordered at the end of a long day.

Corbett National Park
was just fantastic. My friend Tara says that you know you love a place when you want to go back there again and again. This is one place I would love to visit multiple times.

Saru joined me in Delhi for his first visit to our Capital and was totally impressed. Delhi is my favourite city to visit in India. I feel a rush of emotion seeing India Gate and all other monuments I grew up seeing on TV.

Saru was sick and tired of hearing me talk about safaris after Corbett. He wanted his own safari experience, So we went to Bandipur NP. We traveled with fellow bloggers T&S and had a fantastic trip. A tiger, tigress with 4 cubs, leopard with a cub and 22 wild dogs were the highlight of our trip.


This was our big 10th anniversary month. After debating endlessly and researching locations in every continent, we finally settled on familiar grounds-France and it didn't disappoint! Driving around the country side, stopping at lavender farms, perched villages, sea side was my kind of a slow vacation.


Mangoes and Monsoons are what I love about Indian Summers. Waterfalls and green hills everywhere.


This was my very first multi-day hike to the Valley of Flowers. The Himalayas were absolutely breathtaking! I plan to do another hike this year.


Saru and I went to Maharashtra's Valley of Flowers with Adesh and Mandar. Acres of pink, blue, white and purple flowers sat pretty on the plateau.


We celebrated Diwali in the wild with a birding trip to Dandeli. A spooky and adventurous night walk was the highlight of the trip


A work trip took me to Indonesia. I took a sunrise trip to see Mt.Bromo, an active volcano in the area. Balinese massages and fantastic food were the highlights of an otherwise boring work trip.


December was like a grand finale to the year. I spent most of the month travelling. I went hopping from Delhi to Agra to Fatehpur Sikri to Jaipur to Ranthambore NP to Udaipur. Saru took this surreal picture in Ranthambore. We have a ton of close-ups, but this picture is my favourite of the lot.

Plans for 2010

2010 is shaping up to be a very busy work year. The half time consulting slot which was really an excuse to goof off in 2009 is suddenly getting active with a lot of work. Work hard will be my mantra in 2010.
January is shaping up to be a busy travel month. I leave for Bangkok next week and then we are going to Pench National Park for the Republic day long weekend. I signed up for Nature India's birding trip to the North East in March. Other than that, my year is wide open. There are talks of visiting the US for work, making a road trip from Manali to Leh and a girls-only trip to Europe. Let's see what pans out.

Where are you going in 2010? Leave a comment or a link to your recent blog post about this.


  1. what can i say? Thank you for sharing such wonderful pictures.

    I completely empathize with you and lets hope twenty ten brings in more travels for us :-)

    Some trips that I have planned for the year are treks in the western ghats (mainly in Karnataka), Diving at Lakshadweep, Motorcycle trip to Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Kaziranga NP. These are the ones being planned...hopefully I will get the opportunity to go more places :-)

    Here's to Memorable Travels...Salute!

  2. Wow u`ve had a pretty busy year!!! & hope u have an equally busy one next year.

    Looking fwd to cing u on some other trip

  3. Hey Vam. Most of the year 2009 was work and saru seems to be have been part of a lot of ur travels so why the justification? Anywez, I'm glad ur work brought you to Delhi and we got soem nice evenings together....

    Hope 2010 is happy and healthy for you!

    For me, I hope to do a repeat of 2009, i.e., make one travel (duration not impt) every month. I managed 10 out of 12 months in 2009 so here's hoping that 2010 will be the same....Hampi, Amritsar/Wagah,Coorg, Binsar, Kumbhalgarh, Kashmir (inshallah) and the UK-Europe trip....a birding trip, a wildlife trip,China, Cambodia and SA very much on the wishlist...VOF and/or some other hike......and lots of work to keep me otherwise busy when I'm not planning/dreaming.

    Here's to more of us. Cheers!
    PS: Please help me start a blog....please! I'll come to Mumbai one weekend for that :-)

  4. Wonderful!! What a round-up!! I'm waiting for your post and pics about Ranthambore! We're thinking of a Ladakh trip around Aug-Sept too. Can you tell me more about the Europe trip? Would like to join in if I can...

  5. Wow am very happy to see your travel calendar as I can now point it out to people who think *I* travel too much ;-) Great pics, and here's wishing you even more wonderful travels and memorable experiences in 2010! Cheers, Garima

  6. great pics and I thought I travelled too much :)

  7. good for you, Vamsee! here is wishing you a great travel year in 2010 :)I hope we get to travel together this year...
    here is my looking back at 2009 and dreams for 2010...

  8. oops, the link is not working - here it is -

  9. wow! what more can a travel freak ask for?! Have a wonderful 2010. Will wait for those ever interesting posts :)

  10. Just out of curiosity, what kind of consulting work do you do?

  11. Wonderful write-up Vamsee..wish I'd used my time as productively when it comes to travelling :)..fantastic how you manage to follow these trips with the even more interesting stories about them.
    I was half hoping to do South
    of Europe with you,I've have already done quite a bit of the British Isles and..well, considering there isn't so much difference in topography there; there isn't a lot in terms of cultural, art and history either, I'd prefer the continent anyday from whatever little I've seen of it. I did enjoy my UK jaunts thoroughly, having done the major part of them before any trip across the channel:)So if you're not comparing at all, I'd say, then you'd probably like UK for its own sake!
    Keep up the plans..

  12. wow, reading through all your adventures made me aware of how fast that year really went by. Glad you made it happen, coz I enjoyed very entertaining moments reading about them! And those photos - just brilliant. I wish you an other travelicious year!

    My travel year will be much quieter (about 6 weeks Europe in spring), but I'm dreaming and planning BIG for the next year ;-)

  13. Great writeup and awesome pictures. I hope you have a good travel year in 2010 so I can read about it ;-)

  14. Do I love your job or what ! Love the pics and esp the last one in ranthambore - it looks a painting !

    When would the US trip pan out , if it were to happen?


  15. I hope i get to travel as much...but iam very impressed with all ur travel and those pictures!awesome!!!

  16. Cool way to revisit all your 2009 travels. You definitely had a wonderful year! Is this the first tiger pic you are posting? Its awesome!!! Did I miss reading your Ranthambore blog??

    Wish you happy travels in 2010 too! Where do you want to go when you come to the US? I am glad we ended 2009/started off 2010 with a nice vacation. You have to help me plan our Alaska trip in June!

  17. Wow! I would say, I am green with envy. Lucky with the tigers at Bandipur, There are people in my club (Youth Photographic Society) who have been to Bandipur continouly for the last two decades and yet to see a tiger.
    We are starting of with Chitradurga, then Hampi, Munnar and probably Vaisno Devi, Patni top. Dandeli, Yana ...
    Great Pictures. Happy Travelling. Wondering if you could check my blog

  18. Your photographs are spell binding!! ur narrations crisp and gripping. still remember the quip about ourb bulging wallets !! keep travelling.


  19. Awesome!! Hope 2010 is as wonderful, if not more wonderful than 2009. I bet the toughest part of writing this blog was photo selection amongst the many awesome pictures for each trip :-) Enjoyed reading and savouring the pictures And yep work hard party hard is the way to go.

  20. I am amazed by the places you have covered in 1 year. Very nice. Keep travelling and show us the world through your beautiful snaps.

  21. Sankara,
    Thanks for your comment. Diving/Snorkeling in Lakshadweep is on my list too, but I am very unhappy with how expensive it is to get there!! Flights alone are around 20K!! It just does not make sense. And yes...I plan on doing many monsoon hikes in the western ghats!

    Yes, Let's plan on traveling together this least some monsoon hikes.

    This is the first year I traveled so much, so I am feeling a little guilty.
    It has been GREAT meeting and knowing you this last year. My Delhi trips are fun mostly because of you!!
    I do hope our Europe plans work out. Your wishlist for 2010 is awesome....has some places I want to Binsar, Coorg, Kashmir, a Himalayan hike etc!! Here's to a great 2010 and a lasting friendship

  22. Uma,
    Thanks. I will keep u posted about our Europe trip....It will be great if you can join us. Ladakh in Aug/Sept sounds great. I think 3 idiots is going to cause an overload of tourists to Ladakh this year!!

    :):) Isn't it funny....I give your example and some other friends to show that *I* don't travel as much as you and ha ha ha, you want to use me as an example!!

    Thanks. Too bad you could not go with me to Bangkok. Let's plan on meeting and traveling together in 2010

    It was really great to get to know you this year through our blogs. I do hope we meet this year. I am definitely interested in joining you for the Allepy Boat race or Pushkar festival. I have my fingers crossed:)

  23. Mridula / Akhila,

    Why? Do you want to change your line of work?? My background is in Transport Planning (a branch of Civil Engineering).

    Thanks so much for your comments. I have been lazy and not good at posting these hoping I will get out of the slump soon:) Our destination for the Europe trip keep changing every month...It is Scotland now....might be something else later. I will keep u posted.

    Thank you. You are very sweet and generous in your comments. I wish you a happy travel year. Saru was reading your comment and burst out laughing when he saw "quiet travel year" and 6 weeks in Europe in the same sentence:):)

  24. Saritha,
    I aim to please:):) Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Thank god you noticed the AWESOME tiger picture. I was beginning to wonder why nobody commented on it. We almost didn't look at the tiger pictures from the wide angle lens because we got so many close ups, but this shot was a pleasant surprise!!
    I am going to blow it up and frame it.
    US trip will happen in April/May (i think). I will definitely visit the bay area and would love to meet up with you! Will email closer to the travel date.

  25. Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing, this inspires to travel more or if we cant travel to a place alteast ,know of such places and someone has truly enjoyed it.
    I am hoping to go to Auz/NZ sometime this year.

  26. I am sure you wish for more months in a year than just 12. :-)

    Pictures are awesome and all the best for this year.

  27. wow.the pics are tooooo beautiful. I really loved the Indonesian pic of the volcano :) You had a pretty busy year 2009 :) Hope to see more pics and places in this yr :) And your blog really inspires me to visit all these places!!!! Thanks Vamsee :)

  28. Hey Vamsee. One small question. Which camera do you own? the pics are just mindblowing. I was planning to buy a DSLR soon and hence the question.

  29. And also can I get that Indonesian volcano pic? My email id is evanescentthoughts[at]

  30. Quite an interesting year ..wasn't it?! Beautiful pictures and I see that we are yet to see some awesome posts with some awesome shots... Hope you get time to post those as well. I know traveling only takes up so much time..come back and writing about it is even hectic! But i guess we managed well. :D

    And the Tiger pic is too good! It's almost as the Tiger is posing like a model. Hope 2010 is just as eventful and exciting!

  31. Thats an eventful year. I hope 2010 turns even better for you.

    The pictures are real beautiful and treat to the eyes.

  32. thats a wonderful year ... and kudos to u for doing what u like!

    and ... the pictures are indeed fabulous .. saru shud join u on all the trips :)

  33. It shows from the images that it has been one awesome year for you. And that last one of the Tiger (Ranthambore) is very beautiful. And yes it was wonderful to meet up with you folks in Bandipur...Thomas

  34. Hi Vamsee! Sorry for the delay, but a new year always brings new troubles... ;)

    What a gorgeous year!! Something I can't tell on my side... ;-(. Magnificent pictures!!

    Meanwhile a new blog is born: Blogtrotter Two! Hope you enjoy at least as much as the previous version and look forward to reading your comments!
    Have a great weekend!!! Gil

  35. Hi Vamsee !!Nice Review !! Overall the year was full of fantastic journeys !!

  36. Vam...I have to tell you...this write-up is one of the most simple, straight from the heart, beautiful writing I've seen in a while. I can totally picture you and Saru having the conversations mentioned here...and Saru giving you grief while at the same time being so proud of u!:) I am so happy for you finding new like-minded friends thru ur travelling..and u know what - u inspire the rest of us in thinking it is possible to do what u are happy doing, have fun and meet people who share ur interests while at it! Keep travelling and writing!! Oh and Saru's pics are fascinating as usual...maybe he'll get to join in more trips this year...and maybe we will finally get to take a trip together again soon! (no hiking pls...I totally endorse Saru's 'Hiking is pointless' statement....)

  37. Vidya: I totally agree with you. You nailed my thots exactly. It was from the heart and truly what she really believes. The mild humor was fun too - I smiled a lot when I read it.

  38. May be she should take it easy on making me the butt of all her jokes. :)

  39. how do u manage to travel so much ? i envy ...

    nice suming up ...

  40. That's what I call being lucky! My wife and I are both travelbuffs we love travelling too. While December saw us vist Matheran, we are back from Goa just yesterday after a four day fun-filled travel, exploring the beaches and interiors of GOA on a bike. You have utilized the recession phase wisely I should say. Not so much luck on our part though as both of us are completely burried under loads of work for the coming few days... :-(...

    Nice post here refreshing the memories....

    - Pixellicious Photos

  41. Tara / Deepa,
    No, I did not post our Ranthambore pictures yet. With that hectic travel schedule in 2009, I am yet to finish blogging about a number of trips. I will definitely do that in the coming weeks.
    I will plan your Alaska trip even if you ask me not to:)

    We do think that we got very lucky in Bandipur. Our friends who have been going there for ages told us the same thing.
    Your list looks very impressive. I also hope you can make your trip to Europe with your family. I will definitely help you with the plans.

    Thanks so much. I am glad you enjoy my writing.
    You still remember my Tuscany travelogue!! That is a big compliment!!

  42. Shanti,
    I hope this year is a wonderful travel year for u too. It was really hard to pic favorites from some of the best trips like Corbett, Himalayas and France, but the rest was easy because we did not have that many good pictures.

    As you can see, most of the trips were work-related, but I did travel a good bit just because I was not working full-time.

    Thanks. I get real excited when somebody goes on a trip...looks like you are the same way. I have never been to NZ, but I can tell u what we liked in Australia.

    That was hilarious. I read it out to Saru and he gave a look!!

    Thank you so much for the comments. I will be happy to send u that picture.

  43. What a great one year travelling summery and with wonderful pics to demonstrate the beauty all around the world!

    I do hope your 2010 year summery will include a trip to Norway in August at the Oslo Blog Gathering :-)

  44. After a long time,I put up a post just sometime back summing up my 2009 travels and when I reached here, am pleasantly surprised to see this post.

    Absolutely brilliant Vamsee...your post, these photographs and delighted to read about your travels. All the best for many more trips in 2010.

    - celine

  45. That was one hectic and adventurous year Vamsee.
    Wish you more in 2010! :)

  46. makes me wanna pack my bags already:)

  47. Stunning Pictures! Good work frineds, I really love your post. Its like full of life at a one palce. Really Really exclusive pics.
    Thanks for sharing:)

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  49. oh my goodness!!!!!! You do travel - and I just love the fact you take such great pics so we get a glimpse of what you have seen. I'm horrible at remembering to bring my camera- and so words are all I have to remember where I have been- but you have inspired me to TRY and remember in the future!!

    I loved the fact my homeland was featured first- with your pic of Singapore!! :)...and I just loved EVERY picture afterwards.

  50. loved the love them..some of them are postcard like. so who is the or your husband? very very avid photographer myself i am always excited to see lovely clicks.

    2009 for me was a west coast travel year.

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