I celebrated my 30th birthday two weeks ago. It was a special one. Not because I entered the 30’s saying goodbye to the coveted 20’s. But because it strengthened my last year’s belief that age is just a number. I felt no different as I blew the three candles on my cake placed by my husband to commemorate me entering my 30’s. Long ago, I held the popular opinion that entering 30’s means the end of adventures as we know it. But with my husband gifting tickets to South Africa I realized that nothing will change. I will still go on epic adventures and try things I have never done before. My adventures have only just started and won’t stop anytime soon.
This invigorating thought made me want to a create a new bucket list and also a 35 before 35 list. So, this means that it’s time to retire the 30 before 30 list. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to complete many things on my list. But that’s OK… as I said many adventures still await.
Anyways, here are the few things that I did manage to strike off –
1) I am now a post-graduate
As of May, this year I am a post-graduate. I now hold a Master’s Degree in English. Getting back to studies after a gap of 8 odd years wasn’t easy. This degree consumed more time than I expected and that’s the main reason I didn’t have time to learn a new language or do a creative writing course like I had planned. But getting back to studies was a great experience, not only because I rediscovered my thirst for learning something new but also because I met few wonderful people and they enriched the whole experience. I am glad that I pursued my Masters in long distance as regular college wouldn’t have given me the flexibility to travel or continue my work.
2) The epic Ladakh trip
When I made the list, I had written that I wanted to go trekking in Ladakh. But instead of trekking we chose to do a 2 weeks long road trip. We drove from Hyderabad to Jaipur, spent a couple of days there exploring the Pink city. Later we travelled to Delhi, where my husband’s cousin joined us. We drove from Delhi to Manali and from Manali to Leh through the most picturesque landscapes I have ever seen in my life. After reaching Leh, we spent the next two weeks exploring the ever changing and breath-taking sceneries of Ladakh. From the beautiful snowcapped mountains to one of the high-altitude deserts in the world to the most stunning night skies with shooting stars… Ladakh had it all. I had never before realized how exquisitely milky way adorned the sky. The monasteries there oozed a sense of serenity. All the trips I have been on so far have been extremely special and wonderful but our trip to Ladakh holds a special place in my heart.
3) Watch a Cricket World Cup match
March 23rd 2016 will go down as one of the best nights of my life. I not only got to see India vs Bangladesh T20 world cup at the stadium but also got to see Steve Waugh, who was just two rows behind me. The fact that the match was nail bitter was a cherry on top. And to see Virat Kohli standing right in front of me and waving at the crowds just make this experience surreal. Oh, btw this was my first international cricket match too.
4) Run a 3K, 5K, 10 K, Half marathon or a Full Marathon
When I wrote this down I had no idea what I was thinking. With my fitness, running a full marathon is a far stretched dream. Or may be the Harini of 2015 had more faith in her determination of becoming fit and losing weight. And 2015 Harini was half correct. Though I didn’t manage to attain fitness to run a marathon, I was able to manage a 5k without hiccups. Doing it with my two friends, clicking selfies along the way made the experience more fun.
5) Stay in a tree house
Okay, I didn’t technically stay in an authentic tree per se but the place we stayed in Munnar was a decent imitation of it. I know it doesn’t really count but I am still excited to have stayed in a kind of a treehouse over looking acres of tea plantations. Waking up to the birds chirping and sitting out in the balcony sipping tea overlooking the green pastures was an extraordinary experience.
6) The dream of a 10 day long road trip
When I wrote this down I had no idea that this become a common occurrence in our lives. We have taken numerous road trips since then. I have been on 3 weeks road trip to Ladakh from Hyderabad, a 2 weeks road trip through Rajasthan and a 2 weeks road trip to Kerala. We have been on road trips to Hampi, Kanha, Coorg etc. But our very first road trip was an epic road trip to Bhutan. Yes, my very first road trip was an international one that lasted nearly a month. We drove all the way from Hyderabad, India to Bhutan and it was an experience to never forget. We drove through different landscapes, halting near the beautifully scenic small town of Mirik in West Bengal. We spent 2 weeks in Bhutan driving around to various monasteries and doing numerable hikes. We experienced our very first snow fall here. I will soon a start a travel blog and tell you all about my travels as they are stories that need to be told.
7) Our very first Tiger sighting
This wish of mine came true in May this year. We planned a trip to Kabini, a part of Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka. We got more than we asked for, we spotted not 1 but 2 Tigers on our 5 safaris. We also saw many Elephants, Gaurs, numerous Spotted Deer, Monkeys, Sambar Deer and birds. We unfortunately missed Black Panther and Wild Dogs by a whisker. But I will talk more about our Kabini trip in my next post or may be the one after that.
7 out of 30 looks abysmal but I did so many other things that I hadn’t put on the list. We saw Komodo Dragons in Indonesia, swam with Manta Rays in Indonesia, went white river rafting in Bali, did zip lining in Thailand, attended the mesmerizing lantern festival in Thailand, kayaking in Railay, spent 2 days on house boat cruising through the striking backwaters of Kerala, stayed inside the core region of a forest in Kanha, attended a Coldplay concert, went to Universal studios etc. So, the list might be incomplete but my happiness is at its full.