#couplegoals

From one married couple to another: Here’s why staying in a hostel should be on your list of #couplegoals

Posted By : Shraddha Gupta/ 516 0

I won’t lie, we both were battling inside with various levels of being reluctant – but less did we know that this hostel experience would turn out to be one of the best bonding activity we did as a couple…

Three years of being married and Mr. H and I have found accommodation in endless hotels, resorts and Airbnb’s throughout our vacations. But never did the idea of staying in a hostel cross our mind (only god knows why), until recently, while we were looking for our options in Iceland.

Let’s accept it – marriages/relationships are not 24-hours rosy. Couples that don’t fight, don’t disagree and don’t demand their own space after a few years of being together are almost a myth (no offence to the ones who still claim to be perfect together – I am yet to meet you). And hence, we all need to re-bond every once in a while to make sure that the spark is still on – till death do us apart.

In January 2017, we both took a trip to Iceland and booked ourselves into a 6-bed dormitory at KEX Hostel in Reykjavik. The hostel boasted of some really cool yet cozy common spaces, live music, one of the best gastropubs in the city, and an easy-on-our-pocket kind of budget. And in one really impulsive moment – we booked KEX – ditching all our other luxury stay options. By now from the tone of this article – you would know we had an amazing experience (almost like an eye-opener) – and here is why we think staying in a hostel as a couple is an essential bonding activity (#couplegoals) all married couples should indulge in at least once in their lifetime:

  1. You connect with each other as FRIENDS again, because sometimes we forget how it used to feel like. A hostel environment is all about meeting new people and staying with strangers in a common dormitory. Once you check into a hostel – the idea of privacy is almost nil – so forget about getting a cozy corner to romance it out. With so much happening around you – PDA is not an option – which leaves you with only one choice of being best buddies all over again.You learn to look out for each other in washroom queues and guard each others luggage in common spaces. You hunt for a table to eat together and often hold onto seats while your better half is gone to fetch his/her breakfast. You both are two ‘individuals’ traveling together minus all the lovey-dovey feelings – which forces you to re-connect as friends.
  2. You push yourself out of your couple-comfort-zone and explore more outdoors. Staying in a shared dorm with bunk beds also means ‘no bedroom’, no cuddles, and no private bathroom. As a couple this very feature of a hostel is often THE deal-breaker; but a few years down a relationship – it’s an interesting experience. It pushes you both out of your room, and makes you concentrate on being outdoors, explore the destination a lot more, and spend more time discovering new things to do outside your accommodation.Or even just spending more time in the common areas of your hostel – reading a book, catching up with people and just enjoying some good music in the company of complete strangers.
  3. You discover each others likes/dislikes/ideas/opinions/habits in the process of meeting new people.You learn new things together. The best part of a hostel experience is the constant in-and-out of travelers from all over the world. It is the perfect place to communicate with strangers and make new friends over all kinds of engaging conversations. As a couple we often slow down on getting to know each other assuming we already know our better half inside out. But people evolve and change with time – so does your partner. On a table full of different world-views and ideas – it is more than likely that you will discover exciting things about each other once again. 
  1. You are more likely to make changes to your itinerary and try new things together. Meeting travelers from all over the world in a hostel opens you up to various experinces, tips, recommendations and guides that you might not have researched earlier. This gives you both the privilege to together tweak your plans for the better and come across different things to do or better ways to lead your trip just by being in the company of new people.
  2. You start flirting with each other again. This is probably my favourite part of being in a hostel – that you are constantly trying to steal a kiss from each other or grab a quick hug – when no one is watching. A crowded hostel is everything you need if you wish to rekindle that flirty spark you two once had and trust me it’s all worth it.

Or worst case – you might not like it as much as we did – but even that very feeling will be something that you will discover together and at the least will make you bond closer…

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This blog first appeared on Streettrotter and is the original work of Shraddha Gupta, Founder & Editor, Streettrotter.

Shraddha Gupta is an aspiring digital nomad who loves life in balance and stability at the same time. A part time journalism/fashion professional and a travel writer during the rest of her days – she is trying to find the right mix of being lost and discovering herself with new goals over and over again. A social media addict, a foodie, an essential photographer and a culture enthusiast – you will most likely find her planning a new dream for herself, always.

Bike trip to Ladakh

How to prep for your maiden bike trip to Ladakh?

Posted By : Escape Route/ 472 0

There is no dearth of reasons for you to ride across the terrain of Ladakh for it is such a heavenly experience…

Ladakh has over the years emerged as a benchmark of adventure, style and machoness especially if you are a new biker yearning to ride across the valiant passes of this cold desert. It is the land of snow clad high passes, freezing temperatures, rugged terrain and breathtaking landscapes in the Kunlun mountain range that later extends to The Great Himalayas in the South-East. One of the reasons you opted for a thumping engine on two wheels was to ride straight upto to the highest motorable road in the world and earn yourself the coveted display picture next to Khardung La signage (‘La’ is pass in Ladakhi language). There is no dearth of reasons for you to take a bike trip to Ladakh for it evokes such heavenly feelings in the explorer in you.

One feeling that stands out is that of power and accomplishment, but with great power comes greater responsibility. Rightly so, Ladakh offers a difficult terrain to ride on and over the years, we have come across many bikers/motorcycle enthusiasts waiting for help in the middle of nowhere. Here are few pointers one must keep in mind to make sure that this road trip of a lifetime is complete without any glitches; from one biker to another:

  1. NO ONE IS A BORN RIDER, plus it just sounds wrong. So hone it up before you start flaunting those tattoos on your bodies and stickers on your motorcycle.
  2. PRACTICE MAKES ONE PERFECT: Just owning a bike and rider suit will not make you a biker, It is imperative for you to have a bare minimum of 10000 – 20000 kilometres of driving experience, including driving in the hills and off-roading. Get comfortable with your bike before you test the rough terrain of Ladakh.
  3. KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE: Spend some time with your neighbourhood mechanic and ask him questions about your machine, the suspension, the cooling, the brake mechanism, spark plugs, oiling etc. No question is stupid, you never know which answer would help you when u are stuck on a pass in freezing cold with a over 150 kgs of metal and rubber.
  4. CARRY SPARES: with improved accessibility and so many people travelling to Ladakh, you will not be stuck for long, However it is a decent idea to carry basic spares like a spark plugs, an extra tyre tube, accelerator / clutch wire, the tool kit etc. That might make you the knight in shining armour for someone else in need. You would also need to carry extra fuel for there are long stretches without a fuel pump. If you do not have a proper riding gear yet, wear multiple layers of clothing for it gets pretty cold post Sarchu.
  5. SAFETY IS COOLER: you might look cooler riding your favourite motorcycle without a helmet, but remember it is not just hitting your head on the road during a mishap, Ladakh is famous for landslides and stones falling from above.
  6. DO NOT BE TOO ADVENTUROUS (read crazy): Yes it is your first bike trip to Ladakh, you have crossed the Rohtang Pass traffic jam and the dust has just settled after Keylong, do not let your guard down, not on the curves, not on the straight roads. Keep your head straight and enjoy the ride at a decent speed.
  7. RESPECT YOUR MOTORCYCLE: A lot of amateur riders will complain that it was the machine’s fault, but then again, machines do not have a mind, it is you who are responsible. Treat her well and you will have a fantastic trip, be rude to her and keep kicking the rear tyre for all she cares. Tip: be patient at tougher terrains and have a heart, you will pull through eventually.
  8. LISTEN TO LOCALS: If you have been paying attention to all the points above, you have earned yourself a treat. Forget what he or she told you, spend some time with the local, be nice and if they find you genuine, they might tell you about that mysterious place that is still missing from 5612 itineraries that you read before the Ladakh roadtrip.
  9. EXPLORE, AT YOUR OWN PACE: You do not have enough offs and there is so much to cover, you cannot explore the entire LADAKH in 8 or 10 or 16 days and that is not experiencing, it is called covering. So ask yourself what you want and let it soak in before you head to tick-off the next thing in your limited time itinerary. Come back next time and do more.
  10. CHERISH IT & PRESERVE IT: Observe more than you show, listen more than you speak, this way the land of high-passes and zen might give you a lesson in life. Remember it is you who is yearning to go this is beautiful place ever since you first heard of it and try and preserve the sanctity of this place for the next time you visit it is still the same as you left it.

If you’re yearning to go on a bike trip to Ladakh, join us as we Escape to Ladakh on 15 June this year!

Road trip

Quick tips: For that amazing road trip

Posted By : Escape Route/ 907 1

There is something very liberating about an open road, a long drive, some good music and wind in your hair…

The good feeling that a road trip comes with is second to none, and that is how its ought to be. Team Escape Route brings you a quick check list of the do’s and don’ts to ensure the experience lives in your memories for all the good reasons. Here you go:

  • Carry shades and headband; for when you roll down the windows, long hair gets messy and this holds true for guys too.
  • Always wear loose and comfortable clothes for the road trip. Do not wear flip-flops as it can get stuck between the driving pedals by mistake, shoes are a better bet.
  • Always carry few water bottles and keep yourself hydrated. You may not get mineral water in the hinterlands and remember in India, water taste changes every few miles.
  • Always carry an organizer with all key papers of the vehicle, you can use its open pockets to stuff in toll receipts, else they will keep flying around in the car.
  • Eat only to taste and not hog, do not stuff yourself too much at Dhabas. Keep protein or energy bars handy, as you cannot surprise your stomach with all the roadside food. Stomach infection is common during long road trips. Rely on fruits and bottled water mostly while you keep tasting in the local culinary delights.
  • Carry charged power banks and multi charger power source in your car. Alternate between the power sources and use them amicably. As soon as the first source gets over, put it on charge in the moving car and use the other one. Sharing is saving.
  • hard copy of state route map has never lost its charm even in the times of Google maps and GPS enabled tracking devices. It has its own benefits and comes in handy in hinterlands.
  • Carry extra tissue papers and extra car cleaning cloth. Newspapers work well as glass cleaners.Hand sanitizers or soap dispensers always come in handy. Hand towels are great for road trips.
  • It is fun to be lost when you know you have the global positioning system, (GPS) to get you out of any dead end.
  • You should always carry a swiss knife, torch, gloves, fuel lighter, pliers apart from the regular tubeless puncture strips, small air pump/foot pump in addition to the regular tool kit with all keys.
  • Always remember to keep the tyre air-pressure at least two points lower than the designated pressure as tyres tend to inflate a little on long highway drives.
  • It makes sense to note down the highway patrol / helpline number, just in case.
  • If you are adventurous: always carry a two/three-people tent and sleeping bags for the ultimate experience after due checks.

 

Tushita

At Tushita: In pursuit of happiness

Posted By : Escape Route/ 524 0

‘It is all in the mind…’

All major religions and preachers of spirituality in the world ascertain that one has to be extremely fortunate to be born in human form among all sentient beings. ‘Karma’ or a number of good deeds over the course of lifetimes help one acquire human form on this planet. Since the human birth is so coveted, it is only rational that the human life be lived in the best possible manner.

Keep religion aside; even common sense puts forth the same argument, it is one life after all, better live it up.

And that is what we aspire to do, we do our best from the beginning of our life circle, we get into good schools, do our best to get good grades to get into good grad-schools, to earn good money, to get a good life partner, to raise our kids in the exact same respectable manner. We do not even expect something superfluous for our deeds, just good is enough. We take vacations, travel as much as we can, which has gradually become part of the same routine, part of the same circle of life. And all this while, we are constantly in pursuit of happiness and peace. So then where are we going wrong despite doing it right every time?

If you are at Tushita Meditation Centre, the teachers will probably tell you that even when you thought that you were doing it all right, the way of doing it was possibly wrong. While you were working so hard for your happiness, you should have probably tried to offer happiness to others. For love and compassion is the way of life in Buddhism and that is the karma they believe in. For what goes around, comes around.

We all have sought answers to our issues in life at some point of time. Taking the retreat at Tushita will help you understand that answers to most of our pretty complex problems are really simple. “It is all in the mind”.

It is mindful to note that our entire physical nature is actually governed by a non-physical entity called the ‘Mind’, the ‘Awareness’, the ‘Consciousness”, the ‘Conscience’, some might even call it a ‘Soul’.

Your mind doesn’t eat, doesn’t sleep and does not get tired. But sometimes, in anger, in frustration, in excitement, we lose our minds. Whatever our state in life may be, we can chose to be content simply by training our mind. While it does sound so simple, it is an extraordinary feat to achieve and millions have been at it for quite a while now.

If you think, it relates to you at any point of your life and would like to know more about it, we urge you to book yourself a silent 10 day retreat program at Tushita Meditation Center, especially the one at Mcleodganj, Dharmashala for the sake of your “Mind” and absorb only as much as you can!