Gratitude for the year gone by- Goodbye 2017

Rewind 2017 for blogging

As I look back, I realize 2017 has been a fruitful blogging journey! 2017 saw a lot of new beginnings for me and I am really happy the way things have shaped up. As I take stock and #Rewind2017 I know I have a lot to be thankful about.

Blogging opened a window of opportunities and I met a lot of interesting new people.

Took blogging seriously

I knew blogging and was doing it for clients for a really long time! This is my second attempt at having a personal blog! My first attempt died a natural death when I just did not invest time in it and kept coming with excuses for not being regular.

During the second attempt, when I started off, it was more like a place to vent it out or just write fiction without the fear of being judged! Yeah, I know this is like going in the opposite direction of being an author or a writer. Sometime during the start of 2017, I decided to take blogging seriously, like a project I am managing and promised myself to be regular. That was one of the best decisions I took in life, as it opened a window of opportunities and I met a lot of interesting new people.

Made new friends        

I made a lot of online friends, who are fellow bloggers and writers. I always loved observing people and understanding how a situation is seen by different people. Blogging and online interaction helped me realize I could do it online too! I saw people coming together for a cause, helping each other and sharing advice. I understood a lot about others professions and the way people have managed to keep blogging alive. It motivated me to keep going and that is a big reason why my blogging euphoria, did not crumble this time.

Campaigns

With various blogging platforms like Blogchatter and Indiblogger, I participated in a few contests and campaigns. These campaigns helped me read more; explore more and set mini-goals that I could achieve. It was another big factor that was a motivator for me. I even won a small blog award and that was another ego-booster for me and my blogging journey.

Practicing Gratitude

This is something that was taught to me right from childhood, but in the daily grind of things, I somehow seemed to have stopped doing it or wasn’t mindful enough about it. But then I came across a few bloggers who practiced gratitude and talked about it on their blog. This made me reflect and realize that it’s a wonderful thing to do! Thankful Thursdays was a linky party that helped me do it and I have been participating in it as and when I can. I do urge you all to participate too!

These are like the highlights of my 2017 blogging journey! I have a few things planned out for 2018 and I wish to make it a success. I will continue with my series #FridayFreelancer and #LearnNotEducate which saw some momentum in 2017. Stay tuned on my blogging journey in the coming year and lets all help each other achieve our goals for the next year!

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2018!

Linking this post with Amrita and Tina

Tina Basu

Linking up with Upasana for Quoted Stories

Mesmerising Andaman’s!

The first thing that greets you, as you near Andaman’s is the clear blue waters that surround a scattering of emerald green islands. It looks like something out of a movie and the sheer colour play brings harmony.As the plane started its descent, I could feel the stress melting away. I knew at that instant that this was going to be a memorable trip, and I was bang on!

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We were in two minds while deciding on Andaman’s. 1) We were travelling as a family and weren’t sure if it was a good destination for a family trip 2)The travel to nearby islands was either by jetty or boats and we were apprehensive about that as well as my MIL get’s sea-sick and we had two small kids under 5 and we had no idea about their seafaring skills. Surprisingly, there weren’t many blogs or travel information related to Andaman back in 2013 and those that were available were usually from adventure travellers or lone travellers, however, we had this itch to go to Andaman’s and we decided to take a leap of faith.

I hadn’t been to many islands so that itself was exciting. The bird-eye view that I saw of the Andaman islands was mesmerising. I fell in love with the place even before we landed. We had booked with an online travel agency and they were there to receive us at the airport. Once we had settled into the hotel at Port Blair, we decided to explore the city and were told that there are a few museums and city parks that we must see apart from the Cellular jail. As we weren’t much of a museum group, we decided to skip that and in the evening headed for the Cellular Jail instead.

Port Blair – Cellular Jail

Port Blair is by far the biggest city in Andaman’s. It is a typical city that is comparable to a small town in Goa or Kerala. Because of its closeness to Bengal, and also the fact that Bangladeshi refugees were allowed to stay here after the 1970 war, there is an influence of Bengali Culture.We are Non-Bengali’s, and we never faced any problems when it came to food or language. In those terms, Andaman’s is a perfect touristy place.
We reached Cellular Jail and took the tickets. We were informed that the sound and light show was not to be missed. The sound and light show traces the origin of the Cellular Jail, how it came into existence, the many atrocities that took place there and the struggle of prisoners, namely Veer Savarkar or Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The narration and the show left us teary eyed. Later we went around the prison museum, the work shed, Veer Savarkar’s cell and a museum dedicated to India’s Freedom Struggle. It chronicles India’s Freedom struggle, even before 1857 till 1947. Walking through those hallways you come to a central column which has the names of our freedom fighters who were lodged in these prisons. The long list, coupled with the thought of brutalities that they experienced here is enough to bring tears to anyone’s eyes. Cellular Jail is a moving experience. It reminds us that the freedom we enjoy today did not come cheap.

Ross Island

Next day, we went to Ross Island. Ross Island was the British settlement that looked after the administration of Andamans and handled the Cellular Jail. It was a fully functioning facility with a canteen, bakery, residences, church, water purifier and a club. Today, however, it is a different story, what remains are only the ruins of a thriving community. Ross Islands is today under the Indian Navy. It is open to public for visitations. We took a jetty from Water Sports Complex in Port Blair and reached Ross within 30 minutes. The ruins of yesteryears are beautified by the quietness of the place and the numerous friendly deer and peacocks that habitat the place today. It is a great reminder of a bygone era.

Neil Island

This is one of the small islands that we visited. It is habited and there are boat rides at fixed times that take you to Port Blair and Havelock. I loved it for the simple island life that it offers. The hotel that we stayed in had cycles and bikes on rent, using which one could explore the island. There aren’t many attractions that one can see in Neil island so those wishing to look for adventure can skip it. We went to the beach in the evening to watch the sunset. It was the most laid back one day that we enjoyed in our trip.

Havelock Island

Havelock is the fun island. Radha nagar beach, rated one of the best beaches in Asia is in Havelock and Elephant Beach offers all the water sports that you can think of! Add to it the clear blue waters, silver sands and a perfect sunny weather and you have the best beach holiday ever! We spent a whole day on Elephant island enjoying the various water sports. There is something called as the Under Sea Water walk. If you can take it, it shouldn’t be missed. The best thing is that you don’t need to know swimming to do this. Walking on the sea-bed and seeing first hand the corals, fishes and other aquatic beauties was a great experience for me. In the evening, we headed to Radha nagar beach to watch the sunset. The pristine, long beach looks like a painting. As the sun sets, the sun rays play over the soft waves making them look magical. The beach is long and never seems crowded. It was quiet even if there were dozens of people around. You can play in the waters or take a long soul searching walk along the beach, it’s perfect for everything.

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Andamans was an enriching experience for me. A journey that helps you connect with yourself and people around you. A must visit for all those who are tired of the city bustle or wish to have a romantic soulful trip. This World Tourism Day, I wish everyone has Andaman’s on their bucket list.