So, I started doing this annual roundup as way back as 2013. But it was only from 2016 that I found the best way to do a roundup: Instagram. And now, 2018 brings me yet another reason to do this again.
I have it very clearly mentioned on my instagram profile that I am NOT an influencer (although, I have taken some rare influencer agreements in the past), but Instagram has a much bigger role for me in my travels. To ensure that I have a chronological record of where I travelled, and what I saw each day. Kind of like my Project 365, but without the compulsion of having to post something every day.
And as 2018 – a pretty interesting year for me – comes to a close, I went back to search for my best memories of the year. Again using my trustworthy Instagram account.
Here are the best moments of each of the months in this year.
Further Reading: Have you checked my instagram roundup of 2017?
The year 2018 started off with the continuation of the K2K2K ride. I remember I was exactly in Arunachal Pradesh, crossing the Pangsau Pass to Myanmar, around the new year eve. But after that, I spent the entire months in Assam. Especially, a couple of weeks in Majuli, which has now become one of my favourite backpacker spots in the North East part of India.
Half of February was spent riding from the North East towards Kolkata. And the other half was spent in Andamans. I kept my motorbike in Kolkata and took a flight to Port Blair, to check out the beaches. And, oh boy, does Andaman have the prettiest beaches in India?
March was a gritty riding month, as I took my bike all the way from Kolkata to Kerala, with various stops along the way. But the best part of it all was coming back home after many months, and seeing some of the best aspect of kerala – its vibrant theyyam culture.
In April, I finally finished the K2K2K ride! Having started from Kibithoo in December, it took me 5 months to ride from Kibithoo to Kanyakumari, and then to Koteshwar, to complete the East-South-West ride through India. After the feat, I rode further to Chandigarh, and just chilled off there for a way. Mainly to give my butt some much-needed rest.
After riding through India for the last 6 months, I left the country for a bit in May. The first stop was Oman, and then I spent the entire month of Ramadan in the North-African country of Tunisia. It was a challenge for me to spend Ramadan in a muslim country, and I had thought that I would end up loosing a lot of weight by the end of it. Surprisingly, I ended up gaining weight at the end of this trip. Tunisian food is soooo yummy!
Most of June was spent in Ethiopia, which was another culturally diverse place for me to explore. I skipped the Southern route or the omo valley trip, because it is nothing short of a human safari. And went the northern way, towards Gondar and Bahir Dar. It was a revelation.
In July, I visited my 83rd country. Azerbaijan was yet another surprise. The entire country, was an eye-opener. From the futuristic architecture of Baku to the silk route culture of Sheki, it was one of the best solo trips that I have had the pleasure of doing this year.
August was a rough month for me. I returned back to Kerala, and flew to Thailand for a collaboration with Novotel Phuket. But immediately after I flew from the Kochi airport, Kerala was subdued by a flood. And my entire 2 weeks in Thailand were spent stressing out over the safety and security of friends and family back home.
The first half of September saw me back in Kerala, helping with some flood relief and and some cleaning operations that were happening all over kerala after the floods. By the end of the month, I took a flight to Guwahati, for yet another stint in the northeast. This time, it was for the Ziro Festival in Arunachal.
Came back to Kerala again, mainly to check out the rare event of the Neelakurinji bloom, which happens every 12 years. There were fears about road safety after the floods, but to the credit of the Kerala government, the roads were up and running, and I finally got to see the Neelakurinji. And unexpectedly, the Nilgiri Tahr.
I think this was the only month in the entire year when I spent everyday in my home state of Kerala. I rode around different corners of the state, checking out places that I have never visited before. And there were some crazy finds. Like the impressive Jatayu rock sculpture, which completely blew my mind.
December had me move back to Bangalore, where I will be staying for a while. (yeah, I am back to searching for a job now :-D). There were mostly short rides, like to Gokarna and Pondicherry.
I think I will finish the year on a little subdued note J
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