From Pondicherry to Philippines, from MP to Andaman Islands, I travelled to these 12 places in 2018

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Photo of From Pondicherry to Philippines, from MP to Andaman Islands, I travelled to these 12 places in 2018 1/1 by Nancy Johri
My 2018 in one picture

Starting from September 2015, I have been travelling every month. Like last more than three years now, in 2018 also I took twelve journeys in my quest to understand the world and its people a little more. I went to 5 mountain destinations, 4 beach destinations, 1 desert destination, and 2 others. Among these twelve trips, 5 were solo. Travel-wise, 2018 was a great year for me because I did some things and took few decisions for the very first time- going on my first solo international trip and resigning from my job to pursue travelling more exuberantly, to mention a few.

Travelling has taught me something wonderfully beautiful yet very simple- to have gratitude for every single day of my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I never travelled. I always learn something new when I hit the road.

While most of the people are trying to find a home for their heart in a person, I am trying to travel the world and call every place my home.

Here’s how my 2018 was like travel-wise…

January- Where I saw Hindustan Ka Dil

Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Photo of Madhya Pradesh, India by Nancy Johri

Madhya Pradesh is known for its excellent historical and archaeological sites. The regal state has it all that takes to be the centre of India- be it the rich history, culture, tradition or art. The intricate carvings on majestic monuments are exceptionally famous among travelers from all over the world.

In the limited time that I had, I tried to dive deep into the details of its spectacular destinations, culture, and everything else. I went to see graceful Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Archaeological Museum (Khajuraho) and sacred Sanchi.

Madhya Pradesh Diaries- Solo Trip to ‘Heart of India’

February- My journey to the holy, soulful and glorious City of Light

Assi Ghat

Photo of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India by Nancy Johri

I went to Banaras to attend a Bengali wedding. Obviously, I couldn’t return without strolling around the famous Assi Ghat. Walking the alleyways and watching the evening aarti from the boat is unforgettable. Varanasi is one of the most intriguing and colorful places in India where one can see the rituals of life and death taking place publically. I also took a walk around Banaras Hindu University that was established in 1916.

March- Journey to Paris of the East

Matrimandir

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Nancy Johri

Still not been able to go to Goa by that time (like all those who desperately want to visit there at least once in their lifetime, but yet have failed in every effort to execute their dream plan into action, and are thousands of miles away from it even now), I somehow settled with the idea of going to Pondicherry. Little did I know that it is also a great option for beach-lovers, as well as for those who want to enjoy a peaceful vacation!!

Also known as Puducherry, the Union Territory (French colonial settlement until 1954) has beautifully preserved the French legacy. The mustard-colored streets and colonial villas, modish boutiques, along with tree-lined lanes reflect the rich French heritage. Moreover, it can be your convenient getaway or mini-Goa if you crave for beaches.

Pondicherry: Mini-Goa for North Indians

April- To see what the hype is all about (but on a budget)

Baga Beach

Photo of Goa, India by Nancy Johri

After ignoring everybody’s advice that April is not the best time to visit Goa, I went there and witnessed the magical, secluded, so-worth-it beaches.

Affectionately known as “Rome of East”, we all love Goa for its lovely beaches, friendly locals and infinite fun. But before appreciating this tiniest Indian state any further, let me ask you something. What if you get all dressed-up and reach the beach in a party mood, but can’t find a single vacant table at your favorite shack? The charm of your dream beach holiday will be lost, isn’t it? Partying at an over-crowded beach will definitely not fulfill your expectations of peace and high spirits, and this is the major reason why I travelled to this “Pearl of the Orient” during the off-season (usually from April to September).

6 reasons why you should travel to Goa during off-season

May- Where I realized that mountains are BAE

Manalsu River

Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Nancy Johri

I often wondered whether I am a beach-person or a mountain-person. A solo trip to Old Manali (don’t confuse it with Manali) gave me the answer. One day spent in this entirely different world made me realize that I love mountains more than beaches. Crossing the bridge over gushing Manalsu River will take you to this paradise, and you will feel as if you have entered a different country altogether.

Old Manali: Himalayan Hippie Village that proves “Old is Gold”

June- Where I met my favorite author

Cambridge Book Depot

Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Nancy Johri

Going through a rough patch at that time, I thought of dropping the idea of taking another journey. I felt like putting a break to my ritual of travelling every month.

Choosing Mussoorie was absolutely random, and something fantastic happened there that has strengthened my belief in the concept of ‘serendipity’. I was fortunate enough to meet and talk to one of my favorite authors- the legendary Ruskin Bond.

Mussoorie: Solo trip to the 'Queen of Hill Stations'

July- The much-needed luxury trip for the budget traveller inside me

Divine Resort

Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Nancy Johri

I took this weekend trip to the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ with the sole aim of relaxing. I always travel on a shoestring budget, but not this time. I checked into one of the most lavish resorts of Rishikesh. After chilling for the whole day, I went outside for an evening walk to get the vibes of the city. I walked across the Lakshman Jhula and looked around the nearby market and restaurants. The bell-clanging and chanting of devotees give this place a soothing ambiance.

August- Where I decided to leave my job to pursue travelling wholeheartedly

Crown Regency Hotel and Towers

Photo of Philippines by Nancy Johri

I left my job after I returned from the Philippines. A job to which I gave five precious years of my life; a job I was in love with. Earlier, quotes like “Quit your job. Travel the world.” or “Leave your job. Get a plane ticket. Never return.” on social media made me laugh because I used to think that something like that is definitely ‘made up’ or ‘impossible’. Who even thinks of leaving a stable job that promises a regular income just to see the world? Well, not me for sure. But I resigned from my job as soon as I returned from there in order to pursue travelling with more focus and time. This trip changed my life along with my thought process.

Philippines Solo Travel Diaries Part 1: Manila (The city that gave me tears and laughter)

Philippines Solo Travel Diaries Part 2: Cebu (Heaven for culture, architecture, and adventure lovers)

Philippines Solo Travel Diaries Part 3: Mactan (where I was tricked into quitting my job)

September- Luxury and relaxation amidst nature

Woodville Palace Heritage Hotel

Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Nancy Johri

I have been to Shimla multiple times. But this time, I stayed at Woodville Palace Hotel which is a heritage property located in Chotta Shimla. This part of Shimla is far from all the noise and crowd, and you will feel as if you have been transported to a bygone era. It is the only palace hotel in Shimla which is the former summer residence of the Raja Rana of Jubbal. Snuggled in four acres of greenery, staying in such a royal place gave me an experiential travel experience which was completely different from a usual chain hotel. Spending time there and getting the royal treatment was in itself the most distinguished part of this weekend trip.

October- For the love of dogs and mountains

Prashar Lake trek

Photo of Prashar Lake, D.P.F. Parashar Dhar, Himachal Pradesh by Nancy Johri

Not much into trekking but willing to go for at least one every year, this time again I chose to volunteer for 'Tails and Trails' that runs on the idea of “Why not trek and camp with your dog?” This was their third edition and they chose Prashar Lake trek this time. I was super-excited to go for this hike because I love dogs, mountains and camping- in this particular sequence. Apart from that, I was thrilled to see the mesmerising views of the Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal, and Kinnaur mountain ranges.

While volunteering for this fund-raising trek for an animal NGO with unknown people and their pet dogs, I realised that we all are connected with nature in some way.

Prashar Lake Trek: Why go alone when you can hike with your dog?

November- Where I finally ticked off scuba diving from my bucket list

Nemo Reef

Photo of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Nancy Johri

Ticking off scuba diving from my bucket list was long due. I was giving every shot to do it since 2017 but even after trying thrice, my dream of swimming underwater among fish was still unfulfilled due to one or the other reason. But in November, I went to the Andaman Islands with a friend of mine who had also been unlucky like me when it came to taking a plunge in the water. She had returned from places like Thailand and Mauritius empty-handed, without a single glimpse of the sea life.

Finally, we both did it last year. I can barely explain in words how it actually felt to be in that zone. I am really fascinated with scuba diving, and I would love to do it again wherever and whenever possible.

Don’t forget to include this rare, hidden gem in your travel plans when in Port Blair!!!

These 2 jobless girls had the best vacation in Havelock Island. And that too on a budget!!!

Why I will never forget my first scuba dive in Andaman Islands

December- To enjoy New Year celebration in the Blue City

Mehrangarh Fort

Photo of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Nancy Johri

I travelled to Jodhpur to conclude 2018 and commence 2019 in the royal city of Rajasthan. Located in the Thar Desert, this majestic city was my last stop of 2018. Apart from visiting the popular places like Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jaswant Thada, etc., I went to see some small and less known places as well. I am not a big foodie, but this time I tried a variety of local food and loved it as well. Staying in a hostel, I made new friends from different parts of the world and observed how the meaning of travelling and the reasons why we travel are different for all of us.

“It’s a big world out there. It would be a shame not to experience it.”- This quote by J. D. Andrews always motivates me to travel far and wide.

I wish you a wonderful year ahead full of happy journeys :)

To know about my 12 journeys in 2017, check out this- 12 months, 12 trips, 12 lessons (that no school will teach you)

Keep travelling :)

3 Comment(s)
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hie Nancy !! that's such an amazing decision that you have taken . but i genuinely have this qstion in mind !! without job how do you manage to travel ???
Sun 01 06 19, 06:56 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks for the appreciation :) And of course money is needed to travel. So I am using my savings. Also, I freelance now, which means that I can work from anywhere in the world while I am travelling. The money earned is spend on travelling only :)
Sun 01 06 19, 23:49 · Report
That was a great experience and a great piece to read. All the very best for all your upcoming trips. Keep enlightening us. Keep posting!
Fri 01 04 19, 18:53 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks for the appreciation :)
Sun 01 06 19, 23:46 · Report
That was a good one, Nancy. All the best for 12 more fascinating trips, this year.
Thu 01 03 19, 18:39 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks for the appreciation :)
Sun 01 06 19, 23:46 · Report
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