WanderInspo… A First Quarter Round Up

I know there has been silence on Harpreet’s Wanderlust lately. It isn’t because of lack of things to say because those that know me know that I am more verbose than most and thanks to my lil space on the interwebs I have so many of you wonderful Wanderlusters coming up to me and saying hello! So, before I ramble on about what I have been up to this first quarter of 2018, I’d like to take a moment to just say Thank You to those that do come up to me and chat to me about Harpreet’s Wanderlust and our travels. Thank you for all your positivity, wonderful comments and love. One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to share the adventures had with my Kenyan Passport with my Wanderlustmate M and to inspire, and to find that I am actually doing this is both humbling and heart-warming at the same time, and so, Thank You.

There is no earth shattering confession for the lack of posts on Harpreet’s Wanderlust other than life has simply been rolling on. Adulting at my day job has had to take a high seat on the priority list, simply because this is what pays the bills and allows me to wanderlust. But, sprinkle in planning new adventures and travelling, finding time for other passions like cooking and reading and spending quality time with my loved ones which leaves little to no time for content creation. But, with all things in life, everything happens for a reason because I found that I had started to get burnt out from how competitive blogging has become and so the digital detox has actually done me good. It has allowed me to rejuvenate and reflect on all the wonderful experiences the last couple of months without the pressure of sharing, which in turn has allowed me to distil these moments into what I hope are now shareable (is that even a word) stories for all my Wanderlusters to enjoy!

To delve into more of what I’ve been up to, here’s a little round up:

1. Reminiscing about our epic trip exploring Ethiopia

Sunset in Lalibela

Sunset in Lalibela

The adventures that Wanderlustmate M and I had out in Ethiopia deserve a series of blogposts and though I have been penning my memoirs on our trip out here, I am finding it difficult to find the words to do this country and its treasures justice. If I were to describe our escapades in Ethiopia in one word, I would have to say that our time out here was astounding. In a totally incredible and awesome way. From the din of Addis, to exploring the rock hewn churches of Lalibela, to revelling in the calm of the beautiful Simien mountains and hanging out with gelada baboons, to conquering fears and scaling impossible heights to see the churches of Tigray and then driving out to the hell like temperatures of the Danakil Depression, home to the salt flats of Lake Asale and the martian like sulphur lakes of Dallol and to ending this adventure with an epic climb up one of earth’s few active volcanoes Erta Ale: Ethiopia is an attack on the senses in a fantastic way and I honestly can’t wait to finish my series on this country to share with you all!

Wanderlusting in ancient doorways

Wanderlusting in ancient doorways

The martian landscapes of Dallol

The martian landscapes of Dallol

2. Thinking about that time that we swam with whale sharks in Djibouti

Yep, you read that right: whale sharks!!! Now that I am sat all safe in my home in Nairobi, I can think back and say heck yeah, I swam with whale sharks! But at the time, I must confess that I was peeing in my pants. You have probably guessed by now that I am not the biggest fan of the ocean. I think that the ocean is nice to look at from a safe distance sat on a sun lounger in a bikini, sipping on a Pina Colada. I will wade in the shallow bits and even attempt to snorkel in places where I can see the bottom. But tell me to jump into the murky depths of the ocean and swim next to something the size of 10 large trailers put together and my thoughts are ummmm, thanks, but no thanks!

I think that swimming with whale sharks has to be put on the list as my proudest moment so far this year. Despite my paralysing fear of the ocean, I challenged myself to get over this and take a literal leap of faith and jumped right in! It was scary at first but then adventure took over the fear and though unnerving to be swimming alongside this gentle monster, the magic of being in this moment watching her feed, her gills open and close and just being in the same vicinity as her was surreal. Easily the craziest and yet one of the most incredible things I have done so far, apt to bring 2018 in with a bang!

Swimming with Whale Sharks

Swimming with Whale Sharks

3. Having a staycation at Elsa’s Kopje

Last year I made a resolution to explore more of my own backyard and go to places that I hadn’t been to before, in an attempt to see more of my own country. As a young girl, I always dreamed of staying at the bespoke and luxurious properties owned by the then popular group known as Cheli & Peacock. March 2018 saw Wanderlustmate M and I celebrate his birthday at Elsa’s Kopje in Meru National Park, where we had an amazing weekend reconnecting with nature and exploring a park that neither of us had been to before. There will be more on this soon, now that I have renewed my joie de blogging again!

Wanderlusting at Elsa's Kopje

Wanderlusting at Elsa’s Kopje

4. Planning a trip to Bhutan, Nepal and India

Bhutan has been a country that Wanderlustmate M and I have had on our Wanderlustlists forever. We have planned and unplanned our travels to this part of the world this every other year but as fate would have it March 2018 was THE month that we set Footsteps in Bhutan. As you can imagine it took a heck of a lot of planning and research for us to come up with the perfect itinerary to coincide with the spring festival of Paro Tshechu and to explore Bhutan, and then spend a couple of days in Nepal and India. Weekends were spent poring over guidebooks and articles crafting our own itinerary and before we knew it, the time had come to actually travel which just goes to show that the Universe works fast when you are having fun!

Planning our first quarter travels

Planning our first quarter travels

5.Writing for the Asian Weekly

Indeed the first quarter of 2018 has been full of wonderful opportunities. One of my biggest dreams is to write for major publications and so you can imagine my delight when I was approached by the Asian Weekly to contribute to a monthly column. I still cannot believe it and I have been hugging this like a delicious secret until my articles were published. I am so proud and excited to share with all my wonderful Wanderlusters the first two articles that I have written for this fantastic publication, and I look forward to sharing a tonne more. Make sure you get your copy of the Asian Weekly to catch up with my travel stories!

My First Asian Weekly Article!

My First Asian Weekly Article!

6. Travel to Bhutan and Nepal

Prayer flags and Tiger's Nest

Prayer flags and Tiger’s Nest

The travel highlight of the first quarter of 2018 has been setting Footsteps in Bhutan, and then Nepal. The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has been labelled the happiest country in the world and it is easy to see why. Modern yet drenched in culture, the Bhutanese are some of the humblest, purest people in the world and Bhutan is easily the most stunning place we have been to in a while. The big cities and little towns rise from between deep valleys which have mountains rising up to meet the sky. Virgin forests carpet these snow-capped peaks: forests which have had no footstep of mankind explore them. The air is clean, fresh and pure. Traversing the country is like being in a beautiful trance: one you are reluctant to be woken up from. How I would love to go back to the Land of the Thunder Dragon and spend weeks out there doing nothing but soaking it all in…

Tigers Nest, Bhutan

Tigers Nest, Bhutan

In contrast the chaos and dust of Kathmandu is a world away from Bhutan but it too, has its own charm. Alas, considerations like leave days and time off work meant that our time out in Nepal was short lived, but we still managed to pack a lot in and spent time in Pokhara and tried our luck spotting tigers in Chitwan before pit stopping in Delhi en route back home.

Stupas in Kathmandu

Stupas in Kathmandu

The epitome of luxury in Chitwan

The epitome of luxury in Chitwan

And there we have it, a whirlwind round-up of what this Wanderluster has been up to this first quarter of 2018. Do you enjoy reading posts like these? Let me know in the comments section below and I would be more than happy to create more WanderInspo like this.

Until next time, Happy Wanderlusting! Xoxo.

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