It is often in the middle of the night or in the middle of a rather tedious day, that my mind wanders. The mundane that makes me dream and yearn for all the adventures I was lucky to have and will have in the future. Holed up in our homes, us traveller sorts are bound to get a bit grumpy. But when the cabin fever sets in, I gladly flip through all my adventures, cooking and planning new ones for later.
Zip Lining in Mauritius and South Africa
I have always been really (really) scared of heights but it was in Mauritius that I first learnt how to step out of that shackle. La Vallee Des Couleurs Nature Park has a 1.5km-long zip line where participants are propelled horizontally....something I chickened out of at the last moment. Later, at the same park, I braved my first zip line ever. Sitting at the edge of a waterfall, I scooted and pushed myself off, minutes blurring by until I reached another waterfall. My first win.
The second one came a year later in South Africa, when I was hung above a hill, trying to go down a 450-metre zip line (with a 77-metre drop) that ran into an upward curve forming a loop. Orchards stretched out invitingly. but I was too scared, ready to remove pull off the harness and drive back down with the instructor, Patrick. It was his unwavering support and the fact that he (literally) pushed me off the hill that had me flying down, zooming past the treetops and giggling until I stopped. I suppose I will be better the next time.
The third test to my will and bravery was the 350-metre long Nepalese bridge. The bridge was as wide as a plank of wood, suspended way above the tallest of treetops and then there was I, quivering as I was strapped into a harness and my feet like jello. If it was about conquering my fear, I don’t know but what I do know is that I took it a step at a time. The bridge swayed with the wind and my heart lurched every time I almost missed my step. There wasn’t any backing out either, once you are on the bridge you have to complete the path. I couldn’t quit midway. I am proud I did it once though I doubt I will find that courage again.
Read: A Guide to Mauritius
Jungle Safari in South Africa
A jungle safari is not much of an adrenaline rush until it really is. At Thanda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, it was only when our vehicle stopped that the real adventure began. A brave elephant calf had approached us, putting its tiny trunk on the hood of our jeep. As much as we wanted to coo at the little one, we couldn’t. The matriarch was glaring at us from a distance so our guide let the calf do its snooping and steered us away from the dangerous herd.
The sun was setting as we parked near a small pond. A look from our guide had us all quiet when he pointed towards a pride of lions lounging under the trees. On the other side of the lake, two rhinos came in to sip some water. Slowly, a few lionesses rose from their slumber and made their way to the pond. Their eyes shining as the sky darkened and the stars twinkled above. Three of South Africa’s big ones spotted in a matter of minutes, nothing has ever been more adrenaline-inducing.
River Rafting in Kevadia
If somebody had ever told me that I would try river rafting in Gujarat, I would have probably laughed out loud. But times change and new destinations come to play. The latest in Gujarat is Kevadia, home to the towering statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The small town has grown tenfold, brimming with gardens, tent cities, hiking trails and whatnot. Our favourite was river rafting in the Narmada. Sure, boating and birding were fun but nothing matched the thrill of the grade-three rapids. We bobbed up the river and navigated through many boulders and turns, the whole experience leaving us soaked and happy to our core.
Snorkelling in the Maldives
As most are wont to do in the Maldives, I spent my time lazing around, taking long naps and indulging in extravagant meals. But one morning, overcome by the ocean surrounding my quaint island, I hopped on a boat to go snorkelling. I had never attempted it before, but water and I have long been friends. I slipped on the scuba kit, put in the intrusive breathing piece and took a leap of faith. The soft heat of the sun and warmth of the lagoon seeping into my bones. I swam for around for an hour or so, marvelling at the schools of fish, the colourful lagoon and the sudden, dark drop in the sea bed. Vast, unending and, oddly enough, anchoring; it was breathtaking and exhilarating in the best way possible.