Winnie the Pooh, Iron man, Crazy and yes, a bottle of Bacardi Dark Rum!

46372531_1991106170996510_4561440213938733056_oLet’s end the curiosity, the dark rum was, in our opinion, a fakester and ended before we could even begin! Now for the rest, Oh what a trip! A Trip in a travel sense, because we all have our own camping standards, right?

Crazy me met Iron-man on a flight and got talking only because of some stinky in between.  Iron-man, wonder-woman, Super-girl, words are less to describe this one. The saying, your vibe attracts your tribe stands true. Iron-man and Crazy me hit it off.  We planned a trip together and that’s when I got introduced to Winnie the ‘Poo’. Winnie the Pooh, as the character, a humble, accommodating, fun character volunteered to drive.

Though the plan was still up in the air with no four-wheel drive, no destination, we ran the bits over dinner and set off at noon the following day.  The Infinity Q6, filled with the necessities of camping was a faithful one throughout this trip.

After a mandatory stop at the fuel station, we began to unwind, letting our hair down and cruising away to paradise unknown.  We had to park before sunset and just at about that time, we found an awesome spot at Fins Beach Ash Sharqiyah, Oman.

A group selfie followed by setting up the tent and parking our lovely ass to get lost in the vast view of the ocean.  As darkness took over, the air got a little nippy and dang! What is that flash light. Oh wait, some more campers, but what brings them to camp under such strong unnatural light. A little bit of vehicle adjustment and we had an evening to us, far away from the city, minus that God damn light.

Music that soothed our ears and got us dancing, food that entertained our taste buds but it was the worms in Winnie that added to the craziness!

We slept under the starlight and the morning after we summoned the trip by swimming in the vast deep blue sea while the sounds of waves played in the background. We packed to head back to the city, but not with the blues and not with Mr. Hangover, because the Bacardi ended before it had just begun.



16 Reasons Why Everyone Should Take a Sabbatical From Work to Travel

In all the excesses of the 21st century work life, if there is but one paucity, it is that of time. Claim it back – and a three week off per calendar year doesn’t quite cut it.

It’s time to take a sabbatical. What for? To travel, of course! Let us tell you why –

1. Reinvent, rejuvenate, reorganize

A sabbatical will give you a long enough period of time organize your thoughts and focus your energies towards your greater goals in life. And what better way to do so than while soaking in the tropical sun in Goa, or perhaps cliff jumping in Hampi! It’s time to take a break, take in some fresh air, and awaken your mind.

2. Travel is the best teacher

This is not untrue. Travel lets you take a step back, observe and more importantly, absorb. We can promise that you’ll return well rounded, and far more perceptive.

3. Eat, pray, love

Travel can be healing as much as a process of self discovery, as illustrated beautifully in Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. Take some time off to explore the woods, regain your sanity as well as some perspectives!

4. Listen to yourself

Can we really listen to our thoughts in this noise? Everyday, we are taking a turn for the inorganic, be it through the music that is constantly drumming in your ears every free second you get, or the constant honking you have to live through every time you decide to step out. Take some time off to listen to your own mind talk. Get some peace as you hike through Switzerland, or wild swim in Europe. It’ll be worth it.

5. Find your mojo

Ever wondered how you were so motivated in college but suddenly it is hard to even get out of bed? It is time to reclaim your mojo. Go out, watch the sun set. Sleep under the stars every night and watch as the moon waxes and wanes. Camp out or stay in by a fire place. Use your sabbatical to build yourself anew!

6. Break the cycle

We are all systematized into wanting to party on Fridays, go out on Saturdays, sleep in on Sunday and mourn every Monday. Is that really how one should go on, like a machine? Use your sabbatical to mix it up. As you decide to party every night of the week at Sunburn in Goa, or have pancakes at 5 in the evening in New York, you effectively break the dreaded routine. Don’t forget to bring the spirit back home!

7. Slow down

Travelling on your sabbatical will let you slow down. After years of pushing yourself to wake up everyday, put your game face on and head out into the world, a long enough break and a change of scene becomes more than just necessary. Walk through a city, read a map you can touch and learn a new language (just the basics, if not much!).

8. Take one for good health

It is necessary to get out of the cityscape that surrounds you. Travelling can have a resoundingly positive impact on not just your physical health but also on your psychology. Use your time off to slow your heart rate down, control your stress levels and improve your general well being. The post sabbatical you will glow in the pink of health!

9. Get some alone time

Use your sabbatical to get some alone time as you read into the night in a cabin in the woods, or karaoke to 60s music at a bar in London. Use your alone time to do the things that you love as well as the things you really wanted to do.

10. You’ll bring stories back

Meet new people from a different culture on your sabbatical. Go to the Spanish countryside and eat freshly made cheese. Venture into the Australian wilderness and barbecue under the sky. The stories you’ll find on your travels will live with you forever.

11. Try a new lifestyle

Remember how you always wanted to switch your phone off and take a getaway? Why, here’s your chance to explore a lifestyle you wanted to! Try an earth diet as you holiday on a farmhouse in the hills, or a technology cleanse as you sit yourself down every evening by the seaside with glass of wine. You could get used to it, couldn’t you?

12. Catch up on your hobbies

What are your hobbies? Think. Now do so. That’s what sabbaticals are for. Find a location that lets you do what you love, as you like it. How about going for a nice, long run in the hills and coming back to a cup of freshly ground coffee? Or, perhaps painting the scenic sunset of Monaco?

3. Up your productivity

Studies have shown that vacations and sabbaticals affect one’s productivity rather positively. As does travelling. Use your sabbatical to come back refreshed and reenergized.
14. Change is good
A change of scene never hurt anyone. It is almost unquestionably important today, that we spend most of our time in and around concrete. A change of scene will invariably cause a change of perspective too!
15. Find inspiration
Inspire your creativity. Write, paint, compose! Use your sabbatical to do things that are not regular to you. Get in touch with your inner artist.
16. Be a culture vulture
As you are out there exploring, be a culture vulture! Absorb yourself in the local arts, music, food and wine. Keep traversing, keep learning, and make the most of your much deserved sabbatical!

Original Post: Tripoto

Sherpa: They Die, We Go Home

The morning of the avalanche was quiet. It was still unseasonably cold at base camp but the stiff winds had loosened, and for the first time in a week I felt healthy. I knocked the frost off of my sleeping bag and headed to the mess tent for a cup of instant coffee. It was April 18, 2014. Our team was scheduled to set off from base camp at first light for an acclimatization climb through the Khumbu Icefall, but we were still recovering from a dhal bhat-induced gastrointestinal disaster of the variety that makes you miss your mom. We decided to stay put another day.

This was my second season on Everest; our team aborted the previous year’s attempt at 28,000 feet, after getting caught in a storm with frozen corneas and frostbitten toes- the only fitting way to end an expedition riddled by death, fights, crowds and avalanches. I was hopeful this year would be different. My teammate Toby joined me in the mess tent; it was his first year on Everest and together we were co-leading the first-ever Kenyan Everest Expedition. He’d been peppering me with questions since we left Kathmandu, chomping at the bit to start climbing. “When you’re climbing through the icefall are you just waiting to hear the crack of an avalanche?” he asked, as he fumbled with a Starbucks Via packet. He began stirring his coffee with the fervor of a hypoxic Cuisinart.

The Khumbu Icefall is the stuff of nightmares. It’s the most deadly section of Everest’s Southern climbing route; a river of ice riddled with bottomless crevasses beneath a cliff of hanging glaciers (seracs) that sporadically break free and come crashing down. It’s Russian roulette and it’s the only way to get from base camp to camp one. Climbing quickly helps to mitigate some risk, but moving fast at 20,000 feet elevation isn’t easy. In 2013, I had a close call in the icefall. We were descending from camp one when a serac broke free above us. We whipped our heads around to determine how fast it was coming, and then we ran and hid behind a tall block of ice. We waited, crouched in horror, as the debris field blasted over our heads. Ten minutes earlier, we were standing in the exact place the serac hit. That’s the icefall — you’re either lucky or you’re not.

“When you’re in the icefall it’s like you’re in a Dr. Seuss book. You’re mesmerized and disturbed at the same time,” I told Toby. “Just listen to the Sherpa, move fast when they tell you to, and try to hold it together when you hear them praying.” A few minutes later, we heard an explosion. We ran out of the tent — as we often did when we heard avalanches — and watched as a 30 million pound block of ice released off the west shoulder of the Khumbu Icefall. It was as though the vibration of my words triggered the avalanche.

Toby grabbed the camera and began filming the massive debris cloud as it swept down the icefall and towards base camp. “Do you reckon they’ll be people up there?” he can be heard saying before the filming stops. Only those of us who had been in the icefall truly understood the implications of a serac of that size falling in that location at that time. “Dozens,” I said.

The minutes after the avalanche were strangely quiet. We huddled around the radio and listened in silence as reports slowly trickled in. There was confusion over the scale of the devastation; the word “casualty” was being used synonymously to describe both the deceased and the injured. One report estimated that there were at least “25 casualties.” Toby began assembling the patches of our sponsors on his down suit. People do strange things when they don’t know what to do.

Within hours of the avalanche, base camp was reduced to a war zone; helicopters swarmed overhead transporting the bodies of dead Sherpas. One after one, the dead Sherpas were picked up from the icefall and flown through the air, dangling and lifeless bundles dropped at the helipad. It was the deadliest day in the history of Everest, worse than the infamous day in 1996 featured in Into Thin Air, and the climbing community was brought to its knees. Sixteen Nepali Sherpas were killed as they ferried gear to camp one, so that climbers like myself could move up the mountain more easily and less frequently. (Last year, 19 were killed, including 10 Sherpas, after the April 25 earthquake set off an avalanche.)

The next morning, our head climbing Sherpa, Temba, found me in the tent. His eyes were swollen from crying and his expression was empty. “We lost many friends and brothers yesterday,” he started. “We’d like to go home to our families, but the Sherpas are worried that if we cancel the expedition we will not get paid. We are willing to continue.” It seemed unfathomable to me that any of the guide companies would withhold compensation. Without any real understanding of the situation, I instinctively reassured him that his team would be taken care of, but the minute the sentence came out of my mouth, I realized that I had no authority to withhold or ensure their compensation.


A team of Sherpa rest at camp one after a long day of ferrying gear from base camp. Credit Photo Courtesy: Mike Chambers.

Toby waited for Temba to leave the tent before joining me. “How’d that go?” He asked. I wondered what he wanted to hear, imagining that, like me, he was conflicted about which outcome he really hoped for, both of us struggling with an internal, far more selfish fear. I wanted to go home. I was mentally and emotionally devastated. But as irrational as it may sound, a part of my subconscious was worried that if we didn’t continue, I would be cursed to come back for a third attempt.

Everest induces vertigo on your reasoning processes, but it was clear that in the moment that it would be wrong to keep climbing. We told Temba to tell the Sherpa that we would support their decision. Later that morning, Temba returned with the Sherpa and read a letter announcing the end of our expedition, stopping after each sentence to fight back tears. For a brief moment, I felt released from the grip of Everest. The fear of climbing was gone, and the fear of not climbing had yet to take its place. We broke down camp and began the 40-mile trek down the valley.

I called my wife on the satellite phone. It was 4 a.m. in Boston. She was emotional; her words a mix of longing and resentment that I’d gotten used to on long expeditions. I once heard her tell a friend that all Everest climbers are, without exception, megalomaniacs. I thought about that as I looked at my team: beaten, defeated, devastated. Not the Sherpa, I think. They don’t come here seeking adventure, they aren’t here in protest of the mindless routine that weighs them down at home. They come here to feed their families. There is no way to reconcile that.

The journey home from Kathmandu feels twice as long as the journey there. I meet my wife at the airport and I can see she is bracing herself for my disappointment. But immediately home from Everest, I don’t feel disappointed; I feel lucky to have my life and confused that a version of me would risk it for the sake of climbing a mountain. But then, as the months pass, that feeling fades, as it does every year. I forget about the pain and the tragedy and I’m left with a low-grade panic that the dream is slipping away. I scroll through my newsfeed to see who is going back, and find myself envious of friends who are packing their duffels and saying their good-byes.

In just a few weeks, hundreds of climbers from around the world will descend on Everest. While some argue that she is now more dangerous than ever because of growing crowds and poor regulations, the truth is that hardly any of the deaths on Everest over the past three years were caused by either of these issues. The bigger, more complicated story of the suffering of Everest is the longstanding and pervasive exploitation of Sherpa by the international climbing community — specifically, Western guide companies.

Temba makes about 90 percent less per season than his Western, less-experienced counterparts ($5,000 vs. $50,000). Western outfits market their guides as a safer alternative to Sherpa guides, playing into the fear and inexperience of their clients. In 2013 there was an American guide on our expedition who’d never climbed above 20,000 feet, yet he was in charge of a team of Sherpa with over 30 combined summits of Everest alone. Temba’s fears of not being paid if his team of Sherpa called off the season were ignited by threats from the commercial guide companies who, the morning of the avalanche, explicitly warned their Sherpa teams that they would forsake all payment if they walked away. Temba’s family receives little compensation in the event of his death — the likeliness of which is very high, given that he performs the most dangerous work on the mountain, with the most frequency. On average, Sherpas climb through the icefall 30 to 40 times per season, their Western counterparts 8 to 10 times.

I often hear folks justify the low wages of Sherpa by comparing them to the national average wage in Nepal. Why are we benchmarking the wage of a climbing Sherpa next to the wage of a farmer, a driver, the proprietor of a tea house, when the Sherpa’s job is much deadlier? Over a 10 year period ending in 2014, the mortality rate for a climbing Sherpa was more than 4 percent. To put this in context, the average workplace mortality rate in the United States is .003 percent, and a climbing Sherpa is over 30 times more likely to die than a logger, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites as the most deadly job in the United States. Grayson Schaffer reminds us: “As a dice roll for someone paying to reach the summit, the dangers of climbing can perhaps be rationalized. There’s no other service industry in the world that so frequently kills and maims its workers for the benefit of paying clients.”

For years, tensions have been building between the Sherpa and the Western climbing community. In 2013 at camp two, I watched as a crowd of angry Sherpa unleashed years of resentment on two renowned Western climbers, in a bloody fight that very easily could have ended in death. Earlier that day, both climbers ignored the Sherpa’s request to stay off of the Lhotse Face while they performed the dangerous work of fixing lines.

The conversation about how to make Everest safer needs to begin with the international climbing community asking ourselves how to make Everest more just. What continues to be missing in this dialogue is the narrative around the blatant exploitation of the Sherpa. Yes, issuing fewer permits and banning inexperienced climbers will lead to safer conditions, but the fact remains that the very people who depend on Everest have struggled to organize and advocate for their rights in the face of big business. And we, their clients, are complicit in this. We come, we climb, they die, we go home.

It’s safe to say that I’m in a complicated relationship with Mount Everest. There are moments when, reflecting on my time there, I am deeply moved by the history and by the legacy and the beauty and the breathtaking opportunities that she gives climbers to test the absolute limits of human endurance. And other times, maybe more times, I am ashamed and confused that as a community, we keep failing to recognize that the rights of the Sherpa should be considered as critical to an expedition as the weather conditions. There is so much humanity on Everest, and not nearly enough.

Written by: Mike Chambers (@chambers__mike) is executive director of Summits Education, an education organization operating 41 primary schools in Haiti. He has climbed extensively all over the world and has led 13 high-altitude expeditions.

Original Article: 


  (How our beliefs transform our genes and lives)

You might remember an interesting scene from the movie, TAARE ZAMEEN PAR. The art teacher (Aamir Khan) tells the rude and cursing father of the dyslexic kid (Darsheel) about Solomon Islands. In those islands, the tribal don’t cut down a tree. They surround the tree and curse it for hours every day. Within a few weeks, the tree dries up and becomes dead.
Many of us might find that example too difficult to believe. How can intangible and invisible thoughts and words kill a tree! Well, if you get to read Bruce H. Lipton’s THE BIOLOGY OF BELIEF, you won’t only believe in the Solomon Islands story, but would also think a dozen times before saying something demoralizing to yourself and the people you love.
In this book, Mr. Lipton tells in detail about the power of conscious and subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is millions of times more powerful than the conscious mind, and decides most of the things in our lives according to the beliefs it has. Many times we fail to change an unpleasant habit despite our will-power and consistent efforts. It’s because the habit has been so strongly programmed in our subconscious mind that the efforts made by our conscious mind hardly make any effect.
Take the example of your laptop. Suppose it’s playing the songs you don’t want to hear. If you ask and kick the laptop to play your desired songs, it would hardly be able to do so. You will have to work on its music software and change the song from there to get the result. In the same way, if you want to change your life in a far more effective way, you will have to get rid of the negative beliefs installed in our subconscious mind and reprogram it by installing new beliefs.

These beliefs are so strong that they affect our cells and transform our genes as well. Mr. Lipton has devoted a full chapter on how it happens, and if you don’t have time to read the book, you can watch a youtube video which explains it pretty well. Just go and type the name of the book in the youtube box.

So, when the tribals of Solomon Islands curse a tree, they are actually installing negative and harmful beliefs in the tree’s mind (yes, trees do have minds too). Within a few days, those negative beliefs change the molecular architecture of the tree and kill it from inside.

2500 years ago, when the Buddha said that ‘you are what you think’, he was not articulating a random philosophical theory. Actually he was telling a scientific fact which is now proved correct by Quantum Physics and Molecular Biology. While reading the book, I remembered how the Buddha had talked about subconscious mind and its unfathomable power over our lives. He called it Alay Vigyan which means store consciousness. This is the part of mind where all our beliefs and experiences are stored; and they dictate our life from there.

The book has a special chapter on Conscious Parenting where it talks about the beneficial and harmful effects of what parents say to their children. If you are a parent and you keep cursing your child in the name of constructive criticism, you are installing beliefs in his mind which will keep harming him forever. But if you keep appreciating him in a sincere way, you are installing beliefs in his mind which will help him for his entire life.

And be careful of what you keep saying to yourself. Repetition of words and thoughts is the best way to install a belief in your subconscious mind. If you keep saying you are a loser, don’t be surprised if you become one within a few months or years. And if you have friends who keep saying such things to you, there is no harm in saying a quick goodbye to them. Maybe you value the friendship a lot. But you must value yourself a little more.

To sum up this small write-up on beliefs, I would like to share what Charlie Chaplin said to his grandson, “Even when I was in orphanage, when I was roaming the streets trying to find enough to eat to keep alive, even then I thought of myself as the greatest actor in the world. I had to feel that exuberance that comes from utter confidence in yourself. Without that you go down to defeat.”

Walking the Chadar trail

Suks! this is beautiful…. The shots, the story and the experience… so glad… you were at the might holy mountain!

Traveller Mindset

I walked on the frozen Zanskar river, along with 9 others, for 7 days covering more than 70 kilometres. Armed with the best in branded trekking gear, I expected this to be a smooth sail, even at temperatures as low as – 25 degree Celsius. But with little or no survival skills and an alien ground beneath my feet, no matter how many layers of clothing I donned or what I carried, nature always got the best of me.

These photos and notes are my tribute to a once-in-a-lifetime experience of the journey from Chiling to Nerak.

LehThe view from the aircraft of the mighty Himalayas; every wanderer’s dream. Stretched over hundreds of kilometres and covered in white, this beautiful expanse is inviting. The Leh airport, surrounded by mountains is a welcome sight, especially having taken off from the overcrowded, concrete jungle that is Mumbai.

SUK_3097 After a day’s rest at…

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Simple Reminders from Our Beautiful World!

Believe & Trust in people and they will hurt you.
Be soft. Do not let them make you cold and heartless.Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place!

Believe in the Universe and our beautiful world and It’ll heal you.

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

New Hope – Pennsylvania

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, and lies partly in Nepal and partly in Sikkim, India.It rises with an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft) in a section of the Himalayas called that is limited in the west by the Tamur River, in the north by the Lhonak Chu and Jongsang La, and in the east by the Teesta River.

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

Manhattan Sky Line

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

Haji Ali, Mumbai, India

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

Kangchenjunga Early morning sunrise from Sangla Camp.

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

Sunset at Suruchi beach, Vasai, India

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

The break of dawn at Negambo, Sri Lanka

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

Minneriya National Wildlife Park, Sri Lanka

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

Ella, Sri Lanka

©  Diane Vaz Photography

© Diane Vaz Photography

Outram, Singapore.

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Love is …

Sitting back today I thought about the word “Love”


What is Love? I asked myself. My gypsy soul giggled.

For me, Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning. A person who enters your life out of nowhere, and suddenly means the world to you and that moment when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

My gypsy soul held my hand and went all churchly. “No one can define it. It’s something so great, only God could design it. Yes, Love is beyond, what man can define, for Love is immortal and God’s gift is divine”

Well, in my opinion, Love is also when two people touch each other’s soul. Love is honesty and trust. Love is helping one another. Love is mutual respect. Love means that difference can be worked out. Love is reaching your dreams together. Love is the connection of two hearts.

While my crazy gypsy soul believes that “Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. To Love Somebody isn’t just a strong feeling. It’s a decision, a judgement and a promise”

I kinda laughed at the statement above, because I don’t really believe in “judgment” and “promises”. Well, Love means that you accept a person with all their failures, stupidities, ugly points and nonetheless you see perfection in imperfection itself. Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Quite impressed, My gypsy soul looked at me, straight in the eye and said “If you love someone, you better prove it. Because Love is not a noun to be defined, but a verb to be acted upon”

Well, Love also is when a puppy licks your face! Love is not something you go out and look for. Love finds you, and when it does, ready or not, it’ll be the best thing to ever happen to you.

I don’t pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, Love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, Love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak when they walk into a room and smile at you.

And then I wondered, what does Love looks like?

“It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and the needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” The churchly gypsy soul said.

Today I begin to understand what Love must be, if it exists… When we are parted, we each feel the lack of the other half of ourselves. We are incomplete like a book in two volumes of which the first has been lost. That is what I imagine Love to be: Incompleteness in Absence.

“Love is Heaven”… my gypsy soul warned me, “but it can hurt like hell!”

Love doesn’t hurt. Expectations do… and I looked around and found no one but myself in this small dark room… I couldn’t help but conclude for the moment, Love is just a word, just a word…. and that crazy little thing is called hope…