‘March’ing ahead: stay hydrated, book on apps, scale peaks, and go solo!

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Beautiful landscape in Himalayas, Annapurna area

Dear readers,
Wow! February rushed past – did anyone notice it had an extra day? But we are in March now and we find ourselves in the midst of an epidemic that has become an international concern – the coronavirus, which has affected people in many countries, while some have died, raising the alarm bells everywhere.

So, we ask you to stay safe, take all the necessary precautions, and do not panic. Statistics suggest that less than 3% of the people affected with the virus die. However, if you have the slightest doubt or symptoms, seek medical advice and help immediately. There is absolutely no need to worry if you are taking adequate precautions.

Our March Digest brings to you an eclectic mix of stories from staying hydrated and using travel apps to book to taking a holiday in the Himalayas and going solo, of course! But before you undertake any travel, make sure you take all the precautions, try and avoid crowded streets, and wash and sanitize your hands a few times a day.

Yours truly,
Arunima


Stay cool – the desi way!
Summer is around the corner! To make the most of the mango season in all its splendour, make sure that you are keeping yourself cool. Let us turn to our time tested and proven traditional methods to beat the summer heat. A large part of preparing for the summer involves understanding what kind of food will help in keeping your body temperature low.

Warm milk, ghee, mangoes, pineapples and green vegetables are some of the foods that will help with staying cool. As much as possible, skip the food that can raise your body temperature. Small portions of ginger and cumin can be helpful while vegetables like onion and garlic are best avoided.

Summer coolers keep you just as cool and relaxed in spring – stay hydrated, stay safe!

We are all tempted to have a glass of cold water or a chilled cold drink. As comforting as it feels in the heat, it is going to cause an imbalance in your gut. It will also be a good idea to swap the ice cream with some cooling coconut water that will help your replenish all the minerals in your system. Splash your internal system with chhaas, kokum sharbat, jal jeera and nimbu sharbat to feel energised and fresh this season. A simple and effective trick is to soak poppy seeds of Khus khus overnight in drinking water and sip on it throughout the day.

Stay happy, Stay cool!


Travel and technology: a match made in heaven?
Unless you have been living under a rock for a few decades, it is safe to say that technology has changed the way you live. If you are used to travelling, it is most definitely safe to say that technology has changed the way you travel.

Take, for instance, the first step – picking a destination. It has never been easier, courtesy of a vast collection of blogs, websites, and Instagram posts available at your disposal. Travellers can instantly compare and contrast places from the most remote regions of the world using their mobile phones and apps.

Summer holiday booking has never got easier with a plethora of apps making booking seem like a cakewalk

The next step – how to get there. Well, thanks to a limitless selection of websites and applications, a traveller is no longer obligated to make frantic phone calls to airlines and agencies to book transport. Have you tried MakeMyTrip and ClearTrip?

Upon arrival, all a traveller has to do is download applications for public transport, directions, and language translation. Getting around in a foreign country may well have been a frightening prospect once upon a time, but no more. With Uber, Ola and a number of other cab companies having apps now, it has never been easier to hail a cab anywhere in the world, and in India, of course.

With most countries now having apps for train and bus bookings as well, we can really say that technology has become a perfect marriage partner to travellers all over the world – couldn’t ask for more! What’s more, you can even book hotels, homestays, hostels now from the comfort of your homes by just clicking and searching on your mobile phone the best and most economic available option.

Of course, there are pros and cons to the advent of technology. There is the sheer ease of national and international travel, with electronic visa applications plus transport and accommodation bookings making the process virtually hassle-free. It has boosted the tourism industry in countries, creating jobs and bolstering economic growth.

Technology has even fostered relationships through couch-surfing and hosting websites, allowing a traveller to meet and stay with people they would not have met otherwise. Another pro is the opportunity to make last-minute plans, leading to experiences that may have never happened without technology.

On the flip side, some might argue technology prevents travellers from making human connections. We are no longer forced to ask strangers for directions or speak to travel agents, which means we miss out on making relationships and forming associations.

Easy access to resources also reduces any mystery surrounding a destination. A boost in tourism may not be sustainable for many economies, leading some regions to be overly dependent on tourists and even causing environmental damage once an area becomes commercialised or overcrowded. Lastly, critics of the selfie stick argue that tourists nowadays focus more on sharing than experiencing.

Well, what do you think?


From ‘so low’ to Solo – that’s the way to be!
In the past few years, the community of solo travellers has emerged and flourished in India. Men and women from all walks of life are bravely treading new paths by themselves. This year, give yourself the opportunity to embark on a solo travel experience of your choice.

Whether you are a beach person or a mountain lover, whether you like long relaxing vacations or quick busy breaks, India has solo travel options for everyone. Safe and welcoming budget hostels also make it possible to plan solo trips on a budget and to meet many other fellow solo travellers from across the world.

Solo travelling can be a lot of fun! After all, scaling peaks is not everyone’s cup of tea.

If you feel unsure about solo travelling but you find it to be an exciting prospect, there are some interesting options that can help you enjoy the best of solo and group travel worlds. There are a number of online travel communities that allow solo travellers to team up and travel together. These communities also organise regular meetups across the country and have an active online presence where they also answer a number of queries. Travellers’ hostels also offer a number of opportunities for guests to experience the destination together.

Take the plunge! Rediscover yourself and a new destination this year and come back enriched inside out.


Your Himalayan adventure – go for it!
Comprising over 50 mountains. Spread across five countries. Home to 52.7 million people. These are just a few facts that describe the Himalayas. Travellers have traversed the mountain range for decades as an ideal destination for camping, hiking, and trekking.

For the intrepid but inexperienced traveller, camping at the base of the mountains offers an experience that is still challenging and awe-inspiring without reaching the summit. Getting to the base is not easy, but there are many sought-after camps that make it an incredibly fun experience. Everest, Kanchenjunga, and Annapurna Base Camp treks are all highly recommended and range from beginner to advanced levels of difficulty.

Tents in Everest Base Camp on a cloudy day. Here starts the climb to reach the top of the highest mountain in the world.

Specialist companies such as World Expeditions and Mountain Kingdoms are two of the biggest operators in the area. In decades past, traversing the Himalayas was only for the adventurous due to a lack of resources and awareness around trekking tourism. Now, everything from luxury lodges to rustic homestays allows travellers to experience Himalayan life and culture along the way.

The treks involve a diverse set of landscapes, from rice paddies and forests to snowcapped glaciers. Mountain peaks can be viewed along the way, along with thick blankets of snow, bubbling streams, and gorgeous meadows.  The natural beauty is only enhanced by charming villages and settlements along the way, allowing travellers to enjoy the hospitality of those who have made the Himalayas their home.

The March Digest has been put together by the team comprising Arunima, Ranjani and Shwetali.  

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