Tag Archives: Travelogue

Six Mile Mountain Trail

What is the most extreme thing you did recently? Something beyond the routine, out of your comfort zone. After all the running and hullabaloos we face in our lives, there is no time or drive to execute on aberrant hobbies.

I always have a few things in my TO-DO list, things I have never done before but desire to accomplish. From time to time I relook and make it a point to execute a few.

Three years back I started mountain biking, a new hobby, which I have never experienced before. Although I biked on dirt roads, it was mostly a flat pathway. Two weeks back I biked in one go about 40 miles (64 Kilometres), but it was an esplanade. Though I always wanted to go on a terrain trail but dreaded the thought.

This Saturday, my friend Karan, who is an avid biker, invited me to join for a rugged trail ride. I didn’t think twice before saying yes. Well, my rear brakes were not working, not a good thing while going down slopes, and my bike was not lubricated enough, but the excitement drove me to go with the flow. We were three of us and started our ride at 8:00 in the morning. It was a thrilling ride, uphill, and downhill, steep turn, narrow open bridges, tree roots covered dirt paths, sudden drops, valley, and terrain, and surrounded by stunning views.

img_0905img_0911img_0912img_0926

I fell twice. Once while trying to climb a ditch after a sudden drop, and the second time while maneuvering a turn I hit a tree head-on (helmet was a savior). I lost a paddle as well. The 6 miles trail took me almost an hour. I reached home with some bruises but I am ready to go there next week.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Advertisements

Detroit to NJ

Joys of travel never fail to amaze me. If you had read my earlier post, you would know I got into Detroit with a 6-hour delay flight. The good news was my meetings went well. My flight was at 7 PM and by the time I reached the airport, my flight was delayed until 9. NJ was experiencing T-Storm and I knew the chances of the flight leaving was next to none. However, I waited nurturing hope against hope. Around 8 PM the flight was canceled and I was rebooked the next day afternoon on a different airline.

I checked the weather app and the rain prediction looked bad for the next day as well. We were three of us and decide impromptu to drive home.

To give you an idea the distance to travel was 594 miles (955 KM) and we drove across four states – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and NJ. We started at 8:30 PM and reached home around 6:30 in the morning. I drove about 340 miles and rest of the distance was covered by my friends.

Life is all about such small pleasures. When we take decisions on the fly and treasure memories for a lifetime.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Weekend Trip to Vermont

Last Friday I reached home after a hectic weeklong trip from India. I never get jet legged on my inbound journey but still take about a day to recoup. Surprisingly this time I was balmy. We had a short weekend getaway planned for a while and it helped, for I had to drive the same day to Vermont. I ran a few errands, got my car serviced and I was all ready to hit the road.

This was our first trip to Vermont, and we were looking forward to being in the green mountain state. We booked a beautiful house through Airbnb. After a 5 hours’ drive, we reached our destination. It was 10 in the night when we entered Vermont. The place was in the middle of nowhere, pitch dark pathways, cricket noises, and deserted streets. And to add to the misery, we couldn’t find our house. Our house number was 3336 but the only mailbox number we saw was 3334. We spent 30 minutes trying to figure out what to do. Tried calling the owner but he didn’t pick up. To be fair to him it was late in the night. In the US you don’t drive into people driveway, so I was hesitant but after 4 loops, my patience got the best of me and I turned into the 3334 house, only to find the way cut into two leading to our place.

The first impression of the house was not great. It appeared old, no air conditioning and had a distinct musty odor. I was tired and without much prejudice, I retired for the night.

I woke up at 5:00 to a gorgeous sight. From the window, I could see the beautiful green Mount Equinox. Birds chirping, breeze cooler, and silence golden, welcoming me to nature’s fold. What appeared as a run-down house appeared to be a gorgeous house. A sunroom with hammock, a large porch overlooking the mountain, a treehouse on the side, and acres of wood in the backyard. There was something in the air and I planned to run in the wild and it was one of the best decision I took. I have a 5k coming up so it helped the cause. I ran for 2 miles through the beautiful pathways of Sunderland.

We went to a local place for breakfast. The place was run by an old family. Great host and sumptuous food.

Vermont Trip
The breakfast place

In the afternoon we went for the Mount Equinox skyline drive. A beautiful drive, which takes you 4000 feet above the ground with many stops in between to capture the breathtaking views. The best was at the peak, for there was a serpentine natural trail down to the ground. One of the best trail I took in recent times. The trail was 3 mile each way.

Manchester downtown was nearby. An old town charm with local shops and eateries. We settled for a Mexican restaurant, by far one of the best Mexican food I ate in a while.

Please check out the following advertisement dating back to the 18th century. It was captured as a collage in one of the old town restaurants

We came back for a short siesta. The tiredness from my India trip must have hit me, for when I woke up it was the next day morning. We visited the local areas and headed back home.

It was all in all a great experience and I am going to explore this place more in the coming times.

Thank you for reading

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Mount Equinox

Hey folks, hope your weekend is going great. I am in Vermont for a family weekend getaway. Today we drove up to the mount Equinox Sky-drive, got inspired and wrote the following lines. Hope you will like it

In the folds of your vastness
in the crevices of your ruggedness
in the boldness of the ibexes,
and the defiant ascend of the evergreen trees,
in the quietness of nature
in the calmness of the eerie
lies the pride of Vermont
the mighty display of mount Equinox decree

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

A Beautiful Gesture

Isn’t life all about treasuring moments to be cherished later in leisure? I experienced a similar feel during my stay at The Leela in Delhi.

Work trip to India is always short, sleep deprive and hectic. I arrived last Sunday and traveling back today.

Yesterday, after a long day at work I returned to the hotel with a sole purpose to get my much needed sleep. My battle with jet-lag was troubling me to a point of annoyance. As I was putting my phone to charge, a paper note caught my attention. And as I read the note, I couldn’t help smiling. All my long-held tiredness disappeared in a whiff.

I am reading the third book of the Amish Shiva Trilogy. The book was lying on the nightstand next to the bed, and right next to it I saw a bookmark, with the image of the front page neatly wrapped around it, and a note from the Butler on duty, Rebecca Williams.

Such a thoughtful deed, and for sure she invariably touched few chords within me. Here is a big shout out to her and to her beautiful gesture.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Air India Experience and The Movie – “October”

Because of the sociopolitical issues and subsequent flying restrictions over certain countries, United Airlines stopped all services to India. Ever since United started it Newark – New Delhi Non-stop, it was my obvious choice and I was at loss thinking which airlines to choose for my yesterday’s travel. I hate hops, and the best possible option left was Air India. Non-Stop New York to Delhi in straight 15 Hours.

I was skeptical, for there were so many bad reviews about Air India on the worldwide web. But I was pleasantly surprised. The Staff was cordial, food decent, and the business class flatbed spacious and comfortable.

On my way to Delhi, I watched a couple of movies. And the one movie that stayed with me till this moment is “October”. An indifferent Hotel Management trainee, who was never happy one day found one of his colleague in a deep coma because of a freak accident.  The last word she said before meeting with her fate was his name. The girl was a mere acquaintance to him and the way he develops bonding with her while she was subconscious was absolutely mesmerizing. The girl eventually dies, but in the process changed the protagonist for good.

There is something I wanted more from the movie, and a tinge of restlessness still clouds my mind.

If abstract movies are not for you, I will not recommend. But if you are into parallel cinemas, this is one movie you should definitely watch.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Off To Delhi

Hey dear blogger friends. I am off to Delhi for a week. I will try to visit your beautiful work to the extent my schedule will permit. Once I am back I will catch up with your interesting posts.

Yesterday we went to the Nearby Somerville downtown and saw the lineup of some gorgeous vintage cars. Some even dating back to 1930s. Here is a a quick preview of some captures

Take care and will see you on the other side

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Impromptu Visit to NYC

So, yesterday was the 4th of July. We had many plans but had poor execution. Our first plan was to go up in the mountains in Poconos. Hiking, rafting, treetop climbing, seemed too exciting and we booked a nice looking secluded house through Airbnb. We were all set to go on the 3rd evening but the owner responded with a regretful message. Though disappointed, the last minute booking on a long weekend was often hard to find. We looked for other options but couldn’t find anything charming so ditched the effort.

My daughter was disheartened and we did an impromptu plan to go to NYC. Our first pit stop was American Girl Doll Store by Rockefeller Center. They have a newly renovated store and it was an amazing visit. The dolls, the accessories and the setup was such a treat to the eyes. My daughter picked up a few accessories and upon my query of why she was not looking at the dolls, she smiled and told in her harmonious tone, “I already have one.” She behaved like a good kid and I told her she can get another one. She asked me twice if I was sure, for the dolls were expensive and I said I am positive. So, she got her new doll and some accessories and we left the place in a blithe mood.

Right next to the dollhouse was the Parley Media center Museum, the baseball legends statues were a treat to watch and we clicked a few pictures for memories. From there we headed to Time Square. The family did some shopping and by the time we were ready for food, all the places were closed. We were baffled but then soon realized it was the 4th of July so, most of the restaurants closed early. My iWatch displayed a 6.6 Miles of the walk. Finally, we settled for street food and headed back home. It was a great outing. Here are some pics.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip To Richmond

Last Sunday I was traveling to Richmond for work.  If you had read my previous travel posts you would know how much I detest work travel on the weekends, but when work demands travel the options are often limited.

I landed around 9:30 PM and stepped out in the open waiting for my rideshare to arrive. The weather was mild, and a gentle breeze graced the beautiful evening. The wait wasn’t long and soon I saw my ride arriving by the curb.

My first encounter with the driver was not encouraging. His trunk was loaded with metal, my bag somehow found its spot in the crowded space, the car back seat was folded, forcing me to take the front seat, and the music was not of my taste, blaring loud enough to disturb the tranquility of the serene evening. I hesitantly took my seat, adjusting my handbag between my legs, as he drove towards the hotel.

After I settled down, I observed many things that were intriguing. There was an additional glaring speedometer with big dial attached to the top left driver’s side window, a segment of many reflecting mirrors occupied the top of the windshield, and a 9.7 inch iPad covered the center panel. My curiosity got the best out of me and I asked him casually about the speedometer.

He smiled and said he had converted the Hyundai Sonata to a racing car. Though the appearance suggested otherwise, he was extremely polite and very courteous. He asked me if it was ok for me to deal with a small demonstration of what he meant. I nodded and I saw the real power of the car. It made all the noise of a racing beast and the car zoomed past, pushing me back into my seat. Before I could react he enquired about my music taste. I mentioned Rock Music. He smiled and probed, what about Bollywood. I didn’t know an American would know much about Bollywood, but he surprised me again. He played love ballads, to cheeky songs, he played famous romantic duets to the latest numbers. More so, he had the lyrics on and he tried lip syncing to a few. And then he shocked me – as he turned on the volume. The music blasted from the custom speakers. Apparently, the metal in the trunk was the woofers.

I was at awe and he amazed me more when he mentioned that he had a YouTube channel with half a million followers. He had a camera in the car where he records the passenger with music, talk, and everything and posts those videos on YouTube. He was making 5-6 grand a month from the social channel.

The ride turned out to be one of the most enjoyable ones, transforming my gloomy Sunday evening to a memorable trip. At the age of 23, Jay was earning over 10 grand and living life by his terms.

Here is a shout out to you Jay. Stay happy and blessed.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

A Weeklong Trip to India

So, I learned two days back that I need to make an official trip to India 🇮🇳. Here I am on my way to Delhi. Will be in Chennai for two days, two days in Delhi and an over the weekend short visit to Jorhat, Assam to see mom. (That part is exciting😊)

I will try my best to read your lovely blog, in case I am delayed, please bear with me. I promise to catch up on all your beautiful posts soon.

Talk to you guys soon. Love and peace

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content