Sunday Special – Varanasi, India


India is a large country and quite varied at that. Although I spent nearly a month in India, mainly in the north and in Goa, I have longed to return to this place that brings a wonderful influx of sensations. The abundance of colours, the ongoing din of the streets, and the assault of smells and aromas give it an energy all its own. At times India is not easy yet it is worth it. It would appear from my research that Varanasi is one such place. Having not yet experienced this northern city on the Ganges River I imagine that this revered sight will keep me rapt and enticed while testing my travel endurance. 

The religious history of Varanasi is vital to Hinduism and Jain, considered the holiest of places. It is also credited as the birthplace of Buddhism. Those of the Hindu faith consider dying in Varanasi to bring about their salvation and many make the trek here when they are close to their end. Cremation services are common along the Ganges at ghats (steps built along the river) reserved strictly for that service.  Other ones observe different uses and significance such as the washing away of sins by bathing in the river. Since this is a city of religious significance there is an abundance of temples with Kashi Vishwanath Temple being of the highest importance. Many are Hindu though others are of various systems of belief.  It would seem that the two best ways to see this intriguing city is by boat along the Ganges and by simply wandering around by foot. Who knows what you will see and learn?

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Ahilya Ghat as seen from the waters of the Ganges River – Photo credit:  Ken WielandAhilya Ghat by the Ganges, VaranasiCC BY-SA 2.0

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Evening worship (aarti) in Varanasi – Photo credit: Eric Laurent from Le Havre, FRANCE, Evening aarti, VaranasiCC BY 2.0

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Ceremony along the Ganges in Varanasi, India –  Photo credit: Davi1974dVista de Varanassi. Ciudad Sagrada. Rio GangesCC BY-SA 3.0

 

 

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Sunday Special – Utah, USA


Happy New Year! I hope it has started well for everyone. Welcome back to the next Sunday Special. We are close the end of the alphabet, at the letter “U”. So today we’ll take a look at the American state of Utah

One of the the “Four Corners” states where Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and New Mexico’s borders converge, Utah is recognized for its varied landscape and natural beauty.  It is made up of different geological regions of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin. The result is a terrain filled with diversity such as mountains with lush valleys, arid regions filled with deserts, salt lakes and flats, and sandstone territories filled with incredible bluffs, striking canyons and arches.

With such a variety in natural beauty this state has plenty to offer with 5 national parks: Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Capital Reef. Winter activities of skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and more are in abundance particularly near Salt Lake City. Head into the Moab area for some challenging mountain bike trails. It seems Utah has much to offer. 

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San Rafael Swell in Utah, USA – Photo credit: http://www.cgpgrey.comSan Rafael Swell 4892804322CC BY 2.0

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Hoodoos in Utah’s Bryce National Park, USA – Photo credit: James Marvin PhelpsHoodoos from the Peekaboo Loop Trail – Bryce Canyon National ParkCC BY 2.0

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Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah, USA – Photo is Public Domain

 

Happy Holidays


Happy Holidays from Wanders the World. For those of you celebrating any of the season’s holidays, may they be full of joy! And happy new year to all. With the hectic times for me over the next few weeks I will be putting the Sunday Special on hold. It will return on January 7, 2018, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the upcoming year. All the best! Travel near, travel far, travel often.

I love you Instagram but you’re bringing my travel life down.


Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy”. When we compare ourselves to others while seeing the worst of us then, yes, it is true. When we compare and say “I can achieve that too!” or “If they can then I can!” it does not apply.  However, in this particular case it is sadly is the former. Although I am not the most tech savvy I have made decent use of the technology around us. I use much of it in my daily life. And I frequently use social media. In fact, my favourite platform is Instagram. I enjoy sharing my photos and videos on my feed and in ‘My Stories’. I peruse the posts of those I follow and of various hashtags, delighting in the bright colours and locales of far away. I read the descriptions to learn of the photo’s story. I comment on stellar photos and wish to be there to snap similar pictures. I even use it for research – looking up and saving photos of places that strike me as potential sights for my sojourns. My commute times are filled with with Instagram images.

As much as I love Instagram I have, as of late, found myself thinking I should see as much as so-and-so user. Or look all the places that ‘they’ have visited. Sigh, I should go there because it’s trending!! I’m not posting anything new! And so on and so on. It’s enough to make me feel like I don’t travel far or wide enough. The more I look the more I think my travels are paltry and too few. Comparison is the thief of joy. What brought me so many ideas for future wayfaring is slowing being dismantled, photo by online photo. Comparison is thief of joy.

What brought this on I am not certain. Perhaps it is because I haven’t been travelling much or even being able to plan anything for some time. Perhaps because I have not had a specific destination in mind to focus on while figuring out where and when to go. Or simply I am unfairly comparing my life to those of others. That saying by Mr Roosevelt rings far too true. I have lost that bit where I can see my life for all the things travel has brought to me. I need a shift of perspective as well as a reminder. I may not have travelled to as many destinations as someone who I follow. Or live life as a digital nomad, living and working travel. Yet I have seen what I have seen. Experienced what I have experienced. I’ve nearly forgotten that I am so very very fortunate, lucky, and privileged to live and work in a country where I can travel with such freedom.  

It may be a good thing that this slump has happened. I’m still finding it hard when I am on Instagram these days. I try to remember that I can tell myself a different story. One where I will go where I want to go. And when I can. To work towards it and take the joy that comes from the entire process. I travel for me. To places that interest me. And for my own reasons, whatever they may be, in hopes of understanding more, seeing more and to love our world more. No photos on any social media platform should dictate this for me otherwise. So, Instagram I still like you and will continue to post and browse though I will change my story back to taking joy in hearing about various places. No comparison to that.