A new journey begins…

The place

My friends and I decided to travel to Noosa this year January. Noosa is located on the southern end of Queensland, an Australian state and is in the Sunshine coast. Noosa Heads, a town and suburb of the Shire of Noosa is located approximately 136 kilometres north of Brisbane, the state’s capital and is in the main hub.

We flew to the Sunshine coast airport from Melbourne and then rented a car from the airport and drove down to the Peregian beach where we had booked our accommodation. It’s a scenic 24km (approx) drive along the coast with the sea in sight now and then. We had booked our stay through Airbnb and must admit that it was one of best houses we ever stayed!

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On the way to the Peregian beach we stopped for lunch and had some wonderful Thai food. The weather in January was hot and a bit humid too. However, the sunshine was welcoming and the beautiful beaches stole our heart.

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Peregian Beach

The beach was even more mesmerizing in the night! The starlit night, the lashing of the waves, the quietness and the companionship made us cherish every moment and feel at peace.

A Day well spent

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, we decided to explore Noosa by ferry. We boarded the ferry from the Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club and there begun a wonderful journey in the Noosa river waters. It was a beautiful sunny day, the sky and the river water was clear blue and the weather was impeccable for a river cruise. We disembarked at the Sofitel Noosa Heads and gallivanted in the Hastings Street famous for its boutique shops and restaurants.

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Noosa River journey

We had a wonderful Indian lunch at Kali Gourmet Indian restaurant . The restaurant had delicious Indian food and warm and welcoming staff. We then explored the beach at the Noosa Heads and the colourful boutique shops in the Hastings street.

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Beach in Noosa Heads

We took the return ferry in the afternoon and then decided to view the Sunset from the Laguna Lookout in the Noosa National Park. It was a spellbinding sunset. We were captivated by the landscape and life felt good!

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Sunset at Laguna Lookout

Fraser Island – Adventure reloaded

The next day we had planned a day trip to the famous Fraser Island. The Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island stretching over 120km. We got picked up by the tour providers at 6am and then headed off to our first stop where we boarded a four wheel drive tour bus. We crossed the Noosa river in the cable barge and stopped at the Rainbow beach for morning tea. It was a scenic journey so far and the rainbow beach was true to its name.

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Rainbow Beach

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4WD Tour Bus

Next, we had a rocky ride inside the forest area to the crystal clear freshwater Lake McKenzie. It was an absolutely beautiful lake with tropical turquoise water, fine white sand and surrounded by forest. After our rocky ride, the lake was welcoming and we immediately jumped onto the water. We spend time in the lake exfoliating ourselves with the white sand and splashing water on each other. It felt like we voyaged back to our childhood! Soon we felt hungry and were served delicious “Aussie style” bush barbecue with a varied assortment of fresh salad and drinks. We stuffed ourselves and soon it was time to head back to the mainstream.

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Lake McKenzie

On the way back, we dropped by the magnificent Rainforests. We walked inside the cold, dark pathways of the forest. It was thrilling and we praised nature at every step. The luxuriant canopy of palms and vines made each moment memorable.

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Rainforest

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Rainforest

We returned back by evening, tired yet rejuvenated!

The Experience

My friends and I have a busy life in Melbourne like many others. We planned this trip to Noosa with an agenda of relaxation and holiday. On the last day of our trip, we had checked the boxes! Noosa is not only one of the most beautiful places we had visited but it felt like the sea, sand and sunshine have hitched to make Noosa magical! If you love beaches, Noosa is where you should be! Every moment we spent here was full of awe! Australia has many beaches and I have visited many of them, yet Noosa had its own appeal and will make me come back again when I want to liberate and revive myself! Noosa, you stole our hearts with your charm, see you again someday! Till then, keep travelling!

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Sunrise on the last day at Noosa 🙂 

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The Journey

It was the Easter weekend and my friends and I had decided the weekend away to Bendigo which is around the centre of the state of Victoria and approx.150km north west of Melbourne, Australia. The best way to travel together was to go in the V/Line train which departs from the Southern Cross station at regular intervals and reaches Bendigo in approximately 2hrs.

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After having a delightful train ride with picturesque view on both sides, we reached Bendigo. The weather was perfect and the sun was shining bright. We walked our way to our accommodation at the Old Crown hotel which was around 10mins walk from the V/Line train station. The city was well organised with small unique shops and cafes. There was zebra-crossings at every place for ease of the pedestrians and the people around seemed warm and friendly. We placed our bags in our hotel and then headed off to explore the scenic city.

Central Deborah Gold Mine – a thrilling experience!

We had pre-booked our tickets at the Central Deborah Gold mine which boasts of Bendigo’s golden heritage and was a “must-visit” in our list! An old gentleman greeted us at the gold mine and guided us towards the mine tour guide Natt. Natt welcomed us with a big smile which spoke heaps of how passionate he was of his job and presented the safety instructions in his soft yet firm voice. We went down the gold mine in an antediluvian lift where we were equipped with safety gears like helmets with lights on them. It was all very fascinating to us and we could already feel the thrill of the underground mine trip. The temperature was quite less underneath and the pathways were wet and sometimes a bit muddy. Natt took us through trails inside the mine and stopped at designated stops and shared us the history of the place and also made us aware of the life of a miner, the equipment they used and the hardships they faced operating in mines!

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We were both fascinated by the facts and sad envisaging the challenging life of a miner. The trip ended in around an hour and we came out in the bright sunlight with a bagful of memories and cognizance. We also visited the Gold Mine museum, attended the gold-digging workshop and had some fun finding precious gold and gemstones!

The Vintage “talking” Trams – time travel to History!

After the Gold mine tour, we grabbed some food near the Pall Mall and decided to do the Vintage tram tour! We could see frequent trams plying in the city and jumped onto one of them. An old tram conductor approached us and gave us the tickets. He also obliged us by posing with us in one of the photographs inside the tram, for our memory! He was such a kind, wonderful gentleman. He told us that he is a volunteer and that two-third of the members of the Bendigo tramways are volunteers. When we asked why he was volunteering for this fascinating profession, he said he is trying to conserve the endangered species called ‘tram-conductors’!

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The tram took us to multiple stops including the Bendigo Tram Depot, Central Deborah Gold mine, Lake Weeroona and Joss House Temple. There were two or three different trams which were painted artistically and looked distinctive.

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Bendigo City – quaint and contemporary!

We visited the major sightseeing spots at Bendigo in the Tram and we got down from the tram near the Pall Mall. The city was full of vibrant colours of autumn, busy cafes & restaurants and happy faces. Some astounding vintage cars zoomed across the city and made us awestruck! There was also a Vintage car exhibition and Easter carnival which attracted tourists from far and near considering it was the Easter weekend.

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Another remarkable spot in Bendigo city is the famous Shamrock Hotel which is known for its historic and architectural significance. The hotel was built in 1854 as the Exchange Hotel and then rebuild and rebranded several times. The hotel was the accommodation of choice of visiting dignitaries in Bendigo during the gold rush time! The hotel not only boasts of the history of Bendigo but also is one of the best accommodations in the heart of the city and a suitable eatery.

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The Bendigo Information Center is also worth a visit with the friendly staff, an exquisite collection of souvenirs and heaps of information on Bendigo and the places to visit.

The experience

In short, the overall experience in Bendigo was very peaceful and relaxing. The city has its own history & culture, some nice eatery, beautiful scenic views and warm & friendly people. Would highly recommend if you want to experience the small-town-life of Victoria and the one of the best weekend gateway from Melbourne. Easy to access and nice to visit. Leaves a smile on your face all day and you return feeling fresh and rejuvenated! See you again Bendigo and thanks for your hospitality!

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A New Horizon!

Sometimes when I walk on the road, I suddenly look back, as if some known one is looking at me. But then I find no one. Sometimes someone crosses me in the crowd and I sense a known smell, but then I can’t find anyone. I question myself, what am I looking for? Whom am I looking for? But I don’t get an answer.

One day, while I was in a deep colloquy with myself, I realised that I must be waiting for someone, someone from the past. While I should enjoy my present, am still living in the past. I tell myself that while I walk on the road, instead of looking back, what if I bump onto someone interesting at the next turn! That person might be a new friend and much more interesting than the unknown person am waiting for! This thought makes me feel happy for the moment.

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Life is like an ice cream, the more you have, the more you crave for. We don’t acknowledge the things we have, we don’t treasure the people we have, instead we all are running for the mysterious happiness hidden in some horizon. There is no end and we always shape up a new horizon. Why does some things and some people leave such an unfathomable mark? Sometimes a good memory and sometimes a bad one but then the word memory itself is a past tense! What we have now is a moment, a precious moment. The search of happiness in the past or in that unknown horizon is much more painful than even the worst present day.

Have you had a meal? Do you have a family? Do you have shelter? Are you grateful for you are living the day? I keep asking all these questions. The answer comes, “Yes”. Then what am I looking for if I have everything. Why can’t I be happy? Maybe I am looking for happiness in wrong places, in wrong people, in mistaken memories. Happiness is when I wake up every morning and realise that all the people I love are with me and are healthy and alive. Happiness is believing that I can spend the rest of my life with myself.

I need to stop waiting, stop looking back at that stranger who doesn’t exist and realise that more than one person can smell the same! I need to look forward, make new friends, talk to strangers who smile back at me, search for happiness inside my soul than in someone else’s life. That horizon, that known smell, that someone looking at me…does not exist. We all wait for that sunrise when the sky would look the best, but we forget that even in the cloudy days, the sun rises as usual but is just shadowed by the clouds. The sun doesn’t leave us, just hide sometimes and shines bright again. Is it that challenging to acknowledge the moment and live a content life? I don’t have the answer, but I would continue to walk till I bump onto the more interesting ‘someone’! 🙂 Keep walking and soon the sun will shine brighter! 🙂

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The Colours of Life!

Few days ago, India celebrated the ‘festival of colours’ called ‘Holi’. When I was a kid, all year through I would wait for this day when we would play with colours. All the kids were just exhilarated with the impression of throwing colours at each other and getting a colourful face themselves. We would blend the colours in water and splash each other with the coloured water. Life felt good after playing with colours while the parents didn’t discipline us!

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I grew up, the colours of Holi turned into colours of life. Bright colours for bright days and grey for the shaded ones. The sky has always been my companion and I felt that the sky also transformed colours and guided our moods. A blue sky for a beautiful sunny day and grey sky for cloudy and gloomy days. The kid who only knew colours are fun, now had a significance of the colours associating to time.

I grew up more, now I could relate the colours to my life, to the people and to my surroundings. I kept thinking, how as a kid, I never realised that colours of life meant so much. People can add colours to your life and in the same way people can make your life colourless and ‘grey’. Some people make every day colourful and they keep you happy, we should treasure them. The ones who add the grey shades, teach us how beautiful the other colours are, like the night makes us appreciate the day or the hard time makes us appreciate the good times. Everyone comes to our life for a reason, either they make life beautiful or teach us a lesson!

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As I grew, my mind found resemblance of colours to our surrounding. A beautiful red rose or a bright blue sky or a lovely green field! Colours, they are everywhere! Red symbolise love and it also symbolises danger, Blue symbolise the colour of sky and sea and is associated with depth and stability, similarly Green is the colour of nature and White is for peace.

The colours of my life have always changed with time and age. While childhood days were the most colourful, as we grew up there were frequent shades of grey. Pain, sadness, misery and again a splash of joy, that’s life. I have some amazing people in my life who adds colour to my sky, they make life worth living. Occasionally I also bump onto some darker shades but it’s the darker shades who makes me realise how beautiful the brighter shades are! Add colour to your life and add colours to other’s life. If as a kid, we could easily splash others with colours then why not as adults. No one minds when you make their day brighter! If as a kid, we played with colours with other kids, then why be self-centred as adults. Go out, and you will see an arena waiting for you, where you can play with everyone with the colours of life. While be cautious to select the right colours, the wrong colours can also be blended to make them right! As a famous poet says, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there!” Stay colourful, stay blessed.

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Hey its another new year!

I am late and no excuses but I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year 2017. This New Year started on a very good note, bit of family time and of course travel. When I try to recall how my last year went and what I want to do this year, everything sort of comes down to one word, ‘people’.

Everyday there are so many people we interact with; some we know and some are strangers. Our life is all about the people we pick. It’s a choice, a known decision of who we want to be with. Then I think deeper and find that ‘choice’, ‘decision’ these words are plural and not singular, it’s a mutual thing else its unrequited. Sometimes I have realised that it’s much easier for me to communicate with a stranger than a person I have known for years. The good thing is, the stranger does not know you and hence won’t judge you. You can speak your heart out and feel lighter. Hence this year, I would like to focus more on strangers I come across and make new friends, however the ones I already have in life remain precious.

My last year was a big one from every perspective, be it relationship, love, family or friends. I learned a lot last year from every sphere of life. The main thing I learnt is to depend on myself than relying on others. I am all I have. Every person is a package in themselves, they just need to self-explore. But then, it’s much easier to preach than to follow but worth a try. So, this year, the person to focus is Me 🙂  ! You must have heard in flights, that ‘when there is an emergency, please place oxygen masks on your face and place masks on yourself first before helping others.’ When I was flying to India early this year and heard this announcement in the flight, I was smiling. Well, being said that I also mean that the respect for individuals remain a priority, everyone has their own fights, so be kind and respect others.

Last New Year I had wanted everyone to be crazy, this year I think I am a bit calm. This year I might try being softer and a good listener than try to voice my thoughts. My thoughts are always a bit unruly and rebellious, so this year am going to home them. I have also realised over time that when you are quiet, you can hear your inner voice. That voice sometimes guides you and sometimes confuses you but at least it talks to you without you speaking a word. This inner voice or conscience will also be my focus this year. It feels that with every passing year, you grow wiser or at least realise that you are not wise enough 🙂 ! This year let’s do a bit of soul rifling.

I have always felt that it’s the people in your life that defines who you are and not the place or country. The people in your life are also the ones to make your life the way it is, so select the people wisely and don’t be scared to take chances. Trust is also another important one to focus, trust others and in turn earn their trust. Live a good life but don’t be scared to make mistakes. I make many mistakes every day, I have also hurt people but at the end I try to make up to them. The realisation that you are wrong, is always right :)! So, this year I will make more mistakes and learn from them. Be human, be calm and listen to self. Stay happy, stay blessed. Happy New Year to All 🙂 .

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My Fitness Mantra

I am quite a lazy person when it comes to regular exercise or workouts. However, one fine afternoon I decide to go for a walk and make my life a little better or at least get over the guilt of being lazy.

I put my headphones on and play my favourite playlist, get into my walking shoes after dusting them a bit and just go out along the walking tracks near my place. Initially I come across quite a busy area with some nice shops around and I feel this urge of going for shopping instead and get a coffee, but I voice myself to focus and keep walking. The beats of my music is slowing giving me a rhythm and I am feeling better already. I cross the hustle of the city and slowly get into a more residential area.

This area is leafy and full of trees which have lost their leaves in Winter. I come across many oldies who smile warmly at me and some moms who are busy attending their kids while they walk holding hands. Reminded me of my mom and how I used to go for walks with her as a kid. I keep walking. I see an old lady trying to cross the road but is scared. I stop by and hold her hand and help her cross the road, she smiles and says “God bless ya child”. I smile back and feel at peace, I keep walking. I can smell the air around, the strange smell of the bark of the leafless trees, the smell of grass, or some seasonal flowers and the smell of winter in this part of the world. I can see a church a bit further up, I am quite exhausted for my low stamina but my lure towards old churches kept me going.

The Sun is about to set, the last rays of the Sun is falling on the Church and making it look so beautiful. There is no one around, but I decide to go inside the Church. I slowly push the Church door and it opens with a squeak. I am scared if am barging in. I see no one inside the Church, no wait, there is someone, an old lady. I walk towards her and then take a seat in one of the front rows and smile at her. I have to appreciate the old piece of architecture and how well it has been maintained over the years. I pray for a while closing my eyes and open my eyes to find that the old lady is decorating the church with some beautiful white lilies. She was picking every flower as if it was her child and then very carefully placing them on the wall.

When I told her that the flowers are beautiful, she said there is a funeral later for which she is setting them up. Does white symbolise death, it certainly symbolises peace, so maybe its for the peace of the departed soul. I was suddenly feeling very small compared to everything around. Death, that’s such a nonpareil truth. All we congregate in this world, all the wealth, possessions, relationships everything is perishable…someday. What will remain in this world will be the bonds we make and the memories in the heart of the near ones. I felt an unanticipated tear in my eye. While immersed in such deep thoughts, I didn’t realise I was being observed by the old lady.

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She looked at me and asked my name. She said she has been coming to this Church since years and to her, birth and death are like best friends who are inseparable. They go hand in hand and make a complete life cycle. How easily she explained it. She walked towards me and gave me a hug and said was great meeting me and that her name was Bevillé. I wanted to say the same but my voice was chocked. I ran on the way back, happy, fit and realising that the true fitness mantra is to be nice to others, smile and just live a healthy life.

Fitness is not only to have a healthy body but also to have a healthy soul. Mental health is as important as physical health. Everyone has their own battles, help others in need and smile when you see a sad face on the street, maybe all they need from you is a Smile 🙂

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My friend at the Cafe!

I have a friend at the coffee shop. I don’t know her name but she knows mine. She also knows what coffee I usually order. Every morning, one of the motivations I have, to come to office, is my coffee and a small chat with my friend. We talk about everything, about the weather, the food, my evenings, her evenings, about flowers and life in general.

She is a beautiful young lady with a warm smile. She talks to everyone very nicely; everyone likes her I believe. She has very beautiful eyes. Just the other day, my hands were very cold and I was freezing in the Melbourne winter. When she met me for taking my order, she was feeling bad for me and said I should buy gloves. Later, when I was going out for lunch, she offered me to wear her gloves, in case I am too cold. I felt really gratified with her gesture.

We don’t know each other well, neither we spend so much time together, but the small gestures of love make my day warm. Such are the effects of ‘being human’.

Today when I went to grab my afternoon coffee, the café was quite empty. My friend came over and offered me a cookie from her own share. I gladly accepted. Then she said today is her last day in this café! I felt a gush of sadness crept inside me. I didn’t know what to say! I looked at her and she smiled and said, “You’ll make new friends”. She said she is travelling to Northern Australia and after she comes back, she would join some other café, somewhere else. She also shared her gratitude towards me and said how nice its been talking to me all these last five months in this café.

I finished my coffee and walked up to her to say the final good bye. She gave me a hug and said, take care. I started walking back to my work and didn’t turn back.

They say, “Goodbyes are never forever”. I wonder why I felt bad when she said she is leaving, why I never asked her, her name. This is life! We make friends and then bid them farewell and then make new friends again in the journey of life. Sometimes you suddenly don’t see that same face you see everyday and search for it, faces change, everyday. Sometimes you can’t even say good bye to everyone you love. That’s the truth.

Just be nice to everyone you meet, say hi and ask how are they doing. Life is too short to have grudges. I will miss my friend at the coffee shop tomorrow, but who knows, maybe I will see another warm face saying, “What coffee would you like”? 🙂

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