The Heritage Toy Train Journey - Childhood Memoir

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I wonder if it is natural to be nostalgic! Or is it due to the mental and emotional exhaustion invoked in us due to Covid -19 and its consequences? Do you also feel nostalgic at times! If yes, kindly share your moments of nostalgia in the comment box. One such nostalgic moment evoked by Ruskin Bond's book 'The Great Train journey' inspired me to write this blog. You must be wondering how! To explain this, let me take you to my childhood memories. I was born and brought up in the same small town Kalka which Ruskin Bond has beautifully mentioned in his book. Not only this, he also talked about the Toy Train, which happened to be the first train that I also ever saw.  Still confused! Let me explain further.  It was nostalgic because I also saw the train for the first time on the narrow gauge of the Kalka Shimla track that happens to pass just behind my house. I got excited every time the train blew its whistle. Waving to the passengers sitting at the window seat was a routine

18 Simple Travel Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

Hi Friend, I know you are waiting for my blog on places worth visiting near Norbulingka. But since all the states have unlocked their borders for visitors after COVID 19, I thought of writing on travel safety tips, so that I can help those who have apprehensions in travelling.

Travelling to new places expands our horizon and adds fond memories, but if we are not careful, they can turn into harrowing memories. Few prospective risks while travelling are:
  1. Health Risks - Sometimes the change in terrain, weather and even water leads to health problems like upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhoea etc. And in present scenario catching COVID virus can be the biggest risk.

  2. Theft - Theft of documents like passport, money and valuables can be distressing.

  3. Scamming - Scam in places where the language and culture of the people are different is commonly prevalent.


  4. Natural Calamities - Hills are vulnerable to Natural calamities in particular seasons like landslides, cloud bursts, flash floods etc. in the rainy season. Similarly, some places may face the frequent hurricane, earthquakes etc. at a specific time of the year.


  5. Weather Appropriateness - Our choice of place for a visit sometimes is not weather appropriate, and this may lead to wastage of time and money. E.g. if we visit Rajasthan in summers, we cannot enjoy to the fullest.

  6. Violence - Sometimes, a little argument in a new place leads to violence, and you are left alone in an unknown location. Gangs at visiting sites provoke the visitors intentionally. 

  7. Transportation - Experience with the means of transport like taxis can be terrible, especially when we do not choose reputable companies.


  8. War or Political Unrest - War or political unrest at a place you choose to travel will only add horrifying memories.

Risks in travelling do not mean that we have to avoid travelling. A little precaution and preparedness can make our travelling enjoyable and risk-free.




Some Safety Tips
  1. Do Your Homework - Exploring about a place, i.e. its weather, political condition, culture, safe spots for travelling, safe accommodations and areas to be avoided, is always right.
  2. Keep your Belongings Safe - The best is to keep your bags light. And keep your belongings safe by using good quality luggage bags with locks. Keep your essential documents and costly items like camera, mobile etc. in your handbags. When travelling in a crowded place, carry your backpack in front instead of hanging it on the back or shoulder.

  3. Blend in with the Surroundings - Try to gather knowledge of the place you are visiting so that you do not give a confused look. Learning a few word or sentences in the local language will always help. You can also read the history of the place. It will help you in getting rid of tricksters.

  4. Do not Flash your Money - Do not carry all your money in your pocket. You may take what is required, and that also can be distributed in different pockets. Extra money can be kept in the locker of the hotel.

  5. Dress Modestly - Wear the clothes keeping in mind the culture of the place. It will not only help you in blending with the area but also prevent hurting the sentiments of the people, especially while visiting the religious sites.

  6. Stay Safe in Transport - It is always better to book the vehicle in advance. While hiring a taxi, prefer a prepaid service or a reputed company like uber. If hiring a local cab is unavoidable, agree upon the fare in advance and also keep your GPS turned on. Can also share the number of the cab with a family member or friend.

  7. Have Emergency Information at Hand - Save all the emergency numbers on the phone. It would help if you also keep a small diary with numbers of family and friends which may come handy in case you lose your mobile.

  8. Avoid Public Wifi - One of the potential threat in using available wifi is getting exposed to the cyber attack. Nowadays, when we have all our information, bank accounts and digital wallets on the phone, public wifi can put you at risk.

  9. Keep Track of your Health - If you are suffering from any chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease etc., and you don't want to ruin your trip, then it is essential to eat food carefully and not to miss upon your medicines.

  10. Be Patient and Respectful - When you are visiting a culturally different place, you must show patience and respect to the local people. Some rogues may try to provoke you to take advantage of you, but you can ensure that you do not let them succeed in their plans.

  11. Digital Copies of your Documents - You must make digital copies of your documents and upload on the drive so that in case of any emergency you can access them.

  12. Stay Aware of your Surroundings - While travelling, you have to be alert and follow your instincts. If you feel you are being followed, go to a crowded place and inform any nearby authority.

  13. Keep in Touch with your Friends and Relative - When travelling do not forget to call your friends and relatives so that they are aware of whereabouts and your safety.

  14. Drink Responsibly - If you are fond of drinking while travelling, make sure you don't drink and drive, or drink on roads. Best is to take drinks in your hotel bar and in limited quantity. 

  15. Advance Booking - When you are travelling to a place in peak season, make sure that you book a hotel for yourself in advance. It will help in avoiding the inconvenience of going from one hotel to another in search of a room. You will also not have to compromise on your safety by staying in an unreliable accommodation.

  16. Travel Insurance - Nowadays you can make your journey stress-free by taking travel insurance. Travel insurance covers unforeseen losses incurred while travelling within or outside the country like trip cancellation, lost luggage, delayed flights, medical emergencies and other expenses. 

  17. Precaution during COVID - If you are planning to take a trip during COVID, you will have to take little extra precautions. Choose a hotel that is following all safety norms. Wash your hands frequently. Use a mask. Avoid close contact by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet. Do not touch your mouth and nose. Follow food hygiene by avoiding street food. Eat only in the hotel where you are staying. Avoid public transportation or ride-sharing. Make online or contactless payments.

  18. Avoid Uploading your Photographs on Social Media while Travelling - Last but not the least, avoid uploading your pictures side by side on social sites. It will ensure your safety not only at the trip but also keep your house safe when you are away.

To make your trip enjoyable, you must not forget to pack:
  1. Important documents like passport, visas, ID proof, travel insurance, money, credit cards and tickets.

  2. Don't forget to make photocopies or e-copies of all your documents.

  3. Carry your travel itinerary and guide books.

  4. Carry a diary with emergency numbers and numbers of your friends and relatives.

  5. You must pack comfortable, weather and culture appropriate clothes to avoid any inconvenience.

  6. Don't forget to pack painkillers, sunscreen, insect repellant, other prescribed medicines.

  7. Pack your charger, power bank, adapters and headphones.

  8. In the present scenario, we cannot avoid packing sanitizers, wet wipes and other hygiene material.

  9. If travelling with small children, do not forget to pack diapers, powder milk, ready to eat cereals and boiled water.

  10. Tiny kids should be made to wear bracelets with your phone number.

  11. Please ensure that you carry medicines like paracetamol, colic aid and first aid kit for any emergency.
  12. You must also carry an extra pair of comfortable socks and shoes. Say a big no to heels.

  13. If you are travelling to an area with heavy rainfall or during the rainy season, then carrying a raincoat or umbrella is advisable. A waterproof bag will be an asset.

  14. You should always carry a flashlight, a water bottle and a lock.

We always hope for the best but to prepare for the worst is still good. If you look back at your travel memories, there would be some bad memories which you may have made during your trip. Feel free to share your experience in the comment box and also how you overcame the problem. It is always better to learn from others experiences. A little effort of yours will help others in avoiding such issues, and their experiences will be enjoyable.

PHOTOS AND VIDEOS CREDIT TO THER RESPECTIVE OWNERS

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