Summer Travels: UAE, India, Singapore, and Germany

Backpacker’s Packing List too!

At this point in life, I recently graduated from the hellish paradise MIT, one month ago, and have been home since. Home is superb, life’s much slower paced than in Boston and with nothing to do, I’ve been able to really appreciate the love and affection that surrounds me in Princeton, NJ. Over the course of the month I’ve written a few letters, caught up on some TV episodes, spent time fooling around with my friends and family, made exactly one playlist, and have taken a complete hiatus from all things technical.

My receiving my degree, four long years later.

While at home I live a pretty normal small town life, I occasionally go to the beach, play sports and go the gym, enjoy family trips, and perform debaucherous acts with my friends. All this is great and I wouldn’t give it up for anything, but I’ve started to learn its not as fulfilling as I once thought. I chatted my friends dad the other day about initial TDMA phone systems and got quite an unexpected kick out of thinking about how these systems work. Its truly rejuvenating, and I think that this hiatus has given me the perfect kick in the ass to love all things technical, so I’d definitely advise it if you feel like you’re breaking down.

Next I’m taking this break from all things technical to a whole new level by traveling for a month and a half before moving to San Francisco. I’ll quickly outline my travels here, leaving New York on June 30th, 2015 for Abu Dhabi, where I will stop and spend time with my uncle and his family for 3 days. I’ve never been to the UAE, but I’m excited to see the modern desert cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, go sand duning in the desert and to delve into one of the truest culinary capitals of the world.

From there I head to India, I stop in Mumbai for a day to see family friends, and am then off to the mountain city of Leh, located in Ladakh. Leh is the northern corner of India, it sits at 11,500 ft altitude, higher than I’ve ever been before, and is set between mountain ranges and historic Buddhist monasteries while also being surrounded by alpine desert. I know there are a bunch of tours and hikes that I’ll decide upon once I get there, so the trip to Leh is open-ended, but hopefully inspirational and magnificent. I’ll live simply, enjoy the pace and the scenery, eat some vegetables, and hopefully find myself in a state of zen.

Leh nestled in between Himalayan mountain ranges

Following my week in Leh, I’ll travel to Singapore for about 5 days to see my mom’s sister and her husband, they’re recent expats but always interested in becoming a part of their current community, so I’m sure I’ll have a blast. Then its off to Bangalore for a few days, then I’ll take the sleeper train to Kottayam, its always a culinary experience and the train ride is gorgeous while pretty uncomfortable. While in Kerala I’ll hang with the fam, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and spend some quality time with them. Hopefully multiple of my college friends who’re also in India at the same time will get a chance to come visit, I think they’d really dig it.

The Kerala houseboat life

After that my mom, uncle and I will make the trip to Rajasthan and Jaisalmer for a desert camel safari and to see some of India’s most beautiful temples. This side of India is completely foreign to me, my family is South Indian and dang proud of it, so it’ll be like a different world for all of us, but it should be quite an experience! After that I’ll swing back to Bombay and then head out to Zurich/Stuttgart to stop in and catch up with an old high school friend for 3 days. We’ll plan out a few hikes, skinny-dip in Lake Kostanz, the biggest in Germany, and probably not stop drinking beers the entire time I’m there, that’s what you do in Germany right??

Next is a 15 hour direct flight to San Francisco, sounds dreadful, followed by three days where I need to prepare to start work/ find a house/ get a car. Wish me luck! I’ll keep posting as I go along

Additionally, I think this will help but its my packing list for the trip.

  • Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 Pack — -highly recommend, I’ve had it for five years and its still perfect
  • 2 pairs of Prana roll-up pants
  • 1 Jeans, 1 argyle Italian wool sweater
  • 1 Exofficio underwear, 4 normal boxers
  • 1 jogger pants, 1 basketball shorts, 1 doctor scrubs
  • Timberland Hiking Socks, soft-shell jacket, North Face rain jacket
  • 3 t-shirts, 1 dress shirt, 1 cool half sleeve collar, 1 belt
  • Nikon d5300 with f/1.8 35mm lens and tripod
  • lotion, tooth stuff, face wash, shampoo, soap, deodorant, bug spray
  • REI Lumen 20 F Sleeping Bag, no tent, no mummy liner, no sleeping pad
  • 1 CamelBack, 1 Leatherman Multi-Tool
  • 1 MacBook Pro, Headphones, G-Shock Watch
  • Compression bag for clothes, Compressible Pillow, Microfiber Towel, Travel First Aid Kit, a few extra carabiners, US to India Adapter, headlamp, bike lock, master lock, toilet paper, Ziploc bags
  • Teva Sandals, Nike Running shoes for casual wear, Hat
  • Extra Backpack for day trips.
  • A few presents for the fam!

Note here that I really wanted to bring my DJI Phantom 3 Advanced drone, but customs would probably confiscate a cool gizmo like this and the drone wouldn’t be able to fly at 12,000 ft in Leh due to an inability to generate enough lift due to far lower air density at those altitudes.

Wish me luck! Also just in case you haven’t seen this video of me at my finest check it out, its hysterical.

PS. As I go thru this trip I will take pictures, provide insight, and try to document costs and awesome things I did.

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