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Lets try something different

8 mins. read

Published in the Saturday Navbharat Times on 03 February, 2024

"So, what's your sport?" he asked inquisitively. I found myself fumbling, pondering whether navigating through morning traffic to reach the office could be considered a sport of sorts. After all, surviving daily life in a city like Mumbai feels like a constant battle of the fittest! Jokes aside, I attempted to provide the best answer I could muster. "Well, I swim once in a while and work out daily," I replied. "Everyone should have a sport in life; it's crucial, not just for physical health but for mental wellbeing too. a happy body means a happy mind" he emphasized, observing the direction of the wind.

I was standing on a frozen lake in Switzerland, attempting the unlikely feat of balancing skis and holding my kite simultaneously. My instructor, Ralph, a remarkably fit 65-year-old, was giving me a lesson in kite surfing on the frozen lake. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine attempting a sport like kite surfing, but as they say, there’s always a first time for something new and different. And when it comes to travel, isn't that precisely what we're seeking? To explore new destinations, relish new experiences, savor new delicacies, and collect new memories while making new friends!

Ralph adjusted the kite again, and I started gliding on the snow. It took some time to get accustomed, with a few falls along the way, but soon, I found comfort in the ski shoes and skis, truly enjoying myself. In Switzerland for work, I decided to utilize the afternoon free time to try something I had never experienced before. As part of a group of travel agents from India attending a conference arranged by Switzerland tourism, this was an additional and unexpected activity. "Indian women are truly adventurous," Ralph mentioned happily, as I waved to a female colleague who was also trying her hand at kite surfing on the frozen lake. We watched in amusement as the men in the group went by, relaxing on a horse carriage ride, and I was pleasantly surprised that the women in the group had chosen an active holiday time over shopping and rest!

I am always up for new adventures, whether it's trying a local delicacy or a new activity. And better still, if it's in a new place.When I speak to my girlfriends, whether they are homemakers or career-driven women, they echo my sentiments and are also keen to accompany me on my journeys. We've driven a car in Croatia, even stopping by to take a dip in the sea, walked through the islands of Greece enjoying a session of wine tasting, explored the culture, history, and architecture in Prague, and shared a cheese fondue in Switzerland, among many other explorations! Let me be honest and place on record that even if these girls' trips are the best, it takes a lot of effort to arrange a trip like this, to align everyone’s schedule, match everyone's interests, and finally, actually take off on that holiday. Many trips were planned but had to be shelved as our schedules didn't match, and often I would wish that if only I had gone ahead alone on that trip, I could have still had my holiday! Recognizing this need, we at Veena World have put together a plethora of holidays in India and across the world to cater to women's needs and likes. Needless to say, the emphasis is on safety and security so that even single women can travel alone. What's more, single women travelers have the assurance of a room partner on these Veena World Women's special tours so they aren't burdened with paying the extra price of Single occupancy charges. Once all the planning hassles are out of your way, all you have to do is choose from over 60 amazing tours curated especially for women and set off on that dream holiday.

Coming back to my trip to Switzerland, I think I am truly blessed and lucky to have experienced a destination like Switzerland in different seasons. Just like the crowning jewel of India, Kashmir, Switzerland is a destination for all seasons. Usually, our Indian guests used to travel to Europe only for a few months in spring and summer. But now, we are seeing a demand from our esteemed guests for more and more year-round holidays, including autumn and even winter. For many years, from my childhood times, I have watched Bollywood stars of yesteryears like the energetic Shami Kapoor roll down the snowy slopes belting out popular numbers like “Yahoo” or the fantastic thrilling ski-chase in the James Bond movie, “The World is not enough,” when the very handsome Pierce Brosnan skis down the slopes, often experiencing a tinge of jealousy, wondering if this was always out of bounds for us common folk! So, when I finally had a chance to wear my ski clothes and set out on the slopes for my first ski lesson, I was sure that I was going to do it, even if it meant that I would probably not be as graceful as the skiers who have practiced for years and would have to brave the cold. To my pleasant surprise, I never really felt cold when I was skiing! In fact, once when the temperature monitor displayed a temperature of minus eleven degrees, I could feel sweat trickle down my back. I looked out at the expanse of pristine snow-covered mountains and wondered how this was possible. However, with no pollution and clear blue skies, the sun was beating down on us, and the snow was glistening and sparkling, painting the perfect picture. All I needed were my oversize sunglasses and my sunscreen! Whether I could ski or not, I was just happy to fulfill a long-held wish of simply playing on the snow-covered mountains, making a snowman of my own, reliving my childhood dream. Most of these ski resorts are equipped with hot water pools and thermal baths, and soaking in them after a day on the slopes is perhaps the perfect end to the day, as I discovered. Many regions in the world, like Iceland, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, are blessed with hot thermal springs that are fed into these baths, and the waters are not just relaxing but therapeutic as well. The healing waters soothe sore muscles, and I always look forward to soak in these thermal baths whenever I have a chance, especially in the winter months when you are floating in warm water but can feel the cool air on your face.

Another joy of winter is the husky dogsled rides. I had a close encounter with the lovable husky dogs when I visited a husky farm. The huskies are adapted for the cold, and a dogsled ride in winter is a lot of fun and simply unforgettable. As I look back at my pictures from my first winter travel, happy memories come flooding back! The first time I learned to ski, the first time I learned to stop without a fall, and the first time I actually even learned to walk on snow! And the best part, of course, were my photos from that trip, which pop up on Facebook every year, reminding me of the best time of my life. So, are you ready to try something different this year?

February 02, 2024

Author

Sunila Patil
Sunila Patil

Sunila Patil, the founder and Chief Product Officer at Veena World, holds a master's degree in physiotherapy. She proudly served as India's first and only Aussie Specialist Ambassador, bringing her extensive expertise to the realm of travel. With a remarkable journey, she has explored all seven continents, including Antarctica, spanning over 80 countries. Here's sharing the best moments from her extensive travels. Through her insightful writing, she gives readers a fascinating look into her experiences.

More Blogs by Sunila Patil

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