Traveling is something I liked for a long time. After moving to Amsterdam, I wanted to travel but couldn’t find a travel buddy and I was reluctant in traveling alone. Back in April 2015, I did a solo trip and that changed my views about traveling solo.
Whichever place I go, I try to maintain a travelogue where I mention about the places I went to, people I met, food and drinks I tried and emotions I felt.
Here are some of my long travels that were done across 4-5 countries for more than 15-16 days.
Three weeks before leaving for this trip, I felt down. The grey and cold weather of Amsterdam was getting to me and I felt depressed. I decided to take this trip and returned as a different person after this trip.
So that was the first time, I traveled solo. In the beginning, I was wondering what I am gonna do without friend, or how I will navigate. What if I miss flight, train? What’s gonna happen, who will be around to help me. I decided to give it a try anyway, and it turned out to be experience of my life.
First trip of Europe, 4 guys, 17 days, 6 cities, 7 flights, 1 train, countless metros/trams/buses, over 215 km of walking/hiking. Unfortunately, I didn’t maintained the full diary as this was my first time. But some information can still be found!
I’ve got a extreme case of wanderlust. In order to be happy, I have to go somewhere from time to time. Here is a list of some of my small travels in search of love, sun, friends, food, passion or dream!
because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
For the last couple months, my journeys were limited to Bulgaria for personal reasons. Switching between jobs, I knew I’ll have some time to kill in April, so I started to look for cheap flights to places where I can find dark skies and mountains. Iceland was on my list for quite sometime and I managed to find really cheap flight to Iceland from Amsterdam. Luckily, I found the tickets from 8th April to 13th and the first 2 dates were almost moonless nights.
As usual, weather of Amsterdam was crap. No sunshine, rain and constant grey weather. I also had a new failure in my plate last month and I felt shit. I was checking for cheap flights to Tenerife for almost the whole month but they were expensive. On 21st December, I woke up and I knew today is the day I’ll get the tickets. I checked and the price was very reasonable so I got them immediately.
I read that they are visible in Norway and Sweden. From time to time, I’d stumble upon pictures and videos of Northern lights on internet and would watch them with interest. From Pakistan to Norway, it was a long distance and it was almost impossible to see them live. Here is my story of my search of Northern Lights.
That was a legendary trip. I didn’t visit Istanbul, I experienced it. I went there with my friends and that’s what made this trip so awesome. Food, warmth, wedding and a lot more. It felt like home.
Travels in Bulgaria
I’ve been to Sofia several times for personal reason. I went to Sofia in September 2015 first time and I loved the city and the near by nature. That time I decided to explore the city and returned again after two months. Since then, I’ve been to Sofia more or less every month. During those visits, I’ve explored some parts of country. Here are some of them
So this journey was also part of “Exploring the hell out of Bulgaria”. But this time, we had only one day and one night to explore. So this time, we had plan to spend the night at Buzludzha and day at town of Shipka. We decided to leave on Friday evening and return Saturday late evening.The whole journey lasted around 30 hours out of which we only slept 4-5 hours but we managed to explore two must see places in Bulgaria.
I met Dimo last year in a mountain hut in Rila. We became instant friends since then and we traveled together in Bulgaria last year. I met him this January and shared my plan of traveling the hell out of Bulgaria this year and asked him that he should join me. Being a total sport he is, he said sure let’s do it. So in February, we decided to visit Prohodna and Belogradchik as kick off. Here is a photo travelogue of our journey over the weekend!
I’ve been to Cherni Vrah last year, the highest peak of Vitosha mountain. I wanted to do again and I had plan this hike a month earlier with Kriss. It was a hike full of sunshine, laughs, adventures and fun. One of the hike I’ll always remember. I advocate solo traveling and solo hiking but I learned that hiking is more awesome if you do it with someone special.
Me and Dimo not being able to climb Musala due to snow, decided to drive to Rupite (Bulgarian: Рупите, pronounced [ˈrupite]) is a village which includes a small mountainous protected area in the southeastern part Blagoevgrad Province, Bulgaria, 10-12 kilometres northeast of Petrich, inside Petrich Municipality, on the right bank of the Struma River. It is best known as the place where the Bulgarian medium Baba Vanga lived and was buried. The area is in fact the crater of an extinct volcano, its appearance being shaped by the volcanic hill of Kozhuh, the thermal springs and Pchelina Hill.
I was in Bulgaria again and happened to have to have a free weekend. Rado, my Bulgarian mountaineer friend was in a hut in Rila mountains as there was national Igloo building competition going on there. He asked me to join her friend Stella (now my friend too) from Sofia and hike with them to hut. I spent two days there and here is my experience in a photo journal.
In Pakistan we have a saying that you spend the whole year the way you meet it. So I wanted to start new year by hiking, traveling and some adventure in January. I choose to fly to Sofia in my running shoes. What I didn’t know that how this small adventure of mine will evolve into something awesome in coming months.
It was the final public holiday until Christmas in Netherlands. And it happened to be on Monday, I spent last weekend in Amsterdam bored to death and I didn’t wanted to do the same this weekend. I started looking for cheap tickets and found tickets to Milan from Amsterdam. I wanted to hike so I search for options near Milan to hike and found that Lake Como is really nearby. So I planned my hike near lake Como.
Friday and Monday were days off in Netherlands which means a long weekend. The last thing on Earth I wanna do is to spend long weekends in Netherlands. So I started looking for cheap flights and on Thursday I found relatively cheap tickets to Budapest from Eindhoven. Another friend of mine decided to join me and the plan was to go to Higher Tatras in Slovakia.
Cycling in Netherlands
On weekends if the weather is nice, I cycle to different villages, towns and cities of Netherlands. Mostly on my own, sometimes with friends. I also take photos during the trip. Following is a list of my cycling adventures in Netherlands.
Quest for Dark Sky and Stars
Recently, I became a sucker for star-gazing. I grew up in Karachi, a city of 25 million people. That means lots of artificial light pollution and other pollution to keep you from watching stars. But I used to travel to North and further South and there I would see stars. I try to go to dark places in Amsterdam and beyond to see stars. Here are some of my stories around finding dark skies and gazing the stars.