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05. Jul, 2014

Excuses people make not to travel in Pakistan

Excuses people make not to travel in Pakistan

I have been traveling across Pakistan since quite a few years now. It’s easy for me to travel within the country keeping in view my low budget and nominal income. The point is, it is not at all expensive to travel within Pakistan as compared to travel abroad for vacations and it is as unsafe and safe as any other country could be.

So i get appreciation by friends, fans and random people around on how awesome my lifestyle is and how great it is to travel and explore the diversity and beauty of Pakistan. They show their concern that they also want to do it, but then come up with excuses that i want to address and then, they travel abroad instead of Pakistan.

It is really normal for them to say “Oh I have been to Thailand twice, once to Malaysia and Turkey and I have seen quite a few countries in Europe. In Pakistan, I have just visited Lahore and Karachi, that too for work. Oh yes, i went to Islamabad once during my childhood.”
Really?

and here are their top 4 excuses:

1. Halaat kharab hien

These are the city dwellers. Haalat is their fist biggest excuse. They think something will happen to them if they travel in Pakistan. Of course that is not their fault, it is the media that makes them think that way. Though reality is different. People all over Pakistan are same and they face the same problem as you do. Ok so what about your phone that got snatched on gunpoint in Karachi the previous week? you still live in Karachi right?

2. Leaving my comfort zone

“I don’t know if there are any hotels, or good hotels to stay. I don’t know if i can find wifi there. Can i check my emails while going to the base camp of K2?”
Do I need to say anything? YES. STAY AT HOME.

3. Lack of infra structure

You know the roads, and all flights getting cancelled. Isn’t it better to take overnight flight to bangkok then a road trip to Karakoram highway?
Hmm…Yes, then go to Bangkok and never see what this country has for you.

4. I don’t have the budget

Oh so what about your last vacation to Thailand? You probably need half the amount of that to go to the base camp of K2.

I say, yes, you should travel and explore other countries. But don’t make excuses not to travel within Pakistan.

Pakistan has a unique diversity. The coastal area of the south, the sufi shrines in Sindh and Punjab, the green mountains of Kashmir, the high snow caped peaks of Baltistan and what not. And the good news is, there are hotels and most of the places are safe. What’s unsafe is in your mind. Of course that doesn’t mean that the places are all safe from crimes and all. But dude, do you know the crime rate of Bangkok in specific with reference to tourists? and what about the cities you live in?

Can you think of more excuses? Post them in comments icon smile Excuses people make not to travel in Pakistan

Happy Traveling.

 

 

07. Oct, 2013

3 weird myths people have about me

3 weird myths people have about me

I am a storyteller, a traveler, i love tea, i work and save to travel more from time to time. I am always bombarded with questions from people having different perceptions about me. I try to clarify things via mail and now finally decided to write a blog post about it. Though the list is long, but there are 3 most weird myths people have about me :

1. Your work as a tour operator/guide

“So when are you taking your next trip? I so want to join your group.”  I DON’T work as a tour operator or a tour guide. I do travel a lot but that doesn’t make me a tour operator.  Yes i can guide you by sharing my travel experiences but i can’t make itineraries for you. I travel randomly. I leave home with a vague idea about my destination. How can i plan it for you?

2. You are a chai addict.

No doubt i love chai (tea) but that doesn’t mean that i survive only on chai. I have had beautiful experiences of my life around chai. Evening time with family was always chai time when Abu would get home from work and sit with the family for chit chat. During my school days, i would often meet my friends and we would go for chai gathering in evenings. While traveling, the bus driver always stops at chai hotel for chai. It is a mandatory thing that revolved around every day of my life. I enjoy tea. 2 cups a day and if i am having too much of it then not more than 5 which is extreme when i have to meet different people in a day. I enjoy tea. Thats it. I AM NOT A CHAI ADDICT. or Does that make me one?

3. You are super rich hence you travel a lot

“Dear Danial. I love what you do. i wish i could do the same but i don’g have enough money. I work at the bank and use all my savings to travel to Thailand every year for vacation, spend nights in 5 star resorts doing nothing but watching TV. I wish i was rich like you to travel”.

Thank you! but your perception of travel is i assume “luxury travel” that you take once a year to escape your cubicle life and spend all your money you’ve saved all year in traveling abroad, a business class ticket and a luxury hotel with a nice swimming pool.Thats what i don’t do. If i am taking assignments that provide me travel, that doesn’t make me rich. And if i earn some money and save the rest to spend it on an another adventure, again that doesn’t make me rich. Don’t make money an excuse for not traveling.

The list goes on and on. I am sure people would still ask me questions related to that and  I enjoy answering icon smile 3 weird myths people have about me So what is your question/myth about me? icon razz 3 weird myths people have about me

30. Nov, 2011

Is it Safe to Travel in Pakistan?

Is it Safe to Travel in Pakistan?
chaman border pakistan Is it Safe to Travel in Pakistan?

Entrance to Pakistan via Pak Afghan Border - Chaman, Balochistan.

I have been receiving mails regarding queries of the safety conditions of traveling in Pakistan. So instead of replying to all those mail i thought to draft out following points that can help you to travel inside Pakistan.

1. No country is safe or unsafe

One thing i would want you to understand regarding traveling is that No country is safe / unsafe. It all depends on you how rough you can travel. If you are comparing traveling in Europe with Pakistan then it is for sure you’ll  face some hurdles. However if you are an avid traveler and understand the circumstances that a country can bring to you (that is obvious part of traveling) then you need not to think if its unsafe or safe to travel.

1. Do Not Read the News Paper

Trust me, its useless to read the newspaper before traveling. I tell you why. You will read all about what negative is going on around the country. However, there will be lots of positive things going on which will not be mentioned and the negative news will take over your traveling. Its good to know whats happening in the country but not everything. There are things that you should not know as well.

2. Do Not watch the News

This goes similar with the news paper. Same things. It will never let you travel, or even not let you leave your house. Am i right?

3. Know about the place

When i say know about the place, that does not again refer to news but you should ask the people who have recently been there. Get their insights and reviews. They might have had good or bad experience, but your intention is just to get more information about the place where you have decided to go.

3. Think Less

This is one of the useful tool for me to travel. I think less about the place before traveling. I just take little information on safety precautions and then just leave without thinking more and it has always been helpful. The more i think about the place the more worry i get.

4. Hurdles are a part of traveling

Like every other traveler, be brave to face hurdles. Again i say that the hurdles are a part of traveling no matter of which country you are traveling too. But i always enjoy the hurdles and take them as a part of my journey.

When you are brave enough with a positive attitude, things that are not in your favor will not take over over and ruin your traveling.

5. How to avoid Terrorism?

Its funny but you have to believe, we are also suffering from it but we are leading a normal life. I find it really easy at the moment to travel across borders between different provinces of Pakistan. One thing that you need to make sure is not to travel to the troubled regions. When i say troubled regions, it means some specific places.  For example, I am not talking about whole balochistan but some regions where its not safe. That does not mean you avoid the whole beautiy of Balochistan etc.

6. Fight with your inner self

I must say this is one of the most difficult part. I always face difficulties fighting with my innerself to make the innitiative to travel. Whatever you plan for whichever place, when the time starts getting near to move, your innerself tells you not to move, stay at home and enjoy the tv. But there comes a time you need to fight with your innerself and take an innitiative to move. Trust me, once you innitiate to travel, everything around you molds a form in your favor.

Yet there are lots of other things you can do / avoid doing in order to travel. But you have to travel and explore your country. Just don’t find excuses not to see the beauty of your country. Pakistan really is a beautiful country full of hospitable people.

If you have any such tip you would want to share, or have a question regarding safety in Pakistan, just post it as a comment .

Happy traveling across Pakistan icon smile Is it Safe to Travel in Pakistan?

08. Aug, 2011

Traveling is Struggling

Traveling is Struggling
rakaposhi danial Traveling is Struggling

A trekker crossing a small stream of glacier water at Tagafari, Rakaposhi Base Camp, Gligit-Baltistan - Pakistan

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Finding excuses for not doing work is the most easiest job ever. Why do we always think that not doing work, staying stagnant and finding excuses will lead us to something achievable?

People around me always ask to take them along if i am traveling anywhere. They would never have their own initiatives. And when i ask them to go, I’m bombarded with countless excuses. I’ve work at home. I can’t go that far. Do we get internet connection while we are traveling?. My Family won’t allow me. I cant sleep in low budget hotels. I’ve heard that area is not safe for travelers…arghhh and thousand more excuses, just excuses.

I strongly believe in Aristotle’s saying  “We are what we repeatedly do. excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”

So would you make an excuse again for not doing work, any work? travel? or would you take on the initiative and keep on doing it because that is how you’ll achieve excellence.You need to have this power of fearlessness, thirst to explore beyond measure. Not just in terms of traveling but for everything that seems hard.

I have just one question? If you won’t take a single step out, how would you reach your goal? People who are successful and have achieved something in their life keep on struggling till their life last. If you don’t struggle, you won’t survive in the battle with yourself.

So now you have only two options, either sit back home, turn on the AC, enjoy your favorite TV show along with your ordered pizza and keep dreaming. Or, you leave all that, pack you back, take a ticket of a place you’ve never been to or you always dream of going to, experience the odds that are going to happen to you while traveling, see the last beam of sun hitting the mountain top, experience twilight at the beach, take a bumpy road trip in the north, take some adventure, experience the worse. Simply Travel to Explore….

17. Mar, 2011

The Beautiful Hanna Lake in Quetta

The Beautiful Hanna Lake in Quetta
hanna lake 450x337 The Beautiful Hanna Lake in Quetta

Hanna Lake, Quetta - Balochistan, Pakistan

You won’t believe it but this picture of Hanna Lake was taken back mid 2005 with a very simple 6mp Olympus Point and Shoot Camera. I was just going through my old archives and came across one of my trip to the lake :).

I remember that year it rained a lot in Balochistan and eventually the lake got fresh water stored, and the turquoise blue water along with the white shiny clouds made it a really beautiful and soothing scene to eyes.

Hanna Lake is one of the most visited and accessible lake in Balochistan.

For those who have not yet been to Hanna Lake, its pretty close to Quetta City hardly 25 minutes drive.


How to Get There:

You can drive your own vehicle or take public transport that takes around Rs. 15 per person and leaves the Quetta Main Adda from Circular Road every hour daily. But be careful to get back before sunset since you won’t get transpart after that.

The place is totally safe to travel. The Lakeside hotel has good tea to serve.

Staying there:

There is no particular place to stay although there are Huts that can be booked from Armed Forces of Pakistan. I would suggest you to stay in Quetta City and go for a day to the lake icon smile The Beautiful Hanna Lake in Quetta

21. Jan, 2011

3 Things I always consider while traveling in Pakistan

3 Things I always consider while traveling in Pakistan
traveling in pakistan 450x263 3 Things I always consider while traveling in Pakistan

Danial Shah capturing a family moment at the Tomb of Jahangir in Shahdara Bagh, Lahore. (Photo by Abeer ul Haq)

Traveling is pleasure for me. I take traveling as an opportunity to learn and observe different forms of nature, how people live in different places and what do they eat. My experience has taught me 3 most important things to consider while traveling in Pakistan.

1. Respect The Culture

When you are traveling in Pakistan, be it the town of Bhit Shah in Sindh or the Valley of Kalash in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, you have to respect the culture of the place. You should learn about their culture, few phrases from their language, know about their dress and try not to wear cloths which might happen to be offensive to them.

When it comes to culture, it means their values and traditions. Ask for the permission before taking photograph of people, especially women and senior citizens. If they do not allow, DO NOT take the picture. It’s easy to take picture and run away but that will be then totally unprofessional and you will not be able to make a long term relationship. I usually dress up in Shalwar Kameez during my travels to interior places of Pakistan like in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It feels good and comfortable.

That way, you won’t become a point of attention and a stranger to locals.

2. Communicate

Since you have learnt few phrases from their language, it shows that you want to be a part of their family. Talk to them. Do not take picture at once. Hang around. Visit Bazaars. Visit the market, have few conversation with the locals. Introduce yourself and then shoot next day. They will then know who actually is wandering around.

I stayed in Kalash Valley last year and learnt few phrases from the Kalasha Language. I used to greet them every day with “Ishpata” which is a greeting in their language. They loved me taking their photographs. I didn’t shoot at the very first day. I talked to them and visited their houses and then shot whole next 2 days.

Talking to the locals and communicating will give you the real charm of traveling. You will make good memories when you get back to your routine life.

3. Be rough & Tough

When it comes to traveling, forget all your luxuries. Pack up with your equipments, water bottle, clothing, pair of shoes and a nice book to read because that’s what I do during my travels. You’ll have to face difficulties, things would go unplanned, but those difficulties are an important part of your traveling in order to bring back good memories home. Remember, traveling is when you buy a one way ticket to a place you have never been to, rest is all unplanned.

Go on, take the initiative. Take you camera out and shoot the people, the environment and everything around. Bring lots of memories back home.

There are obviously other things as well to consider while traveling but being a travel photographer i have concluded the above 3 things as important to travel in Pakistan.

What about you? what do you consider the most while traveling in Pakistan?