Stories about travelling

How can you expect international tourists to visit Pakistan when even the locals avoid it?

Pakistan is beautiful; there are no second thoughts about it. It is common to see videos making rounds on social media and the internet that show breathtaking landscapes of Pakistan. The purpose for most of them is to appeal to viewers to visit these places and witness the wonders of nature. We see people tagging their family and friends on such posts, making plans about their next trip. However, in most cases, the decision to take a trip isn’t based solely on how beautiful the place is rather the means, resources, security and facilities available there are taken into account. Recently, ...

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Germany’s highest peak was beautiful, but Pakistan’s ‘majestic beasts’ are incomparable

My love for mountains grew last year when I got an opportunity to climb Baaushal Peak (5,720 metres) in Pakistan and became part of the first female expedition of the country. Mountain climbing still hasn’t garnered much attention in our part of the world, even though the natural beauty Pakistan has to offer is breathtaking and incomparable. I can say this with confidence because I recently climbed the highest peak in Germany known as the Zugspitze Peak (2,962 metres). There are more technical routes to the Zugspitze Peak but I decided that going through the Reintal Valley was my best ...

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Travelling the world amongst the roaring sea: Memories of a Pakistani sailor

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Aspiring for a career and finally achieving employment is a blessing for anyone. When I was young, my dream, like many other kids, was to roam around the world, to see far off places and to experience different cultures. One practical way to achieve my goal was to join the Merchant Marine. At a young age of 17, when one is full of hope and ambition, I finally had the selection letter tucked gleefully in my pocket after a gruelling selection process. It was a pleasant February afternoon in 1974 when I joined the ...

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It is impossible to not fall in love with the rustic paradise that is Madagascar

Discovering new parts of the world always has an epiphanic effect on you – everything seems brighter and better. That’s exactly how I felt after my holiday to Madagascar. After a 13-hour journey with a 10-hour pit stop in Mauritius, I finally arrived in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. When I arrived in Antananarivo, I was suffering from a cold, but recovered after only a week in this paradise. The fresh island breeze, tall palm trees and happy faces of the local residents were the antidote that I very much needed. I only stayed in the capital for three days at a college ...

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A timeless trip to the Mediterranean: How can an ocean have no memory?

“Tell you where I’d go. Ziahuatanejo… a little place right on the Pacific. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory…”  And so the protagonist, Andy (Tim Robbins), tells the narrator, Red (Morgan Freeman), in the movie Shawshank Redemption. Although I have seen the movie countless times since it came out in 1994, it was while I was a teenager in medical school that it charmed me completely. Perhaps it was the concept of freedom and justice that connected with my younger, socially-driven self. Later in life, the aforementioned conversation between Andy and Red, as well ...

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Nature granted me a front seat to the northern lights and it was everything

The place was a sharp contrast to what I had experienced over the past three days, trekking through the Southern Highlands of Iceland. I had traversed through 30 kilometres of landscape made of black volcanic ash with little vegetation but fragile moss, rainbow-coloured rhyolite hills that belched sulphurous steam, dark clouds hovering low and foreboding a rainstorm at every moment, and no signs of life but the occasional audacious hiker. The daytime scenery was the most incredible I have seen in my travels through the European Alps and highlands, but it was the much famed night-time spectacle that I ...

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Ephesus: City that rivaled Rome

Rome has existed as far back as the eighth century. The Roman Empire covered most of Europe, parts of North Africa, Asia and the Middle East. During its peak, this empire rivalled existing empires. Due to the expansion the Roman Empire, new cities evolved and flourished. The city of Ephesus was one of the major commerce centres that strengthened the Roman foothold in Asia. Ephesus existed since before the Bronze Age and had lived through the Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman periods. But it was during the Roman period that this harbour city progressed, and ultimately became the second largest city ...

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Unless PIA is privatised, it will continue to hijack the nation

Having already confirmed with Pakistan International Airline (PIA) my return flight to Karachi a few days earlier, I was feeling relaxed on the penultimate day of my lovely vacation in Nepal, but when I called the Pakistani national airline’s office in Kathmandu to re-confirm my flight, I received a surprise. According to the PIA representative, my flight had been cancelled days ago, and I was to wait another four days to fly to Karachi. As much as I was fascinated by Nepal, I didn’t wish to spend more time in the country. For one, I was running low on cash ...

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From Scotland to Pakistan, my journey to solitude

An epiphany results in one deciding their goals in life. It dictates your thought-process in a way that it becomes your aim in life to achieve it. Hence, I had my epiphany while I watching a drama being shot in Scotland. We all go through the phase where we believe certain actions might be the solutions to our problems. My aim in life was to live in the beautiful territory known as Scotland. The country brings with it allure and beauty in terms of nature, the magic of the landscape weaves into the minds of all the people who’ve visited this ...

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Naltar – Stuck between trekking anguishes and scenic bliss

It has been a month since my university life ended, and to be honest, the alumnus status on my LUMS student ID card still unnerves me.  The hostel life,the  overwhelming independence,the never-ending sleepovers, the shopping sprees for the peculiar paindu day and daaku (thief) day, and the all night ‘chilling’ sessions at the khokha (canteen), not to forget the extensive travelling, are some of the best and irreplaceable experiences a student can ever have. The travelling came in the form of flights from Lahore to Karachi and vice versa, each time introducing me to strangers and immediately churning them into friends over the one hour 45 minutes flight. Some ...

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