An English Teacher Shares Her Inspiring Travel Diaries And Experiences On Teaching English in a Foreign Land – An Interview with Kristin Sewell – Blogwithgokul (GV’s Talk)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk, Kristin!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. 

Where have you spent teaching the most in your life?

Kristin – So far I’ve spent the most time teaching in Kerala, nine months! It’s been the best and most challenging experience of my life and I loved the whole crazy ride lol.

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While on a stroll through the streets of Kenya.

what would you suggest to those who aspire to be an English language teacher before
they step out into a foreign land to hunt for jobs?

Kristin – For new English language teacher, such as myself, I think the best thing is to just do your research and make sure the jobs you apply for / accept are legit and good quality workplaces. Lots of companies/programs have Facebook pages where you can read others’ reviews. Also, during interviews, I always ask the interviewer’s opinion of the company, which is a fun way to make them feel as nervous as you are and maybe even get an honest answer from them haha…

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Gazing at the sunrise in Ireland.

How can you make yourself qualified has an English teacher?

Kristin – The most important factor in becoming qualified to teach English as a language is getting your TEFL/TESOL certification from a reputable institution. Having a bachelor’s degree (usually in any field of study) qualifies you for better positions than those without a university degree. It’s always good to open as many doors as possible for your future paths in life, so having that college degree just gives you more opportunities!

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A snap from the land of castles  – Czech Republic (Charles Bridge on the backdrop)

The most intriguing part of teaching English to foreign students?

Kristin – The most intriguing aspect of getting to teach ESL is opening up the lines of communication between myself and people I never would’ve gotten to know if they hadn’t learned my language! I love getting to learn about people’s lives and making friends, so it’s awesome when someone is able to express themselves in a language that is foreign to them and we can get to know each other.

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Dreamy Icelandic landscapes.

Your Instagram handle seems to have some amazing clicks! Looks like your cutting
down your bucket list one by one. How many countries have you been to so far?

Kristin – It’s crazy to add them all up and realize I’ve been to 23 countries…I want to go everywhere and eat everything and meet everyone lol, so I’ve still got like 170 countries left on the list haha. There are so many cities to explore and traditional dishes to try, so I’m always looking forward to the next adventure. But I’m back in the phase of work work work now in order to be able to start another phase of wandering.

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Having fun in the turquoise waters of Mexico.

 

Travelling solo especially being a girl in India is a huge deal. What do you have to tell parents about letting their daughters fly free and pursue their dreams?

Kristin – I mean…my parents were as scared as any parents would be…super hesitant to let their daughter fly away into the unknown totally alone, even though I was 29 when I left for India. But I think the saying is true that you’re supposed to “give your children roots and wings” and it’s especially true for girls because, despite all the horrors that happen all the time around the world, females need to be bold and follow our calling to roam. I think that the only time we get a chance to be brave is when we’re scared…so we have to take every opportunity to walk through that fear when we know something worth pursuing is on the other side. As far as parents preparing their daughters to travel solo…maybe take a self-defence class, and I constantly remember my dad’s words “always be aware of your surroundings.”

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An American road trip through the Hawaiian islands.

How can you stay safe on the go? Some tips to young girls out there?

Kristin – It’s DESPICABLE that females have to have this innate instinct to fear men, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Pay attention to who’s around you, never walk alone in the dark, pay the money for a taxi, always have emergency money in your secret pocket haha aka bra. Take care of yourself and remove yourself from dangerous situations, stay sober, don’t be too shy to ask for help if you need directions, dress and behave appropriately for the country you’re visiting, etc. Overall there are more good people in the world than bad people, so hope for the best but plan for the worst and appreciate every experience. Fear kills more dreams than actual failure ever will so just get up and go live your best life.

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Flavours of spices from India.

The craziest thing ever happened on your trip?

Kristin – One of the craziest things that have happened to me while traveling was getting stung by a sea urchin while snorkeling in Kenya, I had to lay on the sand while some local guys sliced the sea urchin barns out of my foot with a razor blade 😅 Other crazy experiences were getting to hug a real live penguin while visiting Dubai in a Middle Eastern desert, being in a motorcycle accident in India, getting assaulted by a man while visiting a mosque in Morocco, abseiling down waterfalls in Ecuador, and surviving jumping off the roof of a boat into the Red Sea in Egypt.

Your dream destination to visit?

Kristin – My big dream come true has been living in India. Kerala is now a home to me and it’s got everything I look for in a place to go adventuring. All the incredible food, luscious nature, and beautiful souls one could ever hope to encounter. As far as the next country I hope to explore…I’ve been thinking about Georgia and Azerbaijan a lot, the cities of Tbilisi and Baku are calling my name lol.

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Blissful green tea plantations captured from the hills of Sri Lanka.

Spending most of your time in India for the past couple of months. What do you have to say about your great Indian adventures?

Kristin – Living in India has been the biggest adventure of my life. The thing about This country is that when you come from such a Western place as the US, literally every day in India is an adventure. Buying groceries, taking the bus, teaching a class lol legit everything is new and different every day. Alappuzha and Munnar are stunning but some of my favorite moments were just taking sunset motorbike rides through pineapple groves and paddy fields, looking up at the moon through coconut and banana trees, listening to the frogs on hot evenings, the music playing on private buses, I just love and miss Kerala and all the elements that combine to make it such an overwhelming experience to live there.

One last question. What do you have to say to people who want to explore more but
can’t manage a work-life balance?

Kristin – Gokul listen, Those people need to prioritize. I know what I want in life, I want to explore. Every little choice you make in life leads you in a certain direction. I knew that working and saving my money by living at home with my family (like normal people do all over the world except for the West) was the best way to be able to afford to travel. I plan and plan and plan, figure out different combinations of cities and planes and trains and hostels to figure out how I can accomplish my goal as cost-effectively as possible. The amount of money people waste on rent is the price of a trip to the other side of the world. But, when you want something badly enough that passion drives you. So it’s really up to the passionate people to decide how hard they’re willing to work and how bright they wanna be about saving their money for what’s important in their lives.

Thank you so much for having your time Kristin. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

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You can follow Kristin’s Instagram handle.

Instagram: kristinsewell


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

This Monsoon Vacation Escape Into A Tranquil Tree-House Hideout In Munnar, Kerala- Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat.

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Blossoms along the way to munnar.

Thinking about a quick trip to do on your short vacation for a week? Is your Indian blue humble passport holding you back from your plans to travel to International destinations?

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The lovely curve roads for a perfect drive.

I have often felt lost for myself trying to figure out the visa procedures for a quick escape and have looked upon my fellow mates who hold the US, UK passports jump onto Skyscanner and book tickets and fly the next day. Well, there is nothing we can do about rather get yourself in a tour package spending a lot of money or dedicating an entire day at the embassy.

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That lush greenery

But I have wondered, it could be because we have a world within us.

Spreading from Andaman & Nicobar Islands to Kashmir & Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh exhibit a whole lot of difference in culture and language.

Kerala- a land blessed with coastal and hill ranges have never disappointed its visitors. In this blog, I am introducing Ela Ecoland, a quick hideout in the Hill ranges of Munnar that I visited last summer.

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Enjoying my evening on the balcony of the tree house.

Ela Ecoland is a nature retreat than a resort. I found the retreat to be so close to nature that I did not find anything artificial or non-biodegradable used in its premises.

Ela Ecoland offers three types of accommodation.

  • Rock house rooms
  • Luxury Tents
  • Treehouse

Treehouse stay is unique in his style. They aren’t many treehouses in Munnar only a couple of few countable on fingers. I was lucky enough to stay in one among them.

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Getting my works done on a tree house in the woods.

Golden tip: If you’re interested in Treehouse then book them at least one week in advance and to be noted Treehouse is couple friendly which accommodates two comfortably.

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The view of the tree house from below.

The view from the Treehouse is stunning that it overlooks a small pond with falls and to add to the natural beauty they have a bamboo raft which can be used to move around in the pond.

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The bamboo raft 

As the sun goes down begins the chirping of the birds that you feel you are totally lost in the jungle having nothing to worry about your chaotic life and is best if you want to disconnect yourself from the hectic life you have back in the city.

The stream flows by that adds to the beauty and serene environment. Imagine laying on your cosy bed in the cool weather where the temperature drops to as low as 15 °C listening to the chirping of the birds and stream, reading your favourite book. Perfecto!

If you want to stay connected then internet wifi facility is available at the reception. Mobile networks go on and off. Idea and Bsnl networks often work but are not stable.

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Benjamin with his friend.

Run by these two nature lovers Benjamin and his friend would never leave you disappointed. So, this monsoon vacation head to Ela!

Excuse me! Don’t forget to take your camera with you! You may come across some beautiful spots to capture nature photographs.

You can also watch my Youtube video on Ela Ecoland for some visuals.

Do visit to get connected to the nature retreat to book your stay through this website.

Happy Vacation!

Blogwithgokul©

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For Nature retreat website: www.elaecoland.com

For booking call: +91 9400946800


Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

Make sure you also follow Benjamin on his Instagram YouTube Channel.

“The ghost of the past that haunts me” -when she opens up her heart.

(Note- my friend finally decided to pen down her terrible experiences growing up.) share if you think it is worthy. Thank you.

I am a very blessed person.I have an amazing life, wonderful friends,

the best possible husband and such a naughty darling for a kid. Yet my

childhood haunts me.People think, I had it all good being an only kid,

brought up in the middle east but it wasn’t so. My grandmother had

succeeded in drilling into my dad’s head that he would be less of a

man if he loved his wife or kid. To him, family was his mother,

siblings and their kids. Mom was simply his maid, and I, the maid’s

daughter.

Of course my mother was hurt, and this hurt, and anger at my dad, she

decided to send my way. To him, she was the perfect ‘parinitha’ (wife)…always

nodding her head in agreement no matter what he decided, never asking

for anything- not even the necessities. The more distance my dad

showed her, the more frustrations she would release on me. Being

pinched till the skin came off, being hit with anything in her arm’s

reach- wooden spoons, tennis racket, fly swatter, sandals, cable

wires, comb, hanger, metal ladle, rulers- anything.Any thing from

burning me to smearing me with fish innards. And i wasn’t allowed to

cry out loud or beg to stop. No matter how hard I tried, somewhere

around halfway into the torture session, i would beg and that was when

i would be thrown into a corner and kicked (with her slippers on) till

no energy was left in me to beg. I could really sense my unconditional

love for them disappear over time. I was always warned that if I dared

confess what happened then no one would ever love me. I strived hard

to please my parents, but they were never satisfied. My dad showered

expensive gifts on my cousins while i was given nothing. I believed it

was because of me- I was the bad egg. They never failed to insult me

in front of others. My talents in acting painting drawing clay

modeling etc were all discouraged. I was only allowed the academic

stuff and there too, inspite of being one of the best students, they

weren’t pleased. I was always told that i was a punishment to my

parents.Slowly it started sinking in me that i was unloved. I tried to

commit suicide a couple of times in between 6th – 8th grade. My

parents weren’t bothered. It broke me. I was constantly compared to

anyone and everyone. My mother would always say, she was going to ask

my friend to save some of her poop so i could feed on it and at least

be as worth as her poop. I was told that i was under a special

supervision and anyone who sat next to me was the teacher’s spy. I was

afraid to be friends with anyone because of the fear of having to eat

someone’s poop. I thought my mother was my friend. My mother loved me,

she was an overprotective parent until she would let loose the monster

in her. So I thought hostel and college was a new start and became

very close with my room mate.I didn’t believe my roommate when she

told me my mother called her and talked ill about me. My world came

crashing down when my roommate put her phone on speaker the next time

my mother called her. When I got amazing opportunities to work, my

parents denied it and forced me into a marriage. My dad never failed

to state how ugly i looked. Even a week before my engagement, my dad

asked me how I had guts to get up on the stage and stand next to a

handsome guy. I tried to call it off, but my then, fiance wouldn’t let

me. Nothing was my choice, not the sari, not the jewelry, nor how much

jewelry. After getting married, I was amazed as to how people buy

things of their like, how parents treated kids with respect and love

and most of all how being wanted makes you confident. I have gained a

lot of weight, but i have never felt more confident. I have had enough

confidence to go out and make friends. I have realized that I am worth

it. My parents still behave the same, my parents, always pointing out

how I am not a good mother, and my dad always trying to create fights

between my husband and me. Calling me names when my husband isn’t

around, treating me like a worthless piece of shit. But the difference

is I have decided to not let it bother me any longer. It is not easy,

when you have someone behind you, always reminding you, you are a

failure. I am still afraid to leave my dream , I am still waiting for

a good word from them which I know might not even come, but I am

fighting. I am fighting the feeling of being good for nothing, of

being someone no one can ever love. The only reason I wrote this is

because I want the people who have entered into the world of parenting out there to know how each thing you

say can contribute to your kid’s confidence. How those tender hearts

gets hurt and worst how certain incidents are branded into the brain.

I remember the pinching, beatings and kicking, right from when I

was around two years old to the time when my dad almost would have cut

my lips off,had my mother not intervened. Pain is difficult to forget,

be it physical or emotional. I need to forgive them to leave my past

behind but now that I have a kid of my own, it seems impossible. I

need to forget it all because the ghosts of my past surfaces once in a

while and creates issues in my smooth life now. A little patience you

show to your kid, might be their stepping stone to success , a little

praise might be their confidence.

-anon

PS:

( This is a guest post from one of my friend who wished to bring out her experiences she had while growing up)

Share if you think it needs to reach more people.

-Blogwithgokul

The Tale Of Tipri- Lesser Known Places.

Have you ever been taken into a different world when someone narrates you about his life? If not, let me try telling you the tale of Tipri, A village in the Northern Himachel Pradesh.

By Gokul Vijayan

The engine of the boat started with a thump. His face seems to be filled with happiness. I was captivated by the beauty of the nature surrounding me across the Chamera Dam reservoir.The dam is situated in the northern Himachel Pradesh with a close proximity to the Jammu Kashmir. The Ravi river flows towards Pakistan through the reservoir. Visitors gets an opportunity to have a motor boat ride during the tourist season.

As the motor boat kept moving more deeper into the reservoir Mr Muneesh Kumar began his narration.

“There you see that mountain!” said he. Yes I replied.  That is the village Tipri.

As the boat seem to approach nearer to the village he said. The people of Tipri live a different life. This gave me a curiosity to know more. I asked upon excitement why do you say so?

People over there are so isolated from the mainland because they do  not have access to the town via road. The only way of transportation for them is through the boat in which you and I are travelling now.

Adults and school children travel to their workplaces and schools through this boat every morning and evening. The reservoir is approximately 70mtrs depth. Travelling daily across the reservoir puts up risk.

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70 Meters deep Chamera reservoir

The children sometimes have to walk upto 5Kms a day to reach school.

Don’t they have schools in Tipri? Yes there is an elementary school for classes till 5th grade but most of the time it remains closed due to absence of teachers.

Have you ever imagined how fortunate we are to have our school bus to pick us from the door step of our house?

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Can you see the steps which leads to the boat dock? Villagers board the boat from here to the mainland.

The most interesting fact that got my attention was the wedding ceremony of the villagers. Have you ever wondered how wedding would like to be in a boat?

Yes, the villagers in Tipri hire boats during the wedding ceremony to bring the Bride or Bridegroom to the village when we on the other hand opt for a BMW or Mercedes-Benz to show luxury, class and pride.

The entire boats would be decorated with beautiful flowers and garlands picked fresh to welcome the Bride/Bridegroom.

Opposite to the village Tipri across the reservoir is another mountain with dense forest in which wild animals like the bears, leopards, deers etc reside.

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Overlooking the Chamera Dam

I was lucky enough to spot a deer that came down to drink water from the reservoir. The scene was beautiful but unfortunately couldn’t click a picture.

They do not have access to proper medical facilities in the village, if at all they need to go to a good hospital they must reach the nearby town in Dalhousie or Chamba approx 15 Kms after waiting for quite a long time for the boat and then a hilly ride on a private rickety bus. Note a 15km ride is much longer since it  is  a high range.

Every time he kept saying his miseries I kept thinking again and again how fortunate we are? And still not happy! I found some villagers waving there hands at me with a smile on their face. Tourists means income, more income means more food to the family. I could read that on their faces from a far distance. Villages dependent daily on Roti and Dhal Chawal.

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Mr Muneesh Kumar- Has he kept narrating. 

I waved them back.As the winter falls by the first week of December. It starts snowing bringing the temperature down to minus degrees. Hey! take a moment and imagine the pictures above filled with snow?! How beautiful it could be. I took a moment to imagine as he kept saying.  Tipri and the surroundings of Chamera dam has a different face in winters he said. But poverty strikes then. The boating would not be allowed and hence the income through them stops. Sad.

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The landslide that happened for the first time two days ago in the nearby mountain. On right Tipri.

If a landslide like that happens to Tipri then the entire village would get vanished said he. They could be homeless too. They pray that it would not happen to them. It was huge.

He kept saying the life in Tipri so passionately. He kept asking me ‘Did you like the place? Sir’ a hundred times after every sentence. How on earth could I say I don’t! I loved it so much keeping the miseries apart.It was at the end that he told me that he belonged to Tipri too. He grew up, lived his entire life in Tipri. The government has given him the job as the boat driver.

My half an hour ride came to an end. But I really did not want it to get over. I have no clue where my imaginations went through in this half an hour of time. I imagined a whole different way of life. I thanked him for telling me about Tipri. I said bye with a hope that I will come back once again not just for a transit visit but to stay and experience Tipri for a couple of days.

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The Beauty!

I made sure that I would write a blog post so that more people would know about Tipri. To let people know that some live in a very different way in a very different parts of our country. Isn’t it true that each travel is an experience?. Yes, it is. As I walked away he kept staring over to the mountains for someone else to come and have a ride.

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Boat ride!
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Tipri, Google Image.

Thank You so much for reading. Share.

Love,

Gokul Vijayan

Blogwithgokul

Note: The boating would cost you around Rs 3000 for 10 members but its worth it!

A Stay At The Best 3-Star Luxury Hotel At Dalhousie – Hotel Mongas.

Dalhousie, A Hill-Station situated above the 5 hills in the district of Chamba, Himachel Pradesh. Often referred to as the Mini-Switzerland of India. The mild cold afternoons with rays of sun falling on to your skin, the chilly mornings and the opportunity to stroll out into to the Tibetan markets for shopping during evenings makes Dalhousie a perfect holiday destination for Families and Honeymooners.

Every vacation turns out to be a memorable one if you find a perfect place to stay especially when you are planning a trip with your family. Let me share my experience with this hotel that I found out in Dalhousie.

Hotel Mongas, Creatively furnished and maintained 3-Star hotel was truly a perfect choice.

The hotel resides on a beautiful location overlooking the hill station giving a magnificent view of Dalhousie once you step out into your balcony from your room.

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Way To Reception

The room is so cozy and comfortable with all the basic amenities including toiletries, blankets, coffee makers and hot water which are the facilities most travelers look for on trips to hill stations.

They have wide range of room categories starting from Deluxe rooms to Maharaja Family rooms & Honeymoon special rooms.

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My Attic with private sit-out Room

Once you wake up in the morning the view  room offers is astonishing, the mist coming down the mountain peaks is so magical to see.

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A View From My Balcony!

The walkaways of the hotel are crafted with flower hangings and are clean and well maintained adding to the aesthetic beauty.

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Walk ways

The hotel also arranges a musical evening which is amazing to listen while your sipping a hot chocolate or having a beer. Which no other hotels provide.

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Musical Night

The restaurant posses a multi continental cuisines ranging from South-Indian to Chinese on a buffet system so you can eat your heart out!

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The Restaurant

The hotel as got great accessibility to the Gandhi Chowk  Market and the Tibetan Market in a walk-able distance. Hence making the stay more convenient .

My overall ratings would be:

  • Comfort: 8.5/10
  • Value For Money: 8:5/10
  • Cleanliness: 9/10
  • Services: 9/10
  • Dinning: 9.5/10
  • Location: 10/10
  • WiFi: 8/10

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Ratings
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Great Ambiance
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Coffee, Mist and Cold a perfect combination.
For Contact: 

MONGAS
THE MALL
Gandhi Chowk, Dalhousie,
Himachal Pradesh,
Pin Code -176304
India

Contact Numbers:

+91-9418180000,+91-9418180101,+91-9418010927 ,+91-01899-240581

Reservations At:

info@hotelmongas.com
hotelmongas@gmail.com
reservations@hotelmongas.com

PS: The ratings are based on my personal experience.

Thanks,

Gokul Vijayan

(Travel Blogger)

 

Always Wanted To Be A Cabin Crew? Spice Jet Welcomes You!

 

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Credits: Blogwithgokul

Graduated from high school? Looking for a career to start up? Always loved being sociable and serving the society? Dreaming of flying around the globe meeting new people, getting to know different culture and seeing places?

Then, Being a Cabin Crew is the perfect profession for you! How cool is it to go around the world for earning money?

Spice Jet is happy to provide you a career to make your dreams come true.

All you have is to go through the following details given below and if you hit the requirements just go ahead and have a try!

Who knows next time when you read my article you could be in must exotic place enjoying it’s serene beauty! Thank me then! 😉

Here are the requirements:

  1. Minimum Educational Qualification: HSC (10+2) pass
  2. Age: Freshers 18-27 yrs / Experienced personals may also apply
  3. Marital Status: Unmarried (Freshers) / Married or Unmarried (Experienced)
  4. Language: Fluency in spoken English and Hindi
  5. Nationality: Indian
  6. Dress Code: Formal Knee Length Dress

WALK IN WITH YOUR RESUME AND FULL LENGTH PHOTOGRAPHS.

Venue: SpiceJet Limited, 319, Udyog Vihar

Phase IV, Gurgaon- 122016, Haryana

Time: From 09:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Except Public Holidays)

Note: Positions will be based across India.

Experienced may also walk in with valid flying documents.

Hope you would kick start your flying career soon!! All The Best!!!

You may also apply your resumes at: inflight.careers@spicejet.com

In association with SpiceJet.

Twitter: @flyspicejet , Twitter: @GokulV484

Intagram: gokul484

 

 

7 Things to Know Before You Travel to Rajasthan.


My trip to Rajasthan this June was scheduled to be 4 nights and 5 days. I have planned to move on to Delhi on the fifth day 4pm by train.

  • First and foremost to say, a 4 nights stay in Rajasthan is too short unfortunately i had to move on.

So the  first point to keep in mind is if you would like to explore the entire of Rajasthan make sure you plan atleast a 7 nights stay.

  •  The second point that to be taken care of is Rajasthan is a large state and the land area is typically vast compared to other states so travelling from one city to another is a concern so makes sure you hire a private taxi to move around the state unless your okay to travel in public transport which isn’nt much advanced.
  • Thirdly, i visited during the June which is definetly a big NO from me to travel. The best time to travel is from october to february when the climate is cool. Thank goodness it was raining scatterly during my visit otherwise i would i been cooked up in the 50+ degree scroching heat.
  • Fourth, please do carry a sun protection cream handy with you because you are going to need it very much along your journey. You will have no idea how much your gonna get tanned.
  • Fifth, compared to the southern states especially from where i come ie Kerala. The atmosphere in Rajasthan just don’t have much of a moisture in air that cause you to sweat but it can surely can make you dehydrate.So drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
  • Sixth, although you would wish to visit Jaipur,Jodhpur,Jaisalmer,Udaipur in a streatch but let me tell you it is nearly impossible each one of then lies atleast a 6 hrs apart.So plan accordingly.

  • Seventh, this is important i would recommend you not to travel around at night especially when your taking the highways/freeways because car/bus hijacking is very common on roads where you would be stopped by blocking the road with stones and you will be looted. The police do not have much authority or power in here even if you file a complain.So be cautioned and travel. The days are longer in Rajasthan with sun completly down only at 8pm!!

In overall its a beautiful state with exotic fortress and palaces to see and rich in history and culture.Locals are conservative but yet friendly.

All the images are taken by me and the rights belongs to @blogwithgokul

My next blog on Udaipur- The city of Lakes.

blogwithgokul