Siblings, they’re pretty much obligated to keep you in their life no matter how annoying you may be. The bad news is the vice versa is also true 🙂 They are our genetically gifted life-long friends. We learnt how to use a computer and probably how to tie shoe laces together. We went on family holidays together, the ones we loved and the ones we were forced to be at. Just as we have experienced life together with all the growing-up joys and pains. We must try to experience the world with siblings after we have grown-up. It is also important to take care that we don’t strangle them while we are at it! Trust me, once you get over the age of having mom to referee each and every dispute, traveling with a sibling can be an amazing bonding experience, especially if you’re at a phase in your life where you only get to see them in a family setting.
If you don’t want to take my word for it read about the adventures of these ten siblings from The Itch List community who made time to see some of the world together. They will get you charged up and make you feel warm and fuzzy all at once!
To Culinary Adventures
Having lived in a joint family all my life, boundaries and definitions of relationships as others know them never exisited. As we grew older, all of us went on to choose our own paths in life that took us all across the globe, always physically apart but never at heart.
In the picture here are my two Sisters, Roohi and Simar Kamal. Roohi is an aspiring Musician and Simar an Aspiring Chef, both are based out of Dubai, UAE. Connected at heart and the Mouth, we often go on Culinary Adventures when we are together, putting together unusual combinations of food or Icing the smallest cupcake in the world. We once went on a witch hunt to find the Best Carbonara outside of Europe . It was one of the most fun, and exciting adventures, we met different chefs, accomplished ones and cute ones, some restaurants turned us down straight up , some politely refused, some got it all wrong, some served us something totally different from a Carbonara. We are currently in the planning process of scratching our next itch, a Travel and epicurean adventure to South East Asia. Wanna come with?
Walking Down The Memory Lane of Childhood Memories
Elita: “Listen! Let’s go to Goa for the weekend.Are you up for it?”
“What? No ‘and’.”
“Arre! As kids we’ve been going to Goa during the summer break. But it’s in the monsoons that the place comes to life. More like it acquires a life of its own. It’s monsoony, green and so fresh. Plus, no people. Not the party-party ones at least.”
“Haan, cool. As long as I only have to tag along and play no part in any of the planning business, I’m in.”
“I’ll figure the tickets. If not the train, we’ll take the bus. But you cannot back out, okay!”
“Yeah. No I won’t. God knows I could do with a getaway.”
And that is how this-time-last-year my brother and I agreed to go to Goa – just for the weekend! Incidentally, prior to this trip the two of us had never travelled together by ourselves. I’d been itching to do Goa in the monsoons and preferably not solo. So this worked!
I have some vague memory of us watching a movie (whose name I cannot recall) while on the bus though. We discussed the mysteries of life, the pangs of growing up and the food we wanted to eat in Goa through the trip. So it was only natural that we were craving authentic Goan food when we got off the bus the next afternoon – and then for every consecutive meal thereafter.
We walked around A LOT and played the do-you-remember game pointing at lanes that held many of our shared childhood memories like the shop that sold Goan sweets but has now shut, the toy shop my brother always found a truck to buy from…
As it turns out, this is also among those very few impromptu trips I’ve ever done!
My brother from another mother
Aparna Saxena: My bond with Stephan (he is German) was cemented when we undertook a 5 day mountain hiking trip at the Hampta Pass ( 14,000 feet) in Himalayas along with his girlfriend Ina who is also a dear friend of mine in August 2013. It was their first India trip and we truly had a full blown Indian adventure. Crazy bus ride, inclement weather, lovely food, beautiful landscapes, sharing a tent and off-roading in treacherous terrain et all.
By the end of the trip Stephan and I had found a kindred spirit in each other. I was his Indian didi who looked out for his Girlfriend and was his partner in crime in sickness and in health. The blonde girl is his girlfriend Ina.
Udaipur, she left a lake-shaped hole in my heart
Ankita Sreeram: In October 2013, a well travelled man told me that Udaipur was one of the two most beautiful spots in India. I knew I had to go. And I picked the perfect travel partner – my sister. Our travel styles are exactly the same – we’re budget travellers and we can walk till we drop. Together, we gazed at Surup Sagar just before dusk. We admired the way the water gushed below the bridge, glinting now and then in the sparkling sun. We walked further along to Fateh Sagar Lake and took a boat ride as the sun began to set – it was the very last ride of the day. When we alighted at Nehru Garden in the middle of the lake, we paused to see the way gold and saffron peeked from between lush leaves and carefully carved bushes. We allowed ourselves to believe that paradise might look something like a sun-kissed garden surrounded by a mountain-ringed lake. The Aravalli mountains greeted us wherever we went, sometimes from afar, other times close enough to trace with our fingers (or so we thought). By day, we sampled the fare at German Bakery and roadside parathawalas. By night, we dined on lal maas and methi papad ki sabzi at Ambrai. We tucked into the quintessential Rajasthani thali at Whistling Teal and the dubious continental main courses at Savage Garden (best avoided). Together, we covered every nook and cranny of Udaipur and as siblings go, we were often content to absorb the scenery in silence, speaking only when we felt the need to.
And Sometimes Things Happen…
Abhinav Singh: I have always taken pride in doing my travels perfectly. After having travelled well across India, I had started feeling guilty that my parents have not travelled for leisure since a decade so that my elder brother and I could have a privileged upbringing. So I planned a trip to Manali and Rohtang pass.
Unfortunately, it was the first time I was travelling with parents and my solo travel style was in complete conflict at every step with travelling with family. It started with booking a hotel with noisy tourists in it (I never pre book), then as we climbed up the Rohtang pass at 3978 metres, my mother’s health started to deteriorate and we rushed back. Once in Manali, my nephew’s head hits a corner in a temple and he started to bleed (I can’t be blamed for this at least!) But the worst was yet to come. I forgot to book a return bus from Manali to Delhi. I still managed to book an ‘AC’ Volvo bus for 6, through an agent for a hefty touristy price. As we entered the bus, to our horror, we realised that the bus was neither AC nor was it a Volvo and we were given the back seat meant for 5, the cushion of which were falling off. When I argued with the bus driver (along with other travellers), he asked us to get down if we want). We stayed on to experience the worst night of our life as a family! The driver took some drinks in the night, refused to stop the bus for loo breaks, kept AC on despite the protests from passengers (Especially me, my brother and a Japanese girl) and made me sit on a little space behind driver’s seat all night. Worse, he drove through uncomfortable dirt tracks in villages (Perhaps he was not licensed). By the morning me and my brother were so angry, we made him stop the bus on the highway and asked him to come to police station with us. By now, other passengers also gathered courage to scold him and protest! Refusing to budge, the driver continued to drive and amusingly the rear tyre of bus got punctured soon.
We smiled, took shelter at a very hospitable Jat sarpanch in Haryana, booked a cab for Delhi and arrived mentally and physically exhausted. Since then, my brother has vowed that he will never travel with me and stuck to it. It happened in June, 2012!
Going Around Town With Little Sisters
Ayesha Aleem: My sister, Amira is nearly five years younger than me and we always went on holidays with our parents. But when she moved to England for college, we were finally old enough to travel with just each other. I had to finish some work in London so she came from campus to stay with me at a hotel that I checked in to in a central part of the city. We ate massive shewarmas for dinner and went shopping in the big stores on Oxford Street. We also walked through Portobello Market and went to Piccadilly Circus. When it was time for her to return to campus, I went with her. I stayed in her dorm, met her friends and she showed me around Brighton. Such special memories!
I also remembered that last summer, I went on a trip to Singapore with my little cousin, Naajia. She was 10 years old at the time and we spent a week visiting Universal Studios (we rode all the rollercoasters together), the zoo and watching water shows. Then we ate some memorable meals at Chinatown, toured Sentosa Island and spent the evenings in a really nice hotel room, watching TV. My aunt was with us as well but it was a really fun holiday with my cousin and I wanted to mention it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture.
Let’s Play Chinese Whispers!
Ankur Sharan: Among all the adventures we have had together my long-distance chinese whisper with my sister stands out. She was coming to visit me in Nanjing, China, before both of us would join our parents the next day. Everything was cool until I start checking her ticket just to confirm whatever she’s saying when I notice that her flight from Malaysia is to Nanning and not Nanjing (Nanning is 1452 km away from Nanjing). I WhatsApp my sister hoping she has time. I check the flights and I realize that there’s a flight from Nanning to Nanjing that evening at 9:30PM local time. Luckily my sister was reaching Nanning at 3PM local time. I text her the flight details and tell her to buy a ticket since it’s the easiest way to reach Nanjing. She agrees to it and we say bye and I tell to not die or get lost and to text me ASAP.
Now what my sister tells me is this- she lands and the first thing she does it go to information to explain her situation. She says, “Excuse me?” And the receptionist at the counter, with a shocked expression says, “Shen Me?” (什么) which is Mandarin for “What”. NO BODY AT THE AIRPORT SPOKE ENGLISH! My sister tried to explain the situation the best she could in a language (English and German) that the other person couldn’t understand and was replied to in a language (Mandarin) that she couldn’t understand. We could not contact each other since she did not have a Chinese sim- a fact I conveniently forgot to take into account. So after what seemed like a lifetime (2 hours) she got a Chinese number and called me to my relief. I talked to the authorities at the airport and they were nice enough to be able to get her on the 9:30PM flight to Nanjing where she arrived, at 11:45PM local time, to the biggest bear hug ever.
All in all, she was pretty much Batman in a country known for being rigid and strict whereas I was Robin- the sidekick, who protects Batman no matter what!
Adventures With My Brother
Lakshmi Balasubramanian: My trip to NewZealand, where my brother lives was the funniest and most adventurous 2 months of my life. We did a ton of stuff together including, snow boarding, sand boarding, bungee, sky diving and everything you could think off. We are both born adventure lovers, take to water like fish and love anything that gives that adrenaline rush!
Backpacking with her
‘My house in Budapest, my hidden treasure chest…’ she sent me a link to this George Ezra song while I was booking flight tickets – Paris to Rome and Prague to Paris – from my room in Blois, where I was staying with an adorable French family. Since then that song had become the song of our trip and whenever I missed her too much, listening to it made me happy and I would look forward to our one month trip at the end of my teaching program in France.
I took a blablacar to Paris and patiently waited at one of those expensive airport coffee shops without ordering anything. Both of us thought we would scream and jump on each other, the world would stop for a second and all the running and reaching out to hug would happen in slow motion. And that’s exactly what didn’t happen. There was sophisticated silence and stepping into a foreign country for the first time, all by herself overwhelmed and somewhat intimidated her. I on the other hand was sitting exactly opposite from where she was supposed to enter the airport and saw her much before she saw me. That’s when I realized the filmy stuff happens when you suddenly bump into the person you were dying to meet.
Neither of us were hungry, we just wanted to say so much to each other but we were at a loss of stories, thanks to Skype and Viber. So Guru Kripa samosas were eaten with broad grins in comfortable silence broken from time to time by short comments of wonderment from her as the train passed from greener suburbs and entered the enchanting center of Paris.
In Paris my friends and I were her guide but in the days to follow every place would be unknown to the both of us. Couchsurfing and carpooling would only add to the list of surprises in our way. We were ready to soak in all that we could of the little worlds, tiny houses and big hearts we were going to step in.
Traveling with her is like traveling alone except that it’s a lot more fun, ‘cause she’s just like me. When I am less like myself she makes up for it and vice versa. It’s like doing what you want to but with another person. So you have your space, you’re doing what you want and you never feel lonely. How wonderful is that. So you can have all those huge creamy cakes in Budapest and Prague thrice a day ‘cause she’ll share them with you. You don’t have to waste too much time in Zara or HnM ‘cause she hates shopping too. You can share the Uffizi museum audio guide and admire the masters for hours. You can even put up with an icky host who’s scratching everywhere while talking to you, and fight for the attention of the charming Venetian brothers hosting you. You don’t have to worry about not having your trip well documented or looking good in pictures, she’ll make sure you do.
Once while struggling to walk faster, she said, “Oh, so you’ve acquired some ‘European walking speed’ all these months here?”
“Seems like you have some catching up to do, I said while I maintained my pace.
“You know, you must not walk faster than your GPS”, she shouted.
I stopped while her photographic mind overtook to show me the way.
My six foot baby brother
Smriti: My brother is 8 years younger to me so growing up we were probably not the typical siblings. I loved him unconditionally till he was about 5, he was my entertainment package always ready to play and even listen to me! But as he grew up and began disagreeing with me his annoying-ness overpowered my charm of being an elder sister. Now, we are both 20 somethings.. few more more months to go. Our relationship has almost gone back to the beginning. After his teens, he became more tolerable and sometimes even listens to me or at least pretends to do so. Plus I am his supply of extra pocket money so he likes me 🙂 In the past couple of years we have had some memorable adventures. For instance, he taught me how to ride a bike which lead to many misadventures and I took him to Andaman’s where we both Scuba Dived and explored the underwater world for the fist time. I would never ever miss an opportunity to go on a trip with my tiny tot who is now almost a foot taller than me. Sigh!
Wondering why you haven’t shared an epic adventure with your sibling yet? Add it to your itch list right here!