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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Tithiya Sharma

Adventures of a deviant traveller

As you read this, I’m probably touching down in my first port of call. From the Backpackers Mecca of Bangkok, I begin my epic gap year. Tithiya Sharma writes.

The man who sold his house to build a school

If I look out of the window in my room, I see lush green mountains, thatched roof huts, a mud brick making shed with a clumsy playground in the foreground. This update is coming to you from the Community Learning Center in the little village of Ban Nai Soi in Mae Hong Son district in Thailand, writes Tithiya Sharma.

A hip-hop healing

I walked into the Tiny Toones Youth Drop-in Centre and there was crazy street style graffiti on the walls and loud hip-hop music blaring. There were five year olds to teenagers with pants precariously hanging off their bottoms eyeing me distantly. They were all very cool and aloof but I knew I could break in! Tithiya Sharma writes.

Victim to warrior

I’ve been travelling for a couple of weeks in South East Asia now. I’ve had quite the adventure navigating through the hands-on tourism here. I’ve been tugged into shops, duped by sweet old ladies and even roughed up by a Tuk-Tuk driver, writes Tithiya Sharma.

Unexploded bombs

Around the world in 54 weeks destination 5: laos

Bridging the gap

A gentle voice greeted me on the phone. He was concerned about how I’d make my way to Kuala Lumpur’s suburbs. I jotted down his precise instructions on a boarding pass and stepped out to find Anthony Arokia. Tithiya Sharma writes.

Proud to be pink

In every other place I've been to, all the travellers looked like me — scruffy and in need of a shower. But, in Singapore — with its spotless pavements and cosmopolitan vibe — I felt apologetic for being 'different'. Tithiya Sharma writes.

Preserving paradise

The backpacker district of Kuta in Bali, Indonesia, is a far cry from the island paradise of tourism brochures. It's narrow alleys and milling crowds — typical of quarters in tourism hot spots that evolves to cater to the shoestring budget traveller, writes Tithiya Sharma.

A fight for flipper

Need more space? Hop on a space shuttle! Flipper’s been here longer. Tithiya Sharma is on a year-long journey across the globe to find 100 everyday heroes — and hopefully herself — along the way.

My hillside story

Drive just 50 km west of Sydney and you’re in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Rising to more than 1,100 m above sea level at its highest point, it is the fourth area in New South Whales to be declared a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in 2000. Tithiya Sharma writes.

Be the change

Abandoned and abused by his parents, Ray Avery grew up in orphanages and foster homes. His story could have turned out very differently, but instead of Avery the social menace and deviant, I had just spent the morning with Ray Avery-New Zealander of the Year, 2010. Tithiya Sharma writes.

Free meals exist

In 2000, Shanaka invested his life savings to put into practice a radical idea that he calls 'Lentil As Anything'. A 'pay as you feel' restaurant where anyone can walk in, eat to their hearts content, writes Tithiya Sharma.

Football for peace

The queue for immigration at London’s Heathrow Airport is the longest I’ve ever seen. Refugees, students, workers; nervously holding their passports and immigration forms, inching forward slowly to have their documents checked.

High-tech riders

Around the world in 54 weeks.
Destination 14: Ireland

Feels great to be solo

Almost four months in on my trip. I’ve travelled to 14 countries and met travellers from thrice as many. My mind is full of a thousand sights and sounds and tastes.
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