For someone who has always travelled with family, this time around was a first for me.
I remember making chai for my friend, Moni, in Islamabad and she couldn’t stop raving about Baku. “Acha, yeh insta story dekho, ye log Baku mein hain. Kitna cool hai, yaar!”, and I just did a little “wow” to make her feel I’m not ignoring her. Never been this reluctant before.
Next thing I know, we’re running through queues at Dubai airport, sleepless and exhausted after a 14 hour layover, trying to get to F2 to get to our plane. All of us friends were cross with one another for spending too much time together. “Did you pick up those bags of Krispy Kreme?”, a friend yells from the back. Bags? Check. Passport? Check. Wait, where’s my pillow? Oh it’s right here, check! “Oh wait, let me message my family
one last time before we fly out.
“We made it!”, cries Moni while giving me a tight hug.
As I sat in the plane, i couldn’t get over how shitty my year was. I kept thinking it would be just
another trip and I’d be back to my mehh self where everything would be plain boring af. I fell asleep
on another friend’s shoulder and after a couple of hours later, voila, I had really made it!
Baku – the capital and commercial hub of Azerbaijan, is a low-lying city with coastline along the Caspian Sea. “Shit, it has to be -4 degrees here!”, I think to myself. It wasn’t. Only 4 degrees and we were freezing to death in our Islamabadi clothes. The biting wind through our skins really felt like a bad idea planning a trip in December. Khair, can’t do anything about it anymore.
We reached our apartment around noon and that was the first time it finally kicked me that it was
going to be a fun trip indeed. Six girls, some of my closest friends living together in an apartment independently for the next days! (not a big deal for many but you’d relate if you’ve been a Simran all your life). Haye, itnee khushi!
Alright, let’s get straight to the point, what this trip really taught me:
- Keeping calm is a drill at times
You tend to be more patient as well as impatient with friends around because you’re being totally yourself. Hence, there are going to be fights and emotional breakdowns but your friends would always be there(uhh, because what other option do they have!)
- You have to be wise with your money
Ugh yes, such a difficult task but there are times when you have to put your foot down and be sensible about your money. It’s true that you only live once but it’s also good to be a bit more organized about it. Keep a budget for the day every morning you wake up, it’ll really help you to stay in ‘Aukaat’.
- Waking up early really does make a difference
Most of us have been nocturnal all our lives and weekends mean waking up at 12 pm but when you’re on a vacation, it is wise to assign a friend(we all have that one friend) to wake you up early. It helps you in making your day productive. Plus more sunlight means more beauts pictures! Every day, my friends would make an effort to wake me up at 7am even if I hadn’t slept all night. But now when I look back, I think they were pretty smart about it.
- Being passive helps
There are going to be situations when your friends would be cranky about things; could be lack of sleep, generally hangry( or even hungover in some cases). It’s a good idea to be quiet or unassertive about what they say or do. Living, sleeping, showering, pooping, and what not in the same space as someone else is frustrating and it’s okay to tolerate your friends at those times because hey, they were always there for you.
- Become friends with the locals
SUCH A BIG RELIEF! Once you’re buddies with a local citizen, it makes such a big difference. There’s no language barrier and random people can’t make you a fool over prices. Also, locals know the best places to go to, the best foods in town, and other hacks like how to haggle with other people. Having a tour guide is a big tick on your list!
- Some deep 4am conversations
If you have to know a person inside out, travel with them.
Those late night conversations with friends work like therapy! You get to bond over with your friends even more and it’s the best thing ever <3