I just watched the sunrise from the highest platform of my super fun cat tower. A few minutes ago, I devoured a plate of white ocean fish mixed with salmon flakes! Can you believe it? Salmon flakes!
Seriously, what a wild ride my life has been. And I’m only 4 months old.
My name is Matcha, by the way. I’m this little domestic short haired cat from Bali and boy do I have a story to tell!
The First Day: Hungry and Scared
It all began when I was born I guess. It’s a bit fuzzy but I was born and suddenly, when I was only 5 days old, someone left me in the jungle in Bali. I could barely move and I was soon covered in grass, without food and trying to survive an intense rainstorm. It was rough. The storm eventually ended but I wasn’t feeling well at all. I was drenched, sooooo hungry and some bugs started crawling all over me.
All I could do was cry because I was really scared.
I don’t know how long I was crying but out of nowhere, I started to hear two voices nearby. I started crying more loudly, hoping they would hear me and maybe help somehow.
And they sure did. It’s still a blur but a very, very nice girl just scooped me up out of the jungle and put me in a little box. Then, this boy appeared with a cloth and put that in the box, which felt so soft on my belly. They started walking with me. I didn’t really care where we were going as I was just happy to be out of that jungle.
I was taken to a house for about an hour and then to some place called a ‘vet’. People were touching me, pulling bugs off of my skin, giving me milk and, honestly, I don’t really know what they were doing but it sure made me feel better so I just went with it.
Later on, we arrived back at that same house. And the same girl and boy started to take care of me. I learned that they were called Georgiana and Derek.
The First Month: A New Life
Georgiana and Derek didn’t seem too experienced, especially the boy, but somehow they managed to feed me with a bottle and even made a cozy place for me to sleep. They watched over me and made sure I was comfortable all the time. Even in the middle of the night they would wake up if I needed anything at all.
The days passed and I started feeling so much better. I did have something called ringworm but this girl and boy spent a lot of time on their phones figuring out how to get rid of that. They were determined! I even enjoyed the warm baths they gave me with that special shampoo.
At that age, I couldn’t go to the bathroom or eat on my own yet. So Georgiana or Derek would help me out. But sometimes I just didn’t need to pee or I just wasn’t hungry. The funny thing is that they always thought they were doing something wrong if I didn’t pee or eat. I found it quite amusing that they wanted me to pee so bad all the time! I don’t know how much they pee but I just didn’t need to go that much.
So, I was really tiny during that time. I was trying to figure out how to walk steadily and I couldn’t see very well. I did try to play with these cool toys they bought me and I started to stumble around on the grass. Although, I was quite content to simply let these two people rub my head and neck all the time. That was a feeling I had never experienced before and I must say, I loved it!
Georgiana and Derek were always doing something on these devices that had a screen and a keyboard. So the only way I could get them to stop and come back to rubbing my head was to cry a little. They fell for it every single time! It was such a simple trick.
Anyway, the next month was incredible!
The Second Month: Like a Dream
One day, we moved to this beautiful house in a different part of Bali. While there, I started to understand how to walk fast and even jump up on the bed and sofa. I could roam all over the place. Of course, Georgiana and Derek were always nearby and they wouldn’t let me out of their sight. I don’t know what they thought could happen…I mean, was some big cat going to attack me? Silly people.
They even started feeding me real food. I think it was tuna and it was so yummy! I also figured out that the box they kept filling up with these weird pieces of soy sticks was the place I was supposed to go to the bathroom on my own. First, soy sticks? Such hipsters! Second, I really don’t understand why they were so excited when I started using this tray. It’s just pee and poop but these two people were jumping up and down as if I had won an Olympic event. Am I supposed to cheer every time they go to the bathroom?
I guess I can understand their concern though when these little worms started to appear near my bum. Apparently, that’s not supposed to happen and before I knew it, I was whisked away to the vet again. I will tell you this…I am not a fan of the ‘vet’. It seems to be a place they take me whenever they don’t want me to be happy. But why don’t they want me to be happy all the time?
I don’t know. I just want to be happy!
Luckily, this visit to the vet was quick. However, and I can’t say for certain, I think my parents started slipping drugs into my food shortly after. I would taste this weird bitter flavor and the texture of the tuna was a little off. I’m not really sure what they were doing but they seemed to be quite secretive about it. At least those worms went away eventually.
Life continued and I became more and more attached to my family. They became more and more attached to me too. I learned how to do this thing called ‘purr’ and every time I did it, my family stopped whatever they were doing and showered me with attention and love. It’s another cool trick!
And when we all sat on the sofa, enjoying each other’s company, they would order dinner and I would try to eat it off their plate. That was such a fun game they played with me. It looked so real when they tried to shove me away from their food over and over again!
Then we would watch a movie sometimes. Georgiana really liked these scary movies and Derek really liked these dumb comedies. I would have been happy to watch a nice animal movie but they just weren’t interested.
Life was really great and I started to get the idea that I was going to be taken care of forever. Every time they moved to a different house, they took me with them. And every day, it seemed that their routine was built around making sure I had everything I needed to be comfortable and happy. While in that jungle at 5 days old, I never could have imagined that things would turn out this way!
Oh, did I tell you? They even bought me this awesome cat house thing. Wow! Three floors, rooms to sleep in, scratch posts to scratch and even a hammock! A HAMMOCK!!!
The Third Month: I’m a Princess
I was in that comfy hammock when, one day, Derek lifted me up, put me in my pet carrier and took me back to that damn vet again. I was pretty chill about it because, I don’t know, it seemed harmless enough overall. But this time, holy crap. They jammed some needle in the back of my neck and called it a ‘vaccine’. I was pissed off and quickly discovered that I can hiss and spit and make some serious noise that make these people afraid to do things like that again. Believe me, I used these new found skills because I ended up at the vet two more times for these vaccine injections!
They kept saying it was for some vaccine passport book and that I would need it to leave the country, but why would I leave the country? I’m a Bali cat. It didn’t make any sense to me.
Well, about a week later, they really surprised me good. I did have to sit in a car for about 3 hours but when I was allowed out again, ohhhhhhhhhhh. We were at some house right on the beach in a small town called Amed. It was surreal. I could hear the waves all day and listen to birds. I could run all over the place and jump around and have so much fun. They even let me outside every now and then. I would eat some grass, try to climb trees and just run through the bushes, free as those birds!
In the evenings, I would hang out in my cat house and relax. Right before bedtime, I would always play this crazy game with Derek. He would hide his hand under the sheets and I would try to find it every time he poked his finger out. It was wild! I could play that game for hours and hours. I don’t know what Derek’s problem was because he got tired quickly from this game but no way I was going to let him stop!
By this point, these two people were treating me like I was a princess. They even called me ‘princess’ all the time. But I guess they were just confused because I don’t really have any royalty in my blood. I wasn’t going to tell them that though!
This went on for 1 more incredible month!
A Week at the Vet
Eventually, our time in Amed did come to an end. And every time I try to think about the 3 weeks that followed, I have such a mix of emotions. It was an intense period.
Let me tell you about it.
One day, I didn’t feel very well and all I wanted to do was sleep. A couple of times, I tried to walk around but my legs weren’t stable at all. My family looked very concerned as I just curled up on a chair unable to move much.
Before I knew it, I was back at Sunset Vet, but this time was very different. Derek was there at first but suddenly, he was gone and I was in a cage in a strange room with strange people and a few other animals too. I thought maybe it would last a few minutes but I ended up in this place for 6 long days. During that time, I had to receive injections and an IV and these friendly but unfamiliar vets would check my condition every few hours. They said I had an infection and a muscle sprain, whatever that is.
The good news is that I started to feel better each day. The bad news was that I really, really missed Georgiana and Derek and I had no idea if I would see them again. By the 6th day, I was quite sad. I felt better physically but my life had changed so much, from a beautiful house on the beach with a loving family to this stale room where I wasn’t able to be free at all.
And then…I almost peed myself when I saw Georgiana and Derek walk into the room! I tried to play it real cool, occasionally sniffing their fingers through the cage to make sure it wasn’t a dream. I thought they had abandoned me. I don’t know why they were gone for so long. I suppose it might have something to do with the vets and the fact that my illness was cured but I don’t really know how this stuff works so I’m a little unsure.
Either way, they came back for me! And they took me to another house with palm trees and grass and flowers and plenty of space for me to be myself again. At this point, I knew for certain that I had a family forever!
The Fourth Month: I’m a Traveler
We spent 2 weeks at this sweet new place. Georgiana and Derek never seemed too thrilled when I would climb high into the thorny tree in the corner of the yard and refuse to come down for an hour, but I didn’t care. I was so happy again and I knew they would get over it every single time and still feed me my favorite food.
That’s why I didn’t get too stressed when suddenly, one morning, I was put back into my travel carrier and placed into a van, next to a cage that had a small dog in it. I was a little concerned that Georgiana and Derek were saying goodbye to me but I tried not to worry too much. A very nice man seemed to be in charge now and I could tell by the way they were talking that whatever was about to happen, it wasn’t going to last long.
I’m not really great with time but I’ll guess it was around two days or so when, just as I had expected, Derek appeared and we were together again. It seemed that we had left Bali though, so that was bizarre. It was my first time off the island and we were now in a place called Jakarta, staying at what Derek kept referring to as a ‘pet-friendly hotel‘. Anyway, we stayed at this hotel for 3 days and pretty much played the entire time!
Derek seemed a little stressed during this period but I tried to use my purring ability to calm him down. He also wanted to put this harness thing on me but I wasn’t happy about that and didn’t let him. I feel a little bad about it but I’m a cat after all and a harness just doesn’t work for me. I did let him put a small collar on as a compromise though.
On the third day in Jakarta, it was time to leave again as Derek started packing up. At this point, I was even excited. Where would we end up next? What a crazy life I was leading! I always seemed to end up somewhere fun and comfortable, as long as it wasn’t the vet.
So let me tell you about the next 40 hours!! 40 HOURS!
I was in this smaller travel case and we ended up at an airport. I was in disbelief, thinking to myself, “Now I’m going to fly? I’m a Bali cat and I’m getting to travel the world!!”
But I don’t know. If traveling the world always involves being on an airplane for 12 hours, then a 10 hour layover in another airport and then another 12 hour flight, I don’t need to do it all the time. There were also security checks and so many strangers around. I needed to go to the bathroom in odd, unfamiliar places as well and my system was all messed up because of the time changes. Oh, and I really didn’t enjoy being in that travel case for so many hours.
Then it ended. I don’t know what happened. Our second flight landed in a place called Miami, which I think is in a country called the USA. We then walked through the airport and then we were in a car. Nobody even asked me for my paperwork or why I wanted to come to this new country. I was shocked!
About 1.5 hours later we were in an apartment and I was free to move around again, just like that.
In one room, I had a new cat tower waiting for me, which is bigger than any cat tower I’ve ever seen! I had some great food waiting for me too. The space seemed comfortable to run around and play in and it really didn’t take me long at all to adjust. Derek is here as well of course! I must say, I like it.
Everyone seems to be talking about the ‘shitshow’ and some major problems with a virus in the area and lots of talk about politics but I don’t know, from my perspective everything seems quite calm and I’m having a ton of fun! I just want to play with my favorite piece of rope, eat some more salmon flakes and observe the world from my tower. Is that too much to ask?
And who knows what the future will bring? Will I travel more? Will we move to another house again? As long as I don’t need to visit the vet too often, I’ll take whatever comes my way.
I still can’t believe that only four short months ago I was crying in the Bali jungle, so hungry and scared.
I’ve been living the dream ever since, all because these two people happened to walk by at the right time and save me. Now I’m a world traveler and a princess and I have the best family on the planet!
VIDEO: Here’s a super cool video Georgiana made about my entire journey so far!
Leisure travel still leads the recovery at Hilton, but business and group travelers are signaling a return to booking rooms. Matti Blume / Wikimedia
Skift Take: If Hilton sees reason to be optimistic around a faster-than-expected travel recovery, that’s a major boost to all hotel companies, especially ones with less exposure to convention and business-transient customers.
A bigger number of U.S. travelers interested in international trips will use travel advisors post-pandemic. C Watts / Flickr Commons
Skift Take: There’s cause for optimism for this at-risk segment of the industry, just as National Travel Advisor Day hits. Travel agencies that are quick to adapt have the potential to capture a new customer base that outlasts the travel recovery years.
Airplane flying over natural vista in the U.S. Sylvia Gorajek / Unsplash
Skift Take: Fuel efficiency is integral to the bottom line of airline operators. Skift Research found that efficiency improvements fluctuate considerably by year and between companies. Most were unable to achieve efficiency goals set by the industry.
The exterior of the Hard Rock Cafe in Venice, Italy. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on May 4, 2021, that his country would launch travel passes for vaccinated travelers by mid-May. Hard Rock Cafe
Skift Take: Forza, Italia! Prime Minister Mario Draghi (nicknamed “Super Mario”) said Italy would debut passes for vaccinated travelers by mid-month. But will the nation’s airports be ready to cope with a surge in passengers and new certification-related processing?
The active hotel lender market is throttling back to pre-pandemic levels. Labor is a different story. Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay
Skift Take: Hotels face massive worker shortages this summer, but investors don’t care and still want to buy up assets. Chalk this up to taking the long view and hoping hotels find a way to win back workers from other industries.
Traveling is one of the most rewarding activities in the world. It is an addiction, and once you start, it’s difficult to stop. Of course, visiting countries that resemble your own culture and customs is relatively easy. You won’t have too much homework to go through. However, when you visit more exotic destinations or polar opposites of your home, there are more than a few things you should know. From the way you should act in an Airbnb apartment to the local etiquette rules and customs that apply, everything is essential.
Since each person is different, your personal trip checklist may not the look the same as another traveler’s checklist. What works for others might not work for you and vice versa. The trick is to think about your most essential, must-have travel necessities that will ensure you have the smoothest trip possible.
With that in mind, let’s see the items that might be on your list.
Every travel essentials list should include your luggage, bags and suitcases. Depending on your destination, budget and travel style, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to getting a travel bag. Still, there are plenty of options that you should take into consideration:
Cross-body bags (great for agility)
Anti-theft travel bags (security as a priority)
Backpacks (easy and reliable)
Wheeled suitcases (convenient, especially smaller ones)
Spinner luggage (good for larger luggage)
If you’re carrying a backpack, which is often a good idea while out and about each day, go with the one that has a variety of security features and that suits your body type the most. Make sure it has enough space and pockets to store your day-to-day items.
Travel wallets also come with a range of great security features to ensure that your personal belongings, credit cards, IDs and money are safe. There are all kinds of sizes, shapes, materials and so on and it generally comes down to personal preference.
You simply want to find a travel wallet that fits securely in the pocket or bag you plan to carry it in. Of course, while walking around each day, it’s best not to have all of your valuables on you. Even more, since you can use your phone to pay by credit card in many parts of the world these days, there’s even less of a reason to have too many cards and cash on you.
Use the travel wallet only for the essentials that you need each day. Something like the Key Smart Urban Union Passport Wallet is a great option for many travelers.
Staying Safe While Traveling
No matter where you travel to, safety should always be your number one concern. From a simple door alarm to more advanced cybersecurity measures, we recommend that you take your time to create a safety routine to ensure maximum safety and security wherever you go.
Suppose you need additional security in your hotel room, and it happens that some hotels lack proper door locks and security. In that case, you can handle it easily by getting a simple personal security door stop alarm. It’s battery-powered and compact enough to fit almost anywhere in your luggage.
Also, if you travel alone, never reveal that to random people you meet. If someone asks you for some personal details, never provide accurate information. Additionally, scammers might try to take advantage of rookie travelers. Such dangers include the taxi overcharge, which is a rather well-known trick. However, there are many others that might be unique to the specific country you visit. For instance, one traveler reported a scam in Morocco, during which travelers would be asked to help locals write letters or postcards. The goal here was to lure travelers into shops and pressure them into purchasing something.
We also recommend that you get an anti-theft portable safe bag. It is a combination of stainless-steel wire mesh embedded into the poly canvas and comes with a TSA-accepted 3-dial combination lock, and is quite small and easy to carry.
Simply use the stainless-steel cable to secure your safety and everything in it. This portable personal safe is an excellent solution for keeping your valuables and precious belongings secure while you explore.
In the age of the internet, staying connected has never been easier. It’s important to let your friends and family know where you are. Since you’ll be using your smartphone a lot on your adventures, knowing a few safety tips can help a lot.
The first tip is to get local SIM cards to save on calling expenses and roaming fees. If you need to connect to the internet, you’ll likely consider free Wi-Fi, but we advise caution when using fully public networks.
Even though most places worldwide are equipped to provide access to the internet, a public Wi-Fi connection can be dangerous, especially if you’re using it to access some critical or personal information. To ensure your data remains confidential, we recommend using a VPN. A travel VPN might not be something you consider getting before your trip. However, it is a tool that will allow you to stay protected on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Additionally, it will help you unblock content that might be unavailable in the country you are visiting.
Now that you know what it takes to start conquering the planet, pack your bags, arm yourself with a good camera or smartphone and start venturing into the unknown. The world is full of wonders, and they await just around the corner. Every big adventure starts with stepping right outside your door!
If you’ve been to India or live in the country and have still not visited Tirupati, it’s time to get there! There are very few cities or locations that boast of such rich cultural heritage, architectural splendors and amazing festivals.
With its convenient airport, you can take advantage of regular and affordable flights from around India, such as flights from Hyderabad to Tirupati or from any other major city in the country. Famous as one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots within India, every year, thousands of tourists and pilgrims flock to this city located in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
When you do plan a trip to Tirupati, make sure you have sufficient time for the major attractions:
Sri Venkateswara Temple – This is a must-see temple in Tirupati, and the ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Sri Venkateswara. Also known as Tirumala Temple or Tirupati Balaji Temple, the Sri Venkateswara Temple is perched at the height of 2799-feet on the seventh peak of Seshachalam.
Talakona Waterfall – The Talakona Waterfall is very scenic and the highest waterfall in Andhra Pradesh. You need to trek for about two kilometers to reach the spectacular waterfall that is deep inside the forest. There is a wonderful lush aura around the waterfall during the rainy season.
Sri Vari Museum – Located near the Tirupati Venkateswara Temple, the Sri Vari Museum is known as a rich source of Vaishnavism, Traditions of Tirumala, and Hinduism and boasts thousands of historical and archaeological items.
Chandragiri – A major heritage site in Andhra Pradesh, Chandragiri is an ancient town that is famous for its magnificent palaces and excellent fort. Built by the Vijayanagara rulers, the castle is fortified by strong walls and is located at a height of about two hundred meters. The palaces and forts are an excellent example of Vijayanagara architecture and are made from brick, stone, and lime mortar.
Kapila Teertham – Another popular waterfall in the city, Kapila Teertham is located at the base of Sheshadri Hills, and its water body ends as a pond inside the Kapileswara Swamy temple. The beautiful waterfall is a major pilgrimage spot of Tirupati.
Srikalahasti – Known for its historical and religious significance, Srikalahasti is an ancient temple town, and all its temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Rahu, and Ketu. The religious significance of Srikalahasti lies in its name and is seen as the abode of Lord Shiva. It is also identified as the Kailash of the South, and this is what makes it one of the popular sites to visit in the city.
Deer Park – The Deer Park of Tirupati is maintained by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. Although it is named a deer park, one can enjoy observing several other species other than deers as the park is known for its impressive range of flora and fauna. There is immense nature surrounding the park, and it is a nice way to escape the bustle of the city and enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
Apart from the above main attractions of the city, there are many other places of interest near and around Tirupati. For example, travelers can visit Tiruchanoor Temple, which is just about 5 km from Tirupati. Some other temples around the city include Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple, Sri Veda Narayanaswami Temple, Sri Venugopalaswami Temple, and many sub-temples too. The Navratra and Dussehra festivals are also very popular here, and one can visit the city during those times to enjoy the colorful and festive celebrations.