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Top 10 Emerging (Read: Quite Unusual) Travel Destinations of 2012

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By Aditi Annapurna:

Gone are the days when Switzerland and France and UK and Singapore and Malaysia and every-country-with-crazy-frequency-of-flights-running-to-and-fro were thought to be the “cool” and “hip” holiday destinations, gone are the days when telling people that you’d been on the typically combined, Buy-One-Country-Get-Another-Country-Free trips planned by travel agencies got you looks of instant respect across the table. 2012, or for that matter,  the years we’ll be seeing in the foreseeable future, will witness a surge of tourist attraction and travel to the unusual places of the world. Youth ki Awaaz, in this spirit of letting the leash of one’s adventurism down, gives you some emerging, and rather unusual holiday destinations of today’s times (in no particular order):

  1. Greece: Contrary to speculation that visiting the country at the time when it is experiencing an economic downturn wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do, I emphasise that the time to visit Greece is favourable now. For starters, it’d be a great place for travel because the economy’s been hit so bad that for them that every penny counts, and your going there is probably giving them the business and revenue that they’ve been thirsting for in a long, long time. Jokes apart, though, Greece figures as one of the hottest places to attend for two reasons — heritage, and heritage. In the past, (or the time when Greece’s economy was in happier times, as one might like to put it) the government of Greece had been investing a major proportion of its money on improving the infrastructure and tourism services of the country, as a result of which its beauty has been preserved over the years.
  2. Israel: This country is a great place to visit this year, and I do not say this only for the reason that pronouncing “Izz-rael” in the sophisticated, clipped tone that Americans are famously known for will receive great attention and almost-instant best-friends-for-life. And No, before you ask, the kind of political issues it is facing will not affect your trip, at least not for the recent future. Youth ki Awaaz, though, will not take any responsibility in case any armed conflict or military activity arises during your stay in the country, nevertheless, we hope and pray you have a safe holiday. Israel possesses the epistemic origin of one of the 3 major religions of the world — Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and contains a plethora of religious, historical and cultural sites as a result.
  3. Jordan: A quick disclaimer — if you’re going to Jordan even in the slightest hope of bumping into the Queen Rania and hoping that what will follow is a series of dates and romantic outings, then we’d rather you go right away and look at yourself in the mirror, and then look at the Queen’s picture, And then look at yourself again… Other than the Ruins of Petra, which is obviously an attraction for those out on completing the “7 Wonders of the World” checklist, the country offers a lot other diversity for places to visit, like the Desert Castle of Qasr Amra, an example of Islamic art and architecture; and Wadi Rum, the valley region, most famously known for being the place where T.E. “Lawrence of Arabia” Lawrence based his operations during the Arab Revolt.
  4. Iceland: The volcanically and geologically-active country presents many sites to visit, what with the many glacial rivers and geysers forming part of the variety of the landforms in the region. Its capital, Reykjavik, boasts of a vibrant culture and artistic community. Travel costs including airfare and accommodation are also seeing a decrease, with increased tourism in the country encouraging the government and travel companies alike tocreate more affordable deals and opportunities for tourists.
  5. Taiwan: The country’s been overshadowed by China’s international dominance for too long. It is freckled with numerous mountains, and on the other hand, also possesses beautiful coastal geography. Besides its geographical diversity, it also hosts many forms of Chinese civilisation in its monuments, and has a beautifully-balanced history of Buddhist and Tao culture and religious heritage. Travelling and getting around the place is relatively affordable too, with daily expenses of a medium to low budget amounting anywhere between Rs.1000 and Rs.1500.
  6. Madagascar: The land that provides habitat to the most unique animal species that ever lived, including the world’s largest bird, The Elephant Bird and the 70 varieties of lemur, Madagascar is the place to visit if one yearns to be surrounded with biodiversity of the most magnificent kind.
  7. Georgia: Ah, yes, it’s one of those “Russia waale countries” that’s being talked about here. The word ‘wine’ itself comes from the word g’vino of the Georgian language, and there are many archaeological remains that point out the existence of wine presses from the ancient times. Savannah, the largest city of the country, attracts many visitors to its great works of architecture — of historical churches, forts and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, it poses a great place for travel and tourism.
  8. Puerto Rico combines the beauty of the Caribbean culture and the well-structured organisation of its parent state, America. It possesses the history of Spanish influences, reflected in its culture and architecture, and the rare, balanced combination of the “modernity” of malls and the natural diversity of tropical rainforests. Visit Puerto Rico to live amongst a community of people who truly live in the moment, something that can be seen in the way they eat, sing, dance and play.
  9. Pakistan: Reading this might just make one think about what different sights Pakistan would have to offer, but we make the biggest mistake in thinking that due to sharing a civilisation similar to India’s, the country offers few places to visit and call “Heritage Sites”. Pakistan is home to the ruins of the Mohenjo-Daro civilisation, as well as a wholly different form of Islamic forms of architecture, and the Baluchistan region of the country which has influences of Iranian society and living. 
  10. Greenland: The country has a blend of traditional Inuit and Scandinavian culture, and while 80% of its land surface area is covered with rice, it has a lot more to offer than icy-green surroundings. Visit the country to appreciate the coming together of Danish and Norwegian influences to pro-create a unique culture, and have the pride of having visited the World’s Largest Island.
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  1. politico

    Pakistan ? seriously? with due respect -have you forgotten about the security scenario over there especially for Indians..

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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