Ever experienced the feeling of belonging? I’m talking about that moment when your actions feel just right. I had that feeling whenever I was traveling. I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled across the length and breadth of India. Ever since I was little kid I have travelled to new places every time I had a vacation from school. Those trips where often long hauls spanning across 10-15 days in various parts of the country.
Growing up –
Growing up sucks. Indian kids are spoilt brats and entering the work force is a rude shock to most young kids. We tide through though and the system grooms us into hard working people for whom office hours means anytime you aren’t in bed. I grew up fine, but there was something within me that was waiting to get out. Going out on a short trip after 1.5 years of non-stop work shook me up and made me realise that to continue the intensive corporate life I would have to travel from time to time, hoping to keep my sanity.
The Snowball Effect –
First Love Child
When I returned from the little weekend trip I decided that I would start writing about my previous travels while doing trips whenever possible. That’s when Traveling Curiously was born. At first only a humble wordpress blog, I was inspired to move to a self-hosted website after interacting with many like-minded people on Facebook. Slowly I got into the groove of writing regularly for the blog and interacting with super enthusiastic travel bloggers like me.
Second Love Child
If you’ve ever talked with anyone working in the advertising industry they’ll surely tell you that a big idea just clicks and the rest of the campaign is just a simple derivation of that big thought. It flows naturally. Let’s just say I had a similar kind of experience. Lunchex.co was born out of the blue. Nope, I didn’t plan that one.
My vision for Lunchex is very simple. I hope to build a massive online community of people who believe travel is about experiencing, preserving and sharing cultures and cuisines. It’s been about 9 months (coincidence?) and now I am actually launching a private beta which is invitation only. It’s been an enriching journey with Lunchex and I realise that there is so much to learn even on a medium that I call my own.
I had some really awesome people who helped me build the website and one heck of a boss at work who supported my detours and was super lenient with leaves.
Both of these projects are very close to my heart, they are after all my love children. I hope to run both the properties while doing a full time job. The goal is do something that benefits people across boundaries and cultures and I’m just getting started.
Want to try out Lunchex.co when it launches? Click here and fill up a short form.
Getting a visa for Russia is going to be one of the major pain points while preparing for your journey to Russia. The process of getting a visa is cumbersome and there’s a lot of red tape to get through. However, the recent surge in tourism has created trails for everyone to follow and that has certainly removed the guess work from the process. As an Indian passport holder I had to go through a slightly more gruelling visa application process. All the documents submitted for the visa have to be original and it’s compulsory to show reservation of accommodation. I did eventually get the visa after some struggle, but I am certain that the process can be made much easier and less expensive.
There are three main stages of your visa application: Invitation, Application, and Visa Approval
NOTE: Start preparations for your Russian visa at least 1 month prior to your departure.
Entering the Russian Federation requires an invitation from a hosting agency. These are government approved agencies that issue invitations to visitors. This form contains details of the type of visa, duration of stay, places you plan to visit during your stay and your hotel/hostel reservation details.
The invitation typically costs $40 – $350 depending on the type of visa (single entry/multiple entry/tourism/business) you need. Some hotels/hostels offer this service free of charge or at a nominal fee.
Indian passport holders need to order an original copy of the invitation. This will mean extra postal charges for the applicant. Yes. It sucks!
If you’ve gotten this far, you are 70% through. Don’t give up now. Head over to the Russian embassy in your city and submit your application. They usual take 3-6 days to process your application.
Once you have the visa sticker on your passport you are set and good to go. Only in rare cases, your application may be declined. I personally haven’t heard of anyone’s application being rejected if they have provided all the correct documents in the correct form.
Is that it? NOPE. Once you’re there you have to tackle something called the Migration Card!
How the Migration Card works:
All foreigners are supposed to register themselves at the local immigration office on arrival. If you are staying in a hotel/hostel for more than one night, they will do this for you either free of cost or for a nominal fee. You better keep this little slip of paper with you as the border authority at the airport may want to check it when you leave Russia.
Now that you’ve read all of this, you’re good to go.
Here are some resources to know more about the Russian Visa:
Visa Requirements for Indian Citizens
Visa Requirement For U.S Citizens
Russia Tourism Centric Website
Express to Russia (www.expresstorussia.com)
Russian Business Visa (www.russian-business-visa.com)
Russia Direct (www.russiadirect.co.uk)
Visa Able (www.visaable.com)
Way to Russia (waytorussia.net)
Still haven’t got what you want? Leave your query in the comments and I’ll get back to you!