Sunday, December 31, 2017

Calendar Recap 2017... And Welcoming 2018 With A Giveaway!


So, I close my eyes to old ends
and open my heart to new beginnings.
~ Nick Frederickson.


The last day of 2017 is upon us... As the sun sets down on yet another year, the time has come to draw the curtains on the year that was and close my eyes to everything old but not before turning a few pages of my dear diary, not before taking some time to pause and reflect on the moments that made the year, the year that was… Be it through an encounter with a not-so-perfect flower or a village girl with deep soulful eyes or a simple door rich in character or some contemplative moments by the Marine drive - these were moments that I remember where the more intensely I was able to pour of myself, the more I was able to draw from them enriching my gift of experiences in its wake.

Most of these posts were infused with my reflections from my yatras that justify the fact that travel indeed opens the heart in a myriad of ways that are sometimes difficult to fathom for the restricted confines of our mind thus making us more optimistic and aware of our own self in relation to the surroundings around us. In addition, let's not forget the innumerable heath benefits of travelling, all science-backed, that we are exposed to when we shake off our lethargy and get out of our beds to explore the wondrous beauty of the world around us.


Spiraled below is the calendar recap for My Yatra Diary… 2017 with one of my favorite posts picked up from each month along with an accompanying snippet and a picture. Looking back at all these posts today warmed my heart and reminded me to keep it open to new beginnings as I prepared to close my eyes on old ends. As you'll read them, I hope they’d do the same for you.

Also, to commemorate the New Year full of promise for a beautiful, healthy, happy and successful life – I have a giveaway organized at the end as my token of gratitude for all your love that you have continued to share generously on me and my diary, so make sure to scroll through the end and gift yourself a chance to win goodies worth Rs. 4000 in cash (or an equivalent $60 Amazon voucher). Happy New Year Everyone!

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J A N U A R Y

SILENCE

It's eloquent, powerful, beautiful, even dangerous.

To slow down, reflect and ponder
on how connected you are with life,
your own self, is priority here.



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F E B R U A R Y

As I roll my hands onto the engraved walls, I feel a strange sense of kinship with the people in these stories. Be it the epic war from the Mahabharata or the deceptive Sita haran (kidnapping of Sita by Ravana) – it seems like every stone here has an anecdote to share. There are sculptures of Hindu Gods seated in meditative pose and dancing apsaras with dhols making music – all in the richly pillared House of Lord Shiva. Sitting in the center, diagonally opposite the sanctum sanctorum is the majestic Nandi Bull closely guarding His Master.



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M A R C H

... Love ...
as childlike, playful and pure as Radha and Krishna
Shaded in a feeling rich and wholesome,
A flight as gentle as a dove



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A P R I L

It is not the camera then that I believe but this attitude, this nonstop chattering in our mind, which says - I am going there with my camera; I want to capture this, I want to bring that back – which is the real barrier.

And therein lies the handicap, the real barrier that is asking to be crossed.

This leads me to a whole new perspective to the debate and one which resonates with me (the reason why I have still not ditched my camera) - How if we were to carry the camera without the greed, the urge to capture or hunt but just to see, to simply see?



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M A Y

As the sun’s light dimmed with each passing moment and the intensity of the night increased, I was overwhelmed with a profusion of balming serenity and a comforting guidance never experienced before. Even the setting sun became the veil, the aanchal,which she was drawing over all of her children present there, including me, to shield us from the noisy and frightening world outside.

In her arms, I felt safe.

I felt one with Mother, my own nature.



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J U N E

O, traveller:
Here time ticks as a blessing
The earth joins in the caressing.
All the wounds open and heal
The Noor glows ---
beyond all the lurking shadows
the essence of His presence flows.
Our truth, this joy ---
no one can steal



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J U L Y

I inhale a slice of the stillness as my vision is arrested by a 360 degree panoramic view of the endless amounts of space stretching seamlessly across my field of vision. A space where dreams are rooted in the waking world… where lines between the real and the surreal blur, where all the great worries wash away, where life acquires a new meaning, the magic of living in the moment comes alive, also the space every breath becomes a connect to the vibrant energy flowing through the Source from where we come and whence we will be gone.



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A U G U S T

... Bend down to whisper …
some words unspoken,
a few dreams cherished,
a prayer, conversations of the heart
In His eyes,
love is never absent
In His court,
no one is ever alone or forgotten ~



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S E P T E M B E R

Not one, not two but the light of a thousand souls jumped out from her gaze, adding another layer of beauty to her slightly demure character. We spoke nothing and yet, I felt everything...

What kind of world lay beneath her veil of precious lovely eyes?
What dreams did they harbour?
Had they been dyed in the sweet play of innocence
or had they been shrouded in the silent shoulder of responsibility?
Were those depths inked in wells of laughter
or were they resonant in pain and sorrow?



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O C T O B E R

I folded my hands in prayer and closed my eyes, breathing in the spectacular gift of light that was drenching every inch of my being in new hopes and vibrant possibilities wiping away any and all the clutter of darkness. Silence glided into my soul while the chatter of the world died down in the ethereal glow of the rising sun. Time came to a staggering halt in the rhythmic melody of the ripples, breaking on the river bank, whispering a murmuring song as a mellifluous and joyful Gomti kept building, going somewhere, sanctifying the shores of the holy land… also the confines of my heart within.



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N O V E M B E R

It is only by some divine design that my blog sprang to life 8 years ago despite my incompetence in the arena and that I continue to feel empowered to fill the pages of my dear diary despite the rapidfire changes in the industry. Looking back at all these fragments today, I cannot help but wonder at the richness of life that has come to me by the grace of God. The confidence to embrace my vulnerability, to be sincere and authentic in my words that bind our hearts together, the joy of learning and to share my perspective and voice without apprehension has undoubtedly been some of my biggest achievements of my blogging journey.




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D E C E M B E R

December being a month synonymous with gifts and goodies (yes, I am the one enchanted by the idea of Santa!), I decided to skip picking up a post for this month and instead continue the spirit of giving and joy by organizing a little giveaway for all my readers, friends and well wishers. The giveaway is a small token of my gratitude for all the love, support and blessings received throughout the year and to help aid people in their upcoming yatras.

WHAT TO DO TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY?

1. Read the posts in the calendar recap of My Yatra Diary above and leave a relevant comment* on any one (or more if you like) of your favorite posts.

2. Come back to this post and leave a comment here so that I know you are in. Even a simple comment like 'Count me in' will do.

* In case you have already commented on the post before, just let me know the name of the post in the comment section below and you're done.

For additional brownie points, follow me and share the post on Twitter / FaceBook / Instagram or any other social media and let me know you did.

WHAT ARE THE GIFTS?

TWO lucky winners will receive cash of Rs. 2000 each and in case the winner is not residing in India, the winner will receive $30 Amazon voucher.

The giveaway is open internationally and ends on the 20th of January 2018 midnight IST. Winners will be announced here itself, on the 22nd of January by the end of this month, in this post.

That’s all you got to do to enter, FOLLOW the rules and put your name in the virtual hat besides keeping your fingers crossed, who knows you could just be stepping in 2018 with some extra cash in your pockets to help you towards your upcoming yatras!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. All the best!

[30/01/2018: UPDATE]

WHO WON THE PRIZE?

I know you might have been waiting for me to declare the winners, so here I am. I hosted this giveaway on the last day of the last year to give something back, to the community as a token of my humble appreciation but I now know that I have received a lot more from it in the form of your love and support. There were 132 comments on this post out of which around 80 eligible ones went into the virtual hat. It kind of breaks my heart to pick just two winners from so many of you but there's only this much I can do. In the end, we can have only 2 lucky winners and...

THE WINNERS ARE:

.
.
.



1. DHEERAJ / AMRUTHA SHENOY AKA TEAM G SQUARE.

2. SHARADA GOPALAN FROM POSTCARDTALES.


Congratulations to both the winners, I hope you enjoy putting this cash to some good (read travel) use and pay it forward by sharing your fascinating stories with all of us through your blog posts.

I'm highly grateful to everyone who has walked with me on my journeys throughout the year in the form of likes, shares and wonderfully inspiring comments and to all of you who came here to share their love to My Yatra Diary's... New Year Giveaway and helped me in promoting it through their social media channels - A very BIG Thank You! I wish all of you well in all your future yatras and I hope they transform you in ways you may have never imagined before. Happy 2018!!

*Winners, please leave your email-id in the comment section or shoot me an email at 22arti@gmail.com so that I can connect with you.


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133 comments:

  1. I read all your diary and some we're very interesting to me and November diary was awesome and I followed you on all three platform and hopefully wish to win because my luck is not that good and happy new year 2018 all the best for your life

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  2. Wow, you achieved so much this year. It is a great run completing 8 years!
    Good luck with 2018...I am sure it would be even better.

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  3. Bathe in the Light of Love This Diwali (Mother River Gomti, Dwarka.)

    Count me in

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  4. Count me in...keeping fingers crossed tightly to get lucky first time with you ✨💫🤞🤞🤞

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  5. I am in. Sharing on twitter. Already following you.

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  6. Hi Arti,
    It's a nice recap of your best posts. Well summarised in beautiful words.
    Looking forward for more such post :)

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  7. Arti, Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year.
    Best wishes for 2018. Keep Blogging. Greetings.

    Count Me In :)

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  8. Thanks for this giveaway...Count me in and I have commented on the November blog
    Wish to get luckiest with you

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  9. Happy to follow and read your posts!

    Should you pick my name, pls donate the giveaway amount to any charity of your choice.

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  10. I was able to find good advice from your articles.

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  11. Count me in! i could use the $30
    Great blog!!

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  12. New year, new possibilities. Count me in as well :)

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  13. Happy blogging in the new year and count me in!

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  14. Beautiful sum up of the entire year, its always been a pleasure to go through your posts, will wait for your upcoming posts in this year.

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  15. I read most of your posts. In this list I guess I had missed the ancient temple of Pune. I always love to see temple architecture.
    Count me in....hoping for the giveaway... :)

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  16. amazing words, wishing you more travels in 2018

    count me in

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  17. You have had such an amazing year, wishing you more such in the new year. Keep flowing the stories like always. Happy New Year to you !

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  18. Count me in:) Loved your Rameshwaram post and shared that on FB and Twitter!

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  19. What a lovely way to gift your readers! Count me in. <3 Liked you on FB and Twitter also! (info@pinkmitten.com)

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  20. 'Count me in. I am following you. letessha at yahoo dot com

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  21. I love the photos, wish I could travel to some of these places. Also count me in. Happy New Year.

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  22. Wow ! So many destinations and beautiful places are in you post . The year of 2017 was really very fruitful for you and we can hope that 2018 will definitely include more destinations than previous year . Wish you a very happy New year .

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  23. Another wonderful year for you... May 2018 be bigger and better :)

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  24. Wish you a very happy new year and hope you reach great height of success this year.

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  25. Wish you have a great 2018 year .
    I commented on September post .
    Wish to win.

    Count me in

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  26. Count me in.
    Is the Camera a Tool or a Barrier while Travelling?

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  27. love this post. thank you for sharing it was nice to see all the information you gave.

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  28. You have had a impressive year! Enjoyed reading your blog and seeing the beautiful pictures!

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  29. Count me in. Your photos are beautiful

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  30. Count me in! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  31. I followed and shared on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Margo82361/status/949818374153846785).

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  32. I liked and shared on Facebook (Marie Gould).

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  33. I followed and hearted on Instagram (Margo82361).

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  34. I'm in! Shared on my FB! Thanks.

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  35. Count me in!
    Thank you for the chance, and for sharing your beautiful work!
    loritaube @ hotmail.com

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  36. Great job ,beautiful life...thank you!

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  37. Count me in, too! Happy New Year To You!!

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  38. I really like the August entry...beautiful!

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  39. please count me in. thankyou, ken

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  40. Count me in! These photos are amazing! I love them all and wish I could take photos like that.

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  41. I enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts from the previous year! I commented on November, August, and April 2017 posts. Keep telling your story and sharing your travels.

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  42. Count me in! I love your travels!

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  43. I like the idea of coming up with your favorite posts of each month and consolidate them in the year end post. Always wonderful to read your heart warming experiences of heavenly places, Arti! :)

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  44. I've just (so just find the post logged at similar time to this one) commented on the March post anonymously and also followed you on Twitter, where my user name is @siuwanlg, so count me in for the giveaway!
    My contact is siuwanlg@hotmail.com, thank you.

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  45. My best wishes to all , I have always enjoyed reading your posts :) so much to learn from , I liked the MARCH one so many colours and so much happiness .

    I wish that 2018 is colourful and full of happinesss...

    Bikram's

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  46. Hi Arti,
    My name is Heer Jalundhwala. Wish you a very happy new year. Just like you, I am fond of writing and travelling. I am from Mumbai and currently a student. I am so glad that through this giveaway I came across your channel and got the opportunity to connect with you. I love reading your posts. I have followed you on all social media. Facebook as Heer Jalundhwala, Twitter as heerj_29 and Instagram as hot_h92. It would really mean a lot to me if I win this giveaway as the gift voucher would be a special new years gift and I would use it to buy something favorite of mine. I will invite all my friends to participate. Would really be the happiest one on this planet if I win this. Thanks for hosting this!

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  47. Please count me in!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  48. Following on Twitter @aikchien and shared:
    https://twitter.com/aikchien/status/952941095725355008

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  49. Following on Facebook and shared:
    https://www.facebook.com/yc.aik.1/posts/172519356853162

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  50. Count me in! Good luck to everyone who entered!

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  51. Thank you for hosting the giveaway. I commented on this post: http://www.myyatradiary.com/2017/08/fortcha-ichchapurti-ganesha-sarvajanik.html

    my email: krazy_butafly2@msn.com

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  52. I follow you on twitter, facebook, and instagram

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  53. I completed reading one article & couldn't stop myself reading next & it happened for the whole 2017 & commented on every article.
    Count Me In !

    Following on all social media pages :)

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  54. I also followed you on facebook!

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  55. Great collection of posts. I left a comment on September's post. Count me in!

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  56. Count me in! I also commented on your wonderful post about whether the camera is a barrier when travelling.

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  57. I follow you on twitter as deepriser79

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  58. Commented on your wonderful post titled

    Happy Holi: The Colors of Life

    Thank you for nor only an amazing opportunity to win but also for sharing your experience and thoughts with us

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  59. Following on Twitter and Instagram
    Liked on Facebook

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  60. Your photos are beautiful thanks for the chance

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  61. Have always loved the way you write but this was so poise and beautiful... Keep at it..hopefully this year we shall meet.

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  62. Wow, you've had an amazing year, hopefully this year will be just as amazing if not more so!

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  63. Count me in!
    Honeypie411 at yahoo dot com

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  64. Count me in!
    I especially enjoyed the section on Photography. There are some amazing photos there. So beautiful!
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net

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  65. I followed you on Twitter as @BigBugsyCat
    I re-tweeted here: https://twitter.com/BigBugsyCat/status/954247593919332353

    Carol Ezovski

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  66. Count me in

    theyyyguy@yahoo.com

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  67. Beautiful photos! I really like the one of Ganesha.

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  68. count me in!! KarrieMillheim @ aol.com

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  69. All of your photos are beautiful! June really caught my eye!

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  70. Follow and tweeted on Twitter
    Lmbrunken

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  71. Happy new year . Count me in please

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  72. Count me in, please.
    Thanks for the contest.
    slehan at juno dot com

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  73. FB like you: Slehan and shared:
    https://www.facebook.com/hale.slehan/posts/2069762663041370

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  74. Google +: Sarah L
    shared:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/117522196192362478861/posts/PTRzBKpH6LF

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  75. I follow you on Twitter and Instagram. Shared post on Twitter. https://twitter.com/Brightstar4580/status/954508218138595328

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  76. I loved reading all the post! (jozywails@gmail.com)

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  77. I retweeted on Twitter / https://twitter.com/artisdiary/status/953894036368052226

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  78. I shared on Facebook / https://www.facebook.com/audrey.stewart.140/posts/1557837247637016?pnref=story

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  79. Count me in! I left my thoughts on "Is the Camera a Tool or a Barrier while Travelling?"

    Thank you. =)

    hanlfa80@gmail.com

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  80. I'm in!
    gingysweeps@gmail.com

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  81. I followed you on twitter @yennysweeps

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  82. Count me in. :) Thank you not only for the chance but for sharing such wonderful photographs!

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  83. I've commented on the December blog congrats on 8 years of your blog
    Please count me in @just_kate93 (Twitter)

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  84. I commented on http://www.myyatradiary.com/2017/11/8-years-of-goodness-and-that-blog-named.html - Your photos are so beautiful and an inspiration.

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  85. @tlawoodall Liked and shared on Facebook - https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1746117105410965&id=100000380789231

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  86. Count me in....I liked the May Calendar Diary as It's My Birthday Month and related to My Mother - Nature... I'm Following you on all Social Media Platforms...Thanks! :)

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  87. Count me in... I commented on http://www.myyatradiary.com/2017/10/soulie-saturday-26-bathe-in-light-of.html

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  88. Thank you for doing this awesome giveaway! Your blog and your photography is so beautiful. Count me in!

    daniel6593x@gmail.com

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  89. Commented on January Silence as Anonymous Rosanne Count Me! Rosanne

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  90. Follow you on Twitter and tweeted: https://twitter.com/rosannepm/status/954883368440811520 Rosanne

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  91. Please count me in. Thanks.

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  92. Count me in please.
    brittani adams
    kbnadams @ gmail

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  93. This is awesome, thanks for sharing!

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  94. Tweeted on twitter- thank you Luvbeingamomof3

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  95. Count me in. Your photos are amazing.

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  96. Hey Arti, I am so thrilled seeing my blogs name as one amongst the two winners! Thank you so much, you've made my day! :)

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