The day I met SoloTravelBlogger

With Dustin Jordan aka Solotravelblog

I have a weird hobby to randomly search for food videos on youtube. I do not usually search about Indian street food as I am already familiar to Indian street food. But last week something made me search about Indian Street food and it turned out to be pretty lucky for me. The first link was a video of Hyderabad street food and it looked interesting, so I opened it to realize that this youtuber has a great sense of humour. I checked the date of upload, and it was literally uploaded three hours back. Then I explored more of his videos. I loved the way he makes them. His commentary is like hilariously awesome. His youtube channel is ‘SoloTravelBlog’. I realized that there are chances that he might still be in Hyderabad and dropped a message on his facebook page. Excited as I was, I didn’t want to take the risk him missing my message so I commented on his video too. I woke up next morning, praying that he had replied. And yes, he did indeed reply with exactly the answer that I wanted. I asked him that I really wanted to meet him and I also wish to make food videos in future and I would love to show him some of Hyderabad for a day. He agreed to that and we decided to meet on thursday. The whole 3 days passed in excitement in planning for the day and I saw almost all of the videos on his youtube channel :D.

Finally, the day arrived. I made sure that I make him try Hyderabadi food. First, we started with Udipi’s Upahar, Gachibowli. He was in Hyderabad from past a week and I saw his recent videos too. So , I knew what type of dishes he had already tired and made sure to make him try something different. He already tried masala dosa, so I ordered rawa dosa, poori with veg kurma and uttapam. Then we ordered lemon tea which was really soothing.

After eating all this food, I thought it would be better to take a break before going to the next food joint. So, I took him to Karachi bakery, best bakery in Hyderabad. When we were looking at Indian sweets, he pointed at kaju katli and said I have seen this a lot here. So, I asked the shopkeeper to let him try one piece of it. He happily gave one piece to try and he loved it as it wasn’t too sweet and apt amount of sweet. He looked at gulab jamun and said that he tried that the day before and he loved it, although it was too sweet for him, as he is not that much of sweet tooth. The biscuits of Karachi Bakery are very famous, so I really wanted him to try them. I gifted him an assorted pack of biscuits which had mixed variety of biscuits.Beside Karachi Bakery was CreamStone. He can get chocolate icecreams anywhere. India is all about mangos. So, I ordered one mango icecream. Dustin saw paan ice cream option on the menu, and said that we have to eat this one, because he had paan before when he was in Mumbai, and he just loved paan flavour a lot. He loved both mango and paan icecreams.

Then I took him to Norfest dhaba, inside SLN terminus mall. I love the mutton galouti kebabs there, so we ordered a plate of mutton galouti kebabs. With that we ordered a non-veg thali in which they had the delicious Dal makhani, Dhaba chicken,  Mixed vegetable dish and Mixed raita, with a bowl of rice and 2 pudina parantha. Everything tasted great. In drinks we had refreshing shikanji (jeera lemon water).

After this we went to Mehdipatnam, which was approximately 45 minutes ride with a cab. We went to za’atar shawarma shop. I wanted him to try best shawarma, so I discussed with my friends and most of them told me to go to the same place za’atar. There we ordered chicken cheese shawarma in rumali roti and chicken cheese za’atar pizza. Although we were already full by that time, but the shawarma was so so yummm… that in every bite we were like I can’t eat anymore and we still finished whole of that big heavy woww shawarma. By that time we were actually about to burst. So, we couldn’t finish the pizza and to be true we were so full that we didn’t feel like eating it, so judging a food in that condition is not a good idea.

In total it was a great experience with Dustin. He told me a lot of interesting stuff about solo travelling. Some of the interesting stories and incidents happened with him in all these years, how he started, how he maintains his blogging, how many countries he has covered and what are his future plans etc. I hope he makes more and more  of such amazing videos. He is as amazing in person as he sounds in his videos. I really thank him for giving me the opportunity to show him around Hyderabad. Meeting him has definitely given me an inspiration to start my blogs and youtube videos too. Hoping to start my food journey from Hyderabad soon.

Road to Outreachy

I came to know about outreachy from my seniors in college in 2015. So I looked about it and tried to understand how the programme works and immediately developed an interest in it. I am from Electronics background. So, I had lack of experience in coding. I started practising coding using online coding sites like codechef,  hackerrank etc.and participated in hackathons like, angelhack etc. and tried improving with time. Eventually I started gaining interest in open source too.

I had put my first attempt in OPW outreachy in winter 2015. I participated in the organisation ‘Privacy Badger’. I submitted three patches in it but was not selected for internship. It was definitely disheartening. I decided to improve myself and apply again. I applied again in Outreachy Summer 2017 and was determined to give it my best shot considering it to be my final opportunity at trying my hand at Open Source and OPW. I chose to contribute to oVirt. Till now I had got good hands on object oriented programming. I was given initial tasks from mentor at oVirt. I gave my best shot and wrote about 1000 lines of code for the initial tasks. However, I was not entirely confident of getting through because of other contributors who were able to catch up when I was busy with my mid semester exams. I submitted the proposal when I realised that the deadline of some organizations have been increased to 13th April. I saw it as another opportunity to strengthen my chances. I searched for a project in python and I got one in QEMU which I found very interesting. To be true I knew QEMU is a very good org. And hence I never approached it, feeling I wasn’t good enough yet. But as I got a chance to contribute, I wanted to give it a try. I also went through the another organization Xen and found the project of creating a format recommender tool of Xen style coding format very interesting.  So, I decided to contribute in both. And contacted respective mentors. They gave me some tasks. The other two weeks went contributing to both organizations and submitting proposals on 13th April. The results were to be announced on 4th May and the wait seemed to be like forever.

However, one day I received a mail from Outreachy Coordinators that I have been selected as an intern for two organizations QEMU and Xen. It felt like suddenly time had stopped and I could not believe myself. I was overjoyed but was presented a difficult task to choose one of the two organizations for internship. After a deep thought, I decided to go with QEMU because of my comfort with python and interest in project. I am presently in community bonding period and working with two awesome mentors John Snow and Stefan Hajnoczi. They are one of the coolest and most understanding people I have ever worked with.

I would just say that you do not need to be a genius to get selected for OPW. You need to be determined and hard-working. Failures may come, but we have to take the failures positively and use them as stepping stones to success.