May 8, 2013

Random Thoughts- The passion called Travel!



I happened to have a chat with an acquaintance who lives in the same apartment complex as me. And obviously the conversation turned to travel. During the conversation she kept on repeating one line ... Oh! I have a job, I have a family. If I were 'like you' I would also travel. When saying 'like you' she sounded like she is alleging me of something! By the end of that conversation I was thinking ... Anybody 'who wants to' can travel ... but then, what is it to be 'like you'?

Okay, Well then who actually travels? During whatever little roaming-wandering-traveling-hiking-camping I have done, I bumped-into-met-spoke-to fellow wanderers-travelers-hikers-campers. And that is one pleasant part of traveling. Strangers become dearer to you. They become short time companions, and sometimes even protectors and providers too! The conversation with them is interesting. About them, their journey, choices they made, their point-of-views, their ultimate destinations, a little peek into their personal lives and so on ... It was interesting to know that these travelers had so diverse backgrounds yet they all had one single dream ...

When I was backpacking in Madhya Pradesh-India, my home country, I met an young man who traveled with me from Jabalpur to Kanha National Park in the public transport changing three buses. And I happened to speak to him. He was from sunny California who was working for a prestigious company in Santa Clara. He quit his job, sold his apartment, and that shiny BMW sedan to cut the strings and started to travel around the world. And he was in India wearing faded clothes, worn out BATA-flip flops and sun-kissed skin, eating samosa/ aloo vada from street-side-stalls. He was the one who inspired me to eat street-side food! He said, Its delicious! He identified himself as Jon and said that was enough to know! Similarly in Shimla, I met a senior woman from Ireland who started a conversation with me on Mall Road. Her name is Mary. A very kind lady who loved India. She was visiting Shimla after seven years. She said, Even if I didn't have money I still would visit Shimla. I would have worked hard to earn enough for the trip. They both were rich and had jobs which they quit but, they preferred to be nomads for time being. I sometimes feel ... that our parents made every effort to make us comfortable, providing everything we needed even before we asked for it. May be that kind of attention, protection makes few of us run for some hardship, to achieve something on our own. Because we got everything in a very easy way!

It is not true that people with extra richness only can travel. When I was in Hampi I met a backpacker in a street side stall near Virupaksha temple. I was having my evening tea, watching passers by and this person started a conversation with me. Mat was from Australia. An year ago he had lost his job and since then he is unemployed. He thought it was much better to take a trip to nearby countries and it is cheaper to wander around in South East Asia! He found the world to be source of endless wonders and travel was more philosophical than practical. 

At times we meet people who seem totally different. They are more interested in your personal life, they want to help you emotionally. Yes, sometimes we meet hurt-souls. I spoke to one in Gangtok! I was looking for a shared ride to Nathu La. One of the persons with whom I shared the ride was heart broken. Even in that breathtakingly beautiful landscape Manik was very calm and looked indifferent. There was no excitement or happiness in his eyes, he didn't look sad either. He said he took the decision to travel because he was in pain. He had a very bad breakup with his girl and was feeling betrayed. And he wanted to heal his soul through travel! After spending a long time in the womb of Himalayas he felt calm. Too very calm really!

During my camping-hiking trips to the national parks of USA I happened to speak to many campers. One Indian couple- Devu and Indira, well I would say Indian-American couple, who attracted my attention! They were on honeymoon for more than a year and they had much more on their plan, they didn't know exactly for how much longer and where! They had quit their jobs soon after the wedding! They had traveled all around Europe, South East Asia and were venturing USA after returning! Since they were citizens of USA, they did some odd jobs in between to survive and save for future overseas travels!

I was in Italy couple of years ago. I took a first-class package tour. On the first day, to my surprise, I saw the bus full of couples aged between 55yrs-85yrs who were to be my travel companions for next 20 days. One of the common reasons they took the trip was- they were free after retirement. The kids are grown up and busy with their own chores, and so the seniors took a break! Some were even on their second honeymoon. Well, it was a short 20 days vacation. But these couples were determined to travel to far away destinations at least twice a year.

Relaxing before starting the new job! This is one of the best things to do! I met two sisters from Spain, Aida and Isi, when I was traveling from Amritsar to Dharmasala. In the Amritsar bus-station I saw them sitting on the dusty floor with their backpacks, eating samosa. One of the sisters wanted a career change and she had decided to venture out in India before she took up a new job. They were in India for 3 months between the jobs and wanted to camp at Great Himalayan National Park before they returned. I heard similar stories from students enjoying the gap year in Goa! Isn't that fantastic!?

When I was camping at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah I didn't get a tent site so I took a RV site. My neighbors were a family of four- parents and two boys of age 10 and 14. They noticed me alone and invited me to join them for dinner. Well, it was fantastic to talk to those happy and lively people. The boys were too excited to discover what the new place has to offer. Initially, I thought they were camping for 3-4 nights but, the lady tells me they have planned for an year!  They bought an RV just for that! They wanted to travel all around USA in that mobile home.

Well, while backpacking in Madhya Pradesh I happened to speak to a lot of fellow travelers. One I met in Orchha was a nomad- Timothy was traveling for last 5+ years and he loved that life. He said he started as a Red-Cross volunteer and then went on to travel around the globe. It seemed from his talk he was in all the pockets of the globe and had seen ultimate lavishness to heartbreaking poverty. I asked him about his blog so I could read about his extensively hilarious and horrifying experiences. I was surprised by what he said. Well, he doesn't have a blog. Per him, blog is for people who want to show off about their trips and travels, and then earn money from it. Really?! A smile followed suddenly, he asked- do you have a blog? Ha ha ... Yes, I don't get a naya paisa out of it! His opinion is part of his experience.

And there are many more people with many more backgrounds and their inspiring stories. They all travel even though they aren't 'like me' :) I really don't know what is to be 'like me' in the first place! They are traveling NOT because 'they don't have a job and they don't have a family! but, all these people have a common passion called ... TRAVEL. And hence they are traveling. Yeah, making a big life change is pretty scary. It requires determination and sacrifice. But, you don't have to be 'like someone' to do something. Bottom line is ... to live your dream nothing stops you, job or family or money or anything ... Just live your dreams!
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6 comments:

  1. So true - when that travel bug hits, it's best to go with it! I spent four years away from home, teaching and travelling and living abroad... the best thing I ever did.

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    1. Graet! You lived your dream and feel so good about it!

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  2. Loved your narration Kusum and totally agree with yours and theirs point of you.Its too unjust with life if i spend it seating within four walled room.Keep posting.

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    1. Thank you Padmini. Glad you get out and live your life as you wish!

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  3. Wonderfully written Kusum. Just loved reading it and I absolutely agree with you.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2013/05/haziness.html

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    1. Thanks Niranjan! Glad you agree ...

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