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Essence of Travel


Sunrise in Angkor Wat, Cambodia


 
Travel: Just a word or a "step" to odyssey

In the cozy moments spent with my grandfather, he regales me with captivating stories from his eventful life. These anecdotes often intertwine with our shared experiences of travel. One day, he presented me with an intriguing analogy, describing travel as akin to savouring a delicious meal. "As soon as you are done with meal, its taste is gone, same thing happens with travelling experiences".


He then went on explaining, “Manni Bahadur (my nickname for him), just as you eat something delicious, you enjoy its taste while you are eating it when it is on your tongue. You savour it, live in the moment and as soon as that food is gulped down you do not feel anything about it and you are onto the next bite before you know it, and the previous bite is gone. Same with travel, till the time you are on the journey and when you are in the location you enjoy it but once you are back from the trip, you do not feel a thing. You are back to your routine and the travel is out of your system. Tell me then is it worth spending thousands on travel? When you cannot enjoy it for more than a few days?”


When the first time he said this to me, I was speechless. I contemplated and could not come up with a response that could genuinely convince him of why we travel. So I left it as is. Sometime later, when we were preparing for our next trip, the aforementioned conversation repeated and he further added “why don’t you put this money to better use? Invest it, use it wisely!” I changed the topic and went on with some other topic. Sometime later I gave a thought to what he said and introspected. More than convincing him why travel is necessary, I had to find an answer for myself, why do I love to travel? Because I want to see a new place every now and then? It cannot be a one-line answer, travelling needs investment there ought to be a better “Return on Investment”. Why do I give up work a few days before travel in excitement and a few days after returning from the trip in sadness as the trip got over?


This blog aims to explore the profound reasons why travel holds such importance in our lives and why it remains an eternal pursuit.


Discovering the Spark:

When I embarked on my professional journey, travel held little allure for me. Similarly, I was unsure of Neha's stance on travel. However, two transformative incidents reshaped our perspectives entirely. The first was an impromptu trip to Dharamshala with my college friends, where we abandoned elaborate planning and simply embarked on the journey. It was a raw and unadulterated experience that revealed the essence of travel to me—setting off without constraints or preconceived notions.

The second turning point arrived when Neha became my life partner. Discovering her equal fervour for travel ignited a shared passion within us. We started small, exploring nearby resorts and heritage sites during weekends, which eventually grew into grander adventures both within and outside India. Gradually, we began strategising our trips, seeking optimal times to explore new destinations. These incidents cemented my belief that travel is an inherent part of our existence, surpassing mere superficial showcases on social media.


Journey unveiled:

Beyond the picturesque images and detailed itineraries, the true essence of travel lies in the moments hidden beneath the surface—the flavours we relish long after the trip concludes. From the exhilaration of leaving home to the anticipation building during security checks at airports, each step fuels our enthusiasm. As I gaze out of the airplane window, witnessing the curvature of the Earth, the tapestry of landscapes, and the bustling miniature cars below, I feel transported to another dimension. In that moment, I become an observer, seeking to understand the lives of others, the diversity of human experiences, and the common threads that bind us all.

Though I may not engage in conversations with fellow travellers, I take solace in observing their existence, comparing their perspectives with my own. This act of perception is not intended to highlight differences or establish a hierarchy, but rather to feel the essence of our shared humanity. Despite the geographical distances that separate us, we all belong to the same category as humans, shaped by distinct values, beliefs, and experiences. At a fundamental level, we are interconnected.


Breaking the Shackles of Familiarity:

The saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt," rings true in the context of our hometowns. But why does this happen? I believe that within the confines of our homes, our focus revolves around securing a better future and surviving the present. In contrast, travel immerses us in the present moment, providing an escape from our everyday worries. Even amidst a sea of people, we find solitude and the freedom to shape our own experiences. Some seek companionship while others revel in the solitude of self-discovery. Each traveler finds their own path, driven by diverse motives.

For Neha and me, the true essence of travel lies not solely in architectural marvels or stunning landscapes, but rather in finding a tranquil spot and blending into the surrounding environment. We find equal joy in serene landscapes as we do in vibrant discotheques. We feel a profound connection to everything that envelops us, whether it be a statue, a fellow traveler engrossed in photography, or the stories etched on historical plaques. From a vantage point, everyone, irrespective of their background, is engaged in the same human pursuit—living, reproducing, earning, and eventually departing from this world. We share a common earthly and cosmic existence.


The Unquenchable Thirst:

As we embark on our journey of exploration, we find ourselves playing a game of speculation—contemplating how life would unfold if we were born elsewhere or chose to settle in a different place. Yet, when we confront the question of where we wish to retire, we are overwhelmed by the vastness of the world still awaiting our discovery. The allure of unseen destinations keeps us perpetually enthralled, ensuring that our journey never truly concludes.


My Response to my Grandfather

Travel is not merely an escape from the mundane or an opportunity to create envy-inducing social media posts. It encompasses a profound quest for connection, understanding, and self-discovery. As my grandfather questioned the value of spending on travel, I found my own answer—an answer that transcends superficial explanations. Travel is an investment in the richness of human experience, an exploration of the vast tapestry of existence, and an eternal pursuit that continually shapes our perspectives. It is through travel that we bridge the gaps of familiarity and find unity in our shared humanity. So, let us embark on this never-ending journey, savouring the flavours of the world and celebrating the beauty that lies in exploration.

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