Most people think of travel as a chance to party their brains out, get laid and not care about anything outside their little circle of reality. While this may not be a bad break from the monotony of living at home and a 9 to 5 job, it isn’t what travel is about.
What is Travel
Experiential travel or travel isn’t about pleasure, or the high points. Just like life, it is about experiences. During travel, unlike life, experiences are sped up. Travel is like life lived in fast forward. Every day of a journey seems longer. An hour feels like a day, a day like a week, and sometimes I come back after a filled up week, feeling like it must have been a month.
Travel is not about partying, but about experiences. Not that partying isn’t an experience. But travel is so much more. In Goa, I saw so many people having cocktails for breakfast. I shudder to think what they might have for dinner. I don’t understand people who travel to go exotic places, and then block out that very reality with alcohol and drugs.
what is the correct approach to travel?
Befriend the cows (just kidding ;P)
Travel to me, has its sanctity, like everything in life does. When you go to a place different from home, offer it due respect. Don’t disrupt your surroundings, because they are somebody’s home too. Try to contribute. Don’t try to tame your surroundings, let them tame you.
Do not judge
For example, most people who go to Malana (Himachal Pradesh) come back hating the people of Malana. Malanians have strange traditions. They believe that any outsider touching them or their sacred temple would impure-ify it. If you have a problem with this approach, I suggest you don’t go to Malana. During my trip there, I respected their traditions with honesty, and they, in turn respected me. They are amongst the nicest people I have met in my travels. Their good heartedness and respect for women is genuine.
A traveller is an ambassador
In 2014, I went for a Rotary cultural exchange to USA. During orientation I was told I was an ambassador for my country. I would be overseas and would face many different kinds of people. In a large way, how they would think of India would be based on my behaviour and conduct. As a traveller, you have an awesome responsibility. Live up to it.
A traveller must be open, get out of that comfort zone
Not doctored, but candid. If you are going to travel to part and get high and go away from yourself, it has no ultimate benefit. Travel is about breaking habit, comfort zones, letting the cup empty and being open.
Travel is about learning and growing as a person. Some come back hung over, some tanned, and others wiser. Yet, others, like me, never come back. When I am home, a part of my heart is out on the road, fluttering, calling me. Like a first love.