"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."
~ St Augustine
I was bitten by the travel bug rather early on in life. As a child, I recall looking forward to the end of every academic year. Vacations not just meant freedom from exams and school but also meant adventure and travel. Come summer and I'd already be dreaming of the trip that lay ahead. This triggered in me an irresistible wanderlust that with time only grew stronger.
Cut to present day, I am always up to venture and explore new places. However, the meaning of travel for me has evolved over the years. Traveling, to me, is no more only about the destination. It has become more about the people I meet, the experiences I share, and the lessons I learn along the way. It has become more about the stereotypes it helps me break, the conclusions it helps me draw, the roads it helps me pave for the journeys ahead, an exploration of the deeper nuances of other cultures and customs.
In a way, I can say travel has shaped my personality to a large extent as well. Then again, it could also be just an extension of my personality. Either way, I'm not complaining.
Those who know me will know about my fascination for nostalgia. I like to think of myself as a memory keeper, someone who carefully procures, polishes and preserves these precious nuggets of reminiscence, only to render them sacrosanct. And travel caters well to this habit of mine.
However, holidays cannot be always organised well in advance. But some of my best holidays have been spontaneous decisions. And why not? Haven't you ever felt the need to disconnect from the busy humdrum of life and break free from the monotony and madness of a mundane existence? I know I have. At times, we need to desperately fall back in love with the universe, and life always presents us with a choice---continue living the same tasteless documentary or turn it into a commercial feature film replete with new people, new cuisines, new environs and more importantly, new possibilities.
With travel being the perfect recipe for a delicious cocktail of adventure and therapy, all we need is good timing, and VOILA! There we are, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to love the world by embracing it with open arms.
So when Indiblogger with Lufthansa organised this contest, my mind immediately started playing the feature film of my travel experiences, urging me to present a collage of memories for the occasion.
Accordingly, I have jotted down my travel inspiration and experiences; particularly the ones that made me reconsider my opinion, revise my outlook, broaden my horizons, and open my eyes to a whole new world. So here goes...
**insert flashback mode with dreamy effects and soft music**
- In Nuremberg Germany, when I was introduced to this car pooling service called Mitfahrzentrale...
This experience taught me something.
- The most interesting encounters are sometimes the briefest.
- Geographical distance doesn't make us any different from each other. At the end of the day, we are all story tellers living the same life, just different stories.
- My first encounter with Durian in Singapore.
That day, I decided that I would not hold bias against any kind of food. And although I still have my priorities, I am of the belief that if someone somewhere is eating it, you can eat it too!
- In Sri Lanka when I realised the real meaning of meditation and inner peace...
His words will always stay with me. 'I cannot ask the world to shut up,' he said, smiling calmly at me, 'But I can listen better to myself.'
- In Amsterdam, when I visited Anne frank house and Van Gogh museum...
The Van Gogh museum presented us with a similar experience. Here we were all linked by the love of art and empathy for the disturbed life of a genius who had left us all a legacy of paintings to reminisce and admire.
- In London, when I witnessed the overview of the entire city in the London eye...
Lesson I learned in London
- No matter where you go, you will always find friendly Indians smiling at you, making you feel comfortable in foreign land.
- The British might not miss much from India. But they surely love the butter chicken.
- The Brits couldn't get heaven on earth. So they opened Thorntons instead.
- In Kovalam, Kerala when we bargained a fantastic boat ride through the marshy back waters...
View from the boat
- In Brussels, we were only too happy to reach in time for the annual 'flower carpet' festival...
|Grande Place - Brussels|
- When we visited the artisans of Dandasahi...
|The Pattachitra I bought--- 'Dasha Avatar'|
With that, I come to the end of this post. I have loads of stories to regale, myriad more experiences to reminisce about, but I think we will keep them for another day. Globe trotting has invariably taught me countless lessons, thus showing me how much I still have to learn. It has made me far more open minded...about things, people, and their opinions. It has taught me to approach new people, embrace their thoughts, listen to their views, and understand them better. I have met and conversed with various people during my trips. But each person, each place has its own unique quality and something special to share, making me believe that the world is such a colossal sea of experiences and knowledge, and I am but a mere speck.
However, every journey till date has inadvertently made me understand one thing about life---we are all in this together; working towards a common goal, exploring the world, discovering one another, and perhaps leaving a small part of ourselves wherever we go, with whomever we meet along the way. That way, we are all connected, each bearing a piece of each other within ourselves---each a part of that one big story.
So be gentle to everyone you meet along the way. Walk a few steps together. Share some smiles. And make lots of memories...
Life is this huge unpredictable adventure, part beautiful, part scary. We are all travelers on the same road, heading towards the same destination, with no one road map. We are all fighting the same battles, nursing similar wounds, and hiding matching scars. Sometimes we stumble and fall. The trick is to learn...always learn. Making notes may feel exhausting at times.
But never forget; Adventure is out there!
And with the right balance of compassion, positive attitude, and will to explore, we can unravel all the mysteries of the world.
In the famous words of Mark Twain,
"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did. So throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.
So let's pack our bags, flip open the camera of our mind, and say yes to the world...