For me, 2017 was a lot about travelling. Ideally, I should have visited 12 destinations this year however, I fell short by 2 places. We still have 10 days left though and if things work in my favour, I might just be able to make it a +1 at least. Nevertheless, I am happy that the whole idea of putting my health and wishes over everything else has worked out for me. A lot changed after I quit my startup job. I missed the hustle and the amazing bunch of friends I had made there, but I am kind of glad that now I had more time for myself. The irony of working there was that I was working in the travel sector and yet was unable to indulge in actual travel. And that was one of the biggest reasons I switched from the travel industry. I saw no worth in being there if I could not experience it. So when the offer came from the education sector, I took it. And instead of just sleeping over the weekend or partying out, I chose to take some time out for travel.
Here are a few lessons that travel taught me in 2017.
I had been working towards minimalism since 2015. In fact, from Sept 2015 to December 2016, I used just one notebook at work and shopped just thrice from stores. However, I still had a lot of aspects to work upon. And it also seemed like I had gone off track in the mid of 2017. Somehow, travel helped me get back to my purpose. Travel helped me to get adapted to living out of a backpack. In fact, during my recent 5-day trip, even after keeping the least of items, I returned with some unused products. This happened to be a wonderful sign of having achieved a higher level of minimalism this year. A life of minimalism will teach you a lot about freeing yourself from all forms of baggage we carry, emotional or physical.
A lot of traveling (or I’d rather like to call it exploration now) in 2017 included rural tourism. I met so many people who lived life with the least of resources. They were deprived of even the basic needs. I met kids who lived off with just 2 pairs of clothes and yet happened to be the happiest ones around. In Kohka, I met 4 kids who found getting clicked a luxury. I interacted with a family that survived solely on pottery. I met a teacher who handled the complete primary section of a school in the village and travelled 2 hours daily only to help them achieve something in life. I had tea in broken cups with a family in the hills and the yummiest meal of my life with them. When I saw all of this, I realized how much we tend to grumble about everything in our life when people in so many parts of my country do not even have the luxury to sleep in a comfortable bed or be able to have meals 3 times a day.
I am not exactly a person who gets agitated at the drop of a hat, but I am not completely patient. I do get irritated at times. When I order food, I want the service to be quick. When I switch on the geyser, I want the water to get instantly hot or in an acceptable period of time. And I also hate waiting while sitting in the bus for no reason. However, travelling has changed a lot in me. A lot of places taught me to be patient for food especially my visit to Bir. I learnt how people take time to prepare a nice yummy meal for you. Value the effort gone into it instead of cribbing about the time. Travel has taught me so much of patience that my corporate job could never do.
Make friends with strangers
I am not an extrovert, but I am not an introvert per se. I am more of an ambivert. Once I open up to a person, there is no stopping. However, taking that first step is the biggest battle of my life. I think that’s something that most writers struggle with. Travelling has certainly changed this to an extent. I have opened up to different kinds of people whether or not they seem to lie in my wavelength. I have interacted with all age groups, all professions, people from different nations and ethnicities, from daily wagers to top shot CEOs, and have gained so many insights and lessons from each one of them that I could write a book on it.
There is no protocol for travel. There are no ‘must-see’ places or ‘must-do’ activities while travelling. All that matters while travelling is the fact that you enjoy where you are at that moment. While I was in Dalhousie, everyone wanted to stay around the Mall Road, but I finally chose to stay in a village nearby (thankfully, Zostel already had been set up there). And it was so much better than staying in the crowd.
Also, when I went to Pench, everyone around me wanted to go for the safari, which I agree was the main treat, but there were so many other places to explore that people didn’t care about. All they cared about was spotting the tiger and even after they had spotted once, they wanted to spot it again. They were however not even willing to look at other places. When I decided to visit Kohka Dam, no one came along with me. In fact, I was the only person there. I had seen so many people during the safari but not even one came to witness this beauty. It wasn’t the loss of nature, it was, in reality, their loss.
And that’s the beauty of travelling. Not following the rulebook or those umpteen number of listicles on the web. Just follow your heart!
Say NO to comfort zone
I haven’t really been a hotel person ever. I can not stick to my room or by the pool. I’d rather explore the local life or enjoy a cup of tea with the ‘dhaba’ guy. But still, travelling this year did teach me to get out of my comfort zone at certain levels. I learnt to negotiate with people in a better manner, I learnt to be patient than ever, I learnt to talk to people and I also learnt to fight for myself and be a tough girl who could handle everything all alone.
DON’T TRAVEL TO RUN AWAY FROM LIFE, TRAVEL TO MAKE IT BETTER
This is my last lesson of this post and perhaps the most important one. Most of us travel to take a break from all the hullabaloo going on in life or perhaps to move on or simply to run away from our problems. What we need to realize is that travelling is a way to become a better version of ourselves. Travel improves the way we live. Travel broadens our perspective and there is so much more to travel than just watching a few attractions. Make travelling a part of your life and you’ll never have to run away.
So, these were few lessons I learnt from travelling this year. I am sure there are going to be many more my way in the coming year and I cannot wait to explore more!
Has travelled helped you the way it has done to me? Do share your experiences in the comment section.