It was only yesterday, my sister messaged me saying “Nalindi, why do you travel? Take your time and give me the real real ‘real’ reason and please don’t tell me the first thing that comes to your mind.” 🙂 Sometimes, she is a bit stubborn if she has to get an answer out of someone. In our recent past, she and I have been through almost similar circumstances in life; called each other at midnight, supported and held each other in dire moments as they say and woke up to every morning saying this too shall pass. She introduced me to the concept of travel therapy and the process of finding your true self which follows eventually.
To talk about what makes me travel; it all started in the year 2015 when I ventured into one of the most remarkable journeys in my life. It was indeed a turning point and you can read it all as How One Trip To Himachal Changed My Perspective Of Life. After I came back from Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India, I made up my mind about what I wanted to do for a living. And here I am today, living my dream, meeting new people, learning about their culture and implementing all the good things in my day to day life. In this article, I will tell you about my various experiences in different places while I was travelling.
I’m an extrovert and making friends is as easy as pie for me. So during my trip to Himachal, we made friends with this adventurous, adaptable, friendly and outspoken solo traveller from Amritsar, India. We travelled back to Delhi together and on our way back he asked me to tell him if I ever plan to visit Amritsar. It wasn’t until I started getting claustrophobic after being at home for so long, I and my friend made an overnight decision to visit Amritsar. I dropped him a message before I left, just in case if he was around and we could catch up for a cup of coffee. Next thing I know, we were there at the Golden Temple and he was waiting for us inside the temple. He was very welcoming and with so much pride, he took us to every nook and corner of the city and flooded us with the history of his place. If it wasn’t for him, we would have missed out some of the minute characteristics of the city.
When me and my sister Sarah planned for a trip to Nepal, the Oil Crisis hit the nation and there was an outrageous rise in prices which completely disrupted our budget. A trip to Bhutan was an immediate alternative for us. With no dates in mind or an itinerary in hand, we boarded a bus to Bhutan and on arrival guess whom we met? A friend I know through Instagram and I was meeting him for the first time. I still remember him telling me some months back, ‘Come to Bhutan, I’m sure you’ll love it’. He was awfully correct. Bhutan is such a charming nation blessed with a beautiful landscape and the age old traditional houses just making it picture perfect. If it wasn’t for this friend of mine, our trip to Bhutan would be an entirely new story to tell.
After Bhutan, I was home for some time as it was the festive season and Dussehra is our main festival. I was already planning for my trip to Sandakphu(Darjeeling), India and was a bit sceptical about this trip working out as my parents had been nagging about how much I have been travelling lately. Sometimes family does curb you from travelling, keeping in mind your safety as well as food habits which might not be suitable for you. Especially being a girl, I get that a lot but you can only convince your parents by showing them your passion and love that you have for travelling. Not only were they convinced but they were even trying to help us with our accommodation to save our time and energy worrying about it. I was scared when we started this trip as it was 11 of us altogether and most of them didn’t know each other. 2 of my school friends were coming and during our school days, we disliked one another. We had never spoken to each other in life. I was worried if the whole group will get along or not. Now the trip is done and dusted and I have more friends I can count on. We are a thousand miles away yet the bond is so strong and the friendship so full of energy and vigour. When we talk about our school days, we laugh at ourselves and joke about the wrong teenage attitude we had.
Of all the instances that took place, this is one of my favourites. This happened in the “Land of the Kings” Rajasthan. Udaipur! I fell in love with this place and I will never get enough of it. Even after I come back my soul keeps wandering in its narrow lanes and alleys for days together. A breath of fresh air from the surrounding mountains, the lakes, and the enchanting city is all I long for. So one of my many experiences went something like this. After an early breakfast, I was sitting on the stairs next to Lake Pichola. Not many people were around and the breeze passing through the lake across my face was simply invigorating. I spotted a boy coming towards me. He was about 8-10 years old, his face covered in dirt and his clothes worn out, unwashed and layers of greasy dirt shining and, he was holding an off while or moreover pale sack collecting plastic bottles and all possible garbage around.
As he came close to me, he said ” Sister, ten rupees. Hungry”.
While saying this, he was rubbing his hand in his tummy, a gesture to show me that he was hungry. Most of the times when I travel across India, people mistake me for someone from the South East Asian nations due to my Mongoloid features. Hence, he was speaking to me in English with how much ever he knew.
When he got no response from me, he continued in Hindi “दीदी,10 रूपए देदो| भूख लगी है|” Which means,’Sister, give me ₹10, I’m hungry’.
To which I replied in Hindi,”भूख लगी है? मुझे भी लगी है| जाओ खाना लेके आअो, साथ मे बैठके खाते है| Which means, ‘You’re hungry? Even I’m hungry, go get some food and come and we’ll eat together’.
Hearing me speak in Hindi, the boy yelled at his friends in astonishment, “अरे यार,दीदी तो हिन्दी बोलती है| Meaning, ‘Guys, she speaks in Hindi too’. The blank expression on their faces thinking how a Japanese, Chinese or Korean woman can speak such good Hindi was too adorable. So now, there were about 5-6 kids, surrounding me and waiting for me to utter some words in Hindi. To their surprise, I not only spoke in Hindi but was also an old Bollywood music fanatic. I sat there singing 8-10 songs along with them and bid them a farewell after buying them something to eat.
Coming back to the topic, why I travel is because all these minute instances make life worth living. The people that we come across, their way of living, food habits, various cultural differences, and traditions make us much wiser than staying in one place and limiting our knowledge to a word of mouth does. Not only do you learn to respect others lifestyle and heritage but you also end up valuing your own. I have been to Taj Mahal more than 5 times but every time I see it, I am awestruck.
I openly talk about meeting new people whom I barely know. I strongly believe in intuitions and it has never failed me. There is no harm in meeting new people and making new friends but at the back of your mind, you should always ask yourself whether it feels right or not. I remember going to this village trip where I met a mid aged lady who was very welcoming and while we were engaged in a conversation, she would subconsciously tuck a strand of my hair behind my ears or fix my bra straps. She made me feel at home even though I was miles away from home.
So sometimes I travel to find myself in various different situations at different places and different times and sometimes it’s more about believing what you see rather than what you hear from people.
If you have such interesting travel stories to share, please feel free to leave a comment below. 🙂