Monday, October 18, 2010

The Essence Of Travelling.

Robert Louis Stevenson very famously said " I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move".

As a child I despised geography , and I give full credit of that hatred to the Indian education system. Right from the inception of our academic charade the only thing taught in the name of education is 'How to mug up and spew it out'. Imagine, a subject like geography which is all about travel and experiences forced down a child's throat like a nauseating glass of milk. Distaste for any act performed under coercion is natural, and this explained my aversion to geography. The reason why I choose to highlight my abhorrence for this subject as a child in particular, is to give my present irony laced love for it  more meaning. As an adult I have come to love geography, because as an adult I got aquainted with the essence of geography : Travelling.
Travelling as I have grown to realise, is all about exploration, adventure,knowledge,curiosity and spirituality. If I were to make my own quote on travel i'd say "Travelling is all about life". My metamorphosis from a geography phobic 8 yr old to a 28 yr old travel freak is a story in itself.

 The entire credit for this transmogrification goes to my father,a gypsy at heart tied down by social norms.If he had his way, he would constantly be on the move and I guess the genes just got passed onto me. Being on the move makes me feel alive, it defines life for me and gives it a new found meaning.I was a nomad since childhood, prolonged consistency bored me. I would start feeling stagnated and would almost pray for change. Unlike other children, I loved changing schools because it gave me an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. I would be elated whenever my father got transferred to a new city,new city meant everything new, new city meant change,new city meant movement. So, while everyone else would groan and grunt anticipating the inconvenience attached to moving from one place to another, my eyes would secretly gleam and I would see its faint reflection in my father's eyes as well. Hence, the gypsy in me was born very early on in life.

Ask an itinerant and he would tell you that travelling  is a form of education in itself. Thus, my short geography story in the beginning. The sole purpose of education is to impart  knowledge and wisdom, both of which you gain in abundance as a traveler. While travelling to a new place if you make an attempt to soak in their culture,traditions and lifestyle, if you make an attempt to soak in the essence of that land, you absorb a lot more than what 12 years of class room studies will teach you. I am not propagating banishing of the class room system, I am only highlighting the perks of travelling. Travelling broadens an individuals perspective and helps him evolve as a human being. Most of us live our entire lives in a cocoon made up of our social set up, family,friends and immediate surroundings, we only believe what we have been taught to believe and die within the same confined walls of the cocoon. Travelling makes a butterfly out of us.

A lot of people tend to confuse Travel with vacation. In Goa, at a beach shack drinking beer is an idea of travel for many. If i were to recreate that ambiance in Bombay, most of them would not even make an attempt to go to Goa. This is vacation not travelling. To sit,drink and spend a leisurely weekend, an airconditioned room would also suffice.But, if you call yourself a traveler you need to venture out,explore,absorb,assimilate and feel the pulse of the place. You need to connect with the place so that when you leave, you feel you are leaving home.  See the world through a traveler's eyes every land is his home, every culture belongs to him and every tradition has a familiar fragrance. If we all unleashed that wanderer within us the world would have no boundaries, there would be no cocoons, only butterflies: choosing destinations at will.
 So, release the gypsy within you spread your wings and  make the world your oyster. We get to live just once and before we die we owe it to ourselves to completely explore this place called earth which god decided to make our home.  Bon Voyage!!:)