SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Get me There

Travel is by itself an amazing way to connect with yourself and the world that you live in. Any one who travels and loves that feel of packed bags and constant move will understand what I say. Traveling in India is by no means easy. It is easier nowadays, yet one never knows what to expect. Bookings have to be done much ahead of time, availability, comfort, route so many factors to be looked into depending on where we want to travel, and how far.
I love driving around. Don’t be mislead, I don’t do much highway driving, not so comfortable with those high speeds. I would rather have my husband drive me around (that’s the ideal situation as he drives superbly!), but a driver from the local travels will do too!!
If we travel by our own vehicle, then we are better off, especially when it is done with kids…the breaks can be taken as and when they, or we wish. Driving around in your own car seeing places is the ideal way to travel!

We have done some interesting travel by road, even carrying my daughter’s potty chair along with us on some trips. An additional member to my family having arrived, we found it inconvenient for all 3 of us to sit at the back, while daddy drove us. So that is when we were given a brilliant idea to level out the back seat and to throw in cushions and blankets at the back. Provided entertainment as well (some books and games) and the kids had their own play area to move in as much as they wanted. Definitely making our trips super smooth and easy!

We had friends who carried a little stove and provisions too! Traveling from Bangalore to Jorhat (in Assam) they could make breakfast along the way, stopping at convenient locations. I am sure that would have tasted far better than any thing they would have bought.
I met an interesting person the other day who tells me that he has traveled almost 75% of India, all by road, and he has not hit the age of 30! What a useful life he has led!! (Don’t ask me how he got the time off from work for all this…mmm…he has probably spent a lot of time away from work than on it!!).
All this, and add to that the wonderful world that flashes by as you drive through the veins and arteries of our lovely country. What more can one ask for?

The “dadak dadak” sound, the rattle and the wheeze as it pulls into the station. The various sounds inside the railway station; the ring of the announcements, the vendors calling their wares, the hustle and the bustle, makes me nostalgic, as I relive the many journeys I have taken. Traveling by train is another great way to see the earth we inhabit.

As a child I remember how eagerly I used to look forward to our trip to Bombay. My Aunt’s house was there, and those journeys are etched in my mind. We traveled for 2 days, carrying enough food to feed an army, chatting and making friends with strangers, openly talking and sharing details of our life with no inhibitions, and no care or concern. Just the joy of moving!!

As a teenager and later in college, a lot of my travel was done by train. Magical times that cannot be experienced at any other time in life. Traveling with friends is a wonderful way to learn about yourself, and other people. Situations and events, needs and challenges of traveling, brings out the best or the worst in humans. Children who have the opportunity to travel from a young age have a definite advantage over others.

Then we come to Air travel. It has never impressed me. Of course as a child I have dreamt of “flying”, but once there was/is greater opportunity to travel this way, I believe I can only see it as convenient, but not at all appealing in terms of experience. It is necessary, especially when we have small children and want to reach our destination as fast as possible. Yet I really don’t like the cramped spaces (the toilets for sure), and the lack of scenery. That’s the earth tone in me speaking!
I like the lounge areas though, as I unashamedly stare at fellow travelers, wondering why they are going, wherever they are?!! The transit lounge is the best place to engage in such activities, and I usually find myself a corner where I can have a good view of people boarding and arriving, so that I can make up my imaginative stories of them!

I could do the same at railway stations, but the difference, at railway stations is the sheer pace at which things happen. There is no time to sit and stare at people, unless you have arrived very early (which rarely may be the case)! Usually I am panting and puffing to the assigned platform, worried that I should have got the date right, the time right, packed all essentials, and not left any of my kids at home!
So reporting for departure an hour earlier while traveling by air, ensures that atleast I can enjoy gazing at the crowd!!

I have not traveled any other way. But, if you add all the moving around that I have done by Bicycle, then you can call me a much traveled traveler, though the destinations may not be as varied!

Yet all I can say on a final note... all I ask as a passionate traveler is this...
Give me a brilliant destination of historic value, that’s all I ask: That’s all!!