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Traveling is the tonic of life that keeps the soul replenished. Every moment brings in a new perspective to the journey called Life.
It needn’t be an exotic location but a local market that brings you face to face with the colours and flavours of the local life and inhabitants. It could be a life altering experience for a few or for that matter an adrenaline pumping experience.
The benefits of these encounters that I term ‘exuberance’ are multi-fold.
Traveling opens the mind and the deepest recesses of the grey cells. You live and breathe every moment of life. Simple facts that we seem to miss in our daily grind are enjoyed and absorbed though our senses.
When I had visited Toronto I made it a point to visit the CN Tower which is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western world. I gathered courage to walk on the edges of this observation tower which stands 553.33 m high. I must say it was the walk of my life for I could feel the rush. The experience is out of the world and completely worth it.
One could be watching the raging bulls (Jallikattu, during Pongal) running down in Madurai or a beautiful sunrise in Rishikesh. It could be the delight of a painter’s brush stroke or the verse of a poet, every experience would be a memorable chapter in your life.
Traveling introduces you to the culture and the history of the region. It could be the local food, the vivid colors, the cacophony, the smell or the language. You never know, you might end up learning the local dialect or the cuisine of the place.
A few years back I had managed to book an accommodation at a homestay in Harnai, a beautiful hamlet in the Konkan. Imagine my surprise when I reached, to find that the accommodation was in a fishermen’s colony with the smell of fish hanging heavily all around us. I was skeptical of their behaviour and wondered if they would be well mannered. We stayed put for the next three days and by the end of the trip, I had a very different view to it. They had the humanity in them to help and care for others that we seemed to have lost in the burgeoning city life. These people lead a simple, no-frills life yet they were content with it.
Meeting the locals of the region brings in a new perception to the trip. You could tap a foot with the locals on a Lezim folk dance during Ganesh Chaturthi in Pune or marvel at the Taj Mahal’s architecture, the choice is enormous. The earthen symphony indeed refreshes the rancid soul.
Sivakasi, a small town in Tamilnadu receives scanty rainfall and experiences hot and dry climate throughout the year. The water table is salty which makes consumption impossible. Drinking water would be supplied through water tankers twice a week. Ladies would run to fill their containers whenever they got to know the tanker had arrived.
When I was in my sixth grade I visited my grandparents who resided in a small colony in Sivakasi. The colony hadn’t received drinking water in the last five days and we had no stock at home. As me and my cousins played in the scorching heat we all were very thirsty. The six of us had to visit the neighbouring locality and borrow three bottles of water from one of the families. I was in for a surprise when I faced this stark reality. At that age I had not considered water to be a valuable resource that needs to be conserved and not splurged.
When you travel to the Western countries or places closer like Singapore, it is startling to observe the clean roads wherein people never drop trash. The next time, you would think twice before you ditch that plastic bottle in a sea shore in India. Traveling reminds us of the values of cleanliness and the need to go for sustainable travel solutions. How about getting around on a bicycle in Coorg? Sounds interesting?
Traveling teaches you to live a disciplined life. Though you are independent, carefree and live a life of your choice, it brings in a sense of budgeted living. It teaches you to live a life within the best possible ways and not go overboard. Traveling tightens the strings and enables you to lead a life that doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket.
Prior to any trip, you do your homework be it items to be carried as per the place you are visiting, cheap tickets, budget hotels or homestays, visa process, places to visit. The whole exercise sort of trains you to plan and manage effectively. Every trip has a lesson learnt that would help in the future jaunts. Traveling light is always better, when being with kids, in a group or solo.
You inhale the allure of life be it traveling in a group or solo. It’s a sense of liberation from provincial thinking and a break from the mundane.
I had traveled solo on an official trip to London for two months. Being a mother of two kids, back home my time is spent juggling between office and family. But in those two months in London I had the time of my life. I could spend some ME time with my friends, visit the Cornish coast (as a child, I read the Enid Blyton books which have references to it), dig into the local cuisine and bask in the English countryside. There weren’t any strings attached or for that matter I didn’t have to answer to a single soul. I was a bird set free to fly to the land unknown and explore the limitless sky.
To travel is to break free from the usual lifestyle and experience the unknown and the unheard. One needs to recharge herself from the daily stress. Above all, it is to have an open mind to embrace, accept and experiment which is the essence of Traveling.
Are you game for it?
A writer with a love for words who indulges in book reviews, travelogues, rambles, poetry
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