Staring away from the windows of my apartment from the 3rd floor of my building into the abyss that was the junction of the New Delhi-Noida highway, the feeling of being wrapped in a cocoon was very overwhelming. Being a journalist, I was worldly-wise, had read a lot, met a lot of people, interacted a lot; but then it was all in my comfort zone. It all felt complete, but somewhere eerily the feeling of not having done enough, not knowing enough was always there. I had a job in the capital city, I loved what I did, had my own flat, friends who cared, family who loved me; but then that innocuous feeling was there!
The uneasiness kept getting to my senses and not knowing what was bothering me added to my discomfort. I discussed the same with people I knew; knew me. They said it was time to take a break and travel. I needed a change, a new challenge and a new place to push myself beyond what I already was. Travel was what I needed and travel was what I did!
What better place to begin the journey into the unknown; from the land that is beautiful innocent and troubled, all at the same time! Jammu & Kashmir!
From the stunningly delightful land of Jammu & Kashmir through the narrow lanes of the hill resorts of Nainital to the sunny, balmy beaches of Goa; the journey has been an endless one! Memories have been made, friendships have been forged but more so, I have seen a side of myself unlike anything earlier! I remember right after landing at the airport in Srinagar, it felt different. There was a nip in the air, but my senses were on full alert. The feeling of being in a different land! Not knowing everything about it beforehand felt like a handicap! Maybe the stories that emanate from the Paradise on Earth, had got to me. From Dal Lake, to the Tulip Gardens to the freckled old ladies wearing ‘phiran’ to the young men and children staring at me with blank eyes; it was different. A week into the state, made me realise never to take anything for granted! Somewhere out there so many are yearning for the very things we accept gleefully as our rights.
Things changed. Perceptions made earlier were destroyed and everyday was a new learning curve
Nainital was a joy to behold in itself. It allowed me to relax and savour the delights of the small, easy things in life. Dharamsala was a delight for the sore eyes. The grandeur of Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan was an experience unlike any other! The soothing, balmy wind while sitting on Marine Drive along the shores of Mumbai breathed a new life into me. Goa was unlike anything else. Party, fun, beaches; it was a life unlike any other.
And, then it was time to begin a new journey in the myriad kaleidoscope of culture and people; that is the city of Pune in the state of Maharashtra.
Travelling by train towards the city, eyeing the distant hills and the green landscape that makes India a delight to explore; the realisation dawned on me; will I be okay here? Without the overwhelming support system of family and friends, into a place I knew little of; the thought of it scared me. The sounds in my head changed; but the echoes remained the same. The apprehensions were different now!
What did I learn – Beauty lies in small things! It is okay to not know about everything at all times.
I have been alone and it is okay!
What traveling has taught me?
Travel teaches you to let go. Challenges your beliefs, notions and the ideals.
Travel changes your priorities.
Travel makes you humble.
Travel allows you to learn more; about people, about cultures.
Travel teaches you to find joy in small things. It teaches you to value the little moments in life.
Travel challenges your attachment to things.
Travel allows you to appreciate what you have.
Travel makes you patient.
“Everyone you will ever meet, knows something that you don’t” – Bill Nye