Growing up, travel meant family holidays to our home town, lots of food, and being allowed to stay up and wake up late. Which for a 5-year-old was probably the greatest gift. As we got older, our parents started taking us to newer places – every town or city we visited, my mum had a travel-agent level itinerary and we were shuffled to the hot spots and sights 3 days out of 5, the last two were usually to ‘relax’ and make the most of the hotels we stayed at. It was an adventure for a teenager who’d only ever really seen Mumbai, Delhi and Amritsar. We started visiting Indian cities, and hill stations and I was 13 when I went ‘abroad’ for the first time.
Yup, it was Bangkok.
Yet, back then, I didn’t understand travel like I do today. After 15 months of being in near lockdown, and perhaps the longest we’ve gone without truly exploring an unknown destination, I now know even more strongly why I love to travel.
A few days ago, an Instagram follower (you can check out our grid here) commented on the fact that our attempt to spread a little positivity during Covid-times on our travel blog, with a non-travel post, was hollow. While criticising the fact that we continued to post travel throwbacks during the lockdown, in spite of India being badly hit.
Between Simone and I, we travelled to Kashmir, Goa and Mussoorie when India had been unlocked. And while we are certainly privileged enough to have had that opportunity — the hotels we stayed at shared stories of how badly they suffered with their businesses being affected, how they’re trying every trick in the book to draw travellers back, safely; the waiters at the restaurants, most of which ran empty even as we dined in them, shared stories of how relieved they were to see some income floating in. Now, can you imagine the roadside stall owners and rickshaw pullers? The cluttered roads now run empty. So, do their pockets.
To us, these travels were a break. But to the industry, our travels are their income. They weren’t a necessity for us — but for those of whom they are a source of livelihood. They are a necessity.
And if I hadn’t discovered a love for travel, for exploring life styles so different from my own, I don’t think I would have opened my mind, heart or soul to different perspectives.
Travel would probably just have been what we did between months of tiring work and a break from our mundane routines.
But now I know, travel is the chance to open up yourself to different perspectives — to thinking and seeing things sometimes from a different angle, and sometimes, from a completely different place. Even physically.
Travel opened up my mind between the four walls of my home, and while I’m still lucky to be working from home and earning a living, there are so many who have lost their jobs.
I’m putting in a plea with the Universe that our planet heals – we need to be kinder to the Earth that has given so much, be more mindful of how much we consume, pray for those who have lost, and been lost to to this pandemic, and also be empathetic to the many in the travel industry (and several others) affected by this global pandemic.
Why I love to travel
Because… the greener pastures, the bluer skies and the crystal water remind me of the Earth that is still worth saving.
Because… the faces, of the people, so different from mine, tell me stories, that no words could ever define.
Because… the bricks and mortar, quietly loom and without even making a sound, give me a history lesson.
Because… opening up your mind, means opening yourself to new experiences — and as much as you can live vicariously, there’s no replacement for exploring furiously
Because every journey I make on the road less travelled, brings me closer to myself, unraveled.