It has been a year and half since we moved to the chaotic life of Bangalore. Our life has unfolded in this time like falling dominos – getting engaged, getting our first apartment together, planning a wedding, getting married, living the married life, major job leaps, even crazier career leaps.. and it can go on. But, the single biggest win has been discovering our common love for exploring places far and wide. Though each of us have very contrasting lives behind us, our idea of ‘travel’ somehow just clicked – the love for local food, coffees, an emotional attachment to world history, slow lengthy journeys, belief in the use of public transport & basic stays, craze for the water, and so on.
It all began with the idea of ‘traveling’ as an activity that we could do together once in a while. But, in no time, traveling has become our lifestyle choice as opposed to the one-off things we do. With each passing journey, we have unraveled deeper meaning to this desire for travel, a gazillion reasons that put sense to our ache for travel, that have been opening up layer by layer.
1. Travel is our social life
We are very fortunate to have a wonderful family and loving friends who are an integral part of our lives. We love being with our people to share laughs with. The ‘happening’ us gets enough joy in doing that, but the ‘loner’ in us doesn’t seem satisfied with just dining out or hopping from one bar to the other. It needs its social life too. In simple terms, a part of us feel heavy to be dependent on people to have a happening social life. Traveling shapes a social life for us that doesn’t rely on someone’s availability and mood to get the party on.
2. We travel for each other
Relationships, you see, are not easy. Beyond the facade of every beautiful love story lies a tale of struggles and hard work that we oft don’t see. When you’re spending all the time in the world with each other, space has to go hand-in-hand with togetherness. Travel helps us in doing it with most ease as it throws us into a new world every now and then. It shows us facets of each other we were previously averse to, makes us look out for each other every minute of the day, gets us in sticky situations to navigate out of, and reminds us of our roles in each other’s lives. Travel, in a way, reaffirms our decision of being with each other. It tells us just how right for each other we are, as we couldn’t be any sillier together than we are silly individually.
3. There’s a date to look forward to
We’ll accept it – we are not the most patient people on the planet. The monotony of daily life and chores gets to both of us sooner than normal. It cranks us up to a level we begin disliking ourselves. But, having a date to look forward to changes that for us. It gives us the drive to power through our daily lives with patience. Everyone needs something exciting to look forward to – could be opening Christmas presents or just waiting for your next birthday to eat another Willy Wonka chocolate bar. For us, it is the next big journey to a new side of the world. As we write this, we’re secretly counting the days down to 24th December when we embark on our next trip. Most things until then are just mere trivialities.
4. To find meaning in mundaneness
We think there’s magic in life and travel is what will help us find the magic in everything. Our decision to travel to Greece came from a month long research by Vikas on my ancestral roots. He claimed that I come from Macedonia, Greece (sure!). Months later, we were in Greece having forgotten about the epic research that actually triggered the trip. When I got to the ruins of Akrotiri in Thira, an ancient Minoan site that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption, I felt a strange connection that gave me goosebumps. Maybe, just maybe, someone close to me came from here. The archaic mud vessels, the tiny well-structured houses, the human footprints – it got a tear off my eye. That feeling of finding coherence with nothingness can only be achieved through travel.
5. Small things are small. They are not big
Each time we take off to a new destination, we also take off from all the big and petty problems of our life – rude comments, sarcastic taunts, office politics, nasty neighbours, family complaints, and so much more. Though these problems still exist when we come back in, we’re able to look at it differently and put it in its own place. We get much less affected by it and see ourselves not bothering about others’ opinion of us. We come back at complete peace with ourselves and more importantly, with others. The weight of other’s opinions is happily balanced by the peace we bring back to our lives.
6. The world is our home
Each time we begin our discussions on ‘Where next?’, we end up feeling that ours is but a small planet. We are a speck on a speck on a speck on a speck in the Universe. The more we see of this tiny world, the more connected we feel to the rest of the world. As affected as we get by attacks in India, we get equally disturbed by what happens elsewhere. We met an orphaned Syrian refugee in Jerash and started feeling the refugee problem is more than just a news story. We saw economically crushed Greeks helping each other by leaving metro passes outside the metro stations for reuse. International citizenship is what we live by and travel lets us practice that. The traveling lens lets us see culture in crowds, tradition in smoke, tastefulness in oily food on the street, and wonder in this speck of a planet.
7. Time is as important a currency
With a lot of effort, we’ve been able to convince our monkey brain to not get swayed by the opportunity of more ‘money’, but by that of more ‘time’. Though money is a critical factor in being able to travel, it isn’t as crucial as we’ve been made to believe. We’ve learnt that there’s a way to enjoy a land with any amount of money you have. Yes, each of those experiences will be markedly different but experiences nonetheless. If a 500$ + comes with the burden of only a handful of leaves and a stifling manager, we’d any day go for the 500$ less that comes with a lot more freedom. We earned the most in 2014, and travelled the least that year. A simple realisation that has changed our perspectives and priorities significantly. We’re able to value what we have and not what we don’t have.
8. To quench our thirst
Vikas can have a sleepless night if he finds out about a new civilisation discovered somewhere on the planet. Like a lot of other people we know, we are very inquisitive too. We like to go to places to find out how people live and eat, what are their traditions, how do the manta rays look under water, how does it feel to travel in a war-inflicted zone, and so on. Some people quench their curiosity by reading books, some watch movies, and some of us travel. I believe there are two ways to look at the world – either it’s all the same or it’s so damn different. Being travelers, we wear the latter.
9. Discovering new sides to ourselves
Being the ordinary people that we are, it’s quite hard to discover more of ourselves in a regular life scenario. If I were a painter, probably my art would have the source of inspiration. Everyone has a ‘thing’ that they do to dig into their souls. We all need a system that helps us dig deeper into ourselves and uncover our core, layer by layer. Travel is our perfect system. It has unearthed layers of our interest areas, beliefs, and opinions on things that were previously alien to us.
10. Our travel diaries are our resumes
Be it family or friends, we often come across as bold,fearless, and ruthless people. The truth is just the opposite – the world around us scares us more than you’d imagine. An unreturned smile, a tasteless jab, an un-responded message – all of it severely weighs down on us (or did, at least). This is probably the reason we believe we’ve never made good employees wherever we’ve worked as we’re quickly affected by the political web around it. Travel is our solace from all of it. It helps us stay away from all the clutter and look forward to the days on the road. Career, ambition, designation, promotion, raise have become meaningless for us. While we’re incredibly happy for all our friends who have all of it, the stress that comes with it is just not our cup of tea.
Our madness for travel is not without a method, much like most other things in the world. The more we move, the more we see, the more we experience, the more we endure….the more we feel alive and purposeful.
What about you? Why do you travel? Have you found something about yourself in your journeys that you never knew otherwise? Are your travels a break from your regular life or is travel the real life? Share away!