Yesssss!!!! that was ME … THEN but there is a whole new ME…NOW…
The more i have travelled and read about the influential travellers ,the more I have understood what is basically meaningful and what was mere stupidity.The most memorable chapters of my travel diaries are not the ones in which I am looking my best but are the ones in which I am not even visible in front of the huge and gorgeous mountains….the most desirable places I yearn to go back are not the ones in which I visited all the spots from my checklist made from google search but are the ones in which i stayed at a place for 1-2 days ,not rushing around but just hearing stories around a bonfire from a local friend i made there…
I might have seen just 1% of the world but even with the little that I have seen, it has revealed a whole new world inside me which I did not even knew existed….and below is a glimpse of new ME…
1.Shopping what I need and not what I want
Apart from discovering my love for the mountains, this is one thing that high altitude treks have made me realise …..Anything and everything that can be fitted into that bag is all you need while you travel and in your daily life as well.But instead we end up having so many pairs of clothes and shoes in our wardrobes lying unused for years.
Travelling(specifically trekking) has taught me to invest in one best stuff instead of stuffing myself with 100 items , all serving the same purpose .However, the lame side of this is , I am seen wearing almost same pair of clothes in all the pictures of my trips ,but somehow I am not ashamed of it at all 😁😁😎.
Having said all that, i still go head over heels on the luring stuffs in the shopping malls and those colourful dupattas or jootis when in a place like Rajasthan ,but..I have cut down on them.Every time I find myself infatuated by a trinket shining under those tricky lights of the shops, I tell myself “I don’t need it,I just want it” and I do succeed 80% of the times (yes I am not yet at 100% ,but at least I am trying).
2. Keeping track of my carbon footprint.
I remember during my childhood, whenever we went out for any vacations, my mom used to carry that big water carrier with a dispenser as mineral water bottles were considered a waste of money .But with time ,as travel became a buzz word and those water carriers an extra luggage, use and throw plastic water bottles came handy both for its ease of availability and access to trustworthy drinking water at unknown places..
So did I start my journey with them….But then one road trip jolted me to reality.
I remember I bought a whole carton of those bottles on one of my road trip to Daringbadi, a hill station in Odisha, just to be sure I have access to clean water anytime I want.But it came to me as an eye opener when in the end of the journey I looked for a place to dump those bottles.Most of the times I bought one bottle at a time ,made sure to crush it before dumping and then bought the next one, but this time when I had to dump all together i realised the impact, my fun travels were having on the place and environment.
Adding little more introspection to it I concluded it was not only the bottles, but also the plastic straws for that coconut water, the cups used for the sugar cane juice, the extra shopping bags , the hotel preferences which said “2 free mineral bottles for 1 night stay” ,the spoons used to eat that gulab jamun and what not…In a way I was creating a havoc….and thats when i took my first step and bought my LIFE STRAW ….
Since then i have been taking steps one at a time…. like carrying my own cutleries for road side eateries, always having a foldable bag wherever i go, reminding myself to say NO to straws be it for coconut water on the road or for a cold coffee in the restaurant(and curse myself every time i forget to say it), denying the bottles that comes with the stay and instead asking to refill my bottle with an RO purifier water ,preferring eco friendly home stays whenever planning a travel and always trying to leave a place beautiful as it should be .
However ,travelling with a kid comes with its own nuances as sometimes it is difficult to keep a balance between hygiene ,the tantrums (of buying those plastic packaged foods) and the rules …. For those times I make a list of the garbage i have produced such that I can find ways to reduce it next time.
3. Expecting less and Admiring more…
A question that tourists ask before visiting any place to their friends or family, who have been there before is “Do we have anything to see over there??” and this baffles me.
What are we trying to see actually???
As long as we expect to see what others have seen, we will always be disappointed .
I am a serenity lover and I can spend days doing nothing but just getting up ,basking in the sun, smelling the wild flowers, feeling the wind ,seeing the sun rise and set and listening to the stories around a bonfire .Well that is why mountains and the forests are my favourite destination…But this time I chose Rajasthan, inspite being warned by many blogs and friends and family that it is going to be hot and flooded with the tourists and thugs.
And so it was ….
However, I contemplated that underneath all the hum-drums that tourism industry has done to it , there still exist a peaceful sunset at the sand dunes, a memorable chit chat in the turbans under a banyan tree, the serene roads with the camel man singing merrily while walking his camel , the forts with the folk songs, the beautiful history and stories and thus it totally depends on me as to what I see.
And I did see Rajasthan….. My way
So I have learnt , half the problems in our lives are because of the expectations we have and once we start admiring things across all the disturbances , the negativity and the prejudices , we see things from a different perspective and everything just becomes beautiful.
4. Breaking the ice
Mommy taught me “Never talk to or accept anything from the strangers” …..And just like an obedient child I always followed it….
But then this is also true that while on a journey there are no strangers 😎😎….Travelling taught me that its good to cautious but then there life lessons to be learned form the millions of stories out there which are waiting to be heard and unless I ask about them, I am going to miss listening to them.😁😁
How would have I known that …….
–> Being happy in life can be as easy as “sleeping under the stars” had I not got a chance to meet Rehmaan Bhai, a camel safari man from Khuri,Rajasthan
–> Being successful does not need a school certificate ,had I not got a chance to know Hanif Bhai ,a AirBNB host from Jaisalmer ,who is a linguist and has been invited to Europe twice by his guests
–> Being able to learn something does not need time and money but just strong passion, had I not met a forest ranger in Daringbari , who is a flute enthusiast and has a beautiful collection of variety flutes which i dint even knew existed
–> Being minimalist is the key to all happiness had I not met Mr .Amit,the GM of Taj Pashangarh,Panna, who does not like anything but the jungles and hence left his city life and settled there with his wife and his dog
–> Being royal is not about wearing the crown but its about how you treat others, had I not met Devraj and his family at Jawai.
–> Being able to live a life king size , lies in appreciating the small things around, had I not met Kopal , a cute little Naturalist in the forests of MP.
–> Being strong is a choice, had I not met gorgeous Smita, who inspite of having major shoulder problems have trekked to innumerable peaks in the Himalayas
Well, the list is not exhaustive and I am happy and proud to have broken the ice and come back with names to remember and memories to fall back upon at times when I am not travelling.
What are your learnings from the roads??????
Leave your thoughts in the comment box below…..