People often ask me a question, which otherwise sound so simple from its outlook, but when attempted an answer, becomes no less than a tiring puzzle. I find myself struggling to give a clear, calculated reply, not because I get confused, but because of the fact that its answer lies somewhere in the whirlpool of possibilities. One year of continuous travel, feeling unsatisfied and curious than ever, and what did I get in return.
For one year, I have moved, uninhibitedly, as much within as without. Like a bird, without a nest, swooping down different places, learning new ideas, adopting new (and better) philosophies. Traveling is broadening of horizons incomparable to reading a book or watching a documentary. Once you engage with a foreign culture, whether it is sharing a meal with a local or attending a cultural function, you gain larger perspective on the world outside your head.
“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions” Peter Hoeg
Though that’s a different thing that different people collect different learning, from same experiences. Some are more realistic to a point that they often find their realism blinding the subtleties of their mind and the beauty of the place. Yet others, far more philosophical in their nature, always find themselves sentimentally wrapped and living in their own realities. But that doesn’t matter. Because no matter what, you always end up learning something.
Travelling Taught Me How lucky I am
Since I started travelling I’ve been to many place, both inside and outside of India, and I’ve come across the most abject poverty imaginable. I am not rich, not even in the Indian sense, but I’ve hardly found myself struggling for my next meal or worrying about a bed in the night. During my recent trip to the eastern part of Tamil Nadu, I ended up twisting my ankle, restricting my movements for a few days. I remember feeling agitated and incredibly sorry for myself, until a man said to me “The man with no shoes feels lucky beside the man with no feet”. And that says it all. If you’re privileged enough to be reading this, with your wifi and a computer, despite feeling anxious or a little sad for a few things, you’re still lucky. Forget everything else.
Travelling Taught Me We Are All The Same
During travel, meeting new people becomes an everyday ritual. Every now and then you make a new friend. From Buddhists to Muslims to Hindus – you meet them all, not to mention people with every skin color imaginable. Your values may differ from theirs, but when you engage in a conversation over the dinner table, or during a breakfast, you eventually realize how we’re all coming from the same place, and are, after all, not so different. You share similar jokes that you had learned during your school days. You moreover realise that you want to hug and cry over same things as the other person, despite living thousands of miles away for all your life.
Travelling Taught Me That Life Is About So Much More Than Just Money
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page” Saint Augustine
When you travel through small towns and villages and watch different communities being utterly satisfied, despite having no more than what a single family owned in a big city like yours, you realize how life is so much more than just having air-cons and iPhones. We need to re-calibrate what’s important in life, and travelling does that for us.
Travelling Taught Me How Wealth And Material Goods Have Spoil Me
It pains me to admit this but I’ve seen a direct correlation between the wealth of a place I visit and the level of selfishness in its people. Every time I end up in a place far off from the corners of New Delhi, I find it easier than ever that if I’m in need, I’m more likely to be taken under someone’s wing. I’ve personally felt that you’re more likely to be rescued from a bad situation in a place, where people are poorer, than in a place where everyone is wealthy and seemingly self-satisfied. And that’s a big shame.
Travelling Taught Me That Happiness Is Only True When Shared
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared” Buddha
Travel makes you humble and teaches you the art of sharing. When you travel with someone you had just met on the road and share your food with them, you build a character, a bigger perspective towards life. With time, you find a better person inside you. And that person is much happier than the one you’d always known.
Travelling is all about self-learning, no matter how bad you’re at it. So stop calculating the direct benefits of travelling, and rather see it as a learning and an invigorating experience!
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