We travel to learn new ideas, new philosophies, far distinct and much alien to our contemporary beliefs. We travel to learn, to find inspiration, and to change for a better self. We travel to seek places that are so pure, so dirty and raw… And we travel, for much more!
It was 4 in the morning as my alarm clock pulled me incessantly, and a little unexpectedly, from the sleep. My eyes were swollen, bloodshot, as I looked out of the window for some light, but found nothing but a temporary gloom. For a moment, I was almost convinced that it is a ruthless dream, but then I rolled over and saw my rucksack – zippered, and waiting to be lifted up. In exactly one hour from now, I realized, I am supposed to catch a train.
And this train, I realised, was not taking me to someplace special. I wasn’t going home, but just away from where I was right now.
Why We Travel
Often, we find ourselves waiting for trains and taxis, in the orange glare of a streetlight, before even getting time to drink a cup of coffee – and no, there is no fun in that. And there is no fun in letting out a sleepy groan either or in being nervous knowing that your train is leaving in an hour. Yet here we are, herded in even greater numbers on the planes and in taxis, than ever.
Sometimes we travel because we have to. Because we have a meeting to attend or we need to be with our family to attend a marriage. But most of our travels are not non-negotiable. We chose them because we wanted to travel, because the annoyance of the airport or train stations, often seem outweighed by the thrill of being at someplace else.
We travel because the work is boring and we need a quick escape. Because home is unexciting and so is New Delhi.
Unlike in olden days, life in cities today is getting uncontrollable. The mental pressure of doing this and getting that is growing us mad.
I mean it has become more like a ritual to me that every time I speak to a friend, who is busy sorting their corporate and personal life, strangled with responsibilities and work, I sense their desire to run away and find time for themselves – someplace in the far-out corners of the Himalayas where the birds fly free and so do the thoughts.
“So, simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. I would stand upon facts” Henry David Thoreau
They tell me how badly they’re craving for open spaces, away from the narrow pathways they’ve been dealing with back home. And travelling, even though for a short weekend, seems like a perfect – and perhaps the only – solution.
Travelling is a basic human desire. We are a migratory species. Even when our migrations are controlled by jet fuels and Google maps, we haven’t forgotten the joy we get in travelling, in getting lost. Not to mention the ways travelling makes us better and helps us learn things that we otherwise cannot.
Travelling is a constant broadening of horizons incomparable to reading a book or watching a documentary. When you engage with a foreign culture, whether it is about sharing a meal with a local or attending a cultural function, you gain a larger perspective about the world out there.
Last year, I had a lucky admittance into the Tribes of Mon district, while travelling in Nagaland where one of my friends was stationed with the government for the welfare of the local tribes. His affection and care for the area and its people was infectious. His familiarity with the members of the indigenous community helped me get a closer look at their culture and the way they lived – as unseen by most. My experiences with the place and the local tribal people gave me a sense of belonging to a foreign land.
While travel, you put yourself in a place where is room for mystery, for juxtaposition, for adjustment and repositioning of beliefs.
That’s exactly why travel is so vital, other than the fact that it helps us charge our batteries. Travelling gives us a newfound sensitivity to the lives of other people. It makes us the walking broadcaster and a living newspaper – the only channels who knows this world and that town.
When you visit a place, much different than where you’ve lived most of your life, you get a new perspective, a fresh outlook on things.
I know every time I travel, I find myself turning more and more romantic and sucrose to this world and to all the people out there. And that’s why I travel.
I travel to learn new ideas, new philosophies, far distinct and much alien to my contemporary beliefs. I travel to learn, to find inspiration, and to change for a better self. I travel to seek places that are so pure, so dirty and raw… And I travel, for much more!
But how about you? Why do you travel?