For the past few weeks my work place has been crazy hectic! So many deadlines to meet, so many tasks left unfinished and so many meetings that I often find myself thinking ‘I need a vacation and I need it now!’ Obviously that’s not going to be possible so I decided to take some time off and blog about it instead. What is it about a vacation that gets people revved up? Just the simple thought of escaping the demands of our routines can infuse new life into us at times.
For some people travel is a dream that comes true once a year. Often people yearn for a greater travel adventure like a year in say, Africa or selling everything off to splurge on an exciting Eurotrip, backpacking across the lush landscape of Europe. For me travel has been an all-consuming passion. My whole life’s been geared towards it. One of the many reasons I trained to teach English was so that I could eventually travel and get paid ridiculous amounts of money for it, but that’s still to happen. I’m almost addicted to travelling, I’d love to visit more travel destinations than I do, in fact if I could afford it, and had enough leave at work I would travel somewhere different every month. Ruminating over my ravenous wanderlust, I decided to put down some reasons why it is that I love travel so much and here’s what I came up with…
1. To challenge myself: My toilet and bathroom when I was in rural Malaysia earlier this year was quite a challenge for me! Much to my dislike, I was forced to share it with two other teachers and their groups of chaotic teenagers. In addition to the mosquito infested walls, the shower cubicles were narrow and poorly lit. Some of the doors had no locks and many times the towel hanging on the door was used to indicate the bathroom was occupied. Inspite of all these hindrances, I was able to quicky adapt and began to enjoy waking up at early hours so that I was the first to use the facilities. Looking back, I know it was a trivial thing and there could have been so many more challenges but I enjoyed every minute of my stay and hey, I have such humorous stories to tell when in company!
2. To enjoy new experiences: 2010 Shanghai,China. I remember sitting in ‘The Tea House’ Right across from Shanghai’s world famous waterfront, The Bund. I sat there listening intently to our guide explaining to me that in China, tea is so much more than an everyday beverage. Tea in China is about building, re-building and maintaining relationships. Tea continues to play a unique role in Chinese society. It is used to say sorry, as a sign of respect and as a blessing too! What a unique experience it was… one of the most beautiful I’ve ever had!
3. To find myself: Following in the footsteps of the Beatles, many people travel to India to find themselves and sometimes ironically, get lost instead. Travelling all around my homeland has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life so far. Instead of spending our lives living in a way that makes us content we perform, or procrastinate or try to conform to certain rules imposed on us, without stopping for a second to ask ourselves: am I content? Am I doing what I really want to do? Traveling in India all through my teens helped me find myself and allowed me a glimpse into what life had to offer. It enabled me to make mature decisions about my future and showed me what it is that I really want to accomplish.
5. To experience new cultures: I’ve blogged about this before but I’ll repeat it anyway. Living in Dubai over the last four years has been an absolute treat. Here’s what I wrote in one of my posts back in August of this year. You can use this link to view it.
6. Just to have a fun time: Travel is fun and lots of people travel with the sole purpose of enjoyment, wild partying or just because the funniest things happen when you’re traveling. Silly things always amuse me. I love quirky signboards, provocative advertisements, funky souvenirs and conversation pieces – just about anything that will catch my attention. Over the last few years I’ve picked up some crazy knick knacks from all over the world. But it’s the wild abandon that I do everything with – that makes the experience so much more fun and enjoyable.
7. To eat new food: I like to try new stuff but I draw the line at some things like the crispy fried giant roaches offered as snacks in China. I have however, been quite adventurous. I’ve sampled things like squid which has now become quite a common ingredient, wild boar in Nagaland, ostrich in England, bamboo shoots with wine in Turkey and rat in China. It’s the creepy crawlies that just make me squirm.
8. To see new things: Enough said. I’m not going to list the things and places that I’ve seen during my travels. However, it’s that indescribable feeling I get that stays with me long after, that I cherish so much. In that moment, while standing infront of a monument I’ve only read about and imagined or sitting by the tombs of writers and poets whose works I adore, the world just stands still. Nothing else matters for those brief minutes. I feel so blessed, so lucky and so honored to be able to be there in that moment, making memories that I will cherish all my life.
You see, I’ve come to realize that when I’m traveling what I’m really doing is – I’m taking a moment and looking at the world with a fresh mind and perspective. I want to experience what others only dream of when they flip through the pages of a book, read a novel set in an exotic land or look to the sky and wonder what the other side of the world is doing at that precise moment, admit it – you know you’ve all done that before.
As much as I love doing all these things, I must also confess that the feeling of coming home at the end of it all is equally comforting. All said and all done it’s about living my life to the fullest and doing whatever I can , while I can. In the end when I’m standing at the pearly gates, I want to look back and say yes. Yes, I had a fabulous time, yes, I was amazed by all that I experienced, yes, I have no regrets and finally, can I go back and do it all over?