Skip to main content

What does TRAVEL mean to me?

What is Travel? What do you mean when you say you’re a Traveller? Why do you differentiate between a Tourist and a Traveller? Aren’t they the same? I think every traveller including me is often badgered with such questions every once in a while.
When I decided to drop out of college to travel, my parents, relatives, friends and every other Tom, Dick, and Harry were ready with these in their arsenal. Being curious is acceptable, I am happy to answer all the questions to everyone’s satisfaction as long as they are just questions. But, once the switch flips and all the suggestions and unlettered pieces of advice begin flowing, it becomes irritating. Here are my responses to some of the questions I was asked and suggestions I was pestered with. Even though each person has his own views and the intricacies may vary, I think every Traveller will agree with what I have to say, considering the bigger picture.
The Questions-
What does TRAVEL mean to you?For me, Travel is a way of life. It isn’t a…

The PERFECT TRIP

The Journey is your goal, the destination is but a medium.

To be completely honest, even though planning & execution of a “Perfect Trip” might seem an easy task, I must warn you: it is no joke. Be it Luxury travel, bike rides, road trips or backpacking & hitchhiking journeys, none of that matters as all of it boils down to one simple conclusion: everything ought to be absolutely perfect! Planning and execution of any trip is impervious of the class or profile of travel. The tremendous efforts, the long hours put into building the impeccable itinerary and obviously, the money you thriftily invest, give you THE PERFECT TRIP you wish for.


PLANNING

The laborious work that goes on for more than a month or two seems quite mundane to others, but only you know the true struggle. Adjusting the destinations to cover maximum distance, adjusting the budget multiple times to fit in as many destinations possible, the numerous cost-cuts because you went a little overboard somewhere or the other, applying for leaves, squeezing the entire itinerary  into them, all this is exhausting. At the end, you sit there wondering if you should get an award for it! Here are some eccentric steps I follow while planning my trips for successful execution.


1.    Start Early

Nonchalantly waiting to build the itinerary till a week before your departure date is futile. You can do it for short trips lasting over a weekend, but a long-haul expedition requires thorough research of the destinations, routes, accessibility and transportation and don’t forget, Mobile Connectivity! I would advise everyone to start planning at least a month, not more, prior to your departure. But, even though it’s quite paradoxical, unplanned trips do turn out to be the best ones of your life! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan your trips ever.


2.   No Thinking is Too Much Thinking

It might be the case in general but travel and especially solo travel at that is an exception. Considering all probable scenarios is must while planning your journey. One aspect you don’t account for or a tiny possibility you don’t factor-in can put you in grave danger while you travel. Before travelling to North Sikkim on my bike, I deliberated every possibility but completely forgot about the day of my travel and the snowfall. This mistake led me to a near-death experience when my feet froze and I had a close-call with hypothermia. To further my misery, I was travelling on a Sunday, so even though it was a daily route for military vehicles, their activities were shut that day.

3.   Always Pack Light!

 Stuffing your backpack till it looks like a sack of potatoes is the last thing you should do. Lesser the luggage, lesser your troubles. It is best only to pack things of utmost importance and are a necessity. Excess clothing and toiletries top this list. I almost lost all my luggage on a bike ride just because I packed an extra pair of jeans and couple of t-shirts. TIP: If all your belongings fit back into your bag perfectly the way they were when you started, without any bulge, then your backpack is perfect . If need be, you can always purchase required items (the basic stuff) while travelling.

4.  Carry/Arrange enough funds

Based on the duration of your trip, you must either carry or arrange enough funds that will satiate your requirements. Cash, cheques, cards i.e. Paper or Electronic currency any which is fine. But, do your research thoroughly before leaving or you might find yourself in a pickle. Three weeks post the Indian Prime Minister’s announcement regarding demonetisation of INR500 and INR1000 bills, I was in Gangtok, Sikkim which was booming with tourists. At the time, only a mere Rs.4000 could be withdrawn per day (Rs.24, 000 per week) from the ATMs and most of the credit/debit card services stood suspended for days. I only had 783 rupees in my wallet and a long journey ahead. I reached out the Branch Manager of ICICI Bank, Gangtok (M.G market branch) to help me withdraw money using a withdrawal slip which at that point was not permitted by the banks. After hearing me out, he was actually surprised and a taken aback that I was travelling solo on my bike all the way from Mumbai. He made some calls and told me “come around 4:30 pm; that's when the transaction will be made. " It felt like a movie scene where a deal was being struck between two goons. "Our servers our down at this moment. Don't worry, we'll help you.” he added. I reached the bank at 4:30 sharp; he called me in, smiled and gave me a withdrawal slip which allowed me to withdraw enough cash for the next 3 weeks. I shared immense gratitude then and even after I returned to Gangtok from North Sikkim. I would suggest you to consider every scenario and prepare accordingly, it’s not common that you meet kind people who will help you.

 
.....miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost

EXECUTION


All the efforts and work put into planning the Perfect Trip will turn to dust without proper execution. Starting and proceeding on a positive yet cautious note is the best thing to do. I might come off as artful, favouring either point of view, but the reality is, something always goes wrong; although the intensity might vary, sticky situations always come up and only spontaneous and discrete decisions can keep your perfect trip going. Execution of the plans is a tiny bit tedious; you have to stay alert and keep up everything in check as you travel, which I agree, can be a buzzkill. 

I possibly cannot stress enough on this but still: a Perfect trip is only Perfect if you travel safely and responsibly. It might seem as though not much effort is required for the execution of your travel plans; believe me that's not true at all! I can share about execution of plans, but then where's the fun in that? Right? You might wonder, what does proper execution gain? Well, EUPHORIA! One of the best feelings a traveller can experience is that of a successful completion of his/her Perfect Trip.
Remember, Your trip will be perfect only if you enjoy the journey to your destination.


 How was your experience of the Perfect Trip?








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Frugal Traveling – How to avoid a pinch to the pocket while traveling.

Traveling freely without letting your wallet feel a hard pinch is a real task. I speak (well, I write!) from personal experience and from that of others. It seems easier to follow a strict diet while trying to drop a few pounds but following your budget while traveling is a snowball’s chance in hell! Useless expenses torch the wallet entirely leaving you in a cumbersome situation. A jovial attitude while managing expenses on the road can be a precarious ladder to stand on. I opt to follow some menial methods to keep myself in check. Hope they can help at least a few of my fellow travellers.

Don’t give in to the “duty-free” temptation.Many travellers burn through their budgeted capital rapidly due to this common and rather imprudent reason. When you are at a “duty-free” store, decide whether you can control your urges while window shopping. Walking in to browse and walking out with a legion of unnecessary purchases will definitely suck you dry. If it’s a need go for it, if it’s a tempti…

5 picturesque places one must visit in Kerala

There are some places in India that have a bit of resemblance to the world’s largest tropical rain forest- the Amazon, one of them being the southern state of Kerala. Coast on the west and south and dense forest-covered mountains in the mainland- that is the topography of Kerala. If you’ve ever dreamt of Warm sandy beaches, calm backwaters cutting through villages, chilly hill stations and reverberant waterfalls; well, Kerala has them all! Here are 5 picturesque destinations that are a must-visit when in Kerala.1. Thiruvananthapuram : The state capital is home to one of the most scenic beaches in India, the Kovalam Beach. The beach is the optimal place to visit after a tiring train journey or even after a comfortable flight to Trivandrum; sit back, sip some cool water right out of fresh coconuts and feel the atmosphere turn tranquil as the sun dips into the horizon. Isn't it the best place to enjoy nature?!



I found some hidden locations off the road that literally left me dumbstru…