Travel and more travel : An unfulfilled dream ?

I constantly read articles about how people gave up everything to travel, they did so at every age and stage of life, and I thought longingly if I would ever be able to satisfy my travel lust.

Finally September 2014, I realized that I will never be able to do the “give it all up for travel” routine, so I decided to travel every single month of the next 12 months. Here travel was defined as minimum 2 nights in a month spent outside my city. This may sound a little excess, may sound expensive and also may sound unachievable.

12 months later, I can tell you : IT CAN BE DONE. It leaves you fulfilled and calm in the knowledge that if you truly love travel your lust will never be satisfied. Calm because you have had the best 12 months of your life, calm because you realize that there is so much to see and that this is a list you cannot finish. Calm because that is the lesson travel teaches you. Be calm.

So here is why and how 12 months of travel every month can be done. To use a cliché here are my 10 tips!

1. Careful planning, especially if you don’t want it to be exorbitantly expensive. Remember every one wants to travel and is travelling!

2. Careful planning is more important if you have a job and you need to plan weekends and holidays optimally — like in my case.

3. Corporate India has enough holidays to do this — not enough leave is no excuse, I still had leaves to spare!!!

4. Some will be long holidays some extended weekends — both give equal enjoyment.

5. Take it slow — travel does not mean exhausting yourself from 6 in the morning to 10 at night, otherwise you will need a holiday after your holiday! Remember you cannot do it all, one life is not enough. Its not about “not missing anything” its about “finding something” in each trip.

6. Break away from your usual mold, if you like cities visit the mountains, if you like mountains visit a few beaches! The locations will surprise you. My most memorable trip was Varanasi! Something I never even had on my list!

7. Do the pre-planning, the internet almost forces you to, but don’t do an over kill, by knowing everything you can before you get there. Travel is about exploring the unseen! Let it be unseen.

8. Chase the sun, sunsets and sunrises make for most unique memories. Nature puts on the best show in the world twice daily and its for free!!! Each location provides a varied backdrop! The Colombo sunset and the Varanasi sunrise are unforgettable for me.

9. Eat the local food! I cant tell you how gratifying this can be, don’t carry your own food, its about a different experience. I am a vegetarian, I love food and I didn’t starve so local cuisine is the way to go. Trust me, it can be done in any part of the world.

10. Finally the most important: the people, the people, the people!! You will find a life lesson in the most unassuming of places from the person you last expect it from. I learnt to take life in a matter of fact way from the boatman in Varanasi, the valet in Matheran taught me the importance of being still, the guide in Lanka was wise beyond his years. The people you meet make you richer beyond any bonus! Do not miss the interactions. You will cherish them.

So here are my two bits on travel to everyone out there, travel because it’s the only university you have after you leave the formal one, travel to be humbled, to be amazed, to be enriched but most of all travel because you have one life and so much to absorb!!

Happy Travels!