“The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself.” – Wallace Stevens has coined an amazing travelling caption.
Who doesn’t love to travel and discover new places and people? I have always dreamt of doing nothing but travelling around the world in a never ending journey of discovery.
Travelling is much more than taking ‘selfies’ to post on social media and notching up foreign destinations on your bedpost. The essence of travelling is about enjoying the journey to your destination, absorbing the intrinsic cultures and getting to know the people of the place. That is what makes the trip so memorable.
On your trips you may see the different architectural wonders, but what matters are the small children wondering around the site, selling souvenirs. Those are the memories that stay with you; sharing a plate of ugali with a street urchin in the by lanes of Nairobi or enjoying the sunset on the crowded beaches of Mumbai.
Everyone has a different perspective
Different people have different opinions and desires when it comes to travelling. For some it is more about posting photos on social media, while for others it is about imbibing history and cultures. There are also some who really have no idea why they travel.
The fascinating thing about travel is that you not only get to understand different cultures but also get to try the different cuisines that place has to offer. The Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower may be on your bucket list for places to visit, but more often than not, it’s the things you experience on your way there that make the trip interesting.
Travelling is all about going with the flow. Sometimes, getting off the train at an unknown station and venturing out into unknown territory is what makes the trip interesting. Hotel bookings and fixed itineraries can be restrictive. Just taking a backpack and going where the road leads you can throw up some fascinating surprises.
While you need to have a basic idea about where you are headed, you need not be compulsive about it. The journey is so much more than the destination itself. It is not just a means to getting to your destination. If you allow yourself, you will be able to breathe in the essence of the place you are visiting.
Make the most out of your trip
Notching up how many places you have visited makes little sense. Sometimes, it is difficult to recall the sites we have seen in all the years of our travel. But it is the interesting experiences you had on the way that will always stay with you.
Ask yourself; how much do you know about the culture of the place you visited? Where you able to enjoy the sounds and the smells of the place? Did you interact with the local people or hear the call of prayer in the silence of the early morning? If you are flummoxed by these questions, maybe you need to ask yourself if you have actually been there.
Many travellers are reluctant to experience exotic cuisines and search for foods that they are familiar with when they travel. If you are going to hunt for a MacDonald’s burger on your trip to China, you might as well have stayed at home.
Travelling can be a profoundly spiritual experience. Submit yourself to the journey. You may just find yourself.