I’m now friends with a lot of young people. 53% of my FB page followers, 45% of my Instagram followers, 60% of last-4-months-blog readership are below 24 years of age from primarily Kolkata and Delhi. This article is dedicated to them.
Most of us, young city-bred travelers have grown up racing with the other rats. We often fail to empathize with others, share our little joys with someone or perhaps go the extra mile to discover our own selves.
2009: I started traveling out of boredom that stretched over an extended weekend during hostel life. A friend insisted that we travel to Parsonath in Jharkhand. Little did I know that it would be the start to change that has made me who I am today. The long walk up the hill, numerous stories of Bhomia ji (a local deity), Jal mandir and the temples’ architecture, especially the interaction with people around amused me.
Do you know: Parsonath in Jharkhand is one of the holiest Jain pilgrimages in India? Every train that passes over, stops there for some time.
Learn to co-exist.
I’ve never been a proper believer of all stories mythological. But I like listening to stories. The storytellers’ face glows up. I’ve never wanted to stop them, question or contradict them. I’ve rather smiled with them and asked them for more stories. Be it Parsonath or the numerous monasteries in the northeast. Each story comes with an underlying philosophy. These stories have made the society we live in.
Each story comes with an underlying philosophy. These stories have made the society we live in. The more I’ve gotten to know, the more different perspectives to life I’ve learned. The more I’ve known there’s no good or bad, it could either be right or wrong for you. And that those lines are very blurred. To each his own, ideal and perspectives. And all of them, co-exist.
Make new friends.
The storytellers bond with you. Be it the priest at the temple or the kid you’ve gifted a chocolate. There have been cases where I’ve known my train co-passengers or random traveler to the same destination. If they are young, I’ve been quick to exchange emails and social media profiles. A few good conversations made way to good friendships.
Tip: Create a card for yourself, which would have your blog URL and your contact details. Keep it handy.
Be your crazy self!
While in Gangtok, I met a boy of my age. The conversation was regarding how crazy we could become. We ended up taking a bath at the waterfall during midnight. And that’s just one incident.
During my solo travels, I’m my crazy self, jumping around high on life. Be it a decision to walk to the next city or a very random decision to climb a hill, set up a tent only because the place is known to be haunted. Himalayan stories, you see?
Okay, while I’ve mentioned about climbing hills; I should add this – Life is all about challenging one’s own self. It could be overcoming your fear and bungee jumping or perhaps trek in the Himalayas.
One of the activities where I had to really challenge myself was during exploring a cave in Meghalaya, near Krem Mawmluh. It is one of the world’s top 10 destinations for adventure caving.
This sounds scary and adventurous in equal measures, isn’t it? If you are like me, you are bound to get lost. But guess what? Nothing happens. Eventually, you get back to the right track. Always keep Google Maps handy. Keep calm, be careful, nothing wrong would happen. Make sure you have the basic precautionary measures. The real fun is when you figure the way out and just can not stop either smiling or hyperventilating.
There are times when neither Google Maps nor your phone networks would work. I do not know how I managed to get lost at the Pangong Lake; I was with 23 other media professionals. That’s another different story. Wait for my Leh blog post.
Discover Local Culture.
THIS is the most important reason why you should travel. And I’m sure a hundred other guides have already told you this. While most would ask you to discover the food, I’d rather ask you to find out whether there are any local musical instruments, music style, local mythological stories, type of fabric and designs they wear. At the risk of sounding sexist, if you are a girl, you’d perhaps get too engrossed and spend a lot, shopping. PS: I shop a lot as well. I like buying jackets which have the local designs.
Some cultural activities might not be as you think it should be. There comes the first point – we would learn to co-exist. The festival of Charak in Bengal almost had me in tears while the Chham dance in Sikkim amused the child in me. While the red round chillis of Meghalaya titillated my taste buds, the designs of Udaipur gave me dressing goals minus the big mustache.
There’s no better feeling that this. Isn’t it? Away from home, responsible enough to take care of one’s own self, reading, traveling and discovering. You could connect the dots in your mind, discover yourself, be on your own. Independent.
Travelling is fun, entertaining and it teaches a lot. You observe, take a note of things and learn. If you are planning to travel, do not hesitate. Pack your backpack get set go!
If you want to share an interesting travel experience or perhaps your first independent travel experience, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org