Rugged Route – The beginning of my journey

I AM A GLOBETROTTER.

I believe this is a proud remark that sums up a traveler’s life in a single phrase. A story to tell, an adventure, a dream, and a reality to share. Words are inadequate to express the emotions, delight, and memories associated with a person’s life-changing travel experience. It teaches you about life’s realities, and for some people, it becomes a way of life. Tell us about your experience, share your narrative, and let your stories be told…

WE ARE ON THE GO. Many reasons for the voyage to begin, some in search of something new, a new beginning, to find one’s self, to discover, for sheer fun, for excitement, for teachings, the list might go on and on, but pages would be insufficient to explain. “Don’t listen to what they say,” according to a Chinese proverb. “Take a look.” – This works for me. We travel to bring what we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to other parts of the world where wealth is distributed differently. And we travel, in essence, to revert to our youth – to slow down time, be taken in, and fall in love all over again. In this way, travel helps us achieve a better balance of intelligence and compassion, allowing us to see the world clearly while also feeling it deeply. “Because seeing without feeling is clearly heartless, and feeling without seeing is blind.”

My narrative begins in an amusing way… I was up in a household that travelled extensively. My grandfather, according to my father, taught me how to travel. He is an adventurer who, at the age of 81, knows Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh like the back of his hand, so one night, as we sat on my terrace in a chilly winter night, reminiscing about memories, gushing experiences, and sheer adventure spirits rising high, my father said, “Travel has been the most valuable teacher in my life, Man learns through different kinds of experiences. I and my partners in crime used to bunk our school back in Gujarat and gather at a hangout spot (which we used to call adda – not an underground bunker)”, he said, adding, “I and my partners in crime used to bunk our school back in Gujarat and gather at a hangout spot (which we used to call adda – not an underground bunker)”, it was a chai wala at the lane behind their school.” All of them would gather their pocket money, some of which they had saved by skipping meals, some of which they had borrowed, and some of which they had stolen from daddy’s wallets (with them secretly knowing but pretending they didn’t and telling mom to keep quiet about it), and get on a scooter, four people sitting on a Chetak (scooter), and ride nearly 30 kilometres to see Amitabh Bachchan’s movie.

When they didn’t have any money, they would sell snacks to the other students outside of school. I still remember my father’s amazing masala chana dish (spicy chickpeas). Every trip they planned had a ‘Plan B,’ but when it came to implementing it, that ‘Plan B’ was something they always forgot to prepare, yet they still managed to make the best of every circumstance.

However, for me, the first big pleasure of travelling is simply having the luxury of leaving all of my convictions and certainty at home and viewing what I believed or knew in a new light and from a different perspective. I suppose this was my inspiration; I’ve been travelling since I was fourteen years old. What started this crazy journey was a train ride back from Ahmedabad to Bombay, where I met a person, who was in his grey but so full of life that he could cheer up almost anyone, a bargain guru, as I referred to him – specifically how he could manipulate the hawkers coming on-board the train at various stations where our train would halt. As I passed through Surat, I realised I had caught the wrong train.

By now, we’ve all heard (too frequently) the old adage about how every parent’s basic teachings to their children are – don’t talk to strangers, don’t take food from strangers, always be aware of your surroundings when travelling; I guess I never paid attention to any of these things. Finding myself in a situation where I had no choice except to seek help from strangers, I summoned what guts I had, boarded another train with the assistance of the TC at Surat station, and returned home. That was the best and worst trip I’ve ever had.

As a result, travel spins us in two directions at once: it shows us sights, ideals, and situations that we might otherwise overlook, but it also, and more fundamentally, it reveals us all the parts of ourselves that could otherwise rust. Because when we travel to a truly strange area, we are unavoidably transported to moods and states of mind as well as hidden inner channels that we would otherwise have little reason to visit. This is a sneak peek of my vacation slogan; what’s yours?

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