In an era where airplane tickets are as affordable as a buffet at five star property and with more and more people then ever before living by the maxim of “Soaking in Today”, it’s no wonder that after food, travel happens to be the biggest indulgence! This piece is about, trying to understand why people do what they do as they travel and how we can find our zen as travelers!
One primary reason, that the very thought of “travel” uplifts our soul and mind (in most of the cases) will be largely because of the hard wiring that exists within us through evolution of earlier being nomadic wanderers, hunters and food gatherers moving from one region unto the next with a view of surviving- it is these journeys eventually made us reach shores and lands of promise- along river basins, coasts, flat lands where opportunities flourished to provide longer sustenance and dependability so that civilizations can be born and foundations of modern day human societies could be laid!
Sure enough, as the wise people have always said, “Travel makes you wise”- The reason behind this statement was in a very compelling context of bygone times though! Those were the times when long voyages were only possible if they were funded by Kings or if you were a wealthy trader who had a liking to know what existed beyond and wanted to use that first movers advantage to get your hands on some eccentric stuff which could mean a great profit in the courts of the kingdom! Then there were again a few select dedicated travelers through the ages who were seeking the divine truth through pursuing theosophical teachings and soaking in what life means across cultures and belief systems around the yesteryear civilized world! Irrespective of what was the reason of travel then and who you were, the chances were that even if you were a sail boat oarsman in those times, you had an IQ and physical strength of even the most revered scholar or a Harvard MBA of today! This is one reason why you will find that the whole of documented history of the known world is a knowledge repository that has survived the ravages of time and upheavals – courtesy of these great people! You can call them scholars and geniuses who importantly knew-“When to travel,”Where to travel”, and “Why to travel”!
Our modern life has been a blessing and a curse in disguise, blessing because I can be sitting right on my chair, use a few applications that are available in the market and zoom onto my favorite street or beach front or a mountain range, literally any place around the world and see the views and soak into the virtual feeling of being there- right from the comfort of my home! Sure enough, nothing beats the actual and real feel and this is where the actual story begins!
When you travel around and observe the modern day travelers,what do you see? Who are they, or at least who do they seem to be? Well, I will make this simple for you, you have possibly seen these focused travelers– these are the people who travel to their relatives to return the compliments and accept every wedding invitation (as if the wedding will not happen if they didn’t make it!), then you have those time bound family vacation travelers who will hit the same airport or rail head, around the same time of the year- complain and compliment about what changed at the terminal and in the cabin or the railways carriage and visit the destination have alive- half dead (because in that one year- gross disregard to health will take its’ toll- with the dragging of all those heavy bags which just keeps on growing in weight every year- for no real sensible reason!). Next you have those corporate hot shots who are always moving around the terminals like they are on a MI6 mission to save the world and always drowned into themselves and struggling with their bags or the laptops that come along with them as extended parts of their physical being! So, now the million dollar thought- think about it- are they really travelling? in the real sense of the word?
Certainly they are not, sure enough if you are on a office assignment, no one expects you to go shopping or sight-seeing- but how about even getting that 10 minute break to know where you have landed- what’s the culture of the place like- who are these people who reside here?- what is that drives them and what is that they enjoy and need the most? This missing human connect which is the million dollar essence of travel has all but gone away for a toss and whatever little chances are there to understand fellow humans, cultures and places that we visit has been taken away by those senseless and limitless self-indulging and self-obsessed selfies that you see standing out menacingly all over the digital landscape! Of course all hope is not lost, not everyone has lost the old and intellectual charm of traveling and when you get to see these wise souls at airports or at travel exchanges, you will feel uplifted by just seeing them and when you speak with them, the knowledge that flows and the story of the one day adventure that they had during the last hike or beach ride or rock climbing or walk in the old market place or the local dish that they had simply baffles you- because your may have traveled the sector many times; but these wise people travel once and they do it right!
So what’s the point here, well simple, travel in the essence of travel, whether you travel all by yourself or tag along a few friends, or your family along, let that travel be compelling, enriching and something that adds value to the lives and knowledge of those who are along with you and also to the people whom you meet and interact with through the course of your journey and when you make it to the destination and back! Let there be videos and snaps that tell as troy that soak about a narrative, a learning that you picked up rather then that mindless grin which you can anyways see while your brush you teeth everyday morning!
Like mindful living, mindful travel can do wonders, it can help you come up with the next big idea or it could help you overcome a life challenge- well who knows for that’s the real magic of travel when its done in the true essence of it! I normally don’t preach on what people should do or not do (they are the best judge to know what works for them or otherwise!), but one thing that I can share as an experience is that when you travel hands free with as minimal luggage as possible and have a vision and a camera that is always pointed away from you and into the journey and places and people around- you will end up capturing stories that can inspire and motivate and uplift you when you spend time and come back to them when you need them!
I will leave you here, with your thoughts on travel and something to plan this weekend for a wonderful travel for some other weekend the future! Whatever you choose, a mountain range or a beach, a metro city or a quiet village- let there be a purpose, a plan and a learning that enriches you and everyone that you come across in the future by virtue of the travels that you undertake! Always remember if you have got the 5 senses, make use of them and there is nothing that compares with travel when it comes to rejuvenating these 5 senses of being human in the true essence of it!
Ciao for now, Travel Safe and Travel wise! remember no pulling of bags and senseless grins on those spooky selfies!