There was a time, when I was much younger, when travelling was romance, adventure, with a dash of drama and some comedy. Mostly, it was rare. A pleasure deeply sought, yearned after, dreamt about, and satiated in periodic intervals.
As I grew older, and started travelling more, for work, friendship and love, travelling became less exotic but no less intense. It became about knowledge. New cities bought in contact people, ideas, habits that were utterly new, utterly curious. Some of it I gawked at. Some I inbibed. Some made me laugh and mock later. And in some way, it reassured me: I was perfect the way I was.
And so, it became about affirmation. Remember when they said that travel makes you appreciate home more? That’s what travel became: telling me that I was in the right place, where I truly belonged, where me, with all my bulges and crevices…just fit.
And then I moved from that home, forcibly removing myself from that space I fit so comfortably. Travelling became a mirror, one that made me aware of all I had taken for granted: habits, perceptions, things which were invisible to me and those around me, starkly becoming visible in a completely new context. Made me see where I was flawed, and where I excelled – stripped completely of cultural buffers and bias. It’s an invaluable knowledge, one that surrounded by the comfort of unconditional love, I’d completely missed out on!
We are always travelling – near and far, in our minds sometimes, sometimes physically. It almost always puts us in the company of strangers: at home, or abroad. And all kinds of travel – in an auto rickshaw, metro train, airplane, uber pool, whatever it be, is an opportunity – to find out that new thing about self, to reaffirm your own self image, and also, more importantly, to let go – of long held perceptions, rigidities, allowing the discovery of a new self!
(I started writing this on the train today, hence the travel theme, and I meant to ruminate on the people I met daily – people who’ve surprised me, amused me and ultimately shaped my view of the world. It ended up being much more self indulgent but thanks for sticking with me!)