Sitting in front of my laptop, I see scores of articles starting with 10 reasons Why or 29 things This or 12 signs That or on similar lines, some list or the other enlightening me and confirming for me the stuff I already knew. Thanks for telling me that I’m addicted to books as they make more sense to me than the walking robots with big heads. But anyway, that’s okay. Guess we have become doctors ourselves connecting the signs to validate our character. Lists are a killer concept today to market your stuff online, and it will pass, just like anything else.

Just extrapolating this to travel, there are marketing agents out there trying super hard to sell the places to you: 10 roads you have got to ride or 30 places to see before you die! Okay boy, calm down, I will visit them. Just don’t die yourself screaming on top of your voice, alright? While these lists do promise you some beautiful places to visit, they also ward off major share of travel and direct it towards orchestrated tourism, which brings me to the subject of my article.

What exactly is the essence of travel today? As it appears, it has been more-or-less reduced to hitting a scenic place, or a historical monument and running off to the next one. One then cheerily crosses some locations off their bucket list upon returning, while booking tickets for the next and masking on the been-there-done-that look. True, that maybe a good honeymoon travel style where you’d rather have your business with your partner dealt with, amidst panoramic beauty overlooking your suite window, but not when you started out for “travel” travel. No? Or maybe, to each his own?

To me, travel is all about learning. Learning about people, learning from people and learning from all the encounters on the way. A very beautiful quote from Into the Wild says

The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences.

Looking for new experiences and making new memories would be the answer if the question was: What are you searching for that you can’t stay at one place? I ride, but not for the super awesome highways all the time. I ride not to click the best shots. I ride to ride the unknown highways, to greet that new turn on the road, to say my hello to the body builder in the next village who would not leave me without showing all his awards, to learn about how things are elsewhere and for the heck of it, for just being there.Β  It’s never the same I who returns from the rides. Who returns is always aΒ  -2 day- or -1000 or whatever kms- or -experiences on the way- enriched I.

If it was all about the picturesque mountains or spectacular places, one would rather just settle down there without a want to move. No? Boredom creeps in after a time. Boredom from the place we headed out to to overcome the boredom from the place we left from in the first place. Wonder why? It’s not the awesome places we long for, it’s for new experiences instead. No doubt the eye appeasing spots are wonderful to get to, but isn’t it a deceit to oneself, an escape from an otherwise satisfactory-looking but frustrating and confining location? No such pretense finds its space in one’s psyche if one acknowledges a mere fact: Life is a journey, anything but to be caged.

Soak it all in at the new place you visit next time. Don’t beat yourself up finding the best location, most of the reviews are biased anyway. You will find an awesome place sure, but will it make for an awesome recipe for the best vacation? Not sure. I can tell you which recipe will – No premonitions. No compulsion for it to be best. Just a spirit willing to explore.

Borrowing another phrase from Into the Wild,

Hope one day we are able to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage.

But of course, everybody’s got their travel style, you yours and I mine. By the way, what’s yours?Β  Share in comments.

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Dudhsagar Waterfalls Trek: Of rains, greens and new friends!