Most of my childhood summers were spent in our home town. With the temperatures soaring, there was little that my siblings and I could do. We’d either curl up with a good book, eat raw mangoes, or snooze after a heavy meal. When we’d exhaust all other options, the front yard and the copious greenery of the backyard, often, came to our rescue. My brother and I would head in search of ants, bugs, and creepy-crawlies of the natural world. We’d mimic explorers or naturalists (armed with wooden sticks) venturing into uncharted territory. We’d collect red ants (without injuring them) and eventually, set them free. I do realise, there’s no way that sounds humane now. Mea culpa. My sister preferred to opt out of these trails of discovery.
Years later, in recent times, my trips aren’t restricted to summers. While much of the greenery around my parents’ ancestral home has been destroyed, thankfully, the front yard and the backyard still persist. And with each visit, there are many times, when those moments of vacuum come back.
That’s when, I head out into the yard, in search of strange leaves or insects. This time, I’m alone and don’t have a wooden stick with me. I don’t touch what I see, anymore. Maybe, caution develops with age or I’ve grown wiser. Then again, I wouldn’t want someone to give me a nudge while I was walking. I guess, that’s why, I let them be.
The natural world is truly fascinating. No matter what’s on your mind; a walk outside can give you the strength that you need or the hope that you’ve lost. And even if want to keep a blank mind – it won’t be too hard. Travel’s never about what you see or where you’ve been. The true traveller knows that. It’s more about what you make of what you see or where you’ve been. For that matter, the backyard might be the perfect starting place.