Our brain is a complex amalgamation of neural networks, neurochemicals, and grey matter. Despite remarkable progress being made in the area of neurosciences, there are very few aspects of the brain that have been understood. And the most perplexing – is the one – that affects 4 out of 5 people on the planet. What makes perfectly sane and sensible people want imitate their simian cousins? What causes that sudden rush, accompanied with palpitations and cold feet? The chemistry of ‘love’ is rarely understood. And yet, it seems to afflict more than half of the planet, with alarming proportions, towards mid February.
What’s our take on ‘love’? It’s like a giant lashing wave that takes you by surprise and knocks you down. Before you know what struck you, it’s too late to turn back, for you’ve already surrendered to its force. Since there is no known cure for this affliction, it’s best to play along. Chances are you’ll be a natural. Chances are you’ll be miserable. Whatever the odds, there are few foolproof ways of knowing, if you’ll stick together or not.
Take the Map Test
There are few joys that can compete with the joy of buying your first car. I remember, the plans we made and the trips we swore to. It was the time when we didn’t have GPS on our phones. I remember writing down directions and taking printouts of maps. I’m not sure if it was all fun. We lost our way couple of times and had to ask locals for directions. By the next birthday, I gifted Basil a GPS for our car.
Ditch the Swanky Hotel Room
We’ve never really stayed in swanky hotel rooms – on a trip. Depending on the duration and budget of our trip; we’ve chosen to spend more on exploring the place than a pricey hotel room. In Sarchu (en route Leh, India), we had to make do with a makeshift loo. By night, in the darkness, we were shivering in our cloth tent, covered with three fur blankets and waiting for the sun to come. At an altitude of 14,000 ft, the palpitations wouldn’t stop. Sometimes, it works for the best. I wasn’t sure about camping in Iceland. Turns out, it was the room with the best view.
Walk Until Your Legs Drop
I’m glad I love to walk and started walking early in life (back from school). For years later, when I would meet Basil, it would be one of the few things we’d have in common – besides travel. Wherever we’ve gone, we make it a point to walk. The best way to discover a place, is when, you have all the time in the world and your two loyal feet.
This one isn’t my idea of a perfect trip. Basil’s the one who likes getting lost. If there’s a straight route, he’ll take the winding alley. This one’s only for seasoned travellers. It’s the one test that can seriously stress your relationship with your travel partner. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, in a strange country, hungry, and lost – it’s not the best feeling. But, the only way to make it through, is to work together.
Reimagine Your Life in a Far Flung Place
I think this one is, by far, the toughest of them all. It’s always been our goal, to head out to the mountains and start a life – very different from the life we lead today. We’ve had brief stints in China and South Korea – giving us a taste of living a different life. It’s not been easy to adjust to a new place, language, and people. The moments of isolation can get to you. But, if you survive this one, you’d have a long innings to look forward to.
We’ve been on multiple trips with a diverse set of people. And we’ve learned that it can make or break a friendship. We remember many of our drivers – who ferried us – along the northern Himalayan passes. Some fondly and some not so. A trip can be a defining point in any relationship. In those dull, lifeless moments of everyday life – our bucket-list gives us the fortitude to go on. This month, we complete two years of twobrownfeet. We’d like to thank everyone who followed us and took time to comment on our travel journey.