Growing up, we never really did get to travel much. Long before I met Basil, I’d already begun dreaming of visiting obscure places and meeting people from different cultures. My room door was plastered with captivating visuals — snipped from magazines or calendars. These visuals got me through many rough spots in my life and those turbulent teen years. Elsewhere, in another home, Basil saved his money to collect hand-me-down National Geographic magazines, foreign currency, and stamps. Frankly, when we met in college, I didn’t think we’d ever travel. Although, he was pretty sure we would. We had to wait, for many years, before we could actually travel.
Back then, I didn’t think of what travel can do to you. What it demands of you. The price you have to pay — is not always limited — to your bank account. So, if you’re thinking of looking forward to a life of travel, you might want to read the disclaimer below. It’s always good to know — what you’re getting into.
Dreaming of furry nuzzles
When I quit my job, I had it all figured out. It might be another matter, that life, doesn’t work the way you want it to. In the grand scheme of dreams — was a furry pup. But then, our travel got more erratic, making it more difficult to make the decision. We were warned by friends and rightly dissuaded from taking the plunge.
Becoming a ‘Certified Plant Killer’
So, we love nature. Anyone, who’s following us would get that. I remember, when we first moved into our apartment, we had a dozen pots in our kitchen balcony. By the time, we returned home from our maiden Europe trip, the only plant to survive was a wilted creeper. Ironically, it’s the only plant to have survived all our trips. Surprisingly, it still creeps today.
Coping with Multicultural Disorder
Coming from a country that’s already confused about its cultural diversity — it’s hard, for me, to find a culture that I can truly really relate to. Adding to the confusion, on every trip, I feel like a sponge ready to get drenched in a new cultural soup. Recently, a friend casually remarked, that I’m positively confused. I guess that’s a good thing or at least I hope it is.
The case of the twisted tongue
I can speak four languages with varying degrees of fluency and have a working knowledge of two more. To my dismay, we visited Japan, China, and South Korea in quick succession. By the time I reached Seoul, I was tongue tied. Once, at the local supermarket in Seoul, I almost mumbled arigato, quickly corrected myself to xiexie and finally whispered kamsahamnida. Phew!
Losing friends or keeping the ones who matter
I’ve always been a hopeless introvert. I love the sound of silence and don’t make friends very easily. I think, for any relationship to maintain its course — there needs to be a reasonable amount of time spent together. I’ve lost many friends who didn’t change as quickly as me. Thankfully, the ones who mattered, stuck on.
Losing sight of home
They say, home is where the heart is. The problem with being a serial taveller, is that, you lose your heart too often. It’s like falling in love again and again. And that makes coming back — all the more difficult.
Developing new palates
Food is the key to survival. If you can’t adapt, you won’t be able to survive. I’m a picky eater with a weak stomach, who’s a pseudo vegetarian. I’ve realised, the hard way, when you’re hungry — you’ve got eat what you have to.
Turning into obsessive savers
We fund our own trips. That calls for big sacrifices and realizing the difference between — what we really need vs what we crave. Bigger the trip — longer it takes to plan and start the saving pool. In the long run, it helps you throw out all the fancy things in life and makes you appreciate the small pleasures.
Soon enough your body will tell you to QUIT
And that will happen long after those concerned family warnings. With each successive trip, we tried to walk, more than the earlier one. Without the right preparation, my knee took a beating. But, it also showed us, that you need to have a higher level of fitness. Nothing comes easy.
I think the toughest part of any trip is — saying goodbye. Even if our families are scattered, strangely, the minute we leave for a trip, the phone lines keep buzzing. Saying goodbye is never easy.
I can continue with the list. There are so many things that travellers won’t tell you. Those edited photos and inspirational words, hide more, than they disclose. And there’s one more thing. Travel is addictive. Once you succumb to it — it’s hard to get away. The ‘real’ world might cease to exist and the only high you might ever get — might be on a trip.