I was 21 when I realised that I am fascinated with travelling and it has been a deep seated hunger to be a traveller and not a tourist.
Last year in December 2015, I quit my job and I wanted to make my time away from work meaningful. I decided my travel itinerary for the next 6 months. I wanted go to places that don’t feel familiar and so I hopped onto a plane and explored the cities that beckoned for my curiosity.
I always wanted to see a white Christmas and what perfect city than the gloom of Sherlock Holmes’ London. Bakers Street, Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus were the muse though it was unfortunate that I couldn’t experience the whiteness of Christmas. Next, in the quest for the perfect strawberry and chocolate waffle I ran through the streets of Brussels, Belgium with the spirit of the Mannequin Pis just two weeks after the terrible attacks the city had faced. The ’City of Love’ – Paris calls out to many with the sword of pickpockets always hanging above the head. But the fashion capital of the world and I spoke in the broken French I know of how it feels at stand atop of the Eiffel Tower and Arc Du Triumph to see the city by night.
Everyone likes to be a little risqué so I had to walk alongside the River Amstel while being the daring hero and dodge the numerous cyclists. Amsterdam has the spirit of a teenager yet the poise of a queen and I has to make sure of this in person.
After my quest for beautiful cities a world afar, I returned to my own country to find out how it is to walk through the beautiful streets of Khan Market and Haus Khas in Delhi, tried the famous fish and rotis of Amritsar. I bowed down to the Golden Temple at sunrise and the feeling of complete you get is something words can’t fill the paper. The next couple of months were spent in the heart of my own – Bangalore, where I did my walks to the South and West parts. I hadn’t known the difference of living in the North of Bangalore until I saw the twisted and traditional ways of the South.
Writing took the better part of me and I stayed lost. As a ritual I have formed in the past 5 years, I decided I never wanted to spend my birthday in my birth city. So every year, I yearn to run away and this time it had to be closer to the heavens. When lost, head to the mountains they say, so I did! Closer to the Himalayan ranges in Leh, Ladakh I felt the ice cold waters of the Zanskar River at -9 degrees and the Pangong Tso at -15 degrees. But, despite the high winds, multiple flights, 18,000 feet altitude sickness, mental and physical fatigue… I kept going. I’m that person. Once I say I’ll do something, it will happen.
I wasn’t done yet. So I took to the caves. Being surrounded by the heat and blessed by the perfect weather for long drives; my friends and I did a road trip to the quaint ruins of Hampi and caves of Badami. With the pride of the Vijayanagara Empire, they stand tall with a sense of mystery and incompleteness, much like what we feel in our day to day lives. The past 7 months have been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride (It’s funny I say this after my writing about ‘rollercoasters’ as life took turns to go up and down after.)
I feel blessed to have been able to afford to see all and experience all that I did, both financially and physically. Certainly something that changed me as a person and I haven’t been able to stay the same after.
I am still looking for my bit of adventure, even if it means trying something new (for me) like zorbing, cooking or craft making. I am now focussing on putting that perseverance and adaptability to work as I juggle different streams of Freelance Social Media Projects. I don’t have to climb any mountains there but I do have to move them.