Saturday, April 24, 2010

Team Travellers

I have come to realise that a journey is also about the anecdotes and the smaller stories that make up the entire episode; quite, I must say, like an anthology of sorts. I must also reiterate what I have for long known: that the true measure of my relationship and comfort level with another person needs to stand the test of travel. If I can travel with a person for more than a few days and not wish to abandon any attempts of continuing that friendship by the end of that trip, I know I have made a long term friend. I know, I am strange that way. But for me, it always works, for, I suppose, travel, especially in the absence of luxury and great comfort, brings forth a side of a person that is never otherwise at the fore.

Afterthought: it is incredibly hard to find a group that you can travel with. It could take years, and much irritation in the intervening travels, to find some you can talk to/have fun with/depend on/trust to save your life in danger/chill out/drink/discuss/explore/bear the hardships of travel with and at the end of all of the above, come back and still be able to plan the next trip! There is nothing like the wrong company to ruin a holiday.

I find that I need to travel with a person or people who are equally independent and yet think for the group. My travels have long moved beyond the traditional sight seeing. For me, a new place is about walking around its streets, those little paths, landing up at coffee shops, smiling at people, taking off sometimes by myself and talking to everyone who wishes to respond. And trust me, there aren’t many who will be thrilled about these things, which is why I come back to the right travellers.

I stay blessed in that quarter. My first travel companions have been my parents. They are one of the most chilled out people out there; I inherit the love for the outdoors and the unusual from them. I cannot say if its right or wrong, it is just the way I was brought up, to go out and explore. I could not wish for any greater gift for anyone, over the freedom of the mind, of the spirit. I continue to shock them, I must admit, such is the absurdity of my plans. But they have yet to stop me from discovering and learning my lessons, from making my own mistakes. I couldn’t thank them enough for that love and trust in my ability to look after myself. I realise all my confidence in myself springs from that.

For long, I have and continue to be my best travel companion. But given the fact that I would rather have company for longer travel, a new group has emerged, another recent discovery, so to speak. A bunch of friends, some new found, some I have known for a while now, have become a favourite too. All of us are absolutely crazy in many ways, temperamental, cranky, sarcastic, moody and I repeat, crazy, on our best days. But what keeps us in the boat to sanity is a love for travel, a passion for mountains and forests and the wild and dare I presume to say, tolerance of each other’s eccentricities, mutual respect and admiration for each other’s friendship. I hope for more adventures, more crazy times, better memories with them.

To explore. To dream. To get inspired. To discover. Can travel be for anything else? To travel is the only constant these days, wrote a friend, some time ago. So it has been off late. The mole on the soles of my left foot is acting up; I hear moles on your feet make you itchy to travel. I suppose I am itchy. It has been a week today since I got back from the Himalayan adventure and already a friend and I were making plans for the next trip.

The first paragraph of this post was supposed to be the intro for a travelogue. But like I joyfully discover every time I open a fresh page, I only have to let a bit too loose the reins of my imagination for the writing to take off in directions of its own. And so this became a post in itself. The travelogue will follow.

Meanwhile, here is to itchy feet, more travels, more adventures, more footprints. To my parents, to the friends: JN, SA, DS and FB. I look forward to making the most of my time on earth with that! :-)