Travelling is something I really enjoy doing. Travelling to different places, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, different climate, enjoying the variety of food, the costumes and music is something that you have to experience. Travelling is actually a great teacher. Even in the ancient times we’ve heard about a lot of enlightened beings travelling to various places either seeking or teaching. It actually moves you from your comfort zone and puts you on track to experience the unknown.
It doesn’t matter whether you to travel to a village in your neighbourhood, a city few hours away, to a location in your country or exploring another country. It doesn’t matter how many travels you’ve taken or the places or the countries you’ve visited. It’s more about the experience and what you’ve learnt from it.
I have beautiful memories of the various travels that I have taken whether for work or personal trips. There is always something to learn. Let’s look at some of these areas.
#1 – Move out of your comfort zone
This one is really important for your overall growth and development. If you continue to stay in the known places, known people and surroundings you will slowly start to become stagnant. You will start feeling bored about life. We all have one life and we are here to experience it. This will not happen till the time you move out of your comfort zone and explore new avenues.
While we were growing up my dad would give us surprises by just coming over and telling us about a place we plan to drive for a holiday. Then he would say “You have 10 minutes to pack your bag and we meet in the parking lot”. We would be dumping things in our bags and rush to the lift and the parking lot. Most of the times we made it on time 🙂
The travel checklist was always ready and eventually in the head also. Things required for emergency like medicines, torch, charges, telephone numbers etc. were all taken care of in these 10 minutes. That was so amazing. I’ve learnt a lot by doing this. He was not only preparing us for the travel but he was actually preparing us for life. That was so sweet of him. I would be ever grateful to him for everything.
#2 – Enjoy the experience
Whether it is travelling to a new place, meeting new people, a boat ride, a cycle ride, water rafting, walking the woods, sun bathing, exploring a palace, a visit to an ancient place of spiritual significance, visiting the caves, underwater scuba diving, climbing the hills everything is about the experience. These experiences create lasting memories and impressions which serve as a great lesson learnt.
The clothes, or your cell phone or the vehicles you own won’t matter but when you explore these experiences will be eye-openers.
The picture above is of a jungle deep inside the mountains between Mumbai and a place called Lonavala. It’s a few hours’ drive from Mumbai and then trekking in the mountains to reach this place. There is a fort which is of historic importance. We climbed the fort to explore the area and our history. I was left amazed as to how people must have built the fort in those days in an area which was so inaccessible. Guess what in the night we did have a leopard coming close to our camping area which was handled well by the team and villagers there.
If I had decided to stay indoors I wouldn’t have been able to experience this.
Even as a family travelling is something we really enjoy doing. On one of our flights back home at 35,000 feet, I was amazed to see my son pull out his iPad and he was journaling. He has writing about his experience of the places we had visited and how he enjoyed everything about the holiday.
He had already mentioned to us that he didn’t want to go back to Mumbai. The place we stayed in was a Palace that was converted to a hotel. So everything about the place was beautiful, lavish and luxurious. That gave him the freedom to explore and know more about people, food, culture, our history and the role it played in our lives, the hospitality of the staff, and a lot more. That opened up a lot of things for him. We landed up by extending our holiday by few more days.
Cherish the experiences that life has to offer. Once you open up to that your life will never be the same.
#3 – Exploring different cultures
Experiencing different cultures is one of the best parts of travelling. At times you will see similarities and at times you will be amazed to know the different rituals that are followed, the food habits, the recipes, the music and folk dances of that place. It leaves you mesmerized. It opens up a lot of questioning inside out of you which leads to seeking answers. Seeking is a great learning experience. You start to look at things from a different perspective and this is great.
Though I’ve stayed in different states of India and even visited a lot of places but still I am left speechless every time I visit a different place. Every state in India has a different language that they speak, different rituals that they follow, different clothing and dressing style to suit the place and the climate, different food recipes to suit the place and the environment, different traditional dance and art forms and the list goes on.
Every time I travel apart from the pictures that I’ve clicked, I pick up a lot of souvenirs, clothes, post cards, gifts for family and friends which serve as a trip down the memory lane once I’m home.
#4 – Making new friends
When you travel you will be exposed to a lot of human interactions. I have experienced some great interactions with people whether at the airport or the hotel or the various places that I’ve visited. I’ve made some great friends along this journey and today they are among my best friends. We even plan and travel together now.
Striking up a conversation with someone unknown will never be difficult or the same for you. It will open up a lot of areas of learning for you. Knowing their life stories, knowing how they look at life and people, knowing about their profession you never know what opens up for you.
#5 – Going with the flow
Most of the times, we’ve planned things at home, office and ofcourse our travel in advance too. But when you visit a new place you might get driven by the beauty, calmness, and everything about the place. At times you might land up spending more time at a place and then realise that your schedule has gone for a toss. The place you wanted to visit next is closed as the visiting hours were over. This gives us an opportunity to just go with the flow and not be rigid about the planner.
You never know what opens up next for you. This is another great learning experience as to let go what’s not required or what’s not in your control. Sometimes we hold on to things too much which block or become a hindrance to our growth.
This is like extra-baggage that you carry. Even the airline charges you for that 🙂
Every experience no matter what it is, there is learning. There are many more lessons that we can learn from our travels. Be open and receptive to them.