A friend recently returned from a trip to Leh, Ladakh and Manali. I meet him in the office canteen for breakfast. I was completely awestruck. The guy sitting in front of me was there, but seemed like his mind was elsewhere. He went on to answer the barrage of questions from all of us about the trip, struggling, to find words or anything else that would do justice to the journey he had just undertaken. He seemed so out of place. I even joked to him saying you looking at chairs, tables and computers, but in your head they all still look like mountains, snow, lakes, streams and more.
This encounter got me thinking. How does one feel after returning from a journey? How does one grapple with reality and routine after one experiences so much novelty and adventure? How does one coax our minds to get on with our seemingly mundane existence? Everything must seem boring. Nothing new. Been there. Done that. I guess for the initial few days, we still live in the lands that we have left behind. Then we slowly start to assemble them into memories and stash it away in our brains, until eternity. The stash, we conveniently retrieve, whenever we need a respite from the daily workings of life and the mind. A stash, which instantly does 2 things – 1) brings a smile upon our faces and 2) takes us back to that place, that time.
Pictures can mean a thousand words. And they do just that. Some choose to capture moments of their journeys in their minds; some choose to do it on film. These are the most wonderful memoirs of a trip and it is no wonder that they are the most common ways to catalog a journey. Each of us have heaps of such stashes. Our perfect medicine for happiness.
The rigors of daily life get to us, sooner or later. Especially in the times that we live in, we all are so bogged down with work, stress, pressure, relationships, that we all nurse the desire in us, to leave it all behind and take off. Take a break. Find some peace and solitude. No one to bother us. No one to question us. No one seeking a share of our time. What you decide to do with “your time” is “your choice”. That is the pleasure in travel. And this is all that it takes to make everything seem beautiful. Suddenly, life doesn’t seem that bad. It uplifts us.
We all leave a part of ourselves behind when we travel. And we can retrieve those parts only when we visit that place again. These “breaks” do not have to be very long. They can be as short as a long drive. For me, just thinking about those places suffices to release the onslaught of memories. But taking that break is necessary. Rejuvenation of the mind has become necessary to function normally.
They say travel inspires one to introspect, delve deeper into the self. Travel inspires revelations. May be travel unravels some hidden facets to our own selves. Or travel just sets oneself free. I am sure at this point; a lot of us are nodding our heads. I have not yet experienced freedom in any better form than when I am in a new place, new surroundings, new people, new food, new everything.
I may or may not have answered the questions that serve as the premise of this article. The answers are still being sought. But in the time it has taken me to write this, my mind has wandered from where I started off to now thinking about all the places I have been to and what they mean to me! And may be it does that to you as well. That’s the beauty of travel.
Let the wanderlust kick in.