Well, this is something I should have written long ago, when I started writing my blogs, but I guess, its never too late..
I was just a regular guy from the small town, who knew little about the word ‘travel’, unless someone in my family told me, though I might had done that as an ‘activity’ several times before. And to the extent of a ‘hobby’, it was beyond comprehension and understanding. The only place I used to travel was my school, which was quite far from home, and it used to take more than 2 hours for me to reach school and same time to return home.
My first official travel happened at the age of four, when I traveled to a place called ‘Aurangabad’, with my parents. This place is famous for the caves of ‘Ajanta and Ellora’. Since, it was my first travel, I had a lot of questions…Why are we here at the first place? Whose place is this? Are we meeting someone here? Who the hell needed such a hole to live at the first place. Electricity was something I felt to have existed when the world must have evolved, only until I reached there, that I realized that it was a luxury invented not much time back. Once a year, I used to travel often with my family,once a year, unless I had it in my subconscious that this is a routine annual affair..It used to be exciting!! So, once every year, we used to ‘Pack-our-Bags’, and travel to a distant land.
I saw a lot of places in India through my childhood. Agra, Ajmer, New Delhi, Bhopal, Ranchi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, to name a few. Cameras were a luxury we didn’t afford those days, and it was a time of ‘film cameras’ way back in 90’s. Not all memories could be physically captured. Thanks to God, He has provided us with an asset called memory, which though fades with time, has helped me to retain some of the travel experiences that I now am able to share through this platform. The thrill of stepping out of the house and travel to seek an unknown countryside is something that cannot be paralleled with any other experience.
But more than anything else, one thing that I realized is that, the place where I traveled had something which was never and can not be available at the place where I lived..And that is how my journeys began. One after the other!! To seek what I did not see back home..To seek the unknown, the mysterious and the unrealized!! For I may spend several hours reading a book and try to ponder what something may look like, but can only describe it in its true sense and completeness once I face it in person.
Travel, in all its sense completes the very purpose of knowledge, the knowledge of something we finally gain through the power of human observation. No information on a book can ever match it. A book may keep us informed, but experience leads to self-realization, and only traveling can allow us to know better what we read about. Life is a journey and every travel is a lesson, a chapter we add to our book of life, as we keep adding pins on the map.
Over years, my travel has taken me to lot of places across India and also abroad now, and with every travel, it seems the things have got much refined and focused. The essence more prominent, the observation more potent. More often than not, it was work that took me places. In the beginning, I used to feel reluctant, until I realized that travel was something that is a part and parcel of my workplace. So, I started keeping a note of all the places that I have traveled from the day I started traveling for the first time..This is what I have discovered.
The starred places are the ones that I have stayed and spent at least a night. Its just that I never took my time out to put it all together…Some of these places have been visited several times over.And yet, I see that there is a lot more to see, lot more to explore and lot more places to be marked on the map. With every 250 Kms within India itself, the accent of a language changes, the tastes of food changes, and also the style of living changes. So, no matter which place I chose to move around in India, it definitely had some surprises for me.
The count is 124 places including small towns and villages as well. And I intend to continue. As my travel helps me to discover something new not only about myself, but also about the world around. And nothing is more connecting than having been able to communicate in the language of the land.
After all my travel, I have realized that the world on the other side is not much different. The color of the skin may be different, so might be the language and the cultures, but at the core, the heart beats at the same pace., inside everyone..The feelings of expressing love are the same, no matter what language they are expressed, and if that wisdom can be understood, then we can set ourselves free, and the world will be one home.
I know it will not be possible to reach all the places of the globe in one life, for life is short and it has the habit of withering away, but wherever I am able to reach, I will have an impression of it with me, that will always remind me of the things this world has blessed me with and has got to offer…all we need is to open our arms and accept it….