‘“One thing you should do before you die is immerse yourself in a place where you don’t speak the language, and be forced to discover inner strength and courage you never knew you possessed,” John says. “After all, travel is ultimately about self-discovery.”’ While I browsed through my drafts today, I came across three quotes that inspire me. You know, the kinds that make you feel good and positive, and allow you to believe in your dreams. Third by Swami Vivekananda, Second by William Blake, and First by ‘John’!
It took me a while to decipher who John was … so … I Googled! And there he was, smiling that beautiful smile at me. John Vlahides! Well, of course! Having grown up watching Ian Wright and Samantha Brown set out on their breathtaking, often insane (especially, Mr Wright’s) expeditions, I was vaguely introduced to Mr Vlahides’s ‘Roads Less Travelled’. And ever since then my desire to see the world only grew stronger.
I have always been drawn towards knowing the unknown. But would that mean I just pack my bags and hit the road? “Is extensive research before travelling to a new place better than experiencing it by ‘getting lost’?” It is one of those questions that could never have a right answer, not in the real world, not in my head.
Oftentimes we plan days, even months in advance, before setting out on a wild quest. Travel tickets, hotel bookings, things to do, places to eat – the list is rather intimidating. My last trip to the Kashmir Valley was everything that I expected it to be – unnerving, exhausting, mesmerising and enchanting. But what made it more interesting was an impromptu trek, a luxurious stay in a house boat in the alluring Nageen Lake, and a memory that will stay real forever.
The joys of travelling without a plan are a plenty, and here’re my top 3 reasons why one must opt for an unplanned travel at least once in her lifetime:
- Discover a new world: The best kept secrets in the world are hidden for a reason, it is important for each one of us to discover our own hidden go-to places. No guide book, is going to tell you that – go find yours.
- Be your boss: You are free to choose and do what you want to do, because right now you are on a vacation that you have been dreaming about all these days. Wake up early—go on a hike—come upon the flora and fauna, find memorabilias—chat with the locals, enjoy a local beer; Or you could sleep till late—have a lazy breakfast—go to the local market, discover local organic products—sit back and enjoy a cocktail. There’s nothing more liberating than doing what fulfils you. There’s no unchecked To-Do list that will haunt you for the rest of the vacation.
- Pump up your spirit: Nothing can give you an adrenaline rush better than an adventurous trip, and what fun is a vacation if everything is as planned as your everyday commute to work? Take the road less taken, and that really does make all the difference. Sometimes you need to get lost to find yourself.
“If you spend too much time thinking about it, then you miss it! Things come. Keep looking, meet different people, and exchange ideas. There is no rule.” – Ian Wright