I am just going to say some things here. It’s a tiny rant. I hear people boasting about travelling when all they did was take selfies at some touristy spots and that irks me. Here goes…
Travelling is a lot more than just going to places. It is about being adventurous, spontaneous and being open to new experiences. It is not about going to Delhi to shop. It is not about going to Switzerland to eat chocolates. It is about going on the metro trains at Delhi and pushing through the crowds, it is about walking around in Lucerne and asking random strangers about the lion monument there. It is everything you do when you are not being a typical tourist.
I want everyone to see the world. As a traveller. And here’s why…
I want people to travel so they see how beautiful the world is. I want people to travel so they get inspired to do better things. I want people to travel so they feel the warmth I felt when strangers at unknown lands smiled at me. I want people to travel so they feel comforted outside their comfort zones.
Basically, I want people to travel so they understand how insignificant they are in the bigger picture of things. That humbles you, that makes you want to leave your mark even in the slightest way possible. That, makes way for greater ideas, ideas that may not change the world, but will change you and the people around you.
And no, I don’t want you to visit a place and be a tourist there like I did for many years in my past. There is nothing great in visiting a city and staying at your luxury hotel and just going around a 2 kilometre radius drive in an air conditioned car. It is not travel when you stop at a mall or a touristy spot to shop for some souvenirs. Telling people you enjoyed the local cuisine when all you did was eat at the hotel’s restaurant is not enough either.
Because that is not travel.
Travel is when you get to a place, book the cheapest, most uncomfortable hotel and then get out to see the city. The more uncomfortable the hotel, the more you’ll find yourself walking on the streets and getting lost among their culture. This getting lost will make you talk to people, ask for help. This will tire you out, which in turn gets you into a local restaurant or a cafe or even an ice cream kiosk. That will then make you understand the people, their daily lives in that city.
Next day, you’ll realise you want more. You’ll realise that you want to go to the nearby city/village/town. You’ll take the train or the bus because then you will meet more people, or at least see more people. You’ll realise how things change with miles. Different cultures, different people, different life styles, even different types of coffees.
Next time you go out, be a traveller. Try seeing the world from your own two eyes. Not through the eyes of a tour guide or through the glasses of your car’s window. There will be a difference in your life.
P.S. Please understand that the things mentioned above are solely my opinion. I have nothing against people who like being tourists. All power to you if you like doing only the touristy things. Just try being a traveller once. That changed me for the good, and I hope it changes you too.
Photo Courtesy – https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/someday-i’m-gonna-travel-the-world