Travel is the perfect catalyst for breaking out of routine and one’s comfort zone . Whether one is travelling for business or leisure , or an extended weekend vacation , or a family trip , the idea of exploring the unknown has always held a magical allure .

Being an avid reader , I was always keen on being a world traveler . My travel inspiration came from the  many books that I read growing up. Whether they were the Famous five series describing the Kirin island , or Anne Frank’s diary describing Amsterdam in the grip of Anti-Semitic sentiment or the rolling hills & dales of Yorkshire from James Herriot’s works. The travel bug had bitten me quite young and had me yearning to experience the beauty of  the world all for myself .

That moment of awe when I stood in front of the pyramids at Giza , rendered speechless at the realization of the vast eternity of time these monoliths were witnesses to . These moments were my purloined slice of time from another epoch. The sense of peace and timelessness that I experienced as I sat feeding geese on the banks of the Volga in Prague stayed with me for a long time after the moment had passed. And even now it is with a sense of poignancy that  when I think back to that glorious day . My visit to the Holocaust Museum in Berlin brought home the staggering truth that hatred is a potent weapon that makes us capable of inflicting unthinkable monstrosities on fellow humans .Man’s capacity of cruelty is chilling. I realized the sheer magnitude of the Holocaust and the many wasted lives during those visits . The sense of despondency that gripped me at the Dachau concentration camp must be nothing compared to what was endured by those whose lives were torn apart by that tragedy . As Primo Levi says , “It happened , therefore it can happen again” . Perhaps the past never goes away completely .It is always lurking around in the shadows ,collecting evidence of its relevance , bidding time before it can wreck the present. It is important for us to see and experience , so that genocides like these do not happen again . Akin to that little window in the attic that was Ann Frank’s interstice ,affirming her faith in the goodness of people, despite the persecution of her community. These experiences have a profound impact on one’s conscience and move you to the core . It vastly impacts one’s perspective and understanding of epochal events like The Holocaust .For me it brought home the fact that  times of mass hysteria and hatred nullify any agency that one has in life .Does that not teach us how fragile and unpredictable life is? That we should give up  false appearances & misplaced pride to give space and time to the more important things in life .

I don’t think I have ever seen anything more beautiful than the vivid vermilion-crimson sunsets reflected in the dancing waves of the Arabian sea . Travel brings welcome break from the monotony of city lives . There is no match for the quiet charm of getting lost in the winding trails of the hills .

I think one needs to be open-minded and to an extent non-judgmental also to be appreciative when travelling . And the exercise by itself also makes one more tolerant of other cultures , other beliefs , other philosophies and of different ways of living . And acceptance of the fact that a different  culture is just that , different . That it need not be  better or worse .And that there is no need to be competitive in that respect .

It also gives you many stories to tell your kids . Of Lost baggage , of the compassion of locals ,of overcoming fears. Travel in the decades past was decidedly an exclusively elitist pursuit vouching for the patrician antecedents of those indulging in the same . But that’s not true now . Not only has travel become cheaper but we have become more adventurous too , thanks to the advent of Google Maps & Air BnB’s .So #SayYesToTheWorld and let the golden dust of wanderlust light up your lives .


One thought on “Wanderlust

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