Travel therapy

I have spent initial years in school wondering what these mandatory annual trips in big families meant. I thought my family was not familiar with this concept or the budget would weigh us down, financially. This thought did not last longer as I started going to all the school trips every year for 5 years straight. It was bliss; a 10 days itinerary for Rajasthan or Karnataka sent to you after a long day at school, as an indication to start packing. It was exciting. A few excursions happened during the school years to nearby places, as well. The idea of chasing long stretches of road to reach a destination was ideal, I felt. As I inculcated a habit of reading books, I felt the need to visit the places mentioned in the book. Deciphering the beauty of a place would need you to be there literally, I thought. School tours kind of exerted influence on my travel journeys after that. A couple of years after shifting to Pune from Solapur in 2018, Holiday Planning 101 was aborted several times but it also led to an instantaneous trip to Tarkarli. My mom decided to accompany me since she needed a break by a beach. It was a good two day trip of devouring soulful seafood and waddling in the shallow waters for 2 hours straight, at dawn. Homestay was a great option that we went for, as it gave us the opportunity to interact with the locals. Mom and I got seafood from the market and the homestay owner cooked the perfect meal for us. I loved the idea. I felt happy about it. The idea of a global traveler, exploring the world fascinated me since the beginning. Another opportunity that I stumbled upon in 2019, when I was given a chance to present my research paper at a national conference in the land of coconut, toddy and men in Lungi; Kerala. During this holiday, very little exploring happened. It did include laying my eyes on the enormously tall coconuts trees in courtyards, watching a Malayalam movie without subtitles and trying to understand their language that sounded like Dothraki to me. A fun experience altogether. As of now, little experiences that include mingling with the locals, knowing their stories that they save to pass on to their generations and being continually exposed to new places holds more value for me. I recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Travel and tourism, aspiring to know more about the industry and willing to contribute to it as travel means more than just traversing through places for me. During the course, academic field trip to Rajasthan did add up to my experiences. Knowing more about the opulent lifestyles of the Royal families, the mirror aesthetics in the palaces, unconquered forts and the history attached to it was all mind blowing. That trip had the right set of circumstances where we could interact with the foreigners. It was apparent; they were amazed with all the history and grandeur that India has. The next and the very recent trip had been planned for Dubai. Initially an educational tour for two of my friends and I, was planned by the university but due to pandemic reasons it was all at halt for the next few months. A hasty decision to travel to Dubai was made and we flew as soon as the lockdown restrictions were lifted up. It was an unusual and even more of an interesting experience. A walk to a nearby food court at midnight only to enjoy some local delicacy is kind of an experience that one would barely forget.

The graduation part is a deep dive into tourism for me. Having to learn so much about the industry from a service provider’s perspective was one of the vital aspects of the course. Cultures, traditions, lifestyles, history, languages make us feel alive, I’ve learnt. Places are all about stories and TO KNOW is the happiness that I crave for. To resonate with a place in a way and fully live through the intangible experience is ‘travel’ for me. The journey has been great so far but I realize that there are two sides to a coin and I am up for anything because everything counts for an experience. . I’m planning on doing things differently in the tourism industry at least make people aware of the urgency to travel now more than ever. People are in awe of India, I want to definitely do something about it positively. I wish to travel more and to never lose the sense of wonder, letting the exploration happen in my own way. I realize that there is a lot for me to work on, but that only means there’s so much more to have the knowledge of!

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