There are many who ask me, “what is so great about travelling other than the fact that you see a new place each time?”. “Isn’t it bothersome? Doesn’t it get to you? The packing / unpacking, the layovers, the delays etc.?”
Well, may be! Actually, all the organising and preparations that goes into planning a trip is an adrenaline shot for me. I am on a HIGH at “are you free, can we look at planning our next trip?”.
A new place… definitely! It is absolutely wonderful to visit and explore new places. It teaches me something new each time and I too am able to share a bit of myself with the place and its people that was till then unknown to me.
There are a few significant things that immediately pop up when I retrospect on this. Somethings that travelling allow me and I absolutely, love about travelling.
One, we get to spend quality time as travel buddies. In our regular, daily life we are so pre-occupied with ‘me and my activities’, that we literally have to battle it out to snatch time together. Even meal times differ some days. We converse on the same topics; work, school and home. Travel allows us that much required time to ‘connect’. Whether as friends, lovers, quarrelling-twosome, decision-makers; Roop and I reconnect, reassure and reaffirm our realationship on varied levels. Drisana, ‘the nut to our bolt’; she and I spend lot of time together and we keep each other abreast with eventful accounts of our everyday life. My relationship with her is more or less defined firstly, as a mother and then, a friend. However, travelling ignites her strong individual personality. She can be a pain if she puts her mind to it. Has to counter argue to everything that we suggest. I end up losing my temper and snapping at her and categorically, commanding her to tow the line. I either agree wholeheartedly or disagree unconditionally to her demands / wishes from the very onset and she also does not try much in changing my outlook. The equation with ‘daddy’ is at sharp contrast. Every suggestion / matter they do not agree on is usually settled after never-ending debates and arguements till either one of them is able to convince the other. These debates are both so immature and thought-provoking that they leave me incredulous. They continue through walks, train / bus rides, activities; on and on, they can continue. Peevishly, they put their heart and soul into these debates and drive me crazy. But once settled, they are back to being the fun-loving father and talking-down daughter and, presented half the chance, quickly gang up against me and shut me up. I am yet to witness any other father-daughter / child bond over recurring fights. They can be so annoying but I marvel at how this relationship is getting nurtured and stonger over their quarrels and differences in opinion and finally, managing to get the other to accept their respective viewpoints. We bond not only within the confines of a family but as INDIVIDUALS during our travels.
Reflecting! General or otherwise, reflections, travelling ensures that. Spending time with myself during downtimes or while waiting for our boat / train /bus rides. I love to lose myself in the moment and surroundings and, reflect. It can be anything. It could be a set of swings that brings back childhood memories or an old couple sitting beside me or an article I read in the newspaper that morning. I sit lost in thought till the hoot of an approaching boat or a shoutout from Drisana brings me back to reality. Past, present and the distant future merges and leaves me feeling amazed and thankful for Life in all its all-inclusiveness.
Travel enables another vital luxury to us. While our trips are usually family vacations, we ensure that each one us get to do at least, one activity that we indivdually desire. Besides all the activities and time we spend together, we chart out days and events to cater to our individual needs. So, I usually book Roop a sports event, a Jazz night or a photography class and a flim-screening, play or musical for myself. And since Drisana cannot be left to herself, Roop and I take turns in accompanying her for an activity that she prefers; a Harry Potter / Disneyland experience or a Guitar workshop. Oftentimes, I am left being the undisputed accompanying adult as father and daughter get on with another of their ridiculous fights. Nevertheless, this setup ensures that all three of us enjoy our vacation and return home happy.
So, travelling for me / us is so much more than just visiting and exploring a new place. It is about exploring the different dimensions within us and evolving as individuals, it is about encouraging individual choices and the freedom to just be, it is about asserting our individuality as well as holding up together as an unit, a dysfunctional one, albeit.