We all have dreams – some realistic, some not-so-realistic – yet we dream because that’s what makes us feel alive! I was reading a book, The Shooting Star, in which the writer (a traveler) wrote – “Sitting by Lake Annecy in France, you once told me I didn’t have to settle for an average life. I decided not to…” These words kept echoing in my ears as I rolled under the blanket, still thinking about it – “an average life – is that what I deserve?”
Being brought up in an otherwise middle-class urban society, things have always been very clearly stated to me. Life, for my family and everyone else around me, means having a secured job, a stable paycheque, a nice house, a fancy car – in short, all that makes life look good. Sitting in a cubicle facing the desktop for 8 odd hours every day, I miss out the earthy smell of the first showers and the downpour that washes off my city! Is this what I want to call ‘a good life?’
The itch for wanderlust isn’t something new to me, as I’ve been feeling this for more than a couple of years now! But surely, with every passing day, I’ve gained the courage to believe in myself & to break free of the mundane. While most of the people around me are choosing to settle, I choose to unsettle.
“Why do you want to travel?” – has become a pretty common question that I have been facing every now and then. While I successfully get to convince some about my thoughts, others fail to understand how one can be on a vacation for so long! To make it clear for everyone out there, traveling and vacationing are absolutely different concepts. While the former adheres to a more experiential journey, the latter is about a relaxing break that most of the urbanites seek!
So, Why I want to travel the world? – There are several reasons behind it, but let me share the ones that I feel are the most important.
I want to travel the world to know all that the textbooks never taught me! I want to see where the world first started. The Ottoman Empire, the Greeks, the Romans, the Elizabethan Age, the French Revolution, World War I & II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and many other historical moments about which I’ve just read a line or two – or maybe a paragraph at best! I want to visit all those places that have witnessed history! I want to spend time at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall, the Louvre, the Statue of Liberty, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and every other monument that were once inspired by war or peace. These are the places where the destinies of several people have been written and history has been marked, and that right there is a huge reason as to why I want to travel the world.
I want to travel the world to meet other people. Meeting people who are different in ethnicities, religion, socioeconomic status, those who speak a different language and have a different way of life, can be an eye-opening experience. These people, whom we meet on our way can become a life-long friend or a lover, or maybe a mentor, or a short-term companion and have the ability to open our eyes to a world that we have never known before. Every time I’m traveling, I come across interesting people on the road – many of whom leave a mark on my heart & mind. I met an 11-year-old boy while exploring Spiti (a tiny valley tucked between the India Tibet border, surrounded by the Himalayas), and he, who was half my age, had more knowledge of Buddhism than anyone I’ve ever met! A tuk-tuk driver in Siem Reap (Cambodia) cared for me like a brother, shared his life tales with me and showed me his city, ensuring that I don’t miss out on anything! During my journey in Nepal, I met a bunch of college students, who had traveled all the way from the Netherlands, to volunteer at an orphanage and teach English in Kathmandu, making me believe that there are empathetic youngsters in this world who have the courage to think for others before thinking about themselves. It’s an undeniable fact that traveling is the only way through which we can meet different people and understand that life for them is probably not the same as ours, yet beautiful bonds can bloom – and that’s a reason why I want to travel the world.
I want to travel the world to savor the taste of the authentic cuisines. Food is the basis of culture for the entire world and I’m driven by the thought of tasting the freshness of Italian pizza, French escargot, Ireland’s Guinness, Pad Thai Noodles in Thailand, Australia’s fresh seafood, South African BBQ, Japanese sushi, and more. These foods symbolize the uniqueness of that specific country, and you’ll never experience the joy of eating Paella at an authentic Spanish joint in Valencia while eating at the fanciest Spanish cafe in your city! The recipes and ingredients that are used in particular cultures, add a twist to the dish that we can never find anywhere else! As shown in the famous Hollywood movie – Eat. Pray. Love. there is no better way to experience the life in another land, than by eating!
Lastly, I want to travel for I feel I wasn’t born to be in one place! Whether it’s about trekking through the snowclad stretches of the Himalayas or diving deep to get closer to the corals at the Great Barrier Reef, whether it’s about meeting a friend who lives on the outskirts of Kraków or exploring the villages of Bangladesh where my grandparents were born – I want to travel for the sake of traveling! I want to go back to my roots, wake up in unknown cities, strike a conversation with a stranger, sleep under the starlit sky and soak in the beauty of the world.
In short, I want to travel the world because I want to write the best stories about myself, that can never unfold in a sedentary lifestyle!