Travel As A Traveller And Not A Tourist!

There is a difference!

There is always a difference that you and I… don’t understand.

I always travelled at places like a tourist.

Like, I’m there just to see the place and not to understand it.

Like, I couldn’t hear those winds and those squirrels, jumping trees to trees.

I played snakes and ladders, I played Bowl – a –rama, but all I couldn’t play is jumping jacks.

For all I knew, I was there for you; to check on your puddled shoe.

I never ever knew there were synonyms for squirrels around the world.

Because, all I did was not paying attention.

I would happily call that ‘Chipmunk’ by my hypocoristic name and expect her to hear me back,

For all I neglect, by heart, her oxymoron reality.

She forgives me every single time for not knowing her breed, just to give me space to pull a boner again.

And I, yes, like always, I fail to recall one more time; her materiality.

How uneducated, untaught and unschooled I was to confound her pain.

And there I was…

All shut up,

All unbalanced and senile,

To look up to the benign sky, for my misapprehension.

All these years, I never thought it was important enough to know about a particular place or about a particular community. Being a Gujarati, I could hardly make a difference between a Madarasi and a Malayali. And, not because I was not educated enough but because I simply didn’t make effort to know.

In the same way, I would just visit the place and come back. Yes, I would see the gliding tress and graceful water but I would never question their realities. I accepted the place as it is. I accepted the place as it was shown in my 4th grade’s geographic textbook. There was no difference in me after my travels. I would just be the same. I would not be a little marginal intelligent among my folks. All because of pure legit ignorance.

The pictures in the wallpapers wowed me then as it wow me now. However: with a cosmic difference. It wowed me then as I would get to see my text book pictures live and it wow me now as I would get to learn about the place in its true sense. I would pre-search about the place, about the food, about the people, about the air, about the water and most importantly about the language.

I pre-learn some of the words of that particular language in advance. It is not because I face problem in communicating with the community but because I want to converse with the locals in its true originality. I want to have that same accent, I want to hear that same accent like I had heard them in the television, and I want to know them in their own way.

I want to change for them like earlier they changed for me albeit I landed in their own town. I want to eat their food as per their choice and not interrupt my own taste. I want to drink the water in the same way as they drink and not in my style. I want to dress up in their costumes and not mine. I want to dance like them and not like how I twirl my feet. I want to sing their hymns and not mine like I do in my sleepy voice. I want to sleep like them and wake up like them, I want to speak like them and listen like them, I want to turn like them and swirl like them, I want to climb like them and swim like them. All I know is, I want to be like them for the next 5 days.

Exactly like them!

No pushing, no gushing, no smashing.

Just like them, all calm and jamb.

We often travel to a destination in the name of a travel but when someone asks us regarding the place and culture and traditions and political party!!! We are often speechless.

We spend lots of money just to make our wallpapers live but we never make a little effort to know about a place, about its origin, about its history and its victory.

If we don’t know about a place, we should not travel or make a big about it. It is like staying in the same apartment for years and not knowing your next door neighbours. You just live for the sake of living. In the same way, you just travel for the sake of travelling.

You walk and talk like a tourist and not a traveller.

A traveller in true sense doesn’t need a tourist guide. A traveller cultivates his own habits of exploration. A traveller would be able to explain the routes of the unexplored parameters of that place to everyone once asked. A traveller would be able to talk and sound like a local when he’s back. A traveller would explore every possible inch of the place just because of the burning curiosity in his pump. A traveller would be a guest in the stranger land.

Feel it.

Live it.

Sulk it.

The world is all yours and you have the ability to know it all…

Next time, you go for a destination…

Be loud, be mad, be humble and be a traveller and not a TOURIST.

There is a difference.

There is always a difference which you and I… will know!

If you have such stories in your life, do share with me at Readywithriya@gmail.com