Tales of travel …

Do you ever wonder, why is the fad of ‘leave your job and travel the world’ becoming a rage among millennials? Why are we saving and then giving up our high paying jobs for which we work all our lives, to travel like nomads? Why is travel becoming more of a necessity rather than a luxury or leisure activity? Is it about taking pictures, selfies, Facebook check-ins, Instagram stories? Well, NO! Maybe for a few but that cannot be the sole motivation for an entire generation. So, what is it really about travel that makes this generation, that is most often touted to be couch potatoes, to leave the comforts of Swiggy, Netflix, Beam etc and travel?

I believe that there are two reasons for which anybody looks to travel. First is change. We are so used to the non-permanency of everything in life, friends, places, people, governments that a settled routine is almost scary. Even people living on the most beautiful hill station or beach city would be seeking a chance to travel, explore the world beyond the horizon of their town.

Second is the curiosity to know people and their culture. It is almost like reading a story with all the characters playing their parts in front of you. I remember travelling solo to Thun – a small car free town in Switzerland. It was a perfect sunny and pleasant day. I had started from Basel and was to go via Bern. As I entered the train, I saw a lady, who perhaps was in her early sixties. Wearing a delicate pearl set and dressed a light but bright peach blouse and a knee-length black skirt, her eyes seemed to beckon me. I occupied the empty seat opposite to her. She gave me a wide soothing smile. She sat daintily with her handkerchief clutched in her hand, reminding me a lot of my grandmother back in India. As we began to talk, she told me that she was going to Bern to meet her school friends. They try to meet at least once every year and she would be joined by her friend at Olten. As we reached Olten her friend joined us. The genuine happiness of meeting a friend after a long time spread across her face. And she sat turning towards her, placing her hands on her friend’s and they chatted all the way to Bern in hushed excited tones. And when we finally reached Bern, they got off the train. As the train started moving towards my destination, I saw the two other ladies joining them with warm hugs and smiles. I still have a broad smile on my face when I remember this incident. This, rather than the beauty of the stream and castle in Thun, was the highlight of my trip.

So, I guess we travel to draw inspiration, waiting for that epiphany to strike, that will make everything clear, that may occur while talking to a stranger on a train or seeing a musician playing on the streets or seeing an octogenarian couple relax in a park.



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