I never bothered much about this word until I met my husband. When you come from a lower middle class family, the only thing travel means to you is using the local bus to get to school/college and back. Even auto rickshaws were considered a luxury back then. Apart from yearly visits to mom's maternal house four hours away from Bangalore, travel meant nothing else to me. Every summer we used to go visit mom's house in the Hassan district of Karnataka. It was the country side and the house was situated on the banks of a river. There were no fancy games or technological gadgets. It was just us cousins and an open ground to play in. We used to go fishing, trekking and played hopscotch endlessly. My vacations to Kerala were limited. We only went there when someone was getting married or when someone died.
Once I grew up and started working, travel meant business. I traveled to different countries on work and on a tight schedule. This left me little time to explore the place. Cal and I started dating around three and a half years ago. And I loved the way he talked about his travels with so much passion and interest. He loved travelling and has been a nomad since his first vacation. The first vacation we took together was to Mysore for new years eve 2012. We had a great time celebrating and after that we went out to explore the city. We did not have an itinerary planned, it was just impromptu. We checked out the little known places of Mysore and explored the local food. It was magical and I was in love. With the man and with travel.
A month later we traveled to Kodaikanal. This was an awesome trip. One day we just decided to go and the next day we were on the bus. Both of us do not like staying in fancy places like resorts and five star hotels. We explore the country side and stay in small cottages or service apartments. Here we stayed in a stone cottage overlooking the lake. It was heavenly. We did not make a list of the places to see. We never do infact. We just start walking and looking around. Although we do take pictures, we do not concentrate only on that. We like to enjoy the vacation by relaxing and soaking in the beauty of nature. We are travelers, not tourists.
A couple of months later, we went to the mother of all places. Goa. My first time and his fifth. He knew the place at the back of his hand and he showed me beautiful places there. We just rode and rode and let the road take us wherever it wanted to. The warmth in the air and the peace in our mind was enough to make this an awesome vacation. We ate at small joints in the streets and tried the local alcohol. We spoke to fishermen and befriended localites. It was an amazing experience and I was totally hooked to it. A few months later we were engaged and then began the preparations for the wedding. We had planned to go on an international honeymoon, but finances fell short. So we decided to go back to Goa and the best part was that the people that we had met before recognized us and were very happy to host us at their restaurants. That feeling was priceless. Since then Goa has been like like a second home to us and we visit there every year. Infact exactly this time next week, we will be there.
After the honeymoon, Cal and I have traveled to many many places. Since we are not homebodies, we try to take a vacation as often as we can afford it. Coorg, Munnar, Delhi, Agra; we have been to every place with zero expectations and loads of enthusiasm. If you travel as a tourist you will only focus on covering as many places as possible and taking pictures. But when you go as a traveler, you get to enjoy the smaller joys of life. And that is what we do. No fancy hotels, no exquisite food, no photo hoarding. Just relaxing and enjoying every second of the vacation. When travelling, we try to stay as local as possible. Stay local, eat local. That is the joy in travelling. If I had to go stay in a resort I can do the same in Bangalore itself. Why travel?
Travel has bought us closer and it is another common passion that we share. We just pick a place and book our tickets. We book local home stays as much as we can. We do not ask for guides instead we ask for help from the localites to explore the areas. And until now every experience has been wonderful. Travel will always feature on our agenda and we plan to travel as often and as much as we can.
What's your take on travel?
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