There are moments in everyone’s life that define and pave the path to his or her own personal quests. Instances that change who you are or sometimes even bring out what you really are deep inside.
Eight years ago, on an idle Saturday I walked into The Crossword store in Bandra, Bombay and as if destiny was pulling me, for the first time in my life I entered the travel section.
It was shouting out to me with its 1500 pages – The Lonely Planet India. In a trance, I picked it up, closed my eyes and opened a chapter – Pondicherry.
I read with awe, it was the first travel guide I was reading despite having had family holidays twice a year growing up.
I remember distinctly, getting out of the store, calling my parents and telling them, I was going to Pondicherry, alone. I presume they must have thought I’m bonkers. I never gave them a chance to tell me that.
All the biggest decisions in my twenties were made on a whim and a call to my parents. Something that has changed in my thirties. I am much more guarded and analytical today.
The trip to Pondicherry was no ‘Eat, pray, Love’. I didn’t find peace, my inner self or a soul mate but I became contemplative, self-assured and quiet. I loved being alone with myself; I enjoyed my own company for the first time in years. Most importantly, I discovered how traveling made me feel. Nothing has felt as joyous than travel ever since that trip.
Since then, I have taken several trips alone to different parts of the world. I still pick a map, close my eyes and choose where I should go.
In a few days I embark on a solo trip to Holland and The Czech Republic.
That idle Saturday afternoon comes to my mind as I prep my camera and my travel bag. Each day, each trip since then has been a different kind of journey; I have evolved and changed in both negative and positive ways – as a traveler, as a person and as a woman to reach a point today where it all seems to begin again.
This time I pack my bags with things and also with a few years of toil, questions, arguments, answers, regrets, guild, resentments. I pack them all.
It’s time not just to visit another country and meet new people. It’s time to let go of some extra baggage, go back to the whim of that Saturday eight years ago. to meet the person who had that whim, once again.
It’s time to shed every thing that adorns my soul and begin again.
To renew, regrow and reboot.