Pack your bags, get set, go!

Pack your bags, get set, go!

"Again? Didn't you just come back from a trip?" That's one of the most common - and annoying - responses I have to deal with whenever the discussions revolve around travel. It amazes me how anyone could think of travelling as a waste of time and money.

Some people travel because they have to. Some people travel because they want to. And then, there are those who don't need a raison d'tre. It's a way of life. Experiencing diverse cultures and traditions, getting out of one's comfort zone, exploring new ways of living, taking in new perspectives, teaching children life lessons they can't possibly learn in a classroom, connecting with new people, building self-confidence, appreciating things and people they tend to take for granted, making life-long memories

That's not to say that travel is always fun. Think of the serpentine queues and endless wait at the airports, the vain attempts at communication in a foreign land, the (often) bland food and gastric tormentsHowever, as a wise soul has rightly said, "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." So, don't get disheartened by the not-so-pleasant experiences along the way; it's all part and parcel of the great adventure called life.

Before you pack your bags and take off on that summer holiday, though, let's look at the motley bunch of travellers you are likely to encounter - their quirks and their style of travel. Of course, one could belong to more than one category. And even adopt different personas on different holidays. Because no two travels are the same, even when the destination and travellers seem unchanged.

The master planner

It's all about meticulous planning. From the packed itinerary (in sync with weather conditions) to the most strategically located hotel and food joints along the trail, everything is well-researched. The master planner leaves nothing to chance. And, God forbid, if something were to go wrong, there's always Plan B (and C) to fall back on. In case you are travelling with a master planner, there's nothing much you can do, except follow the plan - to the T. Yes, it can get tiring. But being on a vacation is no excuse to be sloppy!

The nomad

The polar opposite of the master planner, the nomad has no concrete travel ideas. He's forever going with the flow, acting on an impulse, hitching rides in a foreign land, sharing meals with strangers. It's perfectly normal for the nomad to book a last-minute flight ticket, without worrying about accommodation or other logistical issues. He's too cool to care!

As amazing as it is to be a nomad, it isn't easy to travel with one. To avoid panic attacks, have at least an emergency local contact - say, a cousin's fianc's friend who lives in the city. Otherwise, it's not such a bad idea to wander every once in a while. Because, as the famous saying goes, not all those who wander are lost.

The lone ranger

Somewhere between the master planner and the nomad lies the lone ranger. She may take a solo vacation simply because she feels like it. Or, maybe, she needs an emotional detox. A free spirit, she likes her creature comforts and doesn't hesitate to splurge on a good spa or scuba diving session.

It's best not to intrude into a lone ranger's space. Not that they are asocial by nature. But as they ponder over life's truths on a sun-kissed secluded beach, no company is the best company.

The addict

Forget the room with the view. The smartphone addicts are more interested in the room with Wi-Fi. "What's the password?" That's their first question at the hotel reception. But it is not just about smartphones, people are addicted to different things. So what if you are on an African safari. That's no excuse to miss the gym, right? The most amusing addicts are those who can't think beyond food - ghar ka khana or home-cooked food, that is. Trust them to hunt down an Indian restaurant in Italy and order biryani for lunch. No pastas, lasagnes, and gastronomic experiments for them.

Travelling with the addict - to borrow a poetic line - is comic for those who think and tragic for those who feel.

The proof-is-in-the-photo traveller

When they are on vacation, the whole world and its cousin knows it! The real-time deluge of touristy photographs on WhatsApp groups, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every possible social media ensures that their purpose of travel is served. For, social acceptance reigns supreme. Finland becomes their next travel destination because Anushka and Virat went on their honeymoon there, remember? Imagine taking photographs in the same locations as the celeb newly-weds and posting them online! Good luck to you, if you are with the proof-is-in-the-photo traveller. Keep that selfie-pout ready and if time permits, do try to enjoy your vacation.

Those were just my top five favourite kinds of travellers. There are many, many more. The merrymakers, who can't think beyond food and drinks; the thrill seekers, who are willing to jump off cliffs and swim with sharks in oceans - all for that adrenaline rush; the apathetic ones, who aren't remotely interested in the place or any of the activities; the high-flyers, who don't mind shelling out extra bucks for five-star hotel rooms and first-class flights on a much-deserved break from the routine; the groupies, who cherish the chaos of group travel and can't ever imagine going solo; the romantics, who seem immune to the nostalgia and annoyance that their PDAs cause others; the cribbers, who always have something to complain about - from the complimentary breakfast to the attitude of the locals - out loud; the chatter boxes, who have an unlimited stock of uninspiring stories that nobody really wants to listen to

You know, who I envy the most? The long-term travellers, who take off for months (or years) to explore countless places, soak up new cultures, learn different languages, sample varied cuisines, interpret the world in novel ways. Ah, what a life! I think TS Eliot would approve. Several years ago, when I first read his Four Quartets, I didn't quite fathom its layered beauty. "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time," he wrote.

I have decided not to get upset when the next time someone asks me, "Again? Didn't you just come back from a trip?"

 

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