Getting away from it all

The many stories of travelling

The sea stretches before you, a vast expanse of an unbelievable turquoise, as a salt-kissed zephyr caresses your skin… The mountains rise to the sky, with verdant slopes and icy jagged peaks… Gardens riot with plush green and colourful blooms… Pine forests surround you, so dense and green you can feel the coolness and smell the pineyness

“Ree … solpa jaaga bidi!”

You jerk back into reality which happens to be the hot, sticky, smelly, jerky, crowded bus or metro rail carriage in which you are travelling to work. The personal space that social psychologists have endowed you with has been invaded by five, make it six, people. That’s when you decide you’ll get away from it all and travel. As people jostle you from before and squeeze from behind, you picture yourself finding inner peace in front of a golden Buddha, parasailing over a picturesque bay, or eating street food on a rickety sidewalk table. As you endure the willy-nilly relocation of your internal organs, the sirens of travel whisper seductive messages in your ear, promising unlimited adventure or utter peace, along with cheap souvenirs and unbelievable selfies, and you decide you’re just going to leave.But, is travel really that straightforward? First, you’ve got to take time off from your indentured labour, sorry, work. Your pesky sister just had to get married this year, and that stupid flu didn’t wait for a three-day weekend to infect you. So, time off is just a pipe dream. As for the money, you’ve already budgeted and pre-spent at least your next 10 years’ salary on various EMIs, so your money is tied up tighter than an aircraft carrier during a storm.

Even if you do get some time off, you’ve to do the scheduling. If Einstein hadn’t discovered spacetime, you would have. The ways in which you try to synchronise your time off with your friends and/or spouse would tie any self-respecting clock up into pretzels. But you finally do come up with a good itinerary and…

That’s when you find that everybody on God’s not-so-green-anymore Earth has had the same idea as you at the same time and booked the self-same mode of transportation you’ve chosen. Every bus, train, airplane, ship, bicycle and blimp is full-up on the days you want to travel. Honestly, if you want to travel to Mars for a vacation on May 23, 2027, you’ll find that all seats are booked and you’re on the wait list.

Oh, you have children? Welcome to a special section of Hades. If you have children and want to get away from ‘it all’, sorry, but you might have to take ‘it all’ with you. You can’t board them like pets, so unless you’ve family or friends who’ll have them, they’re coming with you. Their school schedules, exams and holidays have to take precedence because they’re your biggest investment in life. Frankly, the exorbitant fees you pay every month could probably have bought you a beach bungalow in Aruba. And there are no more half-price tickets for children over two years of age, so you’re paying through your nose for a seat for a child who wants to sit anywhere but in that seat.

As for packing, don’t even get me started! You have to decide between packing the whole house into one small suitcase and just taking one change of clothes. Of course, there’s the simple truth about packing: however much or however little you pack, there will still be one important thing you neglected to bring.

But once you leave home, it all becomes magical! From the selfies on the train platform, bus stand or airport, every moment becomes bright, tinted with anticipation. Every glitch, hitch and problem is transformed into a story that you can share with jealous family, friends and colleagues on your return.

As for the moment you step into a new place, eager to see, do and experience… priceless! 

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Getting away from it all

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