Monday, August 24, 2009

postcard from j: what i learnt from my sojourn...

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It's been more than a week since I got back from my last-minute trip to Mangalore and Bangalore. This was NOT a holiday as most people believe. And as the days wore on, I knew it was the right thing to do. All the long-distance travel was solo – train from Mumbai to Mulki (Dakshin Kannad), bus from Kinnigoli to Bengaluru and finally flight out of the Garden City back home to Mumbai – and it was very important I spent a lot of time being by myself and away from the chaos that is Mumbai.

I'm not sure if the trip fulfilled its purpose entirely, but it just felt great being on my own for a bit and as I look back, I realise there have been quite a few lessons from my 8-day jaunt:

1. First and foremost, it is extremely important to take a break from people sometimes. Coming from an HR person, that sounds ironical. But trust me, this has been one of the most significant learnings on this trip. Okay, I can't really take a complete break from people, but at least a break from people that I live with, work with, or see every single day.

2. I may not have returned with any life-altering solutions to any of my problems but my time away taught me to see things in a new light. That it's crucial to hit the "pause" button to my crazy routine and get away to just stop and smell the flowers.

3. Travelling solo gives you the time to think without anyone interfering in your thoughts. Time then becomes a gift, not something you had to kill.

4. As a woman going solo also meant I had to be more aware of my surroundings, more alert to sounds, sights, smells... Safety of self and stuff was a priority, and that made me more observant to people, movement, and whatnot.

5. Travel is definitely one of the best investments one can make. It is education, adventure, fun, bliss – all rolled into one giant experience and much more.

6. There's no better friend than a good book on your journeys. My book companion this time around was Khaled Hosseini's 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', which was long overdue.

7. Make a memory. Or two. It's so easy now to capture moments around you with a digicam. But can you capture the wonderful aroma of piping hot sambhar as the vadas drown themselves in it? Or the serenity of that lovely chapel you stopped by on your way? Or that feeling of wonderful anticipation when you hear the approaching rain clouds? Nah, no digicam or modern technology can help capture those moments. Just close your eyes and make a memory for yourself.

Well, these are some random learnings I've had. I'd like to hear if anyone out there has anything like this to share from their travels.

PS: Also, hope this post marks a return to blogging more frequently :)

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