Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bitten by a travel bug!

Travelling has been part of my life, from the time I remember myself. Mostly as getting uprooted from one place to another and then starting to live there. Along with this there has been touristic travelling, I have been part of.
I have liked most of them.

When went for touristic purposes, I always felt difficult to tear myself off and go back, where we missed visiting one or two spots due to lack or time or money or energy or all. Sometimes weather did not support us or we simply reached the place in wrong time. Museum/castle/palace/garden got closed as we reached late. Although these are minors. Just like few poppy seeds in a colourful carpeted floor.
Still I keep reminding them to myself and to the people around me and keep dreaming that one fine day I will be able to see, feel and enjoy that place.

The next time rarely comes.

Next time when we again sit to set our itinerary for a short trip or a big one. We check in internet and figure out that we don't have enough time or money and finally energy to see the whole of the place we are planning to. So we prioritise, heavily and new poppy seeds fill up my carpet .

Another part of our recent travel acts is that even in a family of three we do have different kinds of travellers.

I am the vagabond one, who wants little of everything, reading a book under the Olive tree, a museum telling about Van Gogh or Pablo Picasso, or about clock bearers in the black forest, walking on the farmers/antique markets, see that historical monument mostly a church or a castle where the last drops of sun lingers making bohemian shadows, a glass of table wine, just sitting near a fountain and watching local people hustling or relaxing in their daily lives, taste of local cuisine, eves dropping to hear the folklore, eye on the local art and culture, entering into the souvenir shops and buying books on that place, mountain passes or country roads, take a diversion from the planned itinerary towards an unknown direction and discover a new thing with a sense of getting lost in this big wide world and so on and on.

I know this is absurd being so detailed traveller with no sense of time and extreme hunger for seeing it all. May be I am too much influenced by the memoirs and travelogues and I want to get as much as possible from a place before leaving it.

There is a small one in our family who wants sand castles, slides, swings and shops as main part of her travels. Sometimes seeing a lake or a mountain range she says, "Waw! This scene is so beautiful I wish I had my sketch book with me. She is happy if we go somewhere touristic and then decide to stay indoors, so that she can play in the nooks and corners of that temporary living space of her, she can go up and down of the bunk bed or check functionalities of all the switches and furnitures. Recently she has also started looking and enjoying the available local food and asks whether it will be possible to make them in baking class. Her enjoyment includes going to the different shops on the motorways for stopovers. She finds it funny to see the soft toys and other stuff these shops sell. She tries and sometimes manage to get hold of some of them on the way through her own cheeky ways.

There is  yet another person who is very important for our travel trips, as he decides which transport we will be choosing for travelling. He is our time keeper and chauffeur till now. I dream of giving helping hand to him for driving at least in long travel routes, and time he can continue keeping it. He loves driving and most of the time (since last 7 years) our trips have been via roads. The other reasons for this choice are that in Europe, mostly roads are safe, cheap and comfortable to travel with a small child, friends or parents.  Another strong preference of his is to eat in leisure, sitting near to a grand monument or a view. Along with the travel spots he wants to keep in memory the ambience of the restaurants or streets where he have had his meals or coffee/ tea and snacks. He prefers holiday apartments over hotels. The reason is to have a sense of home even if we are travelling. Europe has good options for that. Living in many hundred years old houses decorated accordingly do add up to our trip's character. Also it saves us from spending too much money on small but extremely essential indulgence of ours like drinking tea or coffee at odd hours of a day and some lunch and dinners where we prefer to eat our homemade Indian rice, dal and chicken curry or grilled chicken (depending on the kitchen appliances and the available time). He does not like travelling on shoe string budgets.

So these three are member of our core travel group and many times friends / other family member join in.

I am nostalgic about train trips and the 'chug - chug' sound of old fashioned trains symbolises travel to me, travelling by roads is not enough romantic for me. I had therefore reservations for long road trips just as a family, where one will keep driving and other will look after the child. As a compromise therefore I always preferred to go in groups, mostly with like minded friends. Recently I must say I have started enjoying the road trips. But I have made it to a point that we do make affordable trips via trains whenever possible. Small one is a great supporter to me on this.

Unlike me, he does not feel any compulsion of getting escaped from the regular life. He will prefer not to travel if we don't have enough money for a sober trip. We have started balancing on some long trips and some short trips over the year, to care about the money and time available to a middle-class Indian family.

As he is the time keeper and I have no sense of time there arises sometimes some crisis. We have learned to keep going even upon disagreement about certain matters.

Museums and stuff, he doesn't like much but sometimes digests them because of me and sometimes he prefers to stay outside while I enter and satisfy my thirst about this world, mankind and its development!

Our small one have car sickness specially for uphill drives. Things are getting better with age. She also always had strong will about her food, she used to be extremely picky eater. There was one trip where she just wanted to eat sausages. The place was though famous for pizzas and pastas. It took us lots of time each meal time to find places who offers boiled or grilled sausages too. We were also accompanied by two friends of ours. They were still not parents and amazed to see how dutifully we were abiding the tantrums and not telling the small one a word or two. Anyway they got the answer when they got a kid and had to run to the shop early in the morning to buy packet of a particular kind of cereal as  the recently bought new packet of different cereal  was not acceptable by their small one. On a serious note we have learned to say a word or two to our small one as she is growing and now the rule is while we are travelling we all will eat properly as and when we get to eat as we don't know where we can get food again. This sense of adventure gives her appetite to eat! Also she has started being non-picky eater recently (after she reached 5, we agreed that she will always try a new food at least 2-3 times and if she does not like them even after that then she can refuse that - in most cases it is working) and therefore our search for sausages and likes along with travelling has humbled down to a great extent.

This, I hope is the beginning of a tale which will tell you many travelling stories about travels of an Indian family in several parts of this world. I hope with time this page will capture many travel moments of our lives, like this one day trip recently we had.


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  2. I started reading this post on a 'low spirited Saturday night' in every sense of the word - was half heartedly trying to get some work done. Suddenly, after reading this account of yours, I was transported in three dimensions and flung far off into each one of them (enjoying tea with all the ambience, watching people by the fountain and sausages galore ...:)). Awesome writeup!

  3. Interesting story. Thanks for sharing it.

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