Some people are meant to hit the road, explore new horizons and be a traveller while some are always enthused to be a couch potato, linger in the cosiness of their beds and not move at all. Unfortunately for my father, I was the latter kind as a little kid.
And evidently, he was quite disappointed with the fact that I find solace in the company of no one than my own, refused to go on the various camps and treks my friends went to and nevertheless was someone who never looked forward to travelling, even if that meant going to a friend’s birthday few kilometres away.
And though I had been a peaceful baby on board as a toddler, growing up I became a cranky, not so accommodating kid who had no quality a true traveller should posses. The moment my father started realising this, he made sure we had frequent, extended trips to places near-by and far-off (one of his excuses why we travelled so much) that gradually helped me evolve as a person and inculcated little values that go along the way.
On this Father’s Day, I would want to thank my father for these 8 things travelling with him taught me:
1. Never say never
When once I almost called off a class trip because I had little fever, my father envisioned the time when I would be home asking to be nursed and taken care of, while my friends would be having fun exploring new places. Convincing as he was, he made sure I went on that trip and rightfully so, I had one of the best times of my life!
2. You can’t learn everything at school
All the informative, exhaustive and extensive tours we had through the forts of Maharashtra taught me more about the Maratha history, a heartfelt visit to the Chittaurgarh recreated the horrendous ‘Johar’ right in front of my eyes and after camps in the rustic jungles of India, botany became a tad bit easy.
The more people I met, the more states I saw, I understood the real meaning behind unity in diversity and was, definitely, more proud of my country.
3. Life lies beyond the comforts of our home
When I cribbed about being in the same set of clothes after we lost our luggage on an international trip, he said he enjoyed not having to change and shave just like he would do every day before going to work and he really felt like he was on a vacation . According to him, if we had everything just like we would at home, what was the point travelling so far.
This made me realise the true life lies outside the comforts of our home.
4. If you never try you’ll never know
He insisted on me trying out every experience that came our way whenever we spanned across the country. Be it driving on a curvy highway on a rainy evening, living in a camper in Rome and having bird’s nest soup for dinner in a petite village of Sikkim, he insisted on me trying new things all the time, that have made me explore the new and the exciting all the time!
(I haven’t really got there, but I’m on my way)
5. Change is beautiful
So what if every country is not accommodating as the other, so what if they speak a totally different language and what if I am not able to spot one familiar face when you are hopping countries, my dad taught me that change is not just inevitable but is refreshing. And as a human being, we have a wonderful capacity to enjoy dark clouds today and sunshine tomorrow!
6. Happiness lies in little things
Who said all your trips need to be fancy, international and just the way someone else had! Happiness lies in exploring scenic waterfalls tucked just a drive away from your hometown, it thrives in little towns where you can paddle your way on petite streets, making new friends in a foreign land and just discovering yourself all over again!
7. Love has no boundaries
On many of our travels, my dad made sure we clicked with the locals, people coming from different countries, even from the countries we had strong apprehensions against.
He shared contacts with all those who wanted to visit India and made sure we understood that love knows no language and has no boundaries.
8. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey
He is still a little gloomy when we don’t get a window seat on a plane, bus or a train. I ask him, after all these years; why do you always want a window view and he has his answer ready; it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the paths that lie on the way.
I smile and stop worrying if the place we are visiting is going to be just the way I imagined and start focussing on the journey that we have embarked on.
This is when I realised how journeys with my father have made me a traveller.