Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rollercoaster, anyone?

Imagine this.

A pause-stop-look-go route that passes through major tourist points in the country. Be warned – this is not for the faint hearted.

Let’s get more specific.

Connect the dots.

Mumbai >> Aurangabad >> Mandu >> Gir Forest >> Ahmadabad >>> Bhuj >> Mount Abu >> Udaipur >> Chittorgarh >> Ajmer >> Jaipur - Kumbhalgarh >> Jodhpur >> Jaisalmer >> Bikaner >> Delhi >> Chandigarh >> Amritsar >> Gulmarg >> Srinagar >> Leh >> Pahalgam >> Manali >> Simla >> Mussorie >> Badrinath >> Corbett National Park >> Nainital >> Mathura >> Agra >> Lucknow >> Kanpur >> Gwalior >> Sanchi >> Kanha National Park >> Khajuraho >> Lumbini >> Sarnath >> Varanasi >> Banaras >> Bagdogra >> Darjeeling >> Gangtok >> Manas >> Kaziranga National Park >> Imphal >> Shilling >> Patna >> Bodh Gaya >> Kolkata >> Shantiniketan >> Durgapur >> Bokaro >> Konark >> Bhubaneswar >> Bhillai >> Puri >> Vishakhapatnam >> Hyderabad >> Tirupati >> Chennai >> Kanchipuram >> Mahabalipuram >> Pondicherry >> Tanjor >> Madurai >> Rameshwaram >> Cape Comorian >> Kanyakumari >> Kovalam >> Trivandrum >> Periyar >> Cochin >> Tiruchapalli >> Coimbatore >> Ootacamund >> Mudumalai >> Mysore >> Bangalore >> Belur >> Hampi >> Goa >> Mumbai! (Phew!) (And yet there is so much I have not touched upon yet!)

Catch your breath first. You were warned – this format of travelling is not meant for the faint hearted ones. Maybe we can design something light, delicate and yet totally refreshing even for our light weight travelers. Food for thought, isn’t it?

Travel season is coming up fast. People tend to travel lots during holidays. In Indian context, it would be three main tourist seasons> during-before-after Diwali, Christmas and the summer holidays. So, this being the last day of September, most people will be either looking for travel plans or wondering what to this holiday season.

Here’s the plan.

If you noticed, the idea is to go around in a circle, starting from Mumbai (home is where the heart is!) moving towards the west, deep into the Thar, out at Delhi, up north from there, move from the Himalayan baseline and take a loop to go to central India slide back into the north eastern region, glide down from east to down south, and soar back up hitting goa and back to point one – ready to start all over again!

Like I mentioned before, nothing is very permanent or fixed about this route and it can be easily, wit fully and willfully modified as per personal discretion. So, a person can choose to skip places or add new ones or move from node to node, etc. The choice is yours.

This holiday season make that choice. Step up and step out. Go where you have never gone before.

What we have is just a generic route – unless you are completely nomad – this route still does not make complete sense. Madness, you say? There is always method to madness, I say.

Most importantly, keep watching this space. There is more to tell. This is not it, not yet, at least.

“All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Where do we go from here?

All glory comes from daring to begin. Time for me to revel in that glory now.

The vast geographical, cultural & psycho graphical diversity of India – thoroughly deserving a healthy description – is a topic so mind boggling that we shall dwell on this at another point of time.

Right at the inception, let me re-iterate, this is not your regular blog where people discuss people, places and/or travel experiences. This is the place for travel nerds like me – who try to reach out far beyond that.

Nomenclature is the social order which will helps in differentiating product/services from other entities in the environment. So, let me start by calling it India-Go. The objective here is to create a flexible pan-India route aimed at travelers who travel – just because. This is what we have so far. (Recommended reading last blog upwards for complete details!)

Now, in order to start converting this concept to reality, we need to start working on the blue print. Travelling in India is hardly one-size fits all. So, we too shall diversify. One oft-used method is to go for a geographical split by dividing land/states as north, south, east, west and sometimes, central zone. The path this way is so well-beaten, it has somehow lost its charm with me. Although, I hate to agree, it may seem to be the most functional as it has been in use for quite some time.

However, I will choose to digress as far as this is concerned. What I work out can be a city-to-town-to-village-to-city-network or any other way in which it may work out. The beauty of the whole idea is that it is totally non-restrictive – and yes, you are not even expected to want to know where you want to go. All that is needed here is that you WANT to get going.

Have a quick glance at the map. It is not exact, to be honest. But it talks a lot. It talks about the vast diversity that is India and the fact that there is always going to be so much more to do. So, first break the cluttered mindset of having a pre-planned schedule of what to do, where to go, what to see, what to eat, etc.

All mental and psychological barriers should be out of the way by now.

Stay hooked on. I shall be back very very soon to unveil more.

What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do - especially in other people's minds. When you're traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. ~William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A step further

Life, the way I see it, is a long road. It's more than just about reaching a destination. It's definitely not about who walks tallest, fastest or richest. It's all about enjoying the journey. Truly said, the means define the ends. And I believe in happy endings.

No. Not the kind of happy ending in Enid Bylton's or Walt Disney's aspirations. Those, I know for sure, do not exit - in any form whatsoever. What I essentially believe in is the end of this journey called life.

And this journey is not just theoretical.

I believe, there comes a point in all our lives when we wish to venture farther. To be more. To see more. To do more. More than just who we are as a person. These are the real journeys. Journeys that bring you home. That bring you closer to being who you are. The Journey within. The one that penetrates the layers of skin, blood, bones - inward journeys - journey within the deeper layer of the soul.

When I travel outwardly, I know what I really attempt here are journeys that help me look within.
Time to elaborate this idea further.

First things first. Honestly, one can only patiently look within when the external environment is soothing & calm. Hence, when we travel (physically or psychologically!) one of the basic necessities is essentially a calming external environment.

A lot of us, including me, travel to regain that inner peace. I especially love traveling when I am disturbed and like to be left to myself. And I am sure there are many other who choose to peek into their inner sanctum sanctorum by being themselves in a totally new or different place.

While your reason to travel might be different, the urge to travel always remains the same. If not for inner peace, some of us just like the quiet introspection. Here you might say that travelling is not necessary, however, usually most of us live such packed lives and are living so many parallel lives at the same time, that unless there is a change of time, space & location, it becomes well nigh impossible.

Now, coming back to the realities of our lives. I am not sure how many, but I am sure a lot of us would really like to make many more such journeys. I intend to help. Simple.

More than the help here being a negative factor, I want to position it as a positive facet. Trust me, it is not difficult to fill a bag, buy a ticket and move. It is not. I can say this because I have done this myself. At a personal level, when the realities of the real world become too difficult to digest, I choose to digress. When I do that, I am not looking at fancy 5-stars hotels, palaces, sight seeings, 2AC/Executive class bookings, etc. That is usually the last thing on my mind or itinerary.

Understanding this very underlying feeling, I think the best thing to offer travellers is that inner peace. And make no mistakes, I don't promise "fulfilling" trips to Ajanta, Sanchi or any such place. I know such travellers don't want tour guides or itineraries - and I don't feel the need to offer those. If that is what one is looking for, there are dime-a-dozen such other places to go to.

What I really plan is building a pan-India route.

Besides covering all major points in each and every state, this route will essentially act as a system. It shall be friendly, warm & comfortable - keep no doubt about it. However, it shall only help you negotiate getting to these places. Once at the destination - travellers need no real compasses, let your heart lead you
way and you will surely leave beautiful trails in your minds. It is essentially a route, but not fixed. And it goes without saying, the usual sights shall be skipped (unless the traveller chooses so themselves!). The map, the guide rail - shall take you through almost unknown beautiful serenades throughout the country. There shall be no obligation to go start through end. You can choose to join from wherever to wherever, whenever. Arrangements shall be made.

Before you rubbish the idea off, give it a deep thought. I already understand the difficulties while laying such elaborate plans. It's just a very different audience that I wish to cater to. Very niche in a sense.

My gut feeling says it all makes sense. What does your worldly sense say?

(Keen to hear what you think about it!)

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." -- Jawaharal Nehru

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Time Travelling

Hello again!

Time to take things a little more further.

As a traveller, one does not always move forwards or in newer places/directions. Sometimes we indulge in time travelling too!

I have been wondering how to take my ideas forward in a fun-filled, profitable manner that not only speaks volumes about the destinations that it shall go to, but also thoroughly enjoys the journey! Now you may wonder where and when does an MBA student find the time to indulge in such luxuries such as free time, let me remind you that thinking can actually be multi tasked. While performing the mundane everyday tasks - washing or ironing clothes, walking towards mess/academic block/hostel, while working out in the gym. Deep thoughts usually occur when your head and ears are submerged with your head-down in the swimming pool. That is when I think of travelling, of backpacking away, of visiting places that are far away and I can only yet imagine them in my mind's eyes. But I am sure of one thing - I know I shall get there one day.

So, coming back to time traveling. I have to admit, I tend to learn a lot of lessons from introspection and not forgetting the lessons that life has taught me the hard way.

Here is a brief look at some of the things that travelling has taught me
* Travel is pure pleasure, ecstasy that is so great - I can bet no form of drug/alcohol, etc can ever match up. Travelling makes you high on life.
* Traveling is always fun. The entire idea of getting from one place to another using one or more means of transport is totally cool. And yes, I am not restricting myself to any means of transportation.
* Company matters. If you are a travel freak, I am sure you will not like to have company that cribs and cries over every bump in the road. Sometimes, no company is best company. It leaves you more time to introspect, analyze, plan and focus.
* Planning is important, sticking to the plan is not always so. Getting from Point A to Point B is not always the point, a lot of times, it is far more fun to go from Point A to Point B via Point C, D, E & F!
* Packing is equally important. The less you carry, the better. Like the famous Sufi Shayar said,
"Insaan ke khwahisho ki koi intehaa nahi; do gaz zameen chahiye, do gaz kafan ke baad."

And so on and so forth...

Now that I keep these pointers in mind, I begin to wonder if I ever were to cater to travellers in any form, what form should I choose? Being stationary is not an option that I look at. I know I want to travel, I want to keep moving. The thirst for travel is ever increasing. Add to that my love for mentally documenting every little detail that I note when I am on the go. It's a different matter all together that I rarely document it on paper. I know I should. I do have some of it written down, not all, I regret. But I can still draw clear pictures of the places that I have been to. Maybe just maybe, I can be the light at the end of the tunnel. I can the trail marks for things to come, for places to go to, for sights to be met. I can be tomorrow.

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight-seeing." Daniel J. Boorstin

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dreams & Passions



My blog.
It's about dreams.
It's about passions.
It's all about that fire that lies in our bellies, the quintessential fuel that keeps us alive & kicking even when we are down and out.

I have a dream. I wish to travel and see the world. And not just the big cities. I wish to see every nook & corner of our globe. Everything from Paris, Rome, New York down to Astana, Antananarivo & Ulaanbataar. From the Sahara to Antarctica. East or West. North Pole to South Pole. I want to see it all.

But then just globetrotting alone makes little difference.
And  more importantly, travelling inadvertently comes with expenses. I could try and wait to accumulate enough wealth...but then how much is too much?

Resting my dreams has never been an option for me.
So, what should I do?

Time to look at it all over again.
There has to be another way of doing this, and for all I know, it will turn out to be better than the first!

Let's try to simplify this.
First things first. Ideally, the scope of  my dream is huge The canvas of dreams can never be limited. But we need a realistic scope for my dream. Even having said that, here comes the first rule of this blog.... You are allowed to dream whatever you like. You are allowed to fly as high as you choose. Remember that thing about sky not being the limit?

It might take me a while to figure out the actual scope of the what's and the how's involved. But I am sure I will get there, sooner or later (Better sooner than later!). But stick with me, while I figure it all out. I am sure the journey itself shall be very interesting.

I have always believed that if you really want something you can always achieve it. However, it's you who defines what takes priority and when. So, here I am, ready for a new beginning. I want to live my dreams. One dream at a time. I want to try and figure out what is it that I really want, why do I want it and more importantly, how do I turn my dreams to reality.

Stay tuned in with me, help me, guide me, or maybe, just be my friend and be here with me......