By Manki Patel:
I recall it was only few years ago when I was lying on the lower bunk of a bed in a mixed dorm of a hostel in some xyz country. Lying there staring up at the bottom of the top bunk, I tried to read all the messages that idealistically I thought the previous occupants of that bed had scribbled in haste for me. After having spent a good part of an hour reading those long due notes like post mail left at my current residence that, I discovered the following words:
“We travel not to escape life but so that life doesn’t escape us”
And it was suddenly as if I had woken up from sleep, I realized the fine distinction between travel and vacation. There are three broad categories of people who self proclaim themselves to be travelers. The most common group among them is of the escapist/vacationers who like to escape the daily grind and go away for a pleasant little break to a new exotic place. To say they are truly fascinated by new cultures and people would be an overstatement but they manage to get a peripheral understanding of the vacationing country. This group mostly holds high paying jobs which allows them the luxury of yearly vacations. They are reluctant to give up the comfort of a financially and emotionally secure life so they guise their fear under responsibility.
The second group is of the people I like to call the assimilators/travelers. On the surface they look like escapists who readily put their daily jobs and education on the line to travel and work in a new place among new people. Acquiring wealth, assets and financial stability is of little importance to them but they value people. They build relationships/friendships as they go along. With little inhibitions they build a life for themselves everywhere they go. They assimilate knowledge with experience and there is never a dull moment when in conversation with them as they have the most interesting stories to tell. For them, travel is less about the place you visit and more about the people living there.
People in the third and last group are called the reluctant travelers who take the middle path. They are afraid to give up stability, pack their bags and leave to a new country but at the same time vacationing on an exclusive beach resort off limits to the locals is not there idea of travel.
As I head out on my own little gathering trip, it is customary for my stomach to churn even though this time I will be among familiar people with a very familiar culture. I go with the notion to discover some lost treasures of knowledge like the bunk bed wisdom in the least likely of places and I hope in the end I am able to retain less about the place and more about the people I meet along the way and travel with. I will do my best to jot down all that I see and keep this space updated.