In a surprising chain of events I landed up booking a week long vacation all by myself. I wish I could explain a little more about what made me take this impulsive decision, but I genuinely don’t know what made me do it. I woke up one morning, decided I wanted to do something, and went ahead and booked my tickets. I guess somewhere in my subconscious mind it had to do with the fact that not many would be excited about travel plans, plus coordinating with time and plans was taking a toll on my mental peace. So here I was, making my way to another city all by myself. All that I knew was that I had a hostel to stay at, and I was sure I’d make friends along the way. Something about this was exciting.
While I’ll soon share some stories with you from the trip, and how Jaipur Literature Festival (or Jaipur Fashion Festival as the locals called it) was a total disappointment, I thought a “lessons I learnt” would be a perfect start to set some context. Clichéd as it may sound, a solo trip is empowering. Here is a list of things that I ended up learning (for life) Hope you have fun reading this one :)
- There’s so much to learn out there! Change is disturbing, which explains why we do not want to get out of our comfort zones and explore what the world has in store for us. Getting out of your boundaries has so much to teach you, both good and bad. There’s so much to learn with every experience, with every person you meet, with every feeling you go through!
- Nothing you do for your country is ever a small, inconsiderable step. Even small things make a difference. You’re mistaken if you think you cleaning up trash or helping domestic help with education or providing shelter to the needy or protesting for something is not affecting your country. Your voice is heard, always. Slowly and surely people shall take notice if you stick with what you believe in. Never think you’re not “important enough” to help your country. I met someone who was funding the education for refugees back in Europe, and what he said made me really happy “ I might not be able to make a huge difference, but I know I mean the world to that one family I’m supporting. And that’s enough for me.”
- India is a fascinating land of colors, languages, traditions, foods, accents, the works! I’s a pity how we never think about it this way, it’s sad how we are so involved in our bubbles that we fail to see what a beautifully fascinating land we live in. For us it’s a “He must be Maharashtrian” or “His accent is so Delhi” We don’t think about how diverse we are, while this fascinated all those who were visiting from other countries. Listen guys, India is a beautiful country!
- It’s sad to see how little people know about India. “I’m surprised you know English!” and “Women are so open here!” being said by highly educated and well to do visitors are things that irked me a little. Why were they so surprised? India is not a land of villages anymore.
- We are the Snapchat generation. While it’s all good (I am a part of this too!) it feels so good to see someone document their lives in hard bound scrapbooks; old school with polaroids and tickets stuck with little notes next to them. Oh yes, they exist!
- Here’s a small GK tip: Germans get seriously offended when they’re asked “So what do you think about Hitler?” Read up a little before you ask such questions no? Germany has pleasant things to talk about too!
- Age is just a number. We live in a society that expects you to get married at a certain age, have babies by a certain age, dress according to age. I met so many older women who were visiting the yoga retreats in India. I met so many young people doing so well in their lives that it made me think “wait, you’re 23 and you’re all that?!” And then realized how we were conditioned to simply attach age to everything that we do. Age is just a number, really :)
- The British accent is hot.
- Writing really is a difficult job. While people are good with their spoken words, it takes a lot to put it all down in writing. I suddenly felt empowered with all that confidence.
- People in Rajasthan really need to stop cooking with so much oil.
- Happiness is an extremely difficult state to achieve. It’s easier to complain and whine, and we love taking the easy way out. Doing what you want to do to be happy makes us feel guilty. Plus “what will people say” doesn’t help either. It takes a lot to be your self. People are scared to accept happiness. Happiness is sadly, oh so abnormal.
- Meeting new people is exciting, empowering and an altogether amazing experience. Knowing that you can befriend absolute strangers is empowering.
- Goodbyes are so painful. Sometimes connecting with people takes less than a few hours, and there has to come a point where you say goodbye. It’s one of the most heartbreaking parts of travel.
- Adjusting and compromising are strong words mostly used in the negative sense. If done with and for the right people, it’s a piece of cake.
- There are so many ways one can work out on a holiday! Home workouts, runs, walks, climbing stairs, yoga, walking down instead of taking a car, and so much more! I walked around 5km on one day because I was missing my daily workout. I worked out in my dorm room one evening when I realized I had it all to myself for 30 minutes. I climbed 11 floors one morning when I couldn’t find any other way to work out. There’s so much to do, and we’re so good at giving excuses :)
I’m sure there’s a lot more that I have learnt, but these are the main points that come to mind right now. I hope I could make sense to some of you, I really do. I’ve had a blast writing this one :)