As far as I can remember, I have always been travelling. Coming from an Armed Forces background, I changed thirteen schools in eleven cities and hop skipped places across the country – My first so called ‘initiation’ into the world of travel and I enjoyed every bit of it – seeing new places, meeting new people, making new friends and learning new ways of life.
Down the years, I got into a job that offered me ample travel opportunities. I travelled within India on “work” and slowly started travelling globally for meetings, where I added a day or two extra to my schedule to explore the city I was visiting. These extra days were the days where I would be alone. Most colleagues were coming in later or had left by then.
Travelling and exploring a city alone was an eye opener for me. There were no cantonment walls to insulate you from the”dangers” out there and there was no protective bubble of “rushing home” either. You were pretty much on your own with just a leaflet of a map to guide you. It was a different feeling altogether and it scared and excited me at the same time.
As I began to travel more often, my fear withdrew and I started to enjoy these visits – walking on my own, enjoying a coffee on roadside cafe or shopping by myself in a new city. I started looking forward to such visits and the chance to be alone and enjoy my travel in solitude. I was developing a peaceful, cosy bubble around me and I loved it. Back home, I started travelling with groups, friends and colleagues and in all these travels, I carried my bubble with me. I was with tons of people yet I was in my bubble, happy, peaceful and in my own space.
As I travelled more and more, the bubble became second skin to me. With that, also came the slow realisation that I beginning to prefer it that way – quiet, peaceful and in solitude. For an extrovert, gregarious and chatty person by nature, this was a revelation. I was seeing a different side of me emerging – a side that surfaced when I travelled and a side that I was totally comfortable with. Well-meaning comments like – don’t behave like a loner, are you sad, what’s up with you – didn’t bother me at all and I choose not to respond. There was no response.
Years ago, I attended a week along Vipasana session at a Buddhist Meditation Centre in Dharamkot and one of the things my teacher taught me was that, when one talks they are negotiating their space, directly or indirectly. When one is silent they don’t have to negotiate their space with anyone or anything and their true path comes to them in that silent moment. I guess this was what was happening to me, without even me knowing it and I owe it all to my travel. Somewhere and somehow, the bubble appeared around me and became stronger and stronger with each travel.
Seventeen years into the corporate world, building a good life for myself, earning good money – I thought I was exactly where I wanted to be. Standing by the banks of river Jispa in Ladakh last year, my bubble told me that was exactly what I DIDN’T want.
Few months down the line, I quit my job, started my own little entrepreneurial firm and for the first time after many many years, opened my almost dead travel blog. I changed my life 360 degrees and with it my life perspective. In the craziest way, it was the sanest thing to do and I am glad I did it.
I’ve read a lot about people who travel to find a purpose or an answer or solitude or things like that. And, while they are right in seeking what they want from the universe, my advice is to ‘just be’ and let the universe decide the answers for you. You may or may not get the answer or the direction or wisdom (whichever way you want to call it) immediately but there is guidance, an answer that will come to you, only when you travel in complete oneness with yourself and nature.
People who have undergone this will understand what I am trying to say. For others, it’s very difficult to understand until you start on your own ‘bubble’ travel journey and I hope everyone gets at least one chance to do that.
I have to end this post with a funny quip. When I decided to change my life 360 degrees, my friends said, “Are you crazyyy!?” and all I said was “Guys, you need to travel.”
Megha spent 17 years in the communication industry in India before deciding to start her own business and make more time for her travel pursuits! Her travel blog link is: http://pinkbikersontherun.com/. She is also on Instagram and Youtube by same name. On Twitter, she can be reached @Megha75.