Day 56: Travel

On a recent vanity-browsing binge through the archives of this blog, I stumbled on this post I wrote close to four years ago. I stopped the vanity-browsing immediately, balked at what I’d written and quickly thanked my stars for the passage of time and the consequent change of perspective.

First, I have no real memory of having written this post. Second, my attitude to travel has undergone such a dramatic change since then, I almost don’t believe I claimed travel was my raison d’etre *rolls eyes*. But jogging my memory back to the date, I realise it was a time I was a time of extreme work stress. Not just in the regular irritants of a day job, but the kind of emotional upheaval caused by dissatisfaction with what I was doing at work and a feeling of being directionless about what I’d rather be doing. 

I was stuck in a job that I was decently good at but that seemed to give me lesser and lesser satisfaction as time went by. And I was suffering the  existential angst so many in my generation suffer, of wondering if it was time to switch gears and do something new. But what? And how? 

Predictably, in those years, travel was an escape. It was aspirational, allowed me to mentally trick myself to keep working in order to afford that next trip that dangled in the future ahead of me, like a shiny fresh carrot. 

Imagining where I wanted to travel next allowed me to go away to a place where I’d be free from the entrapment that was work (which at the time had turned into a problematic issue of gargantuan proportions in my head). In the years working in Bangalore I’d take off so often. Weekends away with friends, travelling with family and exploring all the accessible spots close to Bangalore. In our first year of being married VC and I managed to take a weekend off every month. 

Such a contrast to now, where every chance to stay in, we take wholeheartedly. Where we’re constantly weighing out the choices and picking our trips, big and small. Where there is as much joy and comfort in the predictable, in the sameness and uniformity of being here, now. It’s a wonderfully peaceful feeling.

Increasingly I think there’s greater truth to this Seth Godin quote. 

 

Not to say that the emotive for every holiday is to escape a miserable reality. I am aware many people like to travel for travel sake, to see and experience new things, to satisfy a curiosity and sense of  adventure. But reflecting back on my own past I am acutely aware that in calling travel my reason for existence I was pegging it wholly as a tool to help me escape the directionless mess that was life. That has changed now and I no longer feel like I crave “getting out” like I used to. I rarely feel the need to catch a break. And it  is entirely because I’m not trying to escape my present and go off into snatches of a picture perfect tomorrow. So when I do feel like travelling and set off even if it is for a short trip back home, coming back to Goa always has a sort of comfort and calm without the usual holiday blues. 

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7 Replies to “Day 56: Travel”

  1. This resonated with me. It’s almost a given that any long weekend in Hong Kong, people take off to somewhere (helps that Hong Kong has decently-priced flights to many nearby countries). One Chinese New Year we stayed put, and realised that the being-here-and-now is nice too.

    I haven’t traveled much since the kids arrived, and my trip to Ireland for a conference was a breath of fresh air. But I am perfectly happy in the here and now too. Doing the PhD has been the first time when I actually was looking forward to getting back to work.

    1. It’s a welcome change na? Peaceful, easy feeling. I remember your post about how travel is fetishised, and I could so relate to it then too. I think fewer travels – big or small – also means I cherish them more.

  2. I am in ‘that’ zone now and it is not a nice feeling. I am constantly living through day to day life, so I can plan and afford the next getaway. All I hope is that this need eventually gives way to a more content, happy routine life, that doesn’t need getting away from.
    The Seth Godin quote resonates way too much for me to be ok with it!

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