Ticket to Nowhere
Let me make one thing very clear: I do not like to travel. I am talking about taking a vacation, going someplace exotic, lazing on a beach, doing nothing, doing… something. I loathe travelling. I do, that’s the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
There is no Insta FOMO. I am not envious of people who are living their lives to the max. I hate aeroplane selfies. I hate selfies of any kind. I do not want my space to be invaded by one and all. Plane journeys give me the heebie-jeebies. They do.
And then there is the journey to the airport, which I absolutely detest. But let me trace back a few steps and talk about the one thing that is despised by not just me: packing! I mean, I cannot for the life of me decide what to bring and what to leave behind. But the real task is to find the right luggage — for it to coordinate with most outfits, for it to be big enough to contain at least five books, clothes, shoes and toiletries, and, perhaps, the bathroom sink. The bottom line: packing is strenuous.
Once I believe I am finally past the packing stage, I find myself at the airport, realising that I forgot to pack a pair of shoes or loafers or a new pair of boxers. But that’s not all. You know what else I hate about travelling? People. People wherever I go. People on the flight. People at the airport. People just about everywhere I look. And people wanting to dispense advice every single time — ‘You must watch this, you must go here, you must eat there’.
I do not miss eating out of the country. To try this or that cuisine. To eat something different. It doesn’t appeal to me. I am the good old ghar-ka-khana type of person, and that works best for me. I do not want to experience sunsets or sunrises from a hotel room whose view I would have had a problem with anyway. Don’t get me wrong — I am not cranky or crabby. But if I do travel, most likely under some peer pressure, I would rather be in my room or by the pool, reading and drinking copious amounts of cocktails to not worry about people around me.
Travelling is wonderful for most people I encounter. It is something they aspire to do more of. To explore different places, visit museums, visit bookshops (this I regret not doing, but that’s alright), take a look at the wonders of the world, take off to cooler places (I mean temperature-wise) and, sometimes, to just take insipid selfies. People love that. I, on the other hand, am content with a good foot rub in my city. Something that does not take much effort at all.
To go from place A to place B and, often, place C simply exhausts me. It isn’t so much physical exhaustion as it is mental and emotional. For the life of me, I cannot understand the concept of travelling for pleasure, and that’s just how I am wired. I don’t care for it, and the majority does not seem to get this. Especially the ones whose goal is to, perhaps, visit all the 195 countries of the world, or those who feel the cloud of YOLO looming large. I don’t have any such issues, and I am happier for it.
Not everyone must do everything that society or culture demands. Not everyone will live the same life. Thank god for that, otherwise it would be so boring. I can easily sit at home and travel to different places by opening a book. Why must I suffer the weather of different countries? Sometimes too cold, sometimes too hot — thanks to climate change and people (again).
My dream, when it comes to travelling is to be able to make it from a Mumbai suburb into town in less than two hours by road. That’s my Roadies challenge. That’s the kind of trip I want to undertake, and it’s the only kind of travel I am willing to do, as long as I also get back home before peak-hour traffic. So, you see where I am getting to with all of this? Travel is fun for others. Travel is joyful to most. To me, it is just another millstone around my neck. For now, I shall pass. I shall pass up all of it. The beauty, the rest of the world, the eagerness, the wanderlust (aargh! Someone delete this word from the OED already), the excitement…. I shall gracefully decline, put on another pot of tea and decide which book to read next as the world rushes by outside my home.