September 03, 2011

The courage to wander

It was noon, maybe around 12.30.  We were on a newly paved road near some channel of Beas river, to the south of Manali.  I was tired, so pulled my bike over to rest for a bit.  My brother parked his bike near mine and we drank some water.  There was no shade, and the sun was hot; any other day we wouldn't stand under the sun like that to relax, but after a few hours' ride taking the jacket and helmet off and stretching our legs were indeed relaxing.  Occasional locals passing through the road gave us a strange look and just went by.

That day wasn't notable for anything that happened then.  That place wasn't notable for anything that happened there.  Yet, it's been etched in my memory and I keep thinking about it every now and then for more than a year.  And several other "ordinary" places too that I'd been to in some trip or other.  This is what travelling gives you.

When I was planning my Pilgrimage 2010, I heard other people's travel stories and thought maybe I am not the travelling kind because I don't do anything other people seemed to do.  I don't talk to the locals, unless they make an effort to talk to me.  I don't try a lot of local food.  I don't go to touristy places and take pictures.  I don't do anything adventurous.  But now, more than a year after my first ever long travel, I think travel is very personal and you do it in your own way.  Like a firang rolling dosas into burritos and still enjoying it.  There's nothing wrong or right.

I came to Australia wanting to travel.  It's been months and I am doing everything but leaving home.  Slowly I'm starting to get claustrophobic... I want to see the skies; I want to see the roads; I want to see the waters; I want winds all over me; I just want to get lost in this huge world.  Maybe I should just leave on a Saturday morning and just go to some place with no planning whatsoever.  The worst that can happen is, I might completely forget that trip in a few weeks.  But who knows, I might as well find my next Manali road that stays with me forever.  I just have to gather the courage to walk aimlessly on some random path.  I hope I do.

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