Monday, 21 May 2018

Honesty in travel

Are we always honest when sharing our travel experiences? Do we say out loud that we didn’t like a place? Or that we didn’t understand why a certain place was so revered by travel enthusiasts and writers alike? Do we always share details about how much we hated a certain medium of travel?
I don’t think so. So much of what we read about online or even discuss with friends or colleagues is so cheerful and full of stories detailing great things that happened. After all, you don’t want to be that person who hated visiting a particular destination. How can you show any less enthusiasm than what is expected of you?

Why are we so afraid to be honest? Will it taint our vision of a destination? I don’t think so.
Just last year, I had some epic failures when travelling. I set out to go to Manali and stay in this beautiful Airbnb property, but the bus I booked from Delhi to Manali was cancelled due to riots in Haryana sparked by followers of spiritual guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim after his arrest. And just like that, my entire trip was cancelled. Thankfully, Airbnb was gracious enough to refund my payment.
I tried making my way to the mountains a second time after a month, and failed, yet again. After spending six hours on the road to Nainital, I was told by my Airbnb host that the rooms at his property have been sealed by the authorities and I won’t be able to stay there—probably one of the most random things that I have faced. Twice, my trips got ruined. But there wasn’t much I could do about it; I just made the best of the time I had.

It made me realise that travel was never meant to be easy or always be a source of sunshine and sparkle. It was meant to be tough and enjoyable in equal measure. When you travel, you face numerous challenges—big and small—and navigating through them ultimately makes your journey more fulfilling. When you travel to the mountains, the tough terrains you cross are eventually rewarding in the landscapes you discover. When you find yourself lost amid the by-lanes of a tiny town, you may be rewarded by meeting complete strangers who become friends for life. It is these unexpected discoveries that make travel so memorable.

So find joy in getting lost and be honest about things you dislike. Travelling isn’t always perfect, but that’s how you collect the best stories.