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A Traveller Can Never Be Lost

16/02/2015 8:20 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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MANSI PAL

We often think that we are in control of our lives and our choices and that our decisions and inclinations are based on the intermingling of the right and left sides of our brains. But really, how many times have you had that feeling that something you're doing just doesn't feel right? That sixth sense, which keeps talking you out of doing something that you think would be fun, but actually isn't?

Your family accountant, priest or doctor is clearly not keeping a record of your rights and wrongs. Someone else is! This is the space where aliens, Loch Ness monsters and urban legends thrive. What if your life is a part of a mystical world and your present - your reality as you see it - is just a projection of the mind?

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We get so lost in the daily rut of things that we do not realise why we do what we do. I am sure it's not as simple as it sounds, but I love the enigma and the mystique that such a school of thought brings to my life - makes it a little less ordinary, at least in my head. To feel, think and believe in such aimlessness and, in contrast, give my life some definition is what makes me travel. Travel is my umbilical cord to the uninhibited, trivial thoughts that feel very real and plausible in my head. In the words of Pico Iyer, "And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again - to slow time down and get taken in."

A travel chat hosted on Twitter a few days ago re-kindled and reiterated my thoughts about escaping. No, that does not make us crazy, wanting to get lost and roll around like a zorb. It allows us to escape the monotony of our daily lives - "a particularly unique hell," as Bill Murray puts it in Groundhog Day. What experiences are we exposed to if we decide to have a chocolate milkshake one day and a cheesecake the next? It is travel that allows us to continuously alter our contexts and, at the same time, teaches us to keep moving. How long can a hummingbird hold your attention when you meet a sloppy seagull next? That is what we escape when we travel - we escape monotony and test the agility of our minds and improvise our lives every second.

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Travel also brings out that person you always wanted to be but were either too self-conscious or too busy to be. We learn to let go and give up our thick skins. I am personally more uninhibited and more trustful when in faraway lands than the city I live in. That jump into the unpredictable lake, the brief talk with the locals about the tiny jars on their balcony, the most interesting hour-long conversation with a stranger you will never meet again, the hours of plucking dead grass or gazing at the clouds without the support of a human being or the prison of a smartphone - all this comes to us naturally when you travel.

We travel to experiment, to lose our inhibitions, to learn, to discover, to find ourselves. Tell me, how can one get lost when travelling?

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