As a kid, I used to hate the fact that we moved to a new place every three years. I'd sink into melancholy every time we started packing our bags and bid adieu to my friends. My father had a job which required us to shift base every three years, which meant moving into an unknown city, joining a new school and making new friends all over again. No sooner than we started settling down it was time again to set out on a new journey.
Having lived across the country, I have learnt to appreciate the splendour of nature as well as the beauty of life a little more. I understood the significance of travelling and now I have a never-ending list of places where I would like to be. I cannot imagine staying in one place forever and my desire to be on the move is immense.
To quote Mary Ritter Beard, the American historian and advocate for social justice, "Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." This aptly describes my love for travelling. I have travelled with family and friends, and sometimes alone. Travelling is like opening the windows of one's mind to absorb the beauty of nature and the magnificence of the universe. This learning goes a long way in expanding horizons and helping overcome any prejudice that one might have against people who don't share the same culture or traditions or language or food habits.
Earlier, women used to travel with their families only during the winter or summer vacations. A woman travelling solo was unheard of. But today more and more Indian women are keen on travelling and not necessarily with their families or friends. They hit the road alone or with like-minded women, and any time is a good time to travel when the company is right. The destinations have changed too. Women are no longer limited to tried-and-tested holiday hotspots. They are willing to venture into unexplored territories.
There is no experience which can replace the experience of travelling; wandering in an unknown city through its lanes and alleys; tasting a variety of food to learn about the local cuisines; praying at the temples or the churches or the dargahs; seeing the wildlife up, close and personal; walking on rocky or sandy beaches and collecting shells for posterity; hiking up the hills to reach the highest view point and so on.
However, there are a couple of aspects women should keep in mind while travelling on their own or in travel groups, such as doing some online research on modes of travel, hotels to stay at, the layout of the city, places to shop and the cuisines to try. For instance, if one plans to visit Hyderabad, then a trip to the Golconda Fort, Ramoji Film City, and Salar Jung museum is a Must, shopping for pearls in Charminar area and savouring the Hyderabadi biryani, baghara baingan, and qubani ka meetha are not to be missed.
So put on your travel shoes and step out to explore the world.