Some of my most comfortable travel trips have been by train or bus. Not that I have not travelled by an air plane before, air planes are quick and cover the same distance covered by trains in ten hours in one hour. However I don’t get the same sense of joy from them. Train rides are a different experience in to them.
I generally plan a train ride with at least two books, of which I am likely to read only one. One can also read a book in the flight, but the duration of it so small that one cannot read much. A typical train ride for the places I usually visit is 10 hours or so. So I can spend at least 3 hours of it reading. I like to sit with me back to the back rest, leg stretched out in front of me and a book in my hands while the wind blows in from the window. The wind blowing on my face is such a comfortable feeling, which is another reason why I am partial to trains and busses. I read a little, and sometimes pause and look out the window and enjoy the changing landscape from city to fields and city. This also one reason why I don’t finish my reading as I tend to engrossed in the changing views and the cool breeze lulls me to sleep. It is much more comfortable to sleep in a train or a sleeper bus than an airplane seat.
Another aspect of train travels that I enjoy is the food. I had taken mom to Jaipur just before Diwali. Mom lived in Jaipur before getting married, and her brother and sister still live there. We had gone for some Diwali shopping this year. I was excited about the Palanpur Railway station to have its famous Puri-sabji when the train would stop there, and the rabdi at the Abu Road Railway station later. There’s tea and gajak at Ajmer, bhajiyas at Mehsana, and so on. Each state has its fair share of the local food that one gets on the railway stations, or from the sellers who board the train.
I haven’t been to many road trips myself. The few that I have been to were so long ago, that I was too young to appreciate them and have any memorable experiences. But I do know of friends who would rather a car down to wherever they plan to go. It gives you a more interactive experience, where you can choose to stick to the highways or try and go through the cities as well. You’re closer the local flavor and stop to eat the highway dhabas.
Sometimes I tend to think, what does it mean to travel? I don’t remember when I last travelled. If you look at the definition of the term, then it means to move from one place to another. By that definition, I had travelled to Jaipur this year to help mom in shopping, or to Pune earlier for work. But Jaipur also had me going to my family’s home (mum’s side) and Pune was a business trip. I have begun to associate travel with leisure. So while I may have travelled in the technical sense of the term, it was not a leisurely or vacationing manner.
I know people who are serial travelers. They undertake a leisurely trip at least twice a year. These include some blogger friends, and a colleague from work who makes at least a small trip every three months. These are people who have itchy feet, and like to visit new places, marvel at the sights and sounds of a new place, and absorb the culture over there. Travelling to a different city or country can be such an enlightening experience, where the people, food, smells and culture are far different from where you live. It seems at time like an entirely different world to learn from.
I have been meaning to travel to escape for some time now. A travel to escape, albeit temporarily from the drudgeries of everyday life and routine. I understand that vacationing with family and friends is fun, and will do that as well. Mom for instance had a wonderful time in Jaipur this year. But this a trip I would want to make alone or with a select friend or two. I don’t plan to do much. I think some days might just have me lazing around in the room, or be in a garden or on the beach with my book reading something at peace. I would love to sample most of the local cuisine. The street food appeals to me as much as fine dining in a different city. I even consider visiting a place where I have blogger friends who are very close to me, but whom I have not in person (yet or for a long time).
A travel where I am myself and in the company of those whom I enjoy to be with.