Sunday, January 1, 2017

“To travel is to live”

Here is something I wrote for an online writing course a couple of months ago , thought I might add it here as well.

According to most dictionaries, “to travel” means, “to make a journey”. To most people this represents a physical journey and the distance covered is geographical only. But that is not the case. There is so much more to travelling then packing your bags and leaving the comfort of your home to get from one place to another. Travelling is about broadening your horizons, learning new things, testing the boundaries of your limits and occasionally crossing them. It is about meeting new people, finding new places and sometimes revisiting old ones from a new perspective.
Speaking from personal experience I have done some reasonable amount of travelling myself, not too much, but not too little either. Each trip has given me something new, whether that is insight into a strange and unique new culture or just cherished precious memories that stay with me forever. Each place I have visited has left its impact on me. Whether it is the barren hills of Balochistan or the lush green valleys of Kashmir, whether it is the centuries old architecture of a historically rich city like Istanbul or the contemporary wonders of any modern day metropolis. Each is beautiful and special in its own unique way. The joys of travelling lie in keeping an open mind and not being judgmental. Only then these places reveal their inner most secrets to one and only then, can one appreciate the exquisite magnificence of each individual location.
It is true that the world has shrunk to literally fit into the palm of one’s hand. Information about everything and everyone is available to one at the merest touch. You can learn about all these different places, different cultures and different people without even venturing out of your living room but none of this comes even close to immense degree of pleasure and sense of achievement that you get when you make the effort to go to them. An article on the internet can tell you the height of a hill or the splendours of the surrounding picturesque view but it cannot give you the crisp fresh air that tingles your lungs as you inhale it while standing at the top. A feature in a magazine can tell you about the length of a long country track, it cannot give you the comfort you experience when you sit down to rest your tired feet on top of a little boulder in the middle of the walk.
In the words of the great Hans Christian Anderson “to travel is to live”. He knew what he was talking about when he wrote that. Being alive is truly not just about being able to eat , sleep and breath, it is about experiencing all that life has to give you and one of the best ways to experience is to put aside your hesitations and fears and take that first step forward. It does not matter where to; anywhere is good enough as long as it is somewhere. And live life as it should be lived.

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

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