I was bitten by the travel bug in my mid-twenties. Prior to that, I’d been a happy armchair explorer. I used to dive below the oceans with Captain Nemo, go on swashbuckling adventures with Long John Silver and enter darkest Africa with Allan Quartermain, but all within the comfort of my home. As time passed however, I soon graduated to being a traveller in my own right. I enjoy visiting and exploring new places, meeting new people, tasting new cuisines, immersing myself in new cultures.
I try to be more of a traveller than a tourist, though the lines sometimes blur. So, what’s the difference? The traveller does not have a destination. He is like a wanderer on a meandering road with many side paths. He is happy to move into a path less travelled to see where it leads. A traveller may or may not see the sights he is ‘supposed to’. He makes his own road wherever he is. He might discover some hidden gem, unseen by the majority of tourists or just come back bored that he could find noting of interest. He wanders into small alleyways, and tries out bars and cafes far from the tourist hubs. He might sit all day in a coffee shop reading a book, watching life unfold before him in slow motion. He befriends locals and tries to see how life would be as a resident, rather than a traveller for a few days.
For inspiration, there is a breed of writers who drive me in my quests. Among the foremost are – Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson, Bruce Chatwin, Eric Newby, and John Gimlette. The characteristic of each of them is that they do not seek to write a guide book, when they talk to their travels. They simply lead you on a journey of exploration, and as you follow their paths, you get inspired to seek out the same for yourself. There is a wealth of travel literature that anyone with wanderlust can read. Some are written by seasoned authors, while others might be the work of someone who just decided to do a motorcycle journey through South America on a whim.
As for myself, I’m fortunate to have visited several countries, some typical, some unusual, with like-minded friends. I write about some of these places, to capture my thoughts and feelings. As you’d have guessed, this would not be your typical travel blog. There won’t be a list of things to see and do in these places, though I might mention a few I’ve visited. Nor will it be about which hotels to stay in, tourist traps, and such-like details. This is just a short glimpse of my journeys, and I hope that some among my readers might find it enjoyable, for its own sake.