I waited a while before coming out to speak in the squeaky, mousy voice of a timid Disney character (think Piglet). It’s easy to shoot me down, more so since the year-end travel time is upon us. It is one of the biggest trends among us millennials, and I refuse to toe the line hence, bound to be the traveler’s pariah. For, you see, I am the embodiment of the anti-traveler, with an ironic twist of fate.
Yes, we exist. There is a tribe of us who do not want to leave the lazy comforts of our home, who enjoy the JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) of not having ‘discovered oneself while being lost.’ Lounging in pajamas at home snug in the razai (Blanket) on a winter evening, or sipping ice tea on hot May mornings, marveling at the lyrics of “Dil dhoondhta hai fir wohi fursat ke raat din” (My heart yearns for those for free and easy days) – could it BE any better?!
It’s just that we don’t speak about it. We do not have ‘Gram-worthy (short for Instagram) sunset shots or do not bother sharing. We are all too familiar with the gasps of shock; the disappearing-into-hairline raised eyebrows, and the high-pitched exclamations when one informs one is immune to hodophilia. No, the hills are not calling out to me, and I need no ‘Vitamin Sea.’
The world is a book, and those who do not travel have only read one page
Well, that makes me a very reluctant college degree holder. I have huffed and puffed and fretted, but have traveled extensively. So much so, that husband and I had a tough time finding a honeymoon destination in the country, any place which neither of us had been to. That we canceled the entire trip eventually shouldn’t have come as a surprise to us. Finding excuses to avoid traveling is one of our favorite couple things to do!
Enthusiastic parents who used to decide on the next trip while being on one, ensured I have pictures at almost every historical monument in the country. Religious trips for the grandmother also meant a lot of planned tours and travels. Later, the National Transporter, being my employer, tried to ensure I use its extensive networks to criss-cross the length and breadth of the country, literally. In the course of the malady called ‘on the job training’ and subsequent work, I have been to almost every place worth seeing in the country, along with the ones not worth seeing.
The work has also taken me abroad, and I have been dragged along by DSLR-wielding colleagues on walking trails and treks in Europe when I would have loved to sit in a quaint brewpub munching on the local dessert or sipping on craft beer. But the ego usually gets the better of me, and I used to decide I have to show them that I can quickly trot up the hill. It’s a different matter that I end up with aching limbs and breaking back later. The husband has it worse. His job as a cop has made him venture out in all sorts of weather, at every odd hour of the day or night, in terrains, which were never meant to be trodden upon.
On a lazy weekend, after endless scrolling through our social media feeds showing beautiful people in beautiful locations, we would get up, dust the crumbs off our sweatshirts, and decide to tick places off the long-forgotten bucket list. Umm, yes, we are going to do it this time! We are going to create memories (Instagram stories), soak up the sun (get botchy tan lines), feel the salty sea wind (spend hours detangling the sticky hair), trek up the misty hills (keep looking for a bush to pee behind), explore cuisines (end up eating at McDonald’s), get drenched in the rain (ok I am done here).
I look at him expectantly, hoping he would come up with a good reason to cancel. He has an equally desperate look in his eyes. With nervous laughs and pleading eyes, we try to sound cheery and pumped up. There is a moment of regretful silence. “Do we have the dough to afford the exotic location?”, then one of us quips. “Errm, no, we don’t, what with the assortment of nuts we get as salary.” And so, one by one, each option gets struck off the list for reasons ranging from too little time in hand, to i-do-not-have-a-beach-body-yet, to political instability in the country. We end up creating our #FollowMeTo at the nearby bakery.
At times when we have ended up disappointing each other with no good excuse, we end up planning the itinerary grudgingly. I am very particular about having a minute-by-minute schedule in place, being a firm believer in ‘better safe than sorry’ that I am. We trudge along to the airport, drag our feet to the hotel, kick ourselves in the shins, and walk to the must-sees. After some ‘meh’ and some ‘pfft’ and some ‘huh’, we begin to enjoy ourselves. We return with promises to do this more frequently, though deep down, we know better.
While the numerous blessings associated with having a baby are all well documented, what nobody tells you is the additional baggage that comes while traveling with one, literally. You can never pack enough spare clothes and diapers, and there would always be the bottles of warm water and cold water and some more water to temper down these two waters and the different flavors of baby food for the fussy eater that you have as your child. Phew! But then I also discovered a hidden gem in all of this – now it is all the easier for me to turn down any potential avenue for stepping out of town. “Ohh, I would have loved to come to the trip, but you see, the baby..”, with an appropriately sorry face, usually does the trick!
Over the course of our marriage, I have come to realize that a silent disregard for traveling is one of the glues keeping us together in a peripatetic lifestyle. But there is also the sandpaper of physical activity with a sports enthu-cutlet husband. More on that later!
Featured Image Credits: Sri Harsha Dantuluri