When I think of the holiday season each year, I can almost, rather uncannily, hear the whir of the variety of clichéd travel quotes like ”To travel is to live!” or the simple favorite “wanderlust” being printed on journals and conspicuous passport holders across the world! Travel is a universally-loved way to spend precious time and hard-earned money. Most people today, try and save up enough money to travel to a popular place in the summer months. After days of planning and packing, long cumbersome flight journeys (ahoy crying babies, stiff necks and sore knees!) and a lack of sleep, you step foot in the land that seems pretty much unlike the photos you saw on the internet. Well. You spend a number of days in this exotic place, try trying the local cuisine (but end up with pizza, double cheese, if you please.), visit all the “must-see” places in the country, shop, perhaps lose your way (and your wallet), make friends that you will keep in touch for no longer than a month, and get heaploads of photos at all possible angles. You. Must. Get. Enough. Photos. (That, let’s be truthful to ourselves, is the golden rule). You try and see everything interesting in a short span of time-“rush” is the word , and are ready to fly back home. Ohh Helleou to the same old cumbersome flight, seemingly robotic stewards and stewardesses, the one crying baby, and ofcourse, bland food in fancy trays coming your way. Now, once back home, the compulsory modern-day after-travel rituals begin.
I am not particularly fond of the sudden transition of life once back home. I sleep, eat and unpack for a day. Now, I collect photos from different devices and reorganize them in different categories, partly mentally. A Different collection to be shown to relatives, one for friends, and the best of all (ahem, edited) photos for social media. I keep looking at the photos again and again, reply to the several online comments (half of which are pre-decided on Whatsapp with best-friends), and call up people I wasn’t in touch with for a fortnight. I can now sleep in till late and eat at whatever odd time I want to. For the first couple of days, I feel great, finally to be able to do things at my own human pace. Gradually though, the calm becomes unsettling-why are we in the same place for this long?! (Because we aren’t nomads, Jimmy!) I begin to crib about the weather “here”, while the unfinished work projects from before the holiday, look on from the side table, making me restless. Now i decide to be productive and make up for the lost time.Time to take action. And that, I do by making a rather ambitious after-holiday to do-list which looks somewhat like this-
- Read the book that you left halfway before the trip (as if that’ll ever happen!)
- Finish the project before rejoining work next month (ahuh?)
- Water the plants every second day (maybe I’ll get this done)
- Try and get rid of the tan (Ummm how exactly?)
- Read a new book (okay!)
- Try and write a blog about visiting that place (Well…)
I add a few more similar tasks, that I know, will stay happily undone. Instead of abiding by the newly-made list, I reread the inflight magazine that I stole and research the people and the places inside them. I also mark the places that I love, saving them for potential future-visits. Like travel-enthusiasts save the stickers on the bag, I build an inflight magazine collection. Much more usefully entertaining, wouldn’t you say? All this, I do with exasperating enthusiasm until the holidays near their end. Slowly, one baby step at a time, the spell ends. Going back to everyday life is difficult, but work has its own charm (or so I like to tell myself!). Slogging off another year until the next happening trip is the aim. Till then, sad as it sounds, travel journals and old photographs help avoid homesickness for places unexplored still. So much for the world being on the bucket list!