I enjoy all my trips. And now that I have got that out of the way, here are some of my truly memorable trips. I know this is a personal list but hopefully you will identify with some of it?
It was so darn hard: I never have any difficulty in picking up my most memorable trip till date. It is without a doubt my trek to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Every day of the trek I was never sure if I would be able to complete the trek. In my conversations I only cribbed and complained. When people told me I would remember it with special fondness, I wanted to yell at them. But they were right. Even though my head swam, my breath came in gasps, my face looked like a ghost’s but this has been my most memorable trip. Both because it was something I could not take for granted and for the stunning views!
A childhood dream: When I saw the song do lafzon ki hai dil ki kahani during my school days, I fell in love with Venice. In 2003 I went to attend an academic conference in Modena, Italy. Venice was a short train ride away. When the train entered Venice Central everyone in my coach stood up. It was as beautiful as I imagined it to be. And guess what? I lost the entire Venice album.
Traveling with chatter boxes: A lot of my trips would fall under this category. The chatter is created by my nephews and my daughter. Unfortunately I have not taken out my niece on a trip yet. I went to Barog with both my nephews, they told me if I was not with them they would have stayed on the platform! My younger nephew, Sunil and I went to Sri Lanka and he maintained a constant chatter next to me. It didn’t matter whether I listen to him or not. Both Chhavi and Sunil do not need anyone to respond to what they say, they can talk to the wall! But they are so much fun on a trip!
When I went abroad again: While I was doing my Ph.D. and just after that I went abroad on a regular basis. First was Singapore, then Athens, followed by Amsterdam and then Italy. It was that age when I started taking them for granted! Then came a dry spell of 4 years. That was a bad phase for my career too. So, when I went to Oxford in 2007 it was such a memorable trip! I was traveling again for work. I went back to Oxford in 2008 and 2009 as well. It is a very special place for me.
Solitude: I commute 60 km every day. Multiply it by 5 and it becomes 300 km per week. It is in peak hour traffic, it is no fun. Given the sense of driving we Indians have, it is all the more no fun. So, when I go to places where I can’t hear traffic, I love it. All my treks fall in this category. My bush experience in South Africa was the same. Small places in hill stations draw me. Sitting by the river falls under the same category.
What makes a trip memorable for you?