Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bits of This and That

I was going through a lot of Facebook pictures the other day, and what struck me was that what almost everyone was uploading were pictures of their travels. One reason for this could be that we do take most pictures when we go to a new place, and not really when we are sitting around at home on a lazy weekend or just going about with our daily lives. But there is a deeper reason behind this – that one of the charms of travelling comes from sharing your experiences and stories with other people.

That is why there are so many blogs dedicated to people writing about their weekend trips and putting up random travel pictures. That is why there are so many online forums which provide people with the space to share their travel stories and experiences. That is why most pictures on social networking sites have people uploading their trip pictures.

A large part of the pleasure of travelling, I guess, comes from sharing what one learns and experiences during such travels. You go to a new place, you see and experience so many new and exciting things – and it makes enough of an impact on you to want to share it with other people, maybe family and friends or even complete strangers. It’s like when you make a discovery, small or big, you want to share it with others – not exactly an appropriate example, or even close, but you do get what I mean.

But sometimes, this can lead to a little trouble. When avid travellers exchange stories and experiences, the unsaid rule that travelling means sharing is understood. But when there is an avid traveller and a person who isn’t really interested in travel, then it becomes awkward. For example, we may be having a conversation about traffic jams and I come up with ‘When I was in Jakarta…..’ This is fine once in a while to make a point, but when one does it very often (as an avid traveller is wont to do, since it is second nature for him to want to share his stories and experiences), the other person, if not interested in travel, can feel like this person is a show off, always taking about this place and that.

One of my dreams, one of the things on my long list of things to do, is to become a travel writer. Today, I was telling my manager that someday I hope to become as effective a public speaker as the partner leading the project we are working on. The manager pointed out to me that I have to take the opportunity to start practising from NOW in order to be able to reach that level sometime in the future. That I just sit back and wait for the opportunity to come, instead of taking it up myself. He was so right – and not just about this but a lot of other things. Like how I want to be a travel writer but do nothing in that direction. I could start by writing travel stories or articles on blogs or online forums, and that would be a great way to start off! But then, I’ve always been big on ideas and low on implementation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I love being on international flights. I really can’t pin down the reason for it. I like entering the airport and looking at the list of exciting destinations to which people are flying out today. I look at passengers and wonder where they are flying and why. Maybe they came down here on business and are going back home. They must be NRI’s returning abroad – I can make out they are NRI’s by their kids accents and the way they dress. Oh, some backpackers too. They must be from Israel.

I peer discreetly (or so I think) at passports, to figure out which country they belong to. The dark blue Indian one usually doesn’t interest me – I hold one too so it’s not really of much special interest. But I look at other passports and wonder what they are doing here in India, and where are they going next and why. I look at airlines from across the world, flying to places across the world, places I’ve dreamt of sometimes but never been too, and I feel a thrill run through me, just because I am here.

And then I enjoy checking out airport facilities, especially when I am in transit. And for this reason, I specially love the Singapore airport. Free internet portals, okay. Lots of coffee shops, books stores and unfamiliar eateries. Free massage chairs and even a free cinema theatre. Oh, and a swimming pool! I feel sometimes like a child let loose in a candy shop, I enjoy exploring airports so much. I walk by these exclusive designer stores where I can never afford anything, gasp at the prices and wonder who these people are and what they do to spend money like this on a name – I don’t think I would swear by the brands of the world, however rich I may become.

I am unreasonably curious about the uniform and seating colours if I am flying a new airline. My love of airline cuisine is legendary, and if it’s a well known airline, I start wondering about what they serve on board from the day I book my flight! (There have been occasions when I have paid a lot of extra money for an airline which served food on broad, whereas a low cost airline plus a full fledged meal would have worked out much cheaper – but then, I have an absurd love of airline food).

Well, my love for airline food actually deserves a post in itself so I’ll leave it at that. If I am flying an international flight and know that the flight has an international entertainment system, I plan ahead about how many movies I would watch, how many television shows and how much I would sleep. In the end, it all depends on what’s on offer once I’m on board but I do love the planning. I even open the airline website before I fly, just to see what they have to say for themselves.

Earlier, this intense charm that flying held for me was for all flights, international or domestic. However, over the past few years, as domestic flying became affordable and I came to a point where I was flying about once or twice a month, the charm of flying in general lost out. I still enjoy the meals and look forward to them, but that’s about it. However, I am hardly a frequent international travel – these trips happen once or twice a year at most so I still have a great fancy for international flights – my delight is almost childlike and I hope I can retain it over the years, because its good that such simple things give me so much pleasure.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Guess Where

I am?

Australia!!! More specifically, Sydney! Yay, I am so excited!

Will try to update regularly about my trip but looks like I am going to be fairly busy.