Feeling like writing something, was thinking about the topic of this post, whether it should be related to travel, photography, thoughts, or friends and family, finally decided to write about my travel experience so far.
Let me write how I have evolved in my travel, initially, I wanted to visit cities just to see urban life, then I was fascinated by natural beauty, whether it’s forest, river, mountains or deserts, then rural lifestyle and now its spiritual. So travel is there but the purpose has changed over time. Recently visited Gangotri over a long weekend, will travel to other destinations of Chota Chardham in time to come. In bigger plans, I wish to drive to actual Chardham Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, and Rameswaram in my car, solo, with friends or family doesn’t matter.
My individual (not with family) travel started a bit early as I use to visit different cities in UP for playing volleyball tournaments. During the final year of my post-graduation, I have traveled few places in MP Gwalior, Bhind then came to Delhi for university related work, this was my first tour out of state. I have visited Manali first time in 2003, that was my first trip during my job, after July 2006 I have become an international traveler, was fortunate to visit different countries of South East Asia and Europe.
Travel has made me very humble and I learned that you need not have everything to be happy. In recent years, after moving back to India in 2013, I have traveled extensively in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh (and UP of course) within India. Each of these states has its own beauty at different times of the year. Winters are best to see snowfall in the Himalayas at the same time you can enjoy it in Thar desert or Forests of MP as well, Summers are for Hill stations of Himalayas (HP or UK). Being said, Monsoon is the time when I mostly go out to Uttarakhand or HP, it’s a bit risky of course but totally worth taking it, as all mountains are lush green, a lot of waterfalls on the way and most important all the tourists are back home as schools are open post-summer vacations, so no crowd and low tariff in hotels :). I drove so much in the mountain of Uttarakhand and Himachal that now I can claim myself as a Pahadi driver :P.
Winters is the time when I visit my home town Allahabad (Prayag, now Prayagraj) every year, I drop my kids at their Nana-Nani place and go on a road trip to MP with my brother BK and friend Dr. Sharad. We have given this road-trip the name “The Freedom Trip”, why this name – we all do whatever we want to do. We eat or drink whatever we want, stay wherever we want and visit places which we want, It is the trip I always look forward to, it is the time year when I feel totally detached from worldly things and pains. In the past 10 years, we have traveled all most all cities of MP many times. What fascinates me about MP is its low population density, you will have to drive miles before you see any human face. As the terrain is rocky so not much farming is being done in MP this is the main reason why population density is very low. street food of MP is organic and great in taste and air is so refreshing, people are humble, simple, and helping. There are plenty of forest reserves and historical sites in MP, you will fall in love with MP at the first sight.
Feeling blessed to live in Delhi as all type of natural beauty is within reach, I can cook a plan for the weekend, complete it and join office the next day. When you do something else for living and want to takeout time for your passion for travel, can only be achieved only if you are in Delhi.
Winters has started which is triggering me for our yearly ritual “The Freedom Trip”, but seems this year the trip is not going to happen as we have few students in the family who have board exams in 2021, but me taking a week break in winter is confirmed, I may be driving solo in Rajasthan again, the road between Longewala and Tanot is calling me, I also need to see Kuldhara as well.
I have also started preparing myself for tracking, one of my friends is organizing trekking trips and wants me to join him to take photos of his trekking group. It will be to a very remote location near the China border next summer. I have to lose weight and strengthen my muscles and lungs for that, working on that, and hopefully, I will be ready by next summer. It will be 2 days trekking each side and 2 nights camping near a lake, can not disclose the location but I hope you can understand that it will be a cold and rocky place.
My car (Ford) is asking for retirement, I drove it around 1.7 Lakhs KM in the past 7 years and it is breaking apart now. I really love this car, it was the most strong, spacious, and economical car at that time in its class. As kids are grown up, they need more space to sleep in back-seat, I will go for a 7 seater car this time, Cresta (Toyota) may be. Seems creating a flatbed like XUV (Mahindra) is not possible in Cresta, hopefully, they will do something by the time I buy.
I read a quote somewhere – “Die with memories not with dreams” and following it since then.
Planning to add few more gadgets to my photography kit, but will write about my photography experiences in another blog soon… stay tuned 🙂