>Traveller’s Check

>Of late, I have become besotted by the idea of discovering new places, new journeys. I love the idea of being a traveller – of tasting new foods, of revelling in new cultures, of sites that must be seen and sights that one sees enroute, of soaking in a place for what it is and not for what it wants to be seen. And I’m in love with the idea of discovering my own country, not through television shows or travel books but through my own experiences.


In the last year or so, I’ve explored the valleys of Kashmir and the beaches of Goa, the ghats of Benaras and the Marine Drive in Bombay. And I loved the snow-capped mountains of Gulmarg in Kashmir as much as I loved the sand and sea of Goa. But if given a choice, I’d choose those mountains any day to those beaches. And yet, I think I’m a beach person – I love the humid warm air that hangs heavily on sea-side cities and the cool breezes that replaces it in the evening.

And I like them better than the hills because they’re easier to pack for – the weather is predictable and you know that no matter how cool it gets, it will never be cold enough for woollens. On the contrary, the mountains require a lot of packing for all kinds of weathers – hot afternoons, cool evenings and cold nights in case there’s a sudden downpour! But I can’t resist the charm of walking in the clouds in the hills, of breathing in the fresh air at high altitudes, of being fascinated by a flora and fauna that my part of the world cannot grow.

I have learnt also to enjoy my journey as much as the destination. In the meandering lanes of Benaras where I found my very own silk route (did I tell you I’m a shopaholic of a kind and couldn’t get enough of the hand woven silks when in Benaras?), I saw what made this city so unique: the havan kunds in the middle of the roads, the jalebis and kachauris being deep fried in the huge blackened woks and the cows – so many of them everywhere.

Some cities know what visitors want of them, others need more prying. The same is true of travellers too. Some travellers know what they want from a holiday – they know exactly what pleasures they seek; others will not open up so easily to the experience of travelling. But once you do, you will not know a trip that’s dull. I’ve learnt to do that.


I come home from my travels now enriched by experiences that I couldn’t have gained by staying where I was. I look for stories and I look for story-tellers. The Kashmiri shikara wala who will tell his love story, the immigrant child who sells trinkets on Goan beaches and speaks of her family back home, the cab guy who makes the distance shorter than it is with his tales… And I like to bring home a little feel of the place – a Chinese trinket from Hong Kong, a boomerang from Australia, a little batik from Malaysia, lots of photographs!


But every traveller is different. Some people look for luxury on their vacations, some for adventure. Some seek solitude, others company. Some want to discover off-beat locations, others want to stick with the tried and tested.

What kind of a traveller are you?

And while you make up your mind, I’m putting here some of my favourite travel quotes and a few pictures from my weekend trip to Nainital in June. And no, that’s not us in the boat!
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32 responses »

  1. >I've too, been torn between the mountains and the beach. Staying in Delhi and being married to a man who studied in a school in the mountains, i've travelled to the mountains a lot. But, ya, like you I love Goa too :)A holiday for me needs to be a complete break from my routine life. It doesn't matter if I'm going backpacking or on am on a luxury holiday. It should leave me enriched as a person and completely rejuvenated.:) goodness. long comment.

  2. >I just love going away from my regular routine for a while. I'm a mixed traveller… depending on destinations.. sometimes I like to see monuments & museums… sometimes just sit by the lake and people watch!!! At times its a family holiday… with laods of stuff for kids, or just a holiday for hubby & me to spend quality time together… I just love holidays… doesnt really matter what time of holidays they are… I can do anytype.. adventure, backpacking… leisure, cruise, mountains… anything for me… You've got me thinking.. I so need a holiday!!

  3. >I'm a beach person.The mountain drives make me dizzy all the time. Weird though, for I've seen more mountains than beaches. I am a travel freak. I can tag along with strangers if I don't find company to visit places. And I love to explore places that are less frequented 🙂

  4. >an independent traveller who will never give the package tour operators any business.a complete planner who books days in advance but then finds joys in detours and such.a budget traveller who'd rather take in more trips than spend dollars on more pillows.someone who is okay to travel more and blog less but to her credit, has most of the posts dedicated to "travel and living"I'm the kind of traveller who can not get enough :)Loved this post.

  5. >@Mumbai Diva: I think it's unfair to compare anything with Kashmir – the latter will always score more, but yes I loves the sun and sand.@Patricia: 🙂 Take a break!@Meira: I have such a long list of must-visit places, I could spend an entire lifetime travelling!@Shilpa: I know what you mean – there's a little bit of it in all of us!@Quirky Quill: 🙂 Loved this comment. I like the kind of traveller you are!

  6. >Vacations equal exploring.. even when I am not on vacation, I love to find out where that little road will lead..I love the beaches and the mountains.. I could go crazy shopping – especially when it is in the tiny little, seemingly undiscovered lanes.The best vacations that we have had are spontaneous ones where we just go around at our leisure, trying to soak in the atmosphere of the place.. rather than just crossing off the 'must see' places..

  7. >A vacation sounds necessary after reading this. I am a laid back traveller. I dont have to touch every spot of my destination but enjoy the ones I do. I am the kind who will walk past the Louvre if I make a three day trip to Paris or just go there every day during a month long trip (have dont neither btw 🙂 )

  8. >What a beautiful post D! Beautifully written. You make one yearn to travel.:)The quotes are beautiful :)I am more of a mountain person too:) Mountains are all about freedom somehow to me.Some people look for luxury on their vacations, some for adventure. Some seek solitude, others company. Some want to discover off-beat locations, others want to stick with the tried and tested.I am and have been all of these at different points of time.

  9. >I never get tired of beaches. My most fav. I am also an outdoor-ish person and now since daughter also enjoys it, we have started small hiking trips again.The one place or region in India I haven't been is North-East. Would love to go there some day.

  10. >I am a traveller at heart. I can daydream myself to far off distant places. Loved Geography in school. I get air sick, sometimes car sick if I am at the back seat. Driving up the curvy mountain roads makes me dizzy. But I will suffer in silence and never give up on travelling. I do prefer to walk the less travelled road. Virgin areas versus the Patel points (a nickname for the favorite tourist spots in the US)appeal to me.I am a girl from the mountains…so though I appreciate God's various works of art …I choose mountains over the sea.Really enjoiyed the post.

  11. >Beautiful, beautiful, post.. people often ask me why i like to travel so much.. and i like to tell them.. the travel is not in my destination.. its in me.. u're among the few ppl who will understand that.. lovely!! I am a mountains person too..

  12. >Wow, you have been around in India. Probably i'll save that for my retirement.As for the question, I guess i'm everything packed into one although solitude is something that I can never get around to.

  13. >Oh jesus! I've not been to the hills in… a whole year! But you've totally brought back memories of how much I used to worship life up there… the peace and serenity!Been enjoying beaches off late! Good fun 8)There's NOTHING like being on a beach at midnight… especially on a full moon night… Sigh!

  14. >@Smitha: Oh, I love shopping too in those nooks and crannies for local treasures!@Piper: I love the last one of those quotes the most. When I first read it, I was initiated into a new school of thought!@Anamika: I like that laid-back attitude. But very often, when I undertake a long-distance journey, I want to see as much as I can of the place because I don't know if I'll be back again.@Indyeah: Thank you!I have a bit of all that in me too!@Solilo: I travelled very little before marriage, which is why there's so much of India I need to cover, including the North-East.@Chrysalis: Am glad you enjoyed reading this – I enjoyed writing it! @How do we know: 🙂 I do understand that. How I wish though that I could indulge the traveller in me!@J: I have travelled a fair bit out of India as well. When I went to Australia some three years ago, I realised how little I had seen of my own country and it seemed so foolish to be in such a far off place, exploring a whole new continent when I hadn't been to the most beautiful places in my homeland. Since then, I've seen quite a few places in India and am so proud of them! I'm now looking for a trip to some European country in the near future!And yeah, solitude is something I can't enjoy for more than a couple of hours!

  15. >i'm a waterbaby – take me anywhere close to any water and i am happy. i like the scenic peace of mountains too – but dont like heights so thats always been a confusing one. Also lovely gypsy post

  16. >oh i can never ever decide between the two love both, sometimes i think i will open a beach shak in goa and the other times a coffee shop in some mountain but onve thing is sure food will be involved 😀

  17. >@unsung: *Sigh* I'd do anything to be either at a beach or in the hills right now!@cynic in wonderland: Gypsy post, eh? 🙂 Interesting phraseology!@monikamanchanda: We do know a lot about you as a traveller, now, don't we? At least, that you love taking road trips! I, for one, am quite a spoil sport when it comes to long road journeys!

  18. >@manisha: I'm weird because I'm mortally scared of the sea as I can't swim. And yet I like the beaches :)@Monika, Ansh: Lol! I know what you mean – I'm at that stage all the time ;)@J: I don't want to see the whole of Europe at a go, just one country at a time. And use the insurance policy for a trip Europe? You have to be kidding if you think I'll wait 20 years to get there! 🙂

  19. >Like many people here, I'm always torn between the beaches and the mountains. The trouble is, Mumbai is far away from the mountains, so one ends up spending more time on beaches. (Notice the use of the word mountains, not hills.)Someday, my insurance policy will allow me to spend equal amounts of time in the mountains as well as the beaches. Someday. :-)Cheers,Quirky Indian

  20. >beautiful post, Di am the type of traveller who wants to have a trip not very heavy on pocket and who likes to go to offbeat paths, even if it is in some oft-trodden holiday spot.

  21. >@Quirky Indian: Of course, the mountains are so much lovelier than the hills. We noticed. @MiM: That's what makes one place different from another, doesn't it?@Mampi: One reason I want to be very rich is so that I can see the world without thinking of a budget!

  22. >hmmalthough both mountains and beach appeal to us, husband likes mountains better and i like beach better. 🙂 grew up in a mountain city, living in a sea-side city now … i prefer the latter cuz of relatively consistent and WARMER weather as u mentioned.

  23. >Travel means a whole lot of things to me. It is about looking back at history at times. On other occasions, it could be a harbinger to the future. What it does always is enrich me with the experiences, gives me a new perspective. At times, it is a much needed stress buster. I love mountains, beaches, mud/slush during the journey. The journey is as rewarding as reaching the destination.It is said that a good traveler has no destination. I've yet to reach that level. I'm trying 🙂

  24. >@Roop: Living in the plains is quite boring that way – neither the mountains nor the sea to romanticise the landscape.@Sangfroid: I also think we grow as travellers. And I would also like to grow enough to be able to travel without a destination.

  25. >I've always been a traveler. I don't have a type…it's different seasons and moods and locations. I enjoy a luxury travel as much as I enjoy the rough it out. but one thing i love about all places i visit and travellings i do, is to experience the culture as it is from the eyes of the locals and not from a tourist. i will dig out the unbeaten track. I will hunt down traditions, customs and food, yes food is huge on my travel list. I also put a day or half aside for the tourist stuff…after all that's where some of the top sight are and is food for conversation :).

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