The Thirst for Travel

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(This appears in the anniversary issue of Asiaspa magazine. I was the guest editor of the travel section)

I have always had a never-ending thirst for seeing new places. It’s something I have inherited  from my father who in the 70s  hitched hiked and back-packed his way from Kabul through the Middle East, Eastern Europe to finally end up in England 6 months later. It’s something I’ve always wanted to accomplish, but given the current geo political climate, hardly likely to. Less so, with me being a woman. I have of course done something similar, when as a 20 yr old I went about my way from Austria to Germany to Holand  to Belgium and finally France. That entire trip was on a shoestring budget. It involved staying in Youth Hostels( dad’s recommendation) , taking trains and buses and walking whenever possible. And what an experience it was! I came back thinking I’d seen the world. I continued to travel at regular intervals  and began to slowly evolve into a discerning traveller. I began researching more before my trips, did homework and got smarter with things. One of the earlier lessons I learnt was to always secure an Internet booking for hotels, car rentals, museum entry’s, bus tours, etc( and this when the Internet was NOT the primary booking medium) prior to arrival in a new destination. Picking a lodging walking distance from the city center of a city i was another one.

One discovers a lot about oneself as one travels. I realized I wasn’t cut out to go to places everyone went to, very early on. I didn’t want to be a “me too” traveler. I consciously chose places that were off the beaten path, where I was unlikey to bump to any one other than the seasoned traveller. Nerja, on the Costa Del Sol in the Spanish Riviera was one such town. Small and quaint it was breathtaking! The average traveller would of course have picked Marbella. I truly love places that offer the extraordinary . Finland is one such destination. I have always been a big fan of the outdoors . To be able to ski, sleigh, trek,  go on a husky or a reindeer safari is truly my cup of tea. My trip to the  Arctic region  Finland (Lapland)was out of the world.  And I can’t wait to go back for more!!

Another one of my favourite places is the continent of Africa. It’s has the most beautiful landscapes and exquisite wildlife. I had the good fortune of living in Zambia when my father was posted there, and having visited many countries on the continent, I fell in love with the African way of life. From Kenya to Tanzania to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi , Namibia to South Africa -it is vivid and it varies. If there is the savannah in  Kenya, there are rolling Highlands in Nyanga(Zimbabwe) and then there are stunning Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa.All unique, all beautiful. Africa has deserts, rain forests, beaches and mountains. I can’t ever plan a year of travel that doesn’t feature an African destination.

I hope I can continue to travel and experience and discover all the world has to offer. Next on the agenda is diving in Phuket and perhaps a trip to Petra, Jordan. And  South America. And Tibet. And Russia  once again. Here I go!

19 Comments on “The Thirst for Travel”

  1. Ravneet Grewal

    I want to do that African Safari once in this lifetime…and maybe diving in Phuket… 🙂

  2. Ajith

    WoW!! lucky u :D!!..Mez Love travelling too… and wit the immaturity isn’t it adventurous 🙂 to be unplanned in full detail!!!!

  3. samir agrawal

    tempting account of the hovering. Likeable! However, have you put your wanderlust foot in Katarnia ghat sanctuary in uttar pradesh?

  4. sceptic_ali

    twain in “innocents abroad: “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness….”

    st. augustine: “the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”

  5. priyu

    u have these punjabi sikhni looks.. i think ull rock with long hair

  6. ktBridges

    Lovely, very much too!

  7. midhun

    Just read this and all I want to do is get out and go wherever!

  8. midhun

    I think for a change, one should buy a ticket to a place one has never even heard of, and see what one comes across. I definitely want to do it some time.

  9. paritosh mukhija

    would love to read stories from your travels. keep walking. bon voyage

  10. anil khanna

    best part of travelling is”being there,done that”-ski,trek,african safari,diving are indeed remarkable.for outdoor type,natural beauty is superior to monumental beauty.travellers are knowledgeable-is it true that south africa is the continent of future!

  11. prasun kulshrestha

    OMG….how can u travel so much. i have to go on y honeymoon and surprisingly TSUNAMI had made me afraid of selecting a non-sea destination, but with ur post i got a clue that life is is where u are confident to jump in…wow may b i wud select any place to go…go go go

  12. seema sinha

    I always pray to god for extra money.I want to live like celebrities but my salary allows only 1 bhk flat with lcd tv.

  13. Blognostic

    Travel is wisdom on the move. 🙂

  14. vanita singh

    African safari is awsome experience.Everyone should try african safari at least once in lifetime.

  15. Merwyn Coutinho

    First, Hats off to your dad to have done the trail from Kabul to England.(would love to meet the man) It gives me goose bumps to just hear it. how i wish i could do a similar route from Bangalore to Birmingham on my motorbike and i have been eyeing that route for sometime now (yrs). and as pointed out the socio-political drama and we being Indian just make it tough. Nevertheless i hv started my journey on the bike in My INDIA and hv just completed a yr and looks like its going to go on forever… just one long trip….. and some day i will cross borders on my wheels.

    Have a good trip Gul.

  16. anil

    you look stunning with your hair style. You can try long hair as well, people will die on that.

  17. Rohit

    hello Gul

    first thing first..ur smile is infectious…so always keep smiling 🙂

  18. Charu Singhal

    Hey you should visit Australia if you have not done so before.A visit to the Great Ocean Road is bound to take your breath away.

  19. sunil singh

    the trail was in Kabul England.It be brave Just listen to your father gives me is creeping me out. How on my bike in Bangalore can be a path similar to Birmingham and is now eyening a path, sometimes it’s fine. Such as intellectual and socio-political drama in India, we will just be tough. Nevertheless, I have and I start my trip in India, the bicycle have, and this completes the YR forever.just I think this one go on a trip. And someday I will be crossing the border at the wheel.

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