By: Payal Hindocha
My panchabhuta (five elements to sustain) has to be love, food, fashion, entertainment and travel. But one element encompassing the others is travel.
With the mere mention of travel, my eyes glisten and heart pounds as the saying goes ‘A hopeful heart and an open mind are the best travelling companions’. So when a globetrotting digital marketing professional (who has visited 36 countries) does all the talking at the Get Out Travel Workshop, I was awe-struck.
Lending ears at the workshop were individuals from all walks of life including a cancer surgeon, architect, media executive and fashion designer. The common thread binding them was their passion to travel. And the affable ambience of Extra Mile Café in Bandra was apt for a free-flowing discussion.
Ansoo Gupta shared insights from her numerous experiences, and her tips and recommendations were our precious little takeaways. If you are the kind who lets your travel agent do all the exploring for you, then you’re in for surprise.
Travelling is more about exploring the ethos of the place which does not include five-star hotel bookings and an itinerary. This travel is more fulfilling, enriching and opens up the mind. Every hindrance to your travel plans – family, time, money – is self-inflicted. Proper planning and knowing travel basics are all you need.
For me, internet was the best option for cheap air fares. However, at the workshop I learnt of various search engines and unheard low cost air carriers. For instance, SkyScanner gives you a list of all airlines that fly into a particular airport. Then there’s Kayak, Ixigo, Expedia and Cleartrip which will help in fishing cheapest airfares. While, Flyertalk tells you how to collect and use frequent flyer miles.
I thought hotels were the only accommodation for my sojourn. I was introduced to interesting concepts of hostel, couch surfing and even also internet communities like globalfreeloaders that offer accommodation. In fact, I was amazed to hear that you could do voluntary work to get accommodation in return. Our presenter too helped a family in Scotland that produced hand-made soaps to gain a free stay.
For food, fast food joints or a fancy restaurant was my safe bet. But street food, hot stations at super markets or cooking with local ingredients gives you a peek into local flavours. While travelling, you need to get rid of excess baggage. The lighter you travel, easier the journey.
Though many may feel that exploring a place is kind of unsafe, it is actually all about striking a balance and blending with the locals in terms of dress and mannerisms.
So next time, try the fried crickets in Cambodia, experience Fringe Festival in Scotland and Candy Carnival in Spain and go ice-fishing in Sweden; just like the presenter did!
Few tips to explore more:
- Try planning your travel around a festival or carnival as the place is bound to be more lively
- Immerse yourself as much as you can in the native lifestyle
- If you are traveling alone, try to be inconspicuous to avoid unnecessary attention
- Travel light and pack right. Take only essentials
- Every journey is an experience, keep an open mind