My Roaming Spirit
Kushal jhunjhunwala (@KushalJ2w)
Traveler | Photographer | Co founder of myroamingspirit
Last Autumn, I travelled to Spiti, one of the remotest places in India (and probably one of the remotest in the world). A place which has remained untouched by modern times. It’s raw yet magnificient beauty is an absolute delight for any photographer. However there is much more to this place than just its stunning surroundings. It’s the people here who make this place much more special. Happy, helpful, and humble – this precisely describes every one of them.
One day when we were heading towards Pin Valley in Spiti (known for its wildife reserves), we stopped at the last village on the route to Pin - a small village, rather an extremely small one with only two mud houses and with a total population of 8 people. Finding ourselves in a dead end, we knocked at one of the doors. A young chap in mid twenties greeted us and invited us for tea in his house. There were some 3-4 kids as well.The parents had gone to a nearby village, so these guys were alone here. As we entered the room, the sight infront of us was unbelievable. The guy was watching an english news channel and on further inquiry explained that he is a graduate and plans to complete his B.Ed as well. It was too surprising to see an educated village boy at such a secluded place. The guy used to walk up 2 miles to get to the only mobile network range they had access to. It was an absolute eye opener for us. Can we ever imagine to live in such harsh conditions and still manage to be happy and be so helpful and generous. Today every one you meet cribs about what they don't have. Our desires have surpassed our means and we hardly bother about others. We are so bogged down in our daily lives that we hardly appreciate the things we have and the people who care for us - the things which actually matter.
You may be thinking by now that this guy is another preachy bore! But the truth is - this incident and many more here in Spiti and all the other places which I have travelled, actually changed the way I look at my life. Every one of us struggle with the daily grind of our lives waiting for that big moment that we think will change our life – that high paying job, that promotion, that new house in a posh locality and so on. They come sometimes and sometimes they don’t. What ever the case be, in the process we often forget to appreciate the little moments of joy that we create for ourselves and others every day of our life. When you travel to places like Spiti, you get closer to yourself and your needs – both emotional and practical and you realise your true purpose.
With the experiences that I have gained over a period of time, I firmly believe that every one can bring about a positive change in their lives by just being a regular traveller. I am not asking you to travel the entire year. Just two long trips in a year is good enough to start with.
Here I have listed some of the changes that most people witness when they start their affair with travelling and I can guarantee you too will. A start is all it takes !
You break out of your comfort zone : As a kid, I had always been a very shy person – not opening my mouth unless asked to by someone. When I started travelling, I was not sure how long will I be able to continue my love for places. Every time I planned my trip, I was afraid, full of anxiety, scared by the imagination of talking to so many strange people. I could have decided not to travel and save myself of all this pain and agony. But then I decided that I will fulfill my desire to travel no matter what stops me. And look at me today. I talk to new people almost every day of my life, I am not afraid to put forth my views and opinions and most importantly I understand my needs, my weak points, everything me, inside out.That’s exactly what travel does to you !
You expand your perspective and develop a creative thought process: Travel is not just about people and places. It’s also about planning, last minute adjustments, tough decision making sometimes and a lot of endurance and patience when things go wrong. Your creativity is tested almost every moment you are out there under the sun or the stars.
Your become a lot more Confident : I never knew I had a dual personality until this happened. As I said, since childhood I had been shy, but that started bothering me when I started to grow up. Though I did try to change, however I was not very comfortable to suddenly change my behaviour even if I knew I could; after all I had a reputation to maintain ! Things started to change only when I started going around on road trips. To my own surprise, as I got accustomed to travelling with unknown people, I was a different person all together - Full of life and thoughts. Something like the Ranbir Kapoor from the Bollywood movie Tamasha. (I bet you don’t remember because you never watched that movie.. :p ) Gradually I figured out that all this had happened because I actually did not know the people I was traveling with, and so did they. Travelling with unknown people helps you to understand your own personality and allows you to be natural to your self because you are not afraid of being judged by anyone. You can atleast attempt to be the person you want to be. And a positive effort always brings along the results you wish for.
You value experience over just places or things : Do you remember your last family trip? Running from one place to another, always thinking of what you may miss out due to the limited time instead of enjoying the place you are at. That is precisely what travelling is not. You need to change your idea of travelling to shift from being a tourist to a traveler. Travelling is more about developing a long term relationship with the place rather than just having a one night stand. Slow travel allows you get closer to the local community, the culture and the place. So the next time you hit the road, make sure you plan a few do-nothing days in your itinerary at your favourite place.
You ignite your Spiritual desires : As a teenager, I was a true atheist. But travel changed the way I looked at spirituality. I started to look for more meaning in my life. Just like everyone else, I had been running through life, headed to some destination without any knowledge of the path I had taken and where it would lead me. Travel and specially slow travel allowed me to introspect, take a pause, take charge of my life and change directions. The experiences you gather during traveling actually lets you connect to a greater purpose in life – to the cause of humanity !
You become the real social being : In the world we live, facebook, twitter or Instagram come to mind instantly when someone utters the word ‘social’. That said, it’s much easier to be virtually social. The real pain is to be truly social, to go out and actually meet people, to make true friends out of people you just met a couple of hours ago, to take pictures in awkward situations and to make things happen in the real world. You may wish to take the easy way out and stay chained to your desktop OR push your self, go out and explore all that the world has to offer to you. The choice is really yours !
I leave you with a thought here : You can always make more money, but you will get only a few chances to create life long memories. So do it till you still have time on that clock called life !
Still not motivated to explore the vast glories of nature ? Check out the stunning photographs taken by us during our trips on the home page. If this does not inspire you to head out, I do not know what will !