Monday, January 30, 2012


Hang Loose....Hawaii-an Motto!
I cannot imagine living life without traveling anymore. My travel bug came from my family. My father started traveling when he was young, within India and then once he travelled abroad one time, there was no looking back. I grew up in different countries, went to school and then worked in different countries.  Even from childhood I have visited several countries, first with family, then with co-workers and friends.  And now frequently I have the yearning to see some place new.  I explore my local area and also try to travel abroad.

Depending on how one travels, it can do more to a person than just introduce them to tourist destinations. One can go an exotic destination and stay in hotel and not venture out of it – that is not even tourism, just a waste of time. 

To travel and learn something from it, one has to immerse themselves in the culture and experience of it. Traveling within ones own country can also be as exciting as traveling abroad. It’s the experience that counts.

Traveling can open our eyes to so many wonders. We learn new cultures, languages, cuisines, way of life, transportation etc etc.
- The more diverse you make your travel plan the more you will learn.
- The more open minded you are, the more you will understand the culture and people better.
- The more acceptable you are, the more you will enjoy your travels.

By traveling to a country and culture alien to ours we also understand ourselves better since we are out of our elements. Being out of our comfort zone teaches us about survival, alertness and being practical.

Having traveled to a number of places with different groups of people; with parents, with brother, with a group of strangers, with student groups, with colleagues, as a leader and of course by myself, I can confidently say that I have enjoyed all my travels, no matter with who (or whom) I go. I make it a point to experience as much as possible and enjoy every moment of my time, even if I am waiting for one hour at the bus stop for the bus to arrive!

Some of best traveling experience has been within my own country, India.  I learn more about it every time I go.  It could be because I did not grow up in India and I look at India as a foreign country also :-)

So how do you make your travel a memorable one?
  • Learn about the destination before going there.
  • Try to learn the basic vocabulary, if the language is different.
  • Once there, talk to the guide, be polite and culturally sensitive while asking questions, but ask questions.
  • Speak to as many locals as possible (if language permits).
  • Observe all customs and rituals of the country. You are a visitor, so you have to conform to their customs.
  • Try not to show off with lots of money or gifts.
  • Be patient of everything and everyone.
  • Always have a positive attitude.
  • Don't forget to enjoy the local cuisine!!
Everyone is not like you and your differences will only make your experience more worthwhile, so relax and enjoy it rather than getting all worked up and judgmental.

And make sure you bring something back!! You never know when you will ever go to that country again.

Click here to see some more of my travel photos
(The magnificent Macchu Picchu, Peru)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I have such romantic notions of how life should be.  In my world, everyone behaves the way they should; a student studies for his course just because he chose to enrols in it; strangers are polite to each other; people return phone calls and reply to emails; a tour guides works without the expectation of a tip; and so does a waiter (waitress).....etc etc.  But my grandeur of romance gets shattered every single time!!! But sadly I don't learn from it.  I go on to my next broken romance.

When am I going to realize that reality is so far from idealism? People don't behave like they are supposed to and sometimes they just don't know how to behave, and so things will never have the same outcome as I want them to be.  I will just keep getting disappointed at reality.  Instead, I should start getting amused....."Oh look it happened again!! - haha!" But there is no haha when things don't go the way they are supposed to.  It is depressing, causes anger, resentment and shakes my faith in humanity and sometimes common sense.

I just wrote my blog on "rules" - well, it is certainly true that most people don't know (or don't care to know) much about the rules of nature, of how things are supposed to be.  They make up their rules as they live life.  Their personal background, culture and experience makes them create their rules, which they follow and believe to be right.  So of course if I have expectation of ideal behaviour, then it is my problem, not theirs.  Obviously! (Can you see me rolling my eyes?).  Or maybe I have created my own set of rules by which I behave....and expect everyone else to abide by them....I will not know unless someone tells me.

So at this time my problem is incurable (the problem with die hard romantics).  Knowing all of the above, I still have expectations of ideal behaviour. I want to have faith in humanity that it can behave the way it is supposed to. I want to believe (I sound like Mulder in X-files).  Human being is the only species which has the ability to think and reason but it does not excercise it.  I would like humans to start behaving like the elevated species they are.

Thank goodness I do have some people in my life who make me believe.....thank you!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


"Rules are meant to be broken" - that is a common saying.  Well.....but we need rules in order for this world to function properly.  If we don't follow rules then it is just anarchy, why bother having societies and laws?  So then I have these questions:
  • Why do we have the saying "rules are meant to be broken"?
  • Whose rules are we breaking?
  • Who makes those darn rules?
  • Really....I am wondering where does it all start? Who had the moral backbone to start making all these rules?

I don't  have a problem with rules :-) I just wonder why people break them so frequently.  The world would be such a peaceful place if everyone just followed some simple things:
  1. speak the truth;
  2. do their jobs as it is meant to be;
  3. penalize people who don't do what they are supposed to do.
Sometimes following a rule can be as simple as driving properly on the road or throwing the trash where it is supposed to be thrown.  But we don't even do that! Why don't we like conforming to rules? (hence the saying - rules are meant to be broken).  I think some of us (myself included) do not like being told what to do.  We know what we have to do and most times we do it.  If we don't follow a rule then it is was for a darn good reason.

I must say that as much as I have been a dependable and responsible person, I have not hesitated to break a rule if I needed to.....or wanted to.  There is some fun in it, while sometimes it is a neccessity.  Most times no one gets hurt.....most times.  I am not the conventional/traditional Indian girl as one might think or maybe I am.  I don't know - I have not met anyone like me yet.  Although as I am growing older I feel the need to follow rules more than before (I still break 'em though!).  It makes life more disciplined and easier to follow.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot as to how breaking a rule can change your life completely.  If I had followed on the path laid out for any typical Indian girl - my life would have been so different.  But it did not happen that way because of my destiny.  So, really do we break any rules ourselves? Or is it in our fate to break those rules? So many scientific discoveries would never have been made if one had stuck to tradition and conservative thinking. So...I feel like it should be okay to think outside the box once in a while.