These days you see so many travel bloggers, youtubers, vloggers both guys & girls, so one might assume its not that big a deal for a middle class Indian girl to pursue her dreams; right? WRONG!
Like most other kids of my age I also relished the idea of a long vacation away from my hometown, from the usual routine and well Monday morning blues. But is it that easy? Is it so simple to just pick up your bag and leave? Especially being a girl? Certainly not. Travelling requires money, leave from office, permission from parents, planning and what not. Travel planning and juggling work, managing expenses can be pretty daunting itself, but still exploring a new destination is the only joy which could save me from a protentional nervous breakdown. You have heard such stories before, maybe mine is not unique but I am still the protagonist of my own story. Relishing a dream which is yet-to-bloom, here is how my journey of wanderlust commenced.
Growing up with the stories of Bengali fictional detective Feluda, by Satyajit Ray, the lazy afternoons of my childhood used to fill the heart of the mind with dreams. The drowsy eyes could sculpt the picture of places, where his adventures were portrayed. If you are aware of a few stories of Feluda, you will find that he used to roam around while solving his mysterious cases and whodunits.
The description of the landscapes and the nature around the characters, engraved by Ray, were enough to make me fall in love with the idea of travelling. Be it the mountains, forest or the beach, nature had captured a special place in my heart through the beautiful tales.
My First Travel Journal
The stories from my drowsy eyes started taking a shape when my mom came with the news of a family vacation in Puri, Odisha. That was about to be the first journey of my life, in all probability. Before that, the small tours to the neighboring weekend destinations were my only vacay-escapes.
So, I excitedly jumped out of the bed immediately and grabbed a diary and prepared a journal with dates and places to visit. Also, note that among my possessions, the pile of diaries that I have collected throughout my life is indeed a pride for me.
Going through the dairy, I cherish the memories of rolling in the sand all day long, scripted in broken English. It was the first time I realized that I will need to fill the diary with the reviews of the places I will be visiting. Though I have travelled a lot of places while growing up, I could not follow the journal. Alas! The pages remained still and empty.
The most dreadful words for a few kids out there and I am one of them. Not a kid anymore (not to my parents though), but I still need to seek permission for even short weekend getaways. Being raised up in a typical Indian middle class family ensured strict parents and along came the never ending questions. Of course, I would sneak out here and there, with a lot of made-up excuses. Also, not to mention, I got caught red-handed once. Guess what; still, the slaps could not stop the dream that is yet-to-bloom.
Million Dollar Idea
Good marks are something every Indian parent is obsessed with and well my family was no different. If you are doing well in academics, in most cases your parents will be supportive. *Wink*Wink* I knew I had to strategize and find a way to travel leveraging studies.
So, I went hunting for streams that come with travelling as the curriculum. Unfortunately, my million dollar idea to study travel & tourism didn't take off as my parents didn't support me. But hold on- I still didn't give up. I took up Mass Communication for further studies. It is not very close, yet not so far. Finally, I can produce excuses like practical, assignments and other existing elements on earth to make up stories, hoping to get an allowance to travel, not an ideal solution but works.
A Step Forward
After the completion of my first-semester exam, I made a plan to start my venture. The long lost pages from childhood, brewed up again with the smell of nostalgia. I wanted to start a travel blog. So, I packed my bag and went out to make my presence in the world of wanderers. Well, my mom did not let me go alone. She accompanied.
It was a great experience to venture through the sneak peeks of the foothills of Himalayas. We went for a short trip to Siliguri, North Bengal. I would like to confess that travelling with my mom was not all that bad in fact it turned out to be fun. I learned a lot about taking responsibilities of my mother, while we were dwelling in a place which is new to both of us. We bonded and gelled up a lot more after being co-travelers. So, here is how my journey towards my dream took a new leap.
Siliguri: A Short Vacation
Siliguri, Darjeeling and Gangtok are some of the most visited destinations if you reside in West Bengal. All three destinations are something that almost every family might have visited at least once. However, despite being a Bengali, my family still hadn't taken me to Siliguri or Sikkim. So I decided to change that in December 2019. Just after landing at Bagdogra Airport, the first thing I did was (no, I didn't make my travel schedule), ate a plate of Momos.
Fun Fact: Momos or Dumplings are very famous in Sikkim and bordering areas of West bengal. They are a must try for everyone.
I believe, wherever you go, tasting the authenticity can only be obtained through its food.
Oh! I am getting diverted. Shifting the focus again to Siliguri trip, here is the brief itinerary that me and my mom followed:
A round trip to Mirik, along with the sight-seeing of Mirik Lake. One can enjoy boating also but I chose to tour around the Mirik Lake on a Horse's back
Started with a tribute to Jangli Baba Mandir, which is backed with supernatural legends around it. Located in the middle of a lightly dense forest, this place has also sheltered wild animals like Cheetahs and Elephants.
The spiritual tour was followed by Farakka Barrage. The main attraction of river Teesta is its dual personality. The Teesta-Jaldhaka Main Canal has a view of the calm and composed side. Boating through the water and the bushes might be a favorable option for photographers to capture, especially the birds.
The final day was started with another tribute to Sevoke Kali Mandir and a view of Teesta from Coronation Bridge, Sevoke. It was a mixture of teal, cyan, and all shades of blue. Finally, the day concluded with a safari ride in Bengal Safari.
Back to the city of joy "Kolkata", with a lot of sadness and a bag full of memory to cherish. I wanted to explore a lot more places, north Sikkim , Himalayas and so many more places but maybe that is a story for next time.
I had a lot of plans for 2020 but well we all know what happened!!
As far as the pandemic is concerned, another half-planned trip to Daringbadi, Odisha just escaped out of my journal. So, I started exploring travel in a different way. I tried my hands on virtual tourism. But personally, I feel the satisfaction of witnessing the beauty with naked eyes is something that technology is yet to reproduce. Thus, with a heavy heart, I am looking forward to next year, hoping that there will be an escape soon.
For me, travelling is like Victorian Romantics. The escape to nature is the utmost way of getting eternal peace. But I would like to develop enough skills before I start my blog, so there is nothing I will be missing. With Wander Womaniya, it will be a great chance to bring out my potential and flaunt it to the world.
Stay tuned for more stories from my upcoming travel experiences!
Travel solo with Women Travel Groups by Wander Womaniya