For the average person six months seems like an incredibly long time to travel. However, anyone who has been to India knows that you could have five reincarnations that all choose to explore the continent and it still wouldn’t be enough.
During our first few months here, spending any longer than five days in one place stressed me out. I was troubled with the thought we wouldn’t have time to see everything India had to offer. Now as we are nearing the end of our trip I realise how foolish I was to waste time worrying about such a mammoth task. Mother India is so huge that we where never going to be able to see it all and looking back I wish that I had just relaxed a bit more into each situation we found ourselves in. As it happens the places we resided for the longest (by choice or by accident) are the ones which I have the fondest memories for.
I know this seems like a obvious thing to say, but when faced with a long period of time to do whatever you want in a country that you have been dreaming about for an age, it’s overwhelming. And if you are anything like me the idea of ‘wasting time’ on a journey of a lifetime is unthinkable. However, this did not always mean I was hyper productive and efficient with my time. It meant that during the hours of the mid day sun, were we where confined inside the walls of various dhabas and cafes, I was extremely restless. Feeling that I should be out exploring and finding out the meaning of life… or something along those lines.
It wasn’t until well into our trip that I accepted that down time reading and writing is just as important as visiting famous sites. As, realistically if you force yourself to visit as many temples, waterfalls or ruins as you can, they will all start to blend into one. Like everything in life travelling is about balance and I have found that the time I have spent reading and sipping chai has been just as enriching as time spent driving around death defying Himalayan roads on motorbikes.
Tripadvisor is the most used Travel App in the world and its stuff like this that I wish I had known before I set off, rather than where I can find Leh's best chocolate cake (although that information has come in useful.) That it’s ok to need downtime when you’re travelling. Being away from your home and familiarity for an extended period of time is tiring for the mind, body and soul. Of course travelling is what enriches these things but that is my point, you are being exposed to so many new experiences every second of the day causing your ‘self’ to be on over drive at all times. It’s totally fine to want to veg in front of the tv and watch a shit movie from time to time or to want a big bowl of pasta instead of a thali occasionally.
I wish that I had known it was ok to miss creature comforts. That it didn’t make me any less of a intrepid explorer than the guy who claims he doesn’t wear shoes anymore and lives of one meal of dal and rice a day. I can assure you as soon as his dread locked head is out of view he will don his Birkenstocks and munch on a packet of Dark Fantasy biscuits (a traveller favourite).
So from a fellow traveller to another I am telling you something I wish someone had told me. It’s ok. You’re doing fine! Use this precious time you have travelling to enrich every part of yourself. Whether that means realxing and reading Autobiography of a Yogi, taking a time out and trying to stream an episode of come dine with me on your iphone (I admit to this) or climbing mountains. Your experience is your own and you’re never going to be able to do everything, so be content with what you do see. I repeat myself so forgive me, but it's important. Like everything in life travelling is about balance. You must find your own; Ying and Jang, Ha and Tha, Sun and Moon, Day and Night, stillness and movement.
Safe and balanced travels,