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The travel bug: Why city dwellers have ants in their pants and other observations- Feb 27, 2012

When it hits me, this travel bug, it can drive me nuts! Several conversations with a diverse set of people recently have revealed to me (thank God!) that I am not alone in being struck by the travel mania. Which I define, for the purposes of this post, as the act of dreaming and fantasizing about travel while being hopelessly stuck in mundane city life.

Why is it that we city people have such an undying desire to go somewhere? One thing for sure is that we are subjected to too much exposure via TV, magazines, books and advertising about the ‘elsewhere’- juicy travelogues, tantalizing images, designed to set your heart aflutter! And then there is the social networking competition bit. Don’t deny it, we’re all in this rat race! If a friend on FB did the Chadar trek up in freezing Ladakh, you’d want to as well, never mind the fact that you never did a trek to the Delhi Ridge! And those cute kiddie pics in the snow, on the beach and the posing couple in Bangkok-and you think ‘sigh! Why isn’t that me?’!

Or is it that our lives are really that mundane and travel represents an escape from routines, from being who we are to being who we can be, from being bound to being free, from getting through the day to enjoying every minute?

The liberation of travel, though, is mostly a myth. Very few people I know are configured to truly traveling in a free, happy state of mind. Most of us (over)plan, fret and worry about what to pack, what to feed our kids when on the road, about missing flights and the quality of the hotel, the MSG and pathogens in the street food and whether the cabbie is overcharging you.

Methinks traveling, the actual physical process of going from home to ‘someplace’ and back, is usually exhausting, stressful and at times over-rated? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we shouldn’t travel. Just that it’s possible to find more value in vacations that are simple and only loosely planned rather than expensive, elaborate and packed to the brim; and find the experience of the ‘someplace’ inside your city as much as away from it!

Or like me, you can get your travel high out of the dreaming and fantasizing and fitting in the occasional trip once in a while. I don’t waste too much time researching and planning the fantasy trips or I usually end up with something close to a heartbreak experience and that isn’t nice at all at this age (as opposed to going through it every few months at 16)!

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