Note: It's just a rant post.
I don’t call myself a traveller. I like to travel. And I travel a bit more than a normal person. But a lot less than a full time traveller. I am quite happy, content and slightly proud of the places I have been to. Over the years, I have come to realise one thing.
I don't remember destinations on the basis of popular places there. For eg, I don't remember a hillstation for that popular waterfall, or a city for some monument. To me, most of the memories are associated with either food or some random places I happened to discover.
Or even a random memory I associate myself with, or some mindless bargaining to buy something really small. When I see people going to places I have already visited, I so badly want to recommend them places to eat at, dishes to try in that particular restaurant/thela.
Or buy that small piece of souvenir item outside a touristy destination, or go for a drive around that place and try to find some breathtaking landscapes. My association of any place is connected with these small small memories and experiences.
I don't remember the popular monastery of Coorg, but I do remember making up stories about Tipu Sultan's loo since we were bored of hearing his stories everywhere we went. I don't remember Burj Khalifa or Dubai mall or aquarium. but I do remember staring at that fresh bun at Papparoti they made right in front of me and served me in the same tray. Or that thai meal at Benjarong. I don't remember many attractions of China or Hong Kong. But I remember going to a public swimming pool and sitting at the stand, staring at all those swimmers - oldies and kids - for hours. And I remember not being the only one to do so. That's the pastime of many people there. They come. Sit in the stand. Watch. Leave.
I don't remember how I felt when I saw the Eiffel tower at night for the first time, but I remember bargaining for those Eiffel tower keychains and magnets. I remember meeting an Indian guy selling them. 15 keychains for 2 Euros was a kickass deal.
I don't remember what I did in Shimla. But I remember where I had chhole kulcha. Or that awesome meal in a very cool cafe in Kaza. Or wai wai in Sikkim while missing Maggi. Or using landline in Nubra Valley where there is no other network working. Yes, I do remember watching Northern lights. But what's more clearly etched in my mind is, in the middle of Iceland - the most unlikely place to have someone speak in village gujarati. Or meeting an Icelandic lady on the flight that was delayed and have us dropped just in time for our lights chasing tour.
No, I am not a traveller. I am not even an explorer. I am just a curious soul that happens to find right things at the right time. Well, not everything is right, or pleasant. But they are still there. Reminding me of little moments of happiness every time I hear the name of that place.
I want to go back to all those places. But only if I could relive all those memories all over again..