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HippieInspiration / Stories / Travel

Starting is Half the Battle!

It’s a slow afternoon. I’ve been trying to write this for a week now. I can’t believe it’s been that long already. Sometimes, I wonder if time has a double edge. On the one hand, it seems to have stopped for me and on the other, days turn into weeks and I don’t notice.

Last Friday, I went to Mussoorie. Again. I’d already been to the Queen of Hills a year ago, and we saw everything there was to see.

Or so I thought.

That trip last year, was my first trip with friends. It was loads of fun, trying to figure out a new place with the comfort of having my closest friends with me. I came back from the trip with a lot of pictures. And memories. In the year that followed, I interned with a bunch of kickass travellers, and took two more trips. While not grand on any scale, both these trips were with strangers who turned into friends. But more importantly, these trips helped me realize why people give up everything to travel. What is it about fresh air, mountains and the sense of the unknown, that transforms you into another person? There is a hippie hiding inside you and me. It comes out on the first solo trip you take. Or with friends of your friends. Or total strangers. The first chance you give to this hippie, it grabs your hand and shows you the life you can have. A life that seems strange but so familiar. It’s familiar because it’s you, silly! You were always this wild and carefree but then life piled up on you and you learned to smile your brightest almost mechanically, at friends and people you don’t like alike. You laugh without knowing what’s so funny. You cry only about stuff you can explain. But here, out here where you got no friends or family watching, the hippie comes out. It laughs at your pretensions, your worries. It laughs at you. And you laugh with it.

That’s too filmy though. What most solo travellers fail to tell you, is that you cry a lot. Melancholy comes upon you for no damn reason. But that’s you. Healing yourself. And you know what? You’re okay with your sadness. This freedom, to feel whatever you want, is exhilarating. It’s dangerous. It’s so easy and you wonder why you haven’t done this before! “Why, oh why was I so scared?”, you ask. Your fears seem stupid and insignificant, and the life you’ve lived until this point seems insignificant once you realize how less you know, cocooned in your miserable privilege. There is so much you want to learn about this place, these people. You imagine a life here, you toy with the wild idea of living here forever, and you’re only half kidding. And this is just one place. There are so many out there.

And then it mocks you. Dare you embrace this side of you full time, or will you slink back to your normal, sane world, just like everyone else? “Will you remember me?” The hippie asks. “Will you remember me enough to seek me out again?” “Of course.” you reply. “Just as soon as I get a job, I’ll take a break and come back!”. And then the irony of your own words hit you. You have a life to go back to. Career to make. People to be with. What is this hippie business? You’ll get a decent job. Well-paying certainly. You’ll get paid leaves. A set number a year. You can do whatever you want then. Go wherever you want. That’s the sane way to go about things. The planned, responsible way. You can be both. A hippie on your own watch, and a well-settled person on the other times. Maybe I’ll move out. Live in a shared house but in my very own room. That I’ll pay for myself.  “How’s that for an adventure, eh Hippie?” You say smugly.

Only my plan has failed. Ever since my masters ended, I have been sabotaging every single opportunity to come my way. My plans failed every single time I’ve come close to starting out on that “decent” life. It’s been close to two months now. I spend my days in a haze, too drained to do anything. I’m extremely adamant, not ready to settle for well, just about any 9to5. The hippie inside mocks me. “You know exactly what’s wrong with you, and you’re too scared to fix it. If you know so much about the power of travel, why won’t you do something about it? Is any excuse good enough?”

So here I am. Trying to fix myself. Opening my laptop to write about this took me four days. But starting is half the battle right? I want to write about everything we experience every day that goes unacknowledged. Not just the trips. And by we, I mean you, me, us: average, middle class people with dreams. So many dreams that wither away in the face of if not responsibilities, then well, fear. By doing this, I’m going to try and take an honest approach to life including travel and maybe, find just exactly what I want along the way. And oh, before I’m deemed courageous or crazy (you decide), I’m still very much pursuing my ‘decent’ plan. 

I’ll be chronicling the Mussoorie trip next. I went back to the same place, sure, but this time, I went back as a traveller. And I’ve returned with stories.

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