My Dad Taught Me How To Be A Traveller

by Kanika Sharma
My Dad Taught Me How To Be A Traveller

As a child from the Armed Forces, I have travelled a lot in my life. We didn’t stay at one place for more than 2-4 years until we moved into a hostel or boarding school. When my brother and I were young, summer holidays would mean travelling to our home-town in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh; and then a few others were meant for road-trips. Our parents made sure, that we would explore as much as we could with them, as a family. But while we were on the move, my father would always indulge us in small activities that would make sure that we would make the most of our journeys. Those little things have now turned me into a much evolved traveler, and I would like to thank you for that Dad.

Keeping An Eye Out For Detail

I have always been an ‘enthu-cutlet’. Be it a train journey, a road trip or a flight, I can never sleep. So, when I was young, and we would travel by train, my father would give me a diary. Knowing that I would be up all night, he would ask me to write the names of the places that we crossed while travelling from point A to point B. Once I would do that, he would share something important about the significance of that place or may be even a random fact that would amuse me.

I picked up this trait for planning my travels. Before I list down the places that I want to visit, I open the map and see what all is NOT mentioned on the Things-To-Do list. I, then, make my own itinerary. Thanks to that, I have been able to explore some gorgeous towns from around the world.

The Charm Of Travelling By Road

One of our first international road trips, was around South Africa. My father was posted in Angola, Africa, as a part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force. We spent a month covering the whole country by road. Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, The Sun City, Kruger’s National Park, Ostrich Farms and Cape Town; it was one of the most memorable trips of my life, even now. Within India, we also did a road trip around Gujarat and Rajasthan, which were truly enriching.

I had travelled with them to Europe as well, a few years ago. We started our day at Zurich and ended it at Venice. From snow fall to sea-level in one day, was one of the most gorgeous transitions that I had seen in a while. Yes, Euro rail is amazing, but a road trip, will leave you in awe.

Also read: South Africa Opens Up Tourism Activities

Don’t Be Afraid Of Travel Hiccups

A travel journey without any kind of troubles, sometimes isn’t considered to be a successful one. But the people you meet during these times, sometimes end up becoming your friend for life; or for that matter just saviours in that one time of crisis that you will always be grateful to them for. Helping out a stranger or not being afraid to ask for help when stuck, is something that I inculcated from him.

During my solo travels, I have been stuck at various places. But the thought of not asking for help, never crossed my mind. Ask and you shall receive, is something that I was always been witness to, even as a child. Whether it was us helping out others or vice-a-versa. I didn’t know how to get back from Scotland to London. Tickets were sold out, and I couldn’t book another night at AirBnB. I had my flight back to India in 48 hours from London. Flustered in a waiting room at the train station, a Scottish girl walked up to me and offered help, and that gave me the courage to start thinking on my feet and finding a way to get back to London. After travelling for 18 hours, I made it back, with enough time to have my last meal in the city before returning home.

Also read: An Open Letter: Dear Mom & Dad, Thank You For Letting Me Travel Solo!

You Are Never Too Old Or Too Exhausted To Travel

My father is more than 60-years-old. Until a couple of years back, while he was posted in Bikaner, he decided to start a bike club. He owned a Royal Enfield, and his club included officers, both ladies and gentlemen; the youngest, to the oldest. When I would go to visit him, despite working till late on Friday or Saturday nights, he would wake up early the next morning, and ride out. They would stop at a dhaba, have some chai, and then return home, for a lavish breakfast, which mom would lay out for all the riders. I would still be in my pajamas.

Sometimes, if you want to really explore, you have to make time for it. I am 31-years-old, and compared to my father, I think that his zest to travel is far greater than mine, even now. During my trips, I do make an effort to wake up early, if I want to watch the sunrise, or make the most of the cool morning for an excursion or a trek, but if the night before is late, I would still kick-back and probably sleep a few extra hours.

Also read: Unique And Gorgeous Wildlife Virtual Tours Of Australia That Will Leave You In Awe

My dad and mom have more stamps on their passport than I do. That’s when we all got the first stamp of an international destination, together. I am still a work-in-progress with respect to my travel journeys, I am sure my dad thinks so too. The other day, he mentioned, ‘Kanika… we haven’t covered Australia yet…”