Like a Bird – A New Journey Begins

UPDATE: I had given up on it, but I managed to finish the decade with a travel book in my name! I am glad to present my first book, Travelpeeda (peeda is Sanskrit/Hindi for pain), which is available for purchase on Amazon.

This blog post brings me great joy. After no less than a decade of dilly-dallying, I am finally taking the plunge into travel writing. Anyone who has made even a short trip for leisure has a story to tell. Yet, so few of us ever tell our stories. I have had the good fortune to see a bit of the world and a bit of this nation of nations called India. I say good fortune because travel is expensive and time-consuming and can be challenging for a number of reasons. I have yet to meet someone who does not want to escape or does not enjoy escaping the monotony of everyday life and exploring unfamiliar territories, foods, cultures, and people. Not everybody is afflicted with wanderlust, but is there anybody who does not crave an occasional getaway? It takes more than a craving, though, to make a trip happen. If time is not a constraint, money is. If money is not a constraint, time is. If neither time nor money is a constraint, the lack of a travel companion is.

sunflower fields near Badami, Karnataka
Sunflowers radiating happiness near Badami, Karnataka (October 2015)
souvenir shop in Aix-en-Provence, France, quoting Mahatma Gandhi
A souvenir shop in Aix-en-Provence (France) mistranslating and wrongly attributing to Mahatma Gandhi the famous quote: Beauty (Happiness) lies in the eye of the beholder (December 2006)

Have I given the impression I have too much money to burn or too much time on my hands? Let me tell you, I don’t. I am strictly a budget traveller. And though as a freelancer I am quite in control of my time, I do have my own time limitations. That said, there came a phase in my life when I found myself with a fair amount of resources at my disposal. That phase was marked by a whirlwind of travel and adventure and was the start of a journey of journeys to discover the world’s travelling gems known and lesser-known.

The extremely pleasant, pleasant, not-so-pleasant and unpleasant memories associated with that one hell of a crazy period gave me an intense desire to pen a memoir. I have written that memoir many times over in my head but have failed to make an actual book out of it. To be fair to myself, I did think out the structure and write a few chapters. But that’s that. I did not want to take the traditional publishing route because it is an extremely frustrating exercise. Self-publishing, on the other hand, is very challenging and cost-intensive too. Then the worldwide increasing intolerance not only to opinions but to statements of fact too have weighed heavily on my mind. The most impactful roadblock, however, has been my own inability to motivate myself enough to write, and write every single day, like serious writers do.

Shiv Baijnath temple near Palampur Himachal Pradesh
Baijnath Temple glowing in the evening sun near Palampur, Himachal Pradesh (March 2017)
Seema Malaka temple, Beira Lake, Colombo, Sri Lanka
A portion of the Seema Malaka Buddhist Temple amid Beira Lake (Colombo) after two hours of heavy showers (February 2017)

Between then and now, I have undertaken many other journeys. And I have so many more stories to tell. The book may not have happened. But the stories can still be told. I wanted to call my book Like a Bird. The name will now be borne by my travel blog, of which this is the inaugural post. I am happy to have made a start. Motivation, or the lack of it, might still remain an issue. I am not too bothered about that, though, because unlike with the book, where a story had to wait for the rest of the pack to come out together as one big, happy family, with the blog, each story has the chance to grow its own wings and take flight. Here’s to travelling and writing!

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