Monday, January 5, 2015

The Inadvertent Traveler

I don't like traveling much. All my life, I have been traveling, and not as a tourist, but quite literally changing my home every few years: Kochi, Goa, Ooty, Hyderabad, Bombay, Roorkee, Saharanpur, Champaign, Munich... the list of places where I have lived spans states, countries and continents. Mind you, I've lived here in every sense of living - not just as a tourist. If I add tourism, I've been to Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Vizag, Trivandrum, Amritsar, Haridwar, Tokyo, Davis and several cities in Western Europe.

Despite all this, I'm not a traveler. I don't like to travel. I, like so many others, love the idea of being able to predict where I will be tomorrow, what I'll be doing. Stability is a wonderful thing. The transition from being nomads to settled agriculturists was a significant stage of human being's evolution. In my case, I seem to be going backwards. Yes, I am an inadvertent traveler, someone who loves the idea of living with old friends in a flat in a familiar city, working a stable job, meeting new people but always coming back to the same bed. Instead, I've met so many people from so many places that I can hardly remember any of them anymore; I've slept on so many beds (and floors) that comfort means nothing anymore. I've now eaten pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner and skipped a few meals (in a row).

But most of all, I've traveled internationally so often, been in some of the most uncomfortable of places, that the journey is not even noteworthy anymore. But through all this, I realize that I did have the chance to do what everyone else did, to finally end the nomadic life that I have always led. And I chose not to. Why? Not consciously, it's not like I dropped out of ITC because I didn't want to settle down in Bangalore. I was, I am ambitious. I can't do what everyone else is doing. No, I'm not a megalomaniac who wants to stand out perpetually. But there are some ambitions that I do have, ones that don't happen to match with the general population.

In two days, I'll be flying back out to Champaign and will stay in the US for a few years before I get my PhD and it's time to move somewhere else again (assuming they let me through Immigration, of course!). A fifteen-day vacation to one of my many childhood homes. And life continues. 

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