• Saptadeepa Bandopadhyay

How travelling changed my perspective towards life and the world!

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Nothing would have changed had I not intended to travel over the past few years. I would have lived the same life, taken fewer risks and believed life had to be ticketed off by the socially approved checklist.

Not that I had never before traveled beyond my hometown but most of my earlier trips only meant going to destinations and ticking of the touristy places. But over the past few years, I was more curious about a destination with respect to its culture, people, food. I wanted to make a friend or two from the place, know about the local lives, their views, their lifestyle while also exploring the natural marvels and rediscover history unlike that from my part of the world.

Also Read - Lessons I Learnt from the hiking trails

Along this quest to explore new places and corners of my vastly diverse country, I have also discovered how it has helped me evolve on an individual level.

These are my travel reflections and a little insight into how it has changed my perspective about life and the world -

1. There is no scale to measure happiness -

Happiness is the most abstract feeling ever. It means different things to different people. There is no defined formula or checklist to reaching that eureka moment and neither can one be in that state forever.

Meeting people from different places gives so many perspectives of the same human life. Strangely enough, we all are seeking happiness and none of our happiness can even be compared.

For some happiness is to get a job, buy a home, get pay raises, buy a car, get married and have kids. While others would count happiness on snow clad peaks, or the golden hour moment, or the sunrise by the seashore or a sky full of stars over a cold desert. Similarly a village dweller, would be happy and content with a perfect harvest season.

Every individual is different and seeking different goals. All of their goals are important on the individual level yet not so important from the other persons view.

Also Read - Why should you travel young

2. Importance of slowing down -

Have you taken weekend trips or been to a place for a very short duration and then tried to check off that 'To do' list, 'Places to see' from the internet only to be exhausted by the end of the day. I was that person for the longest time and sometimes even today struggle with the thought of missing something out.

But the running around does no good. You would just have ticked off that 'Places to see' checklist but not really given yourself time to sit and enjoy a sunset or learn about the history and culture of the destination. So, at times its better to make #JOMO out of our #FOMO and there is a different kind of joy in not worrying about missing out on an experience.

Sometimes our 'Stop Doing' list needs to be bigger than our 'to-do' list. - Patti Digh

The other aspect of looking into it is via our daily lives where we are constantly running around throughout the day trying to achieve deadlines. On the contrary if I am in an offbeat destination, life seems so laid back. Days start before the sunrise and end soon after the sunset, yet they seem to complete all their daily tasks and also fall asleep peacefully by night. Same 24 hour clock feels longer in the village when compared to our busy city lives.

Slow living gives you time to introspect and enjoy life to the fullest without getting exhausted. It helps you focus on what is absolutely essential instead of trying to multi-task throughout the day.

And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, "This is important! And This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And This! And each day it is up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "No. This is what is important" - Iain Thomas

3. Stop being judgemental -

Its absolutely human to judge other people, other religion or sect, other cultures. Its so ingrained into us that we at times unknowing judge people.

But, the more I explore, my thoughts are more accommodating of others' ways of life, their culture. A lot of things may not be normal in my part of the world, but very normal somewhere else.

Similarly there are times when you come across rules and restrictions for visiting places, the dos and don'ts that are at par with the sentiments of the locals and it becomes absolutely normal to accept it than being rebellious and not adhering to them.

This has helped in my daily life as well. I have stopped judging people for who and why they are. There is already so much hate all around the world, it harms no one to be a little kind and accept people as they are.

4. Compassion and Empathy -

Only when I traveled to distant lands and connected to people from remote villages of Himachal or Kashmir, I realized how people live with limited supplies, in harsh weath