Travel has taught me much. It’s a great teacher and me, I’m wiser!
The first hesitant step that I had taken in the world of travel, solo, brought amazing experiences my way. I came across remarkable individuals who made me feel comfortable and happy about the decision.
What began as a jittery journey to the Consulate, transformed into one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I made friends with an across the window neighbour, was bought much-needed coffee by a total stranger who while we waited for the bus to be set right after it had broken down. I absorbed the impartiality of Nature across continents making me realise that borders are a creation of human minds, leading to discrimination, acrimony and weakening relationships.
But me! I celebrated the bonds of humanity, the inherent goodness in each, the loving kindness evident in the tiny and big gestures made by fellow beings, despite being strangers in territories new to me. Each experience made me realise how much individuals have in common, notwithstanding, the regularly proclaimed differences that are flashed in headlines. Where did those differences disappear when a complete stranger helped me in the immigration process in Zurich or when a travel mate reassured me of safe arrival when our bus had broken down on the highway or the teenager who gave me courage as she took a strange acting elevator in Port Authority, NYC?
And yes, the occasion when the lady at the front desk of a reputed hotel in Niagara doled out favour after favour, on learning it was my first ever visit to the country. Why? Because I come from India, and she from its neighbouring country, Pakistan! “We are neighbours, aren’t we?” and added, “That makes you my guest here. And I must make you feel comfortable, so let me see what I can do for you.”
Where was the famed rivalry? The bitter animosity that the citizens of the two lands are supposed are supposed to harbour for each other? Two strangers met in another country, neither’s homeland and yet bonded with their hearts.
I eagerly waited for the unexpected gift which went was way beyond my expectation! I urgently needed time beyond the regular checkout time, way more. Why extra time? Would you like to know more? Do read here.
The generous lady extended our stay by an hour and a half ( not a done thing for someone staying for one day) and even gave us an extra few hours in their car park without which we would have to move out in any case since the pass would have expired. Niagara, it’s spellbinding beauty became manifold with her kind gesture. It made things so much simpler, taken away my anxiety to uphold an over decade-long tradition, without my so much as asking for it.
Travel makes you wiser. It waits with something to take back home. What is needed is that preliminary step so that we can watch the curtains to lift, presenting a spectacular show of brotherhood and comraderies.
Travel is a great teacher quite like the journey of life!