A traveler at heart I have got a chance to travel to USA and UK and most of India, except a few regions of eastern India.
A friend of mine advised me on my first ever such trip to research every nook and cranny and carry all required stuff before I landed in a strange country with unknown natives. I must admit I was spooked because it was my first ever travel overseas, though the accommodation and travel was taken care of by my employer then, but the other things seemed scary at first. I wondered about the itinerary, the food, the documents to be carried and every little detail.I was so anxious that I nearly cancelled my trip. But my supportive family stood by my side and helped me through.It was a long, boring flight and my health seemed to desert me too. The airport food did me no good and my stomach started to rumble in mid-air. The size of flight toilets made it all the more difficult for me.
After all the adventure mid-air, I finally landed at the Heathrow airport and felt a sense of relief. However the motion sickness and jet lag continued while I had to join work the next day.I was fortunate to have an understanding boss and team mates who helped me settle in the initial days and agreed to cook me lovely Indian dishes that helped me get my stamina back.
Over the weekends, my team mates advised me on the must-visit places in and around London and I decided to go solo as most of them had already been there more than once. So I took a map of the underground railways in UK and my passport/visa and started early. I reached the train station just in time for the departing train and made sure I was in the right one. I had decided to visit the Oxford university, the Bath and other locations.The train arrived at the station and I walked out of the station to find myself engulfed by the most wonderful weather in UK. It was a bright sunny day and I decided to walk to the nearest bus stop.
While I was walking I felt a sense of freedom I had never experienced earlier. I was a modern day Indian girl who has a career and life outside home but this was different. Point is that, the more I freed myself from the realms of my anxious thoughts, the more I enjoyed the experience. I was ecstatic to visit one of my most admired universities in the world. I walked along the most beautiful cafes, decided to step inside for a cup of English tea and croissants and made some wonderful friends.
That day I realized that my thoughts burdened me more than the weight of the luggage I was carrying. My friend advised me to carry all my knowledge and belongings with me but I advise all my fellow travellers to ‘Travel Light’. Here travelling light does not indicate that you leave behind your essential kit or your prescribed medication. It has more to do with your mindset. So the next trip you book to that exotic location or the work trip that you cannot escape, take some time out to break away from the routine and experience the locales, leave behind the worries and fears, do not over-analyse and make no mistake of being opinionated about the natives there. Stay positive and live free!! Leave the baggage home!!