It’s always scary to receive a call early up in the morning. I woke up hurriedly to a notification beep, which I mistook as a call; only to find a reply to the message I’d sent to a dear friend the previous night. She was planning a short getaway and asked me for the name of the place we’d put up in Sakleshpur when we were last there. Such a relief! After finishing up the daily chores and putting the little monster to sleep, I sat to dig out my archives to find the name of the place, which was on the tip of the tongue but refused to budge.
As I slowly browsed through the gallery of pictures and folders, neatly named and arranged according to the year and month of the journey. I gawked and quipped, ‘Seriously?’ 6-7 folders per year? (1 trip = 1 folder). Was this me? If Yes, Where is THAT ME now? If No, tell that it was really ME. That exact moment, put me into deep thinking, to think the purpose, the cause and the intendment of my existence. What is that thing that has kept me going, in spite of all odds? What is that I want to do, for which I try keep my today happy? What is that thing that will cheer me up when I’m not so cheered up? All these thoughts blitzed across my mind, as I found the name of place I was searching for.
The Outcome of introspection?
TRAVEL – Yes, travel it is! The wanderlust in me was the winner. Family, Travel, Jewellery, sarees, clothes, cosmetics, I love them all, but of all these, as I digged in deeper, the latter ones, though are priorities (In the same order 😉 ), are not even close to the lust I have for roaming. But, it’s pretty much until this point, I did not realise this fact. I was late, I was really late to comprehend this fact. Maybe I should have realised this when I found solace under the Vivekananda Memorial, Kanyakumari amidst a million people on the New Year day of 2010, or when I was playing peek a boo with tiny white spiders in Varkala Beach, or, at least, I should have realised this every time I put my head out of the window to feel the touch of gentle breeze which comes in my search. I was too late to realise that the travel bug had bit me.
When did I realise it?
Being a busy entrepreneur, my father was deeply dedicated to his work and vacations were only a once a year fling. It was only when I got married, that I tasted the flavour of travelling. Being the ardent driver he is, Neetan would long for drives when opportunity knocks. And, with time, I started to enjoy the drives and would eagerly wait for the next one, like a little girl waiting for cookie! And hence, I caught the travel fever. After multiple sprints to Chikmagalur, Sakleshpur, Mysore, Mangalore, Coorg, Ooty, Goa and the types, we chanced the 6000+ kms Rajasthan Drive and this is where we got the nerve and acquired the zeal to explore more and explore deep.
What happened later?
After our Rajasthan road trip, and Neetan’s 10,000+ kms drive to Ladakh from Bangalore, in our humble Punto, we were ready to take a big leap and made some ambitious travel plans. But, destiny had kept bad surprises in store for us. We received major blows, not one but two, back to back, in 6 months’ time. The situations were totally uncalled for and we were unprepared, shocked and were utterly in despair which left us emotionally crippled. We were torn between responsibilities, internal agony and emotional solitude. We had very little time to think about ourselves and we just went with the flow.
Why Hopping Miles?
The retrospection gave some food for thought and I knew, we had to cheer up ourselves and keep it going. Inspiration was much needed to stand up and start it all over again. Though Neetan was always pushing me to be engaged in something credible so that I do not feel hopeless, I never thought that could be so easy to do, by starting to blog again. Those who know me well, would also know that I used to have a personal blog, way back in 2008. Blogging had taken a long hiatus, so had the travel. Time has come to wake up the forgotten dreams. Through Hopping miles, we want to keep ourselves inspired to explore new destinations, revisit the old ones, revive the wanderlust in us and keep it alive and happy. Also, there is a joy in sharing, which can’t be put in words. What also pushed me into this was the sharing part. I was discussing the itinerary of the trip we did recently with my neighbour and she did the same circuit a month later. That was enough for me to convince to start writing again and to share stories.
As a final note, we would like to dedicate Hopping Miles to two gorgeous women, who are not with us right now. One, who gave birth to me, who was my conscience, who taught me what’s good and what’s bad, showed me how to lead a meaningful life and was my pillar to lean on. Another one is my sister-in-law; she was a rebel, who showed me how to see the world in a different perspective, thought me to dream, to be brave and to live life to the fullest. Our lives are not the same without you two. Both of you will be missed, forever!