We have all heard of the stages of life. Then how about stages of travel for a couple, more specifically an Indian couple without kids, as is the fast growing trend now! These 5 travel stages can broadly be:
- Falling in love (with travel)
- Getting committed (to travel)
- Maturity (in travelling)
- Long term sustainability (of travel)
- Reflecting (on the travels)
Falling in Love (with travel)
It just clicks for two people. This starts with the easy nearby leisure destinations such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong-Kong, Dubai i.e. mostly South East Asia or UAE. All well within the comfort zone where not much planning, visa formalities or money is required. The essence of this kind of travel is the need for a quick holiday without breaking the bank.
Getting committed (to travel)
Here the couple realizes that they are getting involved and want to explore the world together. Also the finances improve (and probably marriage is round the corner) and hence Europe is the answer for the urban Indian couple. The Schengen visa allows free movement across 26 countries in the European Union (EU) which means access to some of the greatest historic relics, museums, art galleries, cafes and pubs, not to mention some of the romance capitals of the world like Paris, Rome & Venice.
Maturity (in travelling)
Now the couple feels that maybe there’s more to the world than just short vacations to places which other tourists are visiting as well. There’s a need to go slower and travel longer but they don’t yet have the finances to fully de-plug from the office back home. The destinations shift from the ‘happening’ to the more ‘off beat’ which also reduces the ecological pressure on certain hotspots and supports responsible tourism – some examples are stunning places such as Japan, Kenya, Tanzania, New Zealand, South Africa, the interiors of China and the open lands of Canada & USA.
Long term sustainability (of travel)
In this stage, few Indian couples disconnect from their base location and become geographically untagged i.e. they become modern day nomads, possibly digital nomads, where their income stream is from online output. The couple has earned their freedom and has a significant fund for such a shift in lifestyle. Here there is no need to return after 2-3 weeks and the idea of destinations turns to journeys. These experiences can be exploring Machu Picchu in Peru, the rain forests of Central Africa, the great Sahara or the far reaches of Siberia and Mongolia and why not even the Arctic or Antarctica.
Reflecting (on the travels)
In this final stage, the couple pauses to look back on their adventures. They are thankful that they spent their time and money not in lifestyle expenses but in life experiences and realise that money can come at any stage but no one can buy more time. The best years of life should be spent doing what you love, which for many is travelling. A humble advice is to cover the Earth before Earth covers us.
The author’s views are his own and do not reflect those of Lonely Planet India.