Most people imagine, wrongly, that the destination is the most important when travelling. I, on the other hand, enjoy both the journey and the destination. The key is not to expect anything, not to rush anything and to enjoy everything. We all know the tedium of travel – the long lines, the frustrating security, the noise, the crash of people, the arrogance of travellers and travel staff, the weather, the stress… What can one do about these matters? Frankly nothing! What I do is have an out-of-body experience, looking at things from above and trying to find humour everywhere. What can one do if the station is crowded, passengers are loud and annoying, groups of people travelling en masse (and losing their manners in the process), queue breakers, touts… the whining can be endless. Here are some tips that’ll help you travel easy, and in style.
Learn from Buddha
Before a voyage, chill Buddha style. Whether it’s early morning, late at night, in the heat of the day, or during the chill of the night voyage, just breathe. Practice deep breathing until you are in a state of complete Zen. Leave home calm and collected, and vow to yourself that no matter what, you won’t let the small things irk you. With that in place, you can be sure to enjoy your trip.
Keep calm and carry on
India is brimming with life, colour, sounds, people, you name it…, and when some of it can be a little overwhelming for a traveller, even if they’ve spent their entire life in the country. Whether here or overseas, there will always be people that cut the queue, argue, and don’t mind the space. So when you’re at departure, just remember this is momentary and will be over soon.
Dress for a journey, not the destination
Skip the hats, bermudas and flip flops when waiting at the airport. We know there’s a beach in Goa at the end of the journey but it’s neither on the aircraft nor at Dabolim Airport. So, wait till you get there. Dress for the beach when on the beach. Opt for comfortable clothes that will look good on arrival. A journey can be a celebration of style but remember to not overdo it.
Good manners count
Throughout the journey, stay courteous. While it’s a good thing on its own, imagine all that you get in return –goodwill (with possible upgrades), admiration and peace of mind for yourself and others. There’s no reason for unpleasantness, no matter the time of day, or the place.
Pack for the long haul
It is best to carry an ‘arrival’ shirt or blouse for a long journey. Additionally, carry moisturiser, facial spray and mouth wash. Use them right before you’re about to reach your destination. Do not forget to carry chargers in hand baggage for a long journey. Carry a hat for hot or cold climes, and always pack a shawl and muffler for whenever the air conditioner’s too cold in a train, aircraft or bus.
Wear sensible footwear
A journey is not a ramp walk. Wear shoes that can take a beating yet look stylish. Between home and the destination there can be weather changes, dust, slush, water and even pebbles to deal with. Keep this in mind before choosing footwear.
Spread the weight
Instead of lugging one heavy bag, spread the weight between two easy-to-manage bags. Ideally both should be hands-free. If not both, at least one should be hands-free. A backpack should not weigh a lot. In a handbag, keep small pouches – one for money, another for cosmetics, etc. Colour-code the pouches so you know exactly what the red or blue pouches contain. This saves you a lot of time otherwise wasted on searching for items in a packed bag.
The less one has, the more elegant the travel. There is a big difference between a hand bag or briefcase that one uses daily or for travel. Skip the baggage when it’s not needed. People get so used to carrying what they do in regular life that they do not realise they do not need all their credit cards, every single identity card and packets full of snacks or mints.
Check that everything works
From clothes to gadgets, check whether everything works before you step out the door. You do not need the embarrassment of losing a button, or getting stuck with a garment where the zip does not function.
Have a Plan B in place
What if a flight gets diverted? What if a train is delayed? What if a bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere? Whether it’s cash or clothes, always be well prepared.