I have always had the travel bug. When I was in college, in other words – broke, I worked on part time basis only so I had enough to travel. Those days, I travelled alone or with my sister (when I could afford paying for her). She was the first person I ever shared my love of travel with and like me, she was ready to jump into an adventure at the word go! We were great travel buddies because we both knew and understood our financial limitations. We stayed at the cheapest places, ate at the roadside joints and travelled third class or by bicycles if it cost less. Plus, we could gossip about everyone else in the family and our boyfriends, at times – their families too.
As a travel professional whose life is consumed making other people travel, I like to travel light - that is mentally light. Thus, Geeta is my unpaid tour guide when I vacation with her. Believe me when I tell you that she sleeps with the Lonely Planet guide to our destination next to her pillow. She is the reader (of places to see), the thinker (planning what we need to visit), narrator (of all the stories about a place that she thinks I need to know) and accountant (budgeting for how much we need to survive the next few days). In other words, I carry my wallet and leave my mind at home when we travel together.
Oh, I may have missed telling you that she humours me by agreeing to take the hop-on hop-off tour in every city –only because I love them! She doesn't sulk about how touristy it is (though she says it). She also takes great pictures and I never have to worry that she may end up thinking that I am behaving like a Japanese tourist if I ask her to take a picture every few minutes (she does exactly the same). Plus, she's not exasperated if I delete a photo she has taken, just because I was looking a bit fat in it. Or when I change five outfits before leaving the hotel room because I wasn't satisfied with the colour coordination.
I spend a lot of time away from home and when I am travelling my husband often takes my daughters to the jungles close to Bangalore. He's a 'live with nature' kinda guy. So, last year, I decided to take them to the big and glitzy cities of Paris and London. Just us – my girls and I (the destinations were too ‘passe' for my husband to come along). That vacation helped me add a couple of little girls – aged 8 and 10 years - to my list of favourite travel companions! I am pleased to report that they share their mothers love for travel but at this point I especially love the fact that they are old enough to follow instructions but too young to protest if they don’t want to follow them!