From the time I stepped off the plane, I knew it was going to be an adventure. Though my parents are originally from South India, I have never spent more than a few months visiting India, but the thought that I would be spending more than a year in Hyderabad still seemed like a foreign concept to me.
Maybe because it was.
I was born and raised in Australia, to Indian parents, but had spent the last few years studying, working and travelling in the United States. However, being back on Indian soil reminded me a lot of my roots, and also, my routes.
During my time working for a tech company in Hyderabad, I had no idea that the nature of my travels would incorporate both business and pleasure. I began meeting with founders of community projects, managing directors of nonprofits, CEOs of companies, and the whole time, in different places, at different times. I began to master the art of marching through airports, cutting down wait times in queues, cutting through security at a record pace (my personal best is just under 5 minutes), and still managing to buy an airport meal before boarding my plane with just a carry-on in tow.
However, the use of technology has been the best part of my travels. Not only do I use certain apps on my phone to keep track of multiple time zones, music-on-demand, and my personally synced calendar-schedule, but I also am able to plan my travel routes, sightseeing destinations, and communication portals with a touch of a button. It’s amazing how being technologically-savvy can pay off in real time, especially when travelling.
But beyond the thrill of travel, it is the connections between travel that really make a difference. Like the time I made friends with a cab driver in Abu Dhabi, and a few hours later, enjoying a meal with him and his brother at their favourite restaurant in Dubai only a few miles down the road. Or engaging in a conversation with a young couple in a village several miles from my native place, and finding out their newborn baby had just been christened the same name as my sister. Perhaps making friends with a stranger on the sidewalk in California and meeting up years later on the other side of the world in Mumbai as well could make a story for the ages. But it is the friendships that I cherish the most, and they stick with me even after most other memories fade.
It is true that social media has enabled individuals to connect with the community. But the thought of discovering new places with friends from the past, or new acquaintances from the present, is one that adds a new meaning to the word “adventure”.
Though my travels are far from over, and I still have a continent or two left to discover, I look forward to embracing the thrill of the journey, and the Lord knows that I will be able to continue my adventure by His providence.
Here’s to the journey!