I love prologues and introductions. I like reading them, and I like writing them. Writing a prologue is a matter of necessity for me because I ramble. Starting with a prologue helps me work off my rambulatory (this should be a word, if it isn’t) steam, before I move on to The Main Body of the text which must be all crisp, you know, and precise and important-sounding. So here, now, is the big prologue to this blog.
The day I finally took a break from my hectic consultant life – “to travel and write”, as I rattled off every time someone incredulously asked me why – a startling realization struck me: I had Sundays after Sundays lined up before me with no early morning alarms and no late night deadlines. Weeks and months of nothing but Sundays, for the first time since I started school (at the tender age of 3, since my folks were only too eager to enrol me into pre-school and rid themselves of my morning bawls). Whoa, baby. At this point, I can sense freelancers and homemakers fiercely shaking their heads at me and telling me it doesn’t really work that way, but for many months afterwards, that’s exactly how time rolled on for me.
Travel plans were made for visiting lands far and wide. Some plans were deliberately left unmade, for the joy of chancing upon the unexpected. One-way tickets were booked, with glee at having the freedom to do so. Itineraries were tweaked at will, with no constraints of time or prior bookings. Friends in far off places were e-tapped on shoulders, in hopes of shelter, food and company. For the first time in memory, I had the joy of sitting down, cross-legged, with a map in my hands (fine, Google Maps on my phone – what unromantic times we live in) and adding places right and left to future travel itineraries.
In between, somewhere, I picked up a travel journal for keeping track of days rolling past and roads left behind. How else would I remember the songs of an evening outside a small Punakha diner, and the punch-line of that funny remark made by someone in Merida? My memory, after all, is more porous than most.
Sadly, I can hardly bear to hold up a pen and write while travelling, which explains the many blank pages of my travel journal so far. This blog, in part, will be redemption for those lost scribbles – at least till my memory holds out. I’m also thinking of sharing my travel itineraries and recommendations, from these past few months as well as from years of accumulated travel experiences before that, so that I can be lazy and point blog-ward when friends and acquaintances ask me for general tips on my previous travels.
Travel has always exhilarated me for as long as I can remember, right from the days when school holidays were synonymous with that gentle, rhythmic lurching on overnight trains and waking up in strange, new places that my folks had picked for visiting that year. With time, its hold over me has only strengthened. I find few things as exciting as the prospect of exploring a place with an open mind and heart. In this space, I would love to hear from other similarly smitten people, and share that love for journeys, places, people and experiences.