“Travelling is becoming passion now days?” I asked him pointing at the young couple taking romantic selfies on the edge of the tea plantation facing a valley. Young couples, travel junkies and adventure rookies often come to this place in early monsoons and in chilling winters.
“I see lot of people travelling around the world and uploading their travel pictures in all social media as if they have conquered that land,” I added. I was handling and unloading the huge tea leaves basket into the vehicle.
“Yes, I agree. Those who never travelled rural country roads, never seen village hills, those green paddy fields, travel to other countries and feel proud of it.” He sighed sarcastically. He was plucking the tender leaf of tea-plant. He filled the adjacent small basket with tealeaves and sat with me on an adjacent tree log.
Couple was still enjoying the panoramic view. It is early in the morning and mountain mist still finding its way to settle down amidst the trees.
Another group of tourists approached us. They asked us a way to extreme tip of the mountain in local language assuming that we cannot understand English. My friend suggested the easy way with some necessary cautions. However, they ignored the tips. I laughed at him.
“ Ha ha, Once again they ignored you.” I passed a cup of hot tea to him.
“I have trekked this place for almost 5 years and I know every turns and bends of this valley.” He said. The tea tasted better in this chilled morning.
He asked me, “Why do we travel?”
“So that, we could upload photos in social media, get likes; get comments, to ignite jealousy among others” I blabbed noticing ongoing trend these days.
“ No No, there are three type of people travel around the world.”
“ Ha ha, Travel monk and his philosophy. Do not bore me now!” I finished my cup of tea.
“First type travel because, we are paid to travel. Travelling magazines, Entertainment, corporate world pays them and expects hefty profits in return. They travel for professional deals. Second type, well travel for the sake of travelling! They hear from fellow travelers and visit the same place again and again. They are too obsessed with their status, image and pride more than travelling place they visit. First two kinds share a lot of photos, selfies and whatnot.” he paused for a moment. Young couple approached him to take a snapshot of their romantic moments for a while.
Responsible husband among the couple is explaining how to run his DSLR Camera to him. A chivalry smile passed on his face. I also noticed and winked at him.
Couple thanked him and left for another place far from us.
“And the third Kind” I was curious to know the last kind, or to end the topic.
“Third party is the real travelers. If we explore within our country, we can come across various exotic locations, which could contest very easily with foreign locations. If we keep our cleaning standards high, we can see beautiful architecture or infrastructure well within our backyard. Then what is point of travelling abroad.” He started for next Tea basket. I followed him.
“Travel is a way of learning, enriching our life experiences. Sometimes travel teaches us more than a university could teach in one’s lifetime. There is a proverb, I heard long ago.
“There are two ways to gain knowledge, one is to read good books or explore the world”
Third kind of travelers follows that. By exploring different countries, varied cultural, social, geographic settings, we could expand our consciousness. We could expand our knowledge. In that process, we can understand that all the people, all the cultures are same. We become more humble thinking that every human we meet or every place we visit teaches us very essence of life.”
I was all ears. I agree to him. He has more experience travelling worldwide. He worked in foreign embassy for several decades, almost travelled every nation. He chose the Foreign Service since he wanted to explore the world. In the way, he found out his real origins of purity and humanity. He has become a good, sober human being in the process. After voluntary retirement, he started working in a tea plantation he purchased with his hard-earned money and some savings. Although I was mere a manager in his enterprise, he regarded me as his best friend outside the working hours. That counts to his professionalism and way of balancing personal and professional life. I still see some foreign embassy members visit him often for guidance and direction.
He continued plucking the tealeaves and filling into the back basket. It was his favorite activity in the morning hours. He turned towards me and said. Emerging sunrays reflected on his pleasantly smiling face.
“Do you know, our early ancestors were wanderers, frequently changing place in search of food and security. Exploring and travelling are inbuilt nature in every human. Most of them explore the world from outside and rest explores the world inside their soul.”