Why is it that most of us confine the idea of travel to sightseeing alone, when the possibilities are a lot more than that. Like meeting new people on the way. There is this wonderful travel documentary called ‘A Map for Saturday’ by Brook Silva-Braga, in which the protagonist, Brook himself, quits his job and travels the world for long-term, up to an year totally. The one thing that caught my attention, was the conclusion of this epic docu-film – The people were the places!
Yes, many a times, or most of the times, it’s the people that matters more. Even if one is not an ardent traveler, but prefers to live in one place for their whole lives, living the same day over and over again, even then the people are the most important part of their lives either.
A solo travel works for you sometimes, or it may be something that you choose to do in connection with the numerous thought patterns occurring in your mind. But when you travel solo, the people you meet on the road are your life saviors and this had stayed a fact for me during my solo trips. They rescue you from unexpected dangers and threats, they provide you with directions when you are lost, they give you free lifts and food, and your walk up a mountain becomes the most unforgettable experience when you trek with strangers up the trail full of landslides on a moon lit night .
And travel lets you meet with strange people, people who have obsessions like you never imagined before, like the bus conductor I met in some route through Kerala, who was so much obsessed of Adolf Hitler that he spoke to me about him and his times for hours, saving me from the monotony of the long night ride. And awesome people too, people who have dedicated their entire life to exploring new places and vagabonding for a very very long time. And amazing female solo travelers, who are polite, always smiling, and gives you a good company whenever you feel lonely. And not to forget the native people of a region, who lived in the same place for decades, the place we had come to visit for a very few days. The locals. They could get you into the soul of a place, give you an idea of the rituals and history and their own legendary stories.
Travel is incomplete and spiritless if you find it worthless to meet and talk with people you meet on the road. It’s the people who make the journey worthwhile, not just the sights you see while traveling. Meet the people, talk with them even if you don’t understand their language; use hand signals and facial expressions, but convey something anyway and try to understand what they try to express either. Understand that people have got many things in common wherever we go and stay. Cherish the common things and celebrate the differences. You will be always surprised by the amount of kindness radiated by the individuals in this supposedly so-called cruel world. And remember what Brook said in ‘A Map for Saturday’: the people are the places!