How to nurture and care for your travel bug

razor's edge

You dream of travelling, don’t you? And let me guess… that’s what it remains – a vague dream. You assume that it would cost an arm and a leg to travel around the world, and so you never move past that initial dreaming stage into quantifying what exactly travel means to you and how you’d like to go about it. It was the same for me, but Indonesia made my feet more itchy than ever before.

Inspiration plays a big part in converting dreams into action, and it is all around you. Newspapers, books, blogs, etc.  Once I got started, I could never get enough, and my favourite pet – my travel bug, turned into a raging monster.

Inspiring books by big name writers:

I love reading, and perhaps by choice, perhaps by chance I started reading a lot of travel related books. Anything by Paul Theroux, VS Naipaul, Bill Bryson, Pico Iyer et al is gold, but here are a few specific books that really inspired me to travel:

  • The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux
  • The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto “Che”  Guevara
  • A Turn in the South by VS Naipaul
  • Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
  • Video Night in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer

I also read a few books dedicated to the art of long term travel. While the books above talk about the romance and the adventure of travel, the ones below talk brass tacks. The nuts and bolts of what makes travel actually possible for those of us who aren’t paid to travel by big publishers. I guess you could call them “guidebooks” for Round-The-World (RTW) travel:

  • Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
    Not really a “guidebook” but more a book about the philosophy of long-term travel. An excellent resource that will inspire even those living in the deepest, darkest well to come out and explore.
  • The Rough Guide : First Time Around the World by Doug Lansky
    This book covers the practical side of travelling. How much money will you need? How to go about getting the Visas? How to behave with officials at border crossings? Should I or should I not invite my best friend to go along?
  • The Practical Nomad by Edward Hasbrouck
    Another excellent book, but beware! Some of his views are a bit too extreme and anti-authority to the point of being on the verge of hippiness. However, Hasbrouck’s travel experience is un-doubtable and transportation tips are absolutely superb. Definitely useful. Hasbrouck has fitting replies to all those excuses that you can think of for NOT going!

These books were inspiring beyond belief, but I still needed proof that it could be done. That an average chump like myself could do it. I needed precedence.

The power of precedence: The “normal” people

When I first started thinking about long term travel, there weren’t many travel bloggers out there. Now there are literally thousands, but back in 2006, good travel blogs were few and hard to find. I will cover the newer blogs in another post, but here are a few of the blogs that really inspired me back then:

Reading about the travels of “normal people” is what gave me the final push into taking the plunge. And this is something that I hope to achieve with this blog. When I started out on my first trip, I had planned to maintain a blog but I got so caught up with the travel part that writing took a back seat.

I haven’t seen any Indian blogs that talk about long term or RTW travel. And we really need the precedence to enable more and more of us to take to backpacking passionately. And so this time, I will “pay it forward” by sharing my stories with the rest of the world (and especially fellow Desis) so that I can inspire some people to throw caution to the winds and follow up on their own dreams of travel.

Reading this blog provides 50% of the essential nutrients necessary for the all-round health of your travel bug.

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