A little bit of summer is what the whole year is about. This is how a famous John Mayer song goes, and I could not agree more. Now that summer break is just around the corner, let's work to make this the best summer of your life, yes?
Are you a school or college student? Don't waste away your vacation!
With no responsibilities or the burden of studying, this is the ideal time to expand your knowledge, worldview, creativity and skills. So here’s the ultimate summer checklist that will ensure you do all this, all as you travel! Let's see how many experiences you can check off this summer.
1. Opt for an authentic experience
For most of us, garmi ki chutti means visiting grandparents and cousins. This summer, take out some time to visit a completely new place. Bonus points if that place has an absolutely different culture than yours. For instance, head to Mcleodganj, the seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to immerse into Buddhist and Tibetan culture. Visit Tibet World to interact with Tibetans in exile; attend prayers at Dalai Lama Temple or enroll for Buddhist classes at Tushita Meditation Centre. By simply exploring a new place, you will increase your understanding of culture, history and tradition by manifolds.
2. Go trekking!
Especially if you live in the plains, you must undertake a trek this summer. Trekking will take you away from the stress of city life, throw you into the wilderness, and put you on the ultimate physical and mental test. On treks, you will learn essential life skills that no classroom can ever teach you. You'll learn how to appreciate nature, discipline yourself, manage crisis, persevere and most importantly, learn to rely on yourself. For first timers, a beginner's trek or hike is ideal; summer is also the best time to undertake treks in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. So what are you waiting for?
3. Give back to the society
During summer, most organisations open applications for volunteering. Opportunities range across different fields such as teaching, hospitality, travel, marketing, adventure and many more! Travel to a new place to volunteer – not only can you add this experience to your resume (don't just do it for that) but also do your bit in giving back to the society. I assure you that dedicating your time towards something meaningful will make you feel great about yourself.
4. Help heal the earth
There's no denying that we take our environment for granted. If you feel strongly about this, you can travel to places around the country where volunteer programs allow you to help preserve the environment. Head to Andaman and Nicobar islands and volunteer with ANET. This revered organisation is developing effective conservation strategies for the islands. Not only does this give you a perfect excuse to travel, but also allows you to interact with marine life and learn about the islands.
5. Study abroad
Here's a brilliant way to experience a new country and at the same time, pursue a useful course. Almost all universities abroad, whether in UK, USA or Singapore have a wide range of courses that you can pursue during the summer. These summer schools allow you to stay in their country for 3-4 weeks, where you learn, travel and interact with students from around the world. Sure, this is an expensive affair, but if you can afford it, do take it up to escape your comfort zone.
6. Take a solo trip
Taking a solo trip is almost like a rite of passage for those who love travelling. It doesn't matter if you're in school or college, or what gender you identify as, solo travelling is possible for everyone. This is a remarkable experience that will change your equation with yourself. However, only travel alone if you feel you are truly ready for it.
7. Take a dip into spirituality
For those who are feeling empty and lost (a lot of us do!), you could dip your feet in spirituality. Spirituality opens up a completely different realm and offers a sweet balance to our material driven life. You can enroll for courses on Buddhism, Vipassana and other kinds of meditations. Explore a dimension that you never thought existed and enhance your mental, emotional and physical well being.
8. Travel with your friends
There is nothing more exciting in the world than taking a trip with your friends! Staying with each other all through the day, in a new city with no curfew or supervision? Yes, that's the dream. This summer, try to take a trip with your friends; even if it's not to Goa, it will be a summer you will never forget.
So if you have summer vacations, there's no reason why you should restrict yourself to the four walls of your rooms. Head out and some purpose to your travels.
Share this with your friends who are planning to Netflix through their holidays, and help me change their minds.
Tell us about your best summer travel experiences by creating a trip here.