When the whole world is obsessively telling us to get out of our homes and cubicles, especially when "wanderlust" is showing in tattoo designs and cover photos more than "Daddy's Lil Girl" and Bukowski, some of us stay back. We fiddle on our mobile screens opening credible listicles and incredible pictures of awe-inspiring hills or mesmerizing beaches. And we even Like our friends' status updates and check-ins to exotic or mundane places which are anywhere outside the city.
There are some of us, who keep looking at maps and never pack bags. And especially us, Indians, seem to prioritize everything over the desire to just get-up and leave. Its not that we don't feel the need, its just that we always have something seemingly more important to do.
A recent survey by a travel organization declared that Indians are the fourth most vacation deprived country in the world. Even though 95% Indians agree upon the importance of vacations, a total of 40% don't even use up their entitled vacation days. And where 27% Indians find hard coordinating vacation days over family responsibilities, 21% of us feel that not taking time-off gives a great impression at work.
How did we end up here? Suffocating in our cubicles, choosing everything but ourselves. Here are some reasons that might be behind Indians' depressingly low desire to travel.
It Never Seems Important Enough
The prospect of taking a leave from office is too tedious, and why should we even go through the work of applying for one, "I have work to finish", "I need to get a certain number of tasks off my lists over the weekend, a trip will be too much". Our desires as a wandering mind of a child have fizzled silently into the void between necessity and compulsory. Chores become the priority, and cherishing the hard work is reduced to a few drinks at a local bar with friends who have stories to tell. It never seems important enough to escape, because when someone was shouting “escape is for cowards”, we were the only ones listening.
The State of Perpetual Saving
In a developing country, money acquired, saved and locked up, is the money earned. Every penny you spend is a penny you lose. Some of us took too much away from our parents’ valid struggles and financial lessons, and even though times have changed, we linger on the thought of spending few grands on a trip. The hard earned money remains in our accounts, sitting unloved, unhappy and unspent, because that is what being smart means. Despite many articles which propose cheap travel ideas across India, the Obsessive is never won over by the Pragmatic and Wishful.
Many pack their bags and leave out of loneliness, and many don't. The latter ones stay where they are precisely because travels get lonely, especially without a friend along, because the prospect of enjoying a scenery without a companion seems outright sad. Despite knowing that most beautiful of experiences are witnessed in life alone, and that there is no journey which is without a traveler. The self dependency is not the problem, only the thought of it is. And though perks of a solo trip stare right at our face, we choose irrelevant reliability instead.
The Obvious Uselessness of It
We confront the most banal of subjects with uncalled for existential crises, wondering the point of it all. “Why should I even travel?”, “What’s the point of it anyway since I have to get back home and do the things I do everyday”, “You travel so much, what have you achieved from all of it?” . True. Due to excessive accounts of soul quenching travel experiences, we are always preparing for either enlightenment or utter boredom. The human capacity to romanticize even a walk to the woods, leaves a skeptic unimpressed with the idea of traveling. But if you are going sit in your cubicle and your house, wondering why Discovery makes so much money, then challenge yourself, take a backpack and step out.
Travel may not be the Purpose of Life and Meaning of it All, but if we never try, our lives will become a long list of bookmarked wish lists, favorite travel shows and what-if memories. Do not let a constrained wallet and skeptic mind keep you from what at it’s worst will be a collection of hilarious, embarrassing and memorable experiences.