Walking down the trodden path

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Photo of Walking down the trodden path by Manmeet Kaur

If you have been traveling for quite some time now, you may not read any further. This post is for people who have been to a handful of places and somehow have tricked themselves into believing that traveling to the less explored alternatives to age-old popular tourist destinations would fetch them most out of a place. It’s supposedly the best thing out there to be done in the millennial world. However, think of it! accepting the fact that earth has abundant beauty and a lot of unexplored places, there is definitely a magical charm about some places which made them so attractive to tourists in the first place and have stood the test of time as well.

A walk on the mall road of Simla is incomparable to any other place. That church, those shops, the lakkar bazaar, the history, the view and the vibe is unique only to Shimla. Though the city has evolved massively and accommodates a lot more houses and businesses still it hasn’t lost the mystique magic of a hill town. Then again, how will one know the difference between the calm hidden in all the greens of Mashobra or Narkanda if the town of Simla is not experienced for oneself? There is no denying the fact that some places are bustling and others calmer, but to know what one really enjoys, it has to be experienced for oneself.

Photo of Walking down the trodden path 1/1 by Manmeet Kaur

The salmon-pink sunsets of Naddi and the main town of McLeodganj are no two alternates. They are unique and complete in themselves and on the contrast complement each other well. I believe places call out people, and the heart knows upon hearing the name of a few places that the pull is strong. Don’t deny that heart the joy to be at someplace because most travel articles titled “alternate or less explored destinations to X, Y or Z” suggest otherwise. Walk down that path however trodden, for your heart and your joy and feel it for yourself. Out of those articles, some are aimed at seasoned travelers who are looking for fresher options and some others are meant to grab attention because honestly who is going to read hundreds of articles about the same popular places.

However, most of them say it out of genuine concern regarding the ill effects of tourism on the place and its people. Having the least possible negative impact on a place we are going to visit can save us all from guilt-tripping. But don’t we excuse ourselves saying that we don’t know much about the place while planning a trip? It’s really a good idea to look up about the issues, especially the ones caused by tourism, concerning a place and is fairly very easy. There is ample data out there on the internet about problems faced by tourist places and possible solutions which are as simple as favoring the use of public transport, avoiding the peak of the holiday season and refilling water bottles instead of purchasing loads of plastic ones. Spitiecosphere facilities refilling of clean water and also allows the disposal of mineral water bottles with them in Spiti Valley, a cold desert mountain valley facing immense problem in disposing and recycling single-use plastic. This is their mindful take on solving the problem. Maybe we can all come up with our own innovative solutions upon visiting the place. After all, having knowledge about a problem is the first step to finding solutions.

Being conscious about whether we are enjoying a place or exploiting it makes all the difference. Focusing alone on finding alternative places is going to turn them into tourist hotspots eventually. Coupling it with finding solutions and making mindful changes in habits is going to help in a sustainable fashion. So go wherever you want, whether it sounds cool for your Instagram or in the millennial world or not and make your heart happy and the planet happy. Keep strolling!

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