Travel is beautiful. It teaches you a lot, refines you as a human being, and declutters your life to a great extent. And, if you look at it on the surface, it’s refreshing, fun and thrilling. But, there is another side to it --- the challenges of travel. Nothing in the world is devoid of pain and so is travel. A traveller has to undergo a lot of hurdles, sweat, dust and disappointments to be able to quench his or her wanderlust.
You have read about my 9 Travel Mistakes and my Worst Travel Experiences. Today, I’m going to brood over some experiences of my Sikkim-Darjeeling trip that taught me a few ‘new’ lessons on travel.
You don’t achieve all that you aim for
Perhaps the biggest lesson that I have learnt lately is that you may set out to achieve a lot, but you don’t hit all your goals. But, the good part is that you achieve a lot of things that you didn’t aim for. So, travel is never a bad deal.
I aimed to spend at least a month in Sikkim --- I had plans to volunteer for an NGO and explore the entire state alongside. But, my plans didn’t work out. I could not visit North Sikkim due to the hassles involved. I had to be satisfied with just East and West Sikkim – Gangtok, Darap Village and Yuksom.
A deep geographical research is worth more than money
Travelling spontaneously is absolutely wonderful, but a weak research pulls out some extra cash out of your pocket. So, you should never be satisfied with your research. Being extra researched is always better. Pelling was supposed to be my next stop after Gangtok. I had booked a stay for me and had inquired about the shared taxis as well. I was contented to know that shared taxis didn’t charge much and I would reach Pelling smoothly. But, when I reached the taxi stand, I discovered that I was supposed to have made the booking in advance. Anyway, I still got a little lucky and joined a couple who was also going to Pelling.
Well, there was a dash of adventure in store for me as I reached Pelling – I wasn’t aware that the home stay that I had booked was not in Pelling. It was in Darap Village, which was a little away from the city. The driver blatantly refused to drop me there. He dropped me in the middle of the road and went away. I had to hire another taxi to reach Darap Village Retreat – the home stay where I had to sojourn.
Anything can happen on the road
I didn’t have any idea about the difficulties of commuting from one region to another in Sikkim. Reserved taxis are almost out of reach, while the shared ones give you a poor travel experience. I travelled from Darap Village to Yuksom and later Yuksom to Gangtok by shared taxis, which were horrible experiences. I call them horrible for the way you have to travel --- you have to be crammed like luggage with other passengers, keep the windowpanes open as the cabs have no air-conditioning, and then absorb the thick layers of dust all over yourself and not to mention, lots of bumps and jerks on the way.
The roads in Sikkim are bad --- some of them are under construction, due to which, there are traffic jams too. Therefore, you should either travel in a group, book reserved taxis and share costs, or should you choose to travel alone in a shared taxi, book two seats in order to get comfier space to sit.
Travel is not just about sunsets and hammocks. It is also about failed plans, bad roads, sickness, and pains. Nevertheless, I had an immensely rewarding travel experience. Despite all the hitches, I DON’T regret anything!
Travel never stops teaching. So, a traveller should never stop learning.
Do you have anything to add? What’s the biggest lesson travel has taught you?
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