In Search of A True Wanderer
Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?” “Because it’s there”, said George Mallory this has been called “the most famous three words in mountaineering”
Then we have the famous lines “Not all those who wander are lost” -J. R. R. Tolkien, used, again and again by every traveler, tourists, and true wanderer.
There are many ways folks like to describe their traveling style, from the traveler to tourist, to slow traveler, solo traveler but there is something magical in the word “ Wanderer “ that gives a timeless magnetic, almost poetic resonance to it.
The world owes a lot to the early Wanderers, who unlike the traders, sailors, and the pilgrims had no specific agenda; they went with the flow and thankfully documented their stories in a lucid form that we love to read them even today.
Can you imagine where our knowledge of central Asia and pre-Islam India will be without the classical works of Xuanzang, the Chinese monk cum wanderer who visited India from China in 630s AD? Or take the case of Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan wanderer who wandered Mediterranean Africa, Middle East, Persia and then wandered into India while documenting his journeys that are still read by thousands of people around the world. No wonder it was Ibn Battuta who famously said, “Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
I am no match for these early Wanderers, who risked their life in those ancient times to quench their wanderlust, but I am trying. My travels started early on before my preteens. I had an old cycle that was my companion as I explored my city. Those were what we call today – The Good Old Days. Mothers will not get worried if their son took the cycle out and did not contact on the cell phone because there were no cell phones.
As I explored the lake at the town’s end, the berry trees beyond the lake that had the juiciest of berries and no competition except for the local Rhesus monkey herd, who soon accepted me as their own.
At the time of admissions to college, I weighed my options, checked with a few seniors and chose a course that had 2 annual field trips to study local environment, flora, and fauna. To fund these trips I started offering tuitions to make some money on the side. This dear reader was the birth of the cycle of wandering- Earn, Save – Wander and then repeat.
Those who do not wander will never be able to understand what it is to go to places you have never been before and meet your friends whom you have never met earlier. Each journey for me has been an eye opener and given me much more in the bargain than I ever hoped for. From sharing lunch with a farm hand to walking in a jungle with forest guards it has brought experiences that no amount of money can buy.
I have been offered food in train by strangers; I have stopped to ask for directions from old Nihang and ended up with a lifelong fascination to click the “Men in Blue’ the brave Sikh Saint Soldiers first enlisted by Shri Guru Gobind Singh jee. Even today, the Nihangs the original Men In Blue do not stay at a place for long, they wander from one village to the next.
Like all Wanderers who dream of crisscrossing the world, I too long to take the road but due to various reasons have never been able to go on very long trips but one day I do hope to saddle my bike and take the road less taken. My desire to hit the roads keep on getting stronger every day and I think my first stop will be the rugged Spiti, which literally means the middle land between India and Tibet.
During my last travel to Spiti, while I was waiting for some laborers to clear the road I saw a biker who just slowed his bike, waved to the guys cleaning the road and slowly, crossed the rivulet that was the cause of the traffic jam. Who can stop a wanderer from wandering ?
I think after a horse traveling on a bike is one of the most exciting and glamorous ways to unravel the mysteries of the road. While I wait for my day to come, I have followed the journey of some very passionate wanderers in India, thanks to the exciting contest by Wrangler India.
Now the contest is in the final stage but you can still follow the journey of the 10 finalists and vote for them. Click this link below to check and vote for the 10 finalists for the True Wanderer Contest by Wrangler.
These men and woman, are full of passion and are an inspiration for all who want their passions to come out of closet and bloom. What are you waiting for ? You have only your fears to lose. Go out hit the road, write that book, climb that peak, grow that jungle, bake that cake, or whatever is your passion.
And if you need some inspiration check the stories of these Top 10 Wanderers and vote for them.
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