Don’t these youngsters do anything other than travel? This comment on one of my recent Facebook posts about my holiday in Turkey set me thinking. What is it about the travel bug that has the younger generation smitten?
Of course, the baby boomers do their fair share of travel. One of my cousins has traveled to over a 100 countries and is still raring to go. He is setting some serious travel goals in the process.
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Hashtags like wanderlust, explorer and globetrotter are trending 24/7 on social media. Personally, travel keeps my soul alive. Everything about the process – right from zeroing in on a destination, scouring the most cost-effective, yet exotic hotel, to planning my to-do itinerary – sets the excitement levels soaring.
In a major rush of nostalgia, I recall the annual summer vacations my parents would religiously take us on. We’re south Indians, so this meant packing our suitcases, filling up petrol in our Ambassador car and heading off to hill stations within driving distance such as Ooty, Kodaikanal, Munnar and Yelagiri.
Every summer and we would visit these places on loop. Circa today, I shudder to revisit a destination on holiday, as I want to tick off new cities in my holiday bucket list.
I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but over the last few years, I have funded memorable holidays to Zanzibar, Bali, the US, South Africa and different parts of Europe and Asia. From searching for the mythical Loch Ness dragon in the Scottish Highlands, pursuing the popular Cowboy on bustling Times Square in New York for a photo-op, jostling crowds in Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar for that perfect rooftop view of the Blue Mosque, dining under the stars deep inside the Maasai Mara with security guards at our behest, to riding a donkey in Greece’s vehicle-free Hydra Island, the experiences have been diverse and fulfilling.
From my childhood, what I vividly recall of our annual breaks are the precarious drives manoeuvering hair-pin bends en route to the hill stations, the delight of seeing waterfalls and monkeys on the way and the blissful cold weather which came as a reprieve from the sultry heat of my tropical home state.
Holidays were relaxed. The most hectic activity I can recall was pedal boating on the lake or horse riding. Cut to today and I think of what adventure I can pack into my schedule: bungee jumping, snorkelling or shark encounters from the confines of a cage.
Vacations meant lounging around playing carrom with my brother, catching up on a book borrowed from the resort library or relishing the food cooked by my mum. We always stayed in timeshare properties with a cottage at our disposal. What strikes me today is how my mum never got a break from domestic chores while on holiday even as the rest of us had it easy.
As much as I like my new evolved persona, what I have lost in the process of growing up is the innocent delight derived from the simple pleasures of life. For instance, I remember making snowballs in Kullu-Manali with my brother and hurtling them at unsuspecting strangers, resulting in a good-natured duel. Or the time when I went to Hyderabad and was enchanted by new glass bangles from the alleys behind Charminar.
Today, as we all stare at our smartphones catching up on what the world is up to, we forget that this is the very routine we wanted to escape during our holiday. Ironic, isn’t it? Another accusation often levelled at us millennials is how we never save enough and always “squander” money on holidays. I am told I focus more on short-term pleasures over long-term priorities. I believe in living for the day. While the importance of saving for a rainy day can’t be overstated, I equally believe in small indulgences.
As you may have often heard in millennial parlance, invest in experiences, not tangible assets. You are more likely to see me save up for my dream holiday to Brazil than to buy, say, a Louis Vuitton bag.
On the other hand, I see that my parents continue to be cautious in their spending as they’re saving for their retirement pot. They are still actively employed and earning well by upper middle class standards in India. However, they would rather open an additional fixed deposit account over taking that Mediterranean cruise.
This dichotomy in spending habits is intriguing. But ask me and I’d like to maintain a fine balance between being a spendthrift and a saver.
Deepthi writes on Dubai property, and loves to be in the thick of things