- Thursday, 1 May 2014

Travels in Off-Season, and Why I Like it So Much !

Post-Harvest Paddy Fields of Ziro

Off late, I have developed this strange interest in visiting places in the so-called 'off-season'. Discounts  are definitely one of the reasons, but primarily when travelling out of India. When travelling within the country, other than the obvious reason of beating the crowd, I feel it helps me get a more real picture of the place. And this couldn't have come more true than on my recent trip to North-East India. 

Having mentioned 'real picture', I must clarify that by no means I intend to convey that situation otherwise is bad, but at the same time its definitely not as glossy as made out to be in tourism board ads, travel agents' websites or government sponsored festivals. Of course, for those interested to visit through an agent of repute, one can get an all-good-looking picture too, while staying in best of hotels & travelling in good comfortable vehicles. But for someone like me who always travels independently (sans travel agents/ guides) and preferably in off-season, this journey not only gave me a new perspective to look at things around me, but also gave a whole new meaning to my travels. 

Travelling can not always be about picture-perfect scenery, starry skies, rolling hills etc. All that stuff is for magazines. For me travelling has taken a new meaning altogether. Now, I am more concerned, about the lives of people and environmental impact on my destination, than ever before. I genuinely am able to connect to people and feel fortunate to be able to see and learn from their lives. 

Of course, all this is easier for me because I no longer have a corporate job and therefore I do not travel to escape from stressful and busy life. I know I am fortunate at this one. I travel because I want to travel and it gives me liberty to indulge myself in the ground realities- positive & grim alike. This idea will not be of liking to many of those who are working hard in their lives, making a living for themselves in their full time jobs & limited on number of days at hand to take that little break to relax and simply enjoy themselves. However, I still know a few travellers who, along with their full time jobs, make time to travel, not just to enjoy themselves but with more consciousness and responsibility. Few such passionate people are from Nomadic Shoes

My travel style has been changing over the years. I have previously written an article also about it, but I think its an evolving process. I don't know but unintentionally I end up missing on famous tourist spots, and can be found loitering around in some unknown alleyway because a cafe owner told me about it. 

During my research I read everywhere that Hornbill Festival in the month of December is the best time to visit Nagaland and for Ziro, it is September because all the rice fields in the valley turn green after rains, plus, there is now a music festival too during that time. In fact, it was reiterated by locals as well when I was actually in those towns. In return when I told them that I do not want to  visit during designated festivals, instead want to see their real lives beyond it, they were simply amazed that two people from far-off Mumbai have come just to really meet them and see them instead of being attracted to the festivals. I would have certainly supported the idea of these so-called  organised festivals if it was doing some good to people and adding to their prosperity. These festivals, to me atleast, seem nothing more than a put-up show. I will write more about it in detail later on. But, oh my, the genuine humble smile we got after that conversation was really out of the world !

Its been 4 days, I am supposed to be writing an article for someone, based on my recent travels. And today when I actually got down to doing it, this is what I have come up with. I have some great memories of my travels and I would certainly want more and more people to know about it, but for once I am finding it hard to put that on paper without talking about the hard lives which people in undeveloped parts of NE are living. I want to be able to produce an article which is to the liking of an average newspaper reader, at the same time I want it to be true to who I am. Its so much easier to write openly and honestly for my blog, than for a newspaper.

I got to try again tomorrow. :)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Richa for the mention. I love the off seasons....good prices, good opportunity to meet the locals and enjoy the serenity of a place. Keep it up