All my life, the most that I have traveled has been unplanned. The most obvious holidays and long weekends would just be busy with routine work. While the world would be planning their long weekend, we would finish our work, pack and leave the next day for an unplanned road trip. Always avoid crowded places and weekends since the world is out there at that time. I understand the difficulties because I have also been in a job for 12 years of my life. But I would still recommend that when you feel low, you energies are diminishing and you need an instant recharge – hit the road. Take unpaid leave for a couple of days. Zindagi khatm nahin ho jayegi. Pack your basic necessities and travel. I promise it will turn out to be the most cherished part of your life – an adventure that you will never forget.
As you travel down the road and see an interesting temple or fort far away, you turn that way. You see a sign thats interesting and you spontaneously decide to explore it. Unplanned trips allow you to do things extempore. Passing by a valley. Stop. Savor the moment. Click some pictures. No hurry to reach somewhere. Just be in the moment. Venture into the unknown. You might just need that. Follow your gut. It will take you places. For me, spontaneity is the best policy. It has allowed me to discover facets about myself which I thought didn’t exist.
Try a different route
If you have an adventure streak, you could try a more unconventional route. With no worry of reaching on time, no one to bother you, drive along the scenic route. Instead of taking the fast roads, go into smaller towns on the way, take a detour to that dhaba that you have read so much about but never explored. Discover new places as you go. This way you will enjoy every moment on the road, will explore much more than you normally would and also learn about new routes. Me and Chao would always drive down an unknown side road and have sometimes found hidden treasures on them.
Not so expensive
We all make our bucket lists and feel that we need a lot of money to travel. That’s not the case at all. Backpackers carry one bag and go hopping from one country to another with basics. There are multiple websites which offer budget holidays. Roadtrippers Club has a drive planned every weekend and you could just carpool and contribute towards the fuel. And the best part is that if its an unplanned holiday, you could stop at a homestay or a cosy hotel right on the highway. The other possibility is of sleeping in your car or in your tent. You do not need tons of money, just tons of desire to travel.
This is your me time. Just set a destination and start driving. Our mind is a conundrum of activity and this is the best way to calm down. Eyes on the road, listening to your favourite songs, humming that rhythm you love, the white lines speeding by, pure quality time. In India so often you would come along an interesting sight of people traveling in the most unimagined ways and if you have the time, you could turn around and capture that shot or maybe give a lift to the villagers trying to reach their home a few kilometres away. I remember stopping for a few school kids and about 7-8 little ones climbed into the back seat giggling and smiling as I dropped them home. Just very satisfying and these little things make me happy. Their smiles were priceless and their simplicity unmatched.
Read a book, self-reflect, write down your thoughts, meditate and most importantly – Just Be. We forget to do that in our daily lives. Calm your mind. Give it some rest. Go alone!
A New You
Unplanned trips will help you discover so much more about yourself. You could stumble upon a new hobby or career. You will become a better explorer. Your communication skills will improve. You will be ready to face the world once you are back. More resilience, more adventure, more confidence and more positivity. You will find deeper meaning of life when you travel alone and develop better social skills while traveling in a group. A better bond with your fellow travellers and a better you all along. You will realise that random things can be very interesting and learn that giving is receiving. You might smile more often.
Do it often
Once you try this, I can promise you that you will want to do this again and again. With your family or with your friend who likes to do similar things. Every time you will discover something new and come back with new stories. These trips will be forever etched in your memory and you will narrate them often. Don’t wait for an opportunity, just do it on the spur of the moment and you will never regret it.
So what are you waiting for? Get up and find your car or bike keys. Do it now or you might never do it! Do not let life pass you by in Your Rearview Mirror!