This post has been written by Ankur Bhatia (aka The Filmy Fool). Equal parts crazy & passionate, he loves to write about films & entertainment, likes to read fantasy fiction and is a fan of Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere. He relaxes by listening to classic rock and is an extremely Reluctant Traveller.
It may be hard to believe but it’s true, I am an extremely reluctant traveller and I plan to share some of my travel ordeals under the Reluctant Traveller series starting with this post.
Travel for me is not relaxation or meditation, rather it is the exact opposite. Be it travel for work or vacation, it is accompanied by major stress and anxiety. I guess there are 2 major reasons for this; 1) The intense planning before the travel (being on your toes even during the travel to make sure all goes according to plan) and 2) I simply am not comfortable leaving my space (my bed, my pillows, my washroom etc.) and my routine. There are other reasons as well which I will talk about a little later. I understand that the second reason is a bit on the side of OCD and I try to overlook it as much as possible. However, the planning required for a trip gives me panic attacks.
"A friend once told me that planning is the most fun part of the vacation, at times even better than the vacation itself. I honestly didn't know how to respond to that."
Most vacations that I have been to have been planned by my wife and I know she has not had a lot of fun doing it. After planning one too many, she put her hands up. So I had no choice but to dive into the dark abyss that is vacation planning.
I had never really planned a trip before...ok to be honest I did plan a trip to Goa with my family and it bombed (details in another post). Honestly, I almost felt like Zayed Khan from ‘Main Hoon Na’ who steps into the library for the first time and there are temple bells ringing etc. Seriously, In films, they never show the ugly parts of a vacation. I mean how the hell did Hrithik Roshan plan his dare in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara when he was so busy? I keep hoping that my vacation plans don’t end up like the plans of Kirsten Wiig from Bridesmaid. Anyway, the planning starts and the next thing I know I have lost one month of my life.
And this is the story with every vacation because there are so many variables and the added pressure of missing out on something fantastic. You know how you always find people who start playing Oh My God! And they have only 1 rule, they can never lose. It goes like this, "Hey you went to this country right? Did you see THAT?", "Yes I did, it was so...” (Abruptly stopped) "Oh but did you see THAT?", "Yeah I did but honestly...” (Cut, we are moving on) "Oh the best was THAT, did you go THERE?" "No!", "OH MY GOD, how could you miss THAT, I can't believe you went all the way and did not see THAT".
"I am happy to see the waves go by with a book in my hand and jazz/classic rock playing in the background. "
So you obviously ignore such people but then there is the dreadful Internet. Filled with choices that last for pages and pages. From "all-inclusive packaged tours" to "the terrain less travelled" and from "we will do everything for you and just take your life savings" to "Do everything on your own, we will just take a small amount for....umm...you know...motivating you to go on this trip" (else you would have stayed home, watched Netflix, ordered food and relaxed).
I understand that one should not get bogged by social pressure and do what they want, within the budget they can afford. Well, I don't know what kind of vacation I want, or what kind of a traveler I am. Do I want to visit the beaten down, clichéd tourist spots? Or do I want to take the path less traveled and explore the unexplored, blah blah...discovering myself ...blah blah....you get the idea. I honestly don't know. Sometimes I want everything done for me and sometimes I don't want to do anything.
Another crazy variable is traveling with another person. Wife, friend, family no matter who you are planning to travel with, each one brings their own dynamics, do's and don'ts, preferences, and a bucket list.
"What do you call a vacation that keeps everyone happy? A Dream! "
With so much to think of and so many things to balance, who has the wherewithal to have fun? Not me. I know people who start planning their next vacation as soon as they get back from one. I feel like every time I plan a vacation, I am in need of 2 vacations. One, where I plan everything and somehow manage to hold it together during the entire thing. And two, a follow-up vacation, which helps me get over the craziness of the first one.