Being a Traveller
Travellers – honestly that’s one of the vaguest terms that we use. There are so many types of travellers, all defined by their aim, reasons and their nature of travel. And like there are countless forms of human minds in our species, travellers are of countless types too. That is true because of perceptions and every perspective is a new type! When it comes to me, from childhood my idea of travel had always been more about people and so much less about the tourist attractions.
I grew up observing and believing that the exploration of culture, tradition and even the location itself is truly reflected in its most raw form in its people and not the tourist sites. Studying in an industry of travel and tourism to achieve more than just qualifications and aim for professional qualification was pre-decided when I aimed to become a travel writer. Some things often add along the journey as you set out to achieve it. Here were the perks of being in travel and tourism, you meet people across the globe! While some might be unsure how to connect well with any of them, I simply have the instincts of connecting to the human species which helped me in many ways! One being, finally starting the international travel journal, with just the types of stories I would want to create and trace in them!
Chain Reaction of Kindness
When you are struggling with a dilemma to travel or not to travel, to climb that mountain that has been your wallpaper or dive in the sea that you shared on the social media, there is no better answer than just do it! These callings for travel come for various reasons, for needing that brake, for finding yourself or for just living the dream. Whatever is your excuse, you truly live for it. Once you take the final call, a final step of actually heading towards where you would rather be, you give your dreams a chance to be real and not just somewhere in a never-ending loop of coming soon. So when I stepped out of this dilemma, I thought of where would I rather be?
And there I found my obvious answer! Europe is one destination that has shown dreams to many travel hearts. Each for a different reason, right from its cuisine to its culture to its architecture. Everything that the fairy-tales taught us to believe in! So, I was no different in this case! My curiosity takes me places and this time it was going to be in Europe! Not the usual ones though. The connections I made with a simple gesture of helping and guiding people on my land, got awarded with opportunities of discovering their lands like a fortunate chain reaction. With interesting experiences waiting for me at every step, I set on this journey of discovering offbeat Europe and truly being a traveller.
Places I covered – Hidden Charms:
The areas that I planned to explore are the ones which have been much isolated from a daily European itinerary. Everything seemed to be different, right from the choice of the places to the purpose to the way I would travel. Belgium was the one with extensive exploration plan followed by specific areas of Luxemburg, Austria and Germany. From France, Paris was the city that I involved in my itinerary. With all of these places and 17 days in hand, I started my journey of a lifetime.
Explore one of the most untapped and multicultural countries of Europe! Belgium is often limited to being just a transit point between European countries but there is so much more to discover in this charming & enchanting country! Full of breath-taking architecture, UNESCO world heritage sites cloaked with a glorious history and amazing landmarks, Belgium is Europe’s true secret full of treasures. Belgium flaunts its eccentric yet stereotypical medieval towns. Endorsed with its historically enriching Renaissance architecture. The glorious headquarters of the European Union and NATO is here in Belgium too. Immerse yourself in this endearing journey of exploration to the land of fries, chocolate and beer!
This tiny secret with comic art and historic legacy can be a whole new experience altogether. The different regions and provinces in this country hold numerous significances and specialities. In the Brussels Capital Region, I managed to explore Tervuren, Brussels and Laeken for the spectacular Atomium. The Province of Flemish Brabant gave us a beautiful insight into the city of Leuven. One of my most favourite of the exploration was the Province of Luxembourg which had one of the kind locations! To begin with, Marche-en-Famenne which reminds me of my favourite Living Statue Festival (Statues en Marche) that I attended.
Witnessing the event of living statues in Marche-en-Famenne not only let me understand the classic connection to its name but art that reflects a cultural and social strength. I visited Hargimont for the Château de Jemeppe, Nisramont for the lake, Ortheuville for the watermill, Bastogne for the “Mardasson”, a popular Battle of the Bulge Memorial of WWII, but one that struck me with happiness was the regions I explored for spectacular forests. Môchamps had one of the most soothing and rejuvenating forest experience just like the Saint-Hubert Wild Park managed to narrate beautiful sagas and legends that were reflected in the Saint-Hubert Basilica too.
The regions of Bouillon, Durbuy and La Roche-en-Ardenne of this province, took me closer to what this country is made up of. Although the most favourite of them all was one of the smallest yet the best people I could meet, Wyompont. Wyompont being the one that not takes you closer to the happy and welcoming local people but also homely animals that will greet you with their love and kindness! There’s always some unspoken and unbelievable magic in the countryside!
Further, I set out to explore the Province of Namur where I covered one of the most spectacular caves in Han-sur-Lesse along with its popular Wild Park. I visited the magnificent castle of Lavaux-Sainte-Anne and explored the city life in Dinant and Namur. The Province of Liège with its liveliest city Liège, Province of Antwerp with its city Antwerp along with the Province of East Flanders where I explored the most spectacular city of Ghent and one of the most romantic city, Bruges, located in the Province of West Flanders.
Austria is famous for its spectacular northern Bohemian Forest, Traunsee Lake and eastern hillside vineyards. It is draped in a remarkable history and rich Alpine landscapes. I specifically explored the beautiful region of Tyrol where I witnessed the panoramic landscaped of Zöblen on the road B199 and the sparkling beauty of the popular lake Am Plansee.
Enjoy a stunning glimpse of one of the modern yet historical country of Europe! Welcome to Germany – home of rich culture, history, technology and heritage. Explore the cities in a wonderfully crafted journey that lets you experience the sights and sounds of these must-visit cities. Germany is the perfect balance between history and modernity! Explore the country of megacities, rich culture, unique flavours, hi-tech technology and a coherent history that has helped shape the nation. I witnessed this land being sun-kissed. It enhanced its beauty with an extremely charming atmosphere. And furthermore, the ambience attracted me so much as a traveller and leisure lover.
With countless architectural specimens, you can spot one on every corner of the country. When there is so much to see in a country and limited time in your clock, you have to do the most difficult choice of choosing the most preferred ones. And, I choose two specifically heavenly areas, one being my childhood dream the Länder of Bavaria and the other being the famous scientist and my icon, Einstein’s hometown, Ulm located in Länder of Baden-Wurtemberg. I specifically chose the Länder of Bavaria for the most stunning castle of Schloß Neuschwanstein.
This castle inspired Disney’s logo! Doesn’t strike as a surprise at all! Along with my dream castle, I had the most remarkable chance to dip my skin in the stunningly pristine waters of the lake Am Alatsee and explore more places like Füssen, Schloß Hohenschwangau, Bad Hindelang along with Schloß Linderhof, Oberammergau, Wieskirche and Hornbahn Hindelang, the spectacular ski resort nestled in the mountains. All of these places will make you believe that there’s truly nothing like Bavaria! All those fairy tales don’t lie.
Finally, it was time for the city of dreams after a dream come true location! Synonym to love and paradise of life, France has been a dream destination for every corny soul. Clichéd for being the time-lapsed destination to experience life with enthusiasm, this is a destination that will inspire you the most. Here I specifically explored the Île-de-France Region with its crown pride of Paris. Once you are in Paris, everything makes sense to why it is the way it has been talked about. You realise, every word that a poet could find from his diction to express his emotion for the city of Paris, was not even closest to hyperbole.
With stunning attractions, endorsed with art, architecture, culture and history at the same time, this city is literally the hub of what artistry coming to life would look like. I explored all the attractions right from my own favourite the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower. But, what truly touched my experience of Paris was eating with the locals on the Seine riverside restaurants, all alive with laughter, music and stories of life. Exploring the lanes where the tourist buses never take a turn to and ironically just talking about life with friends across the globe in this city of love.
Finding depths of the experience:
The true essence of this journey was the people that I met and travelled with. A destination explored with its locals is the best thing ever. The locals give you an insight into what the destination is truly made up of. And also what truly lies within the mask of the global identity. When one talks about truly ‘experiencing’ the land with its culture, cuisine and lifestyle, it will always stay incomplete if not lived it all with the locals. Like I mentioned before, my travel idea had always been more about the connections and never about the attractions. The entire purpose turns into feeling what it might to be an inseparable part of the destination that we just held some prejudices about.
Belgium is not really seen as a prominent tourist destination. Often Belgium is a comfortable transit point in many itineraries. But, when I explored this land I discovered so much more than expected. Right from intense landscapes to romantic canals (Bruges!) to their lively cities and undying art & architecture, it has everything, all with exceptionally compassionate local citizens. They say that you get to learn a lot out of your routine and comfort zone. And, truly this journey was one of the craziest experiences of all.
How else would you describe hike walking the forest roads on heels (not intentional!), visiting my icon’s hometown in night pyjamas, taking a city tour in Jaguar (oh yea!), breaking the leg before entering the dream castle and witnessing the most legendary eclipse in Bavaria (from the balcony of our stay!)?? All of such experiences and many more, which were never a part of a tour guidebook, is what truly makes the journey worth living.
Along with faster growth in technology and even more faster growth of personal spending capability, we’ve seen a change in the types of tourists. In the era of social media, so many prefer to live everything online. Tourists are often busy letting the world know on social media that they are travelling somewhere. Rather than truly being present there and enjoying the destination for themselves. As if, it is no fun till you make others believe it is fun. Reasons are many and each one has their own choice. Although when it comes to being the one who wants to live the high of exploring travel I choose differently. I prefer collecting far more memories and experiences than their photos can ever justify!
Best of my moments were left uncaptured. Yet, they are immortal in my memories. Although, they all turn as your attributes secretly. You know the destination that you kept liking on Instagram? It’s time for actually being there, trust me, from the horse’s mouth it’s much more magical than what you imagine it to be!
So, where are you heading to?