At the organization I am working at this summer, travel is a constant part of our lives. We change cities every few days—sometimes Delhi, sometimes Yamuna Nagar, and sometimes day trips to Ambala or Karnal. Add on the pleasure travel I do when I have free days, and it adds up to quite a lot of moving around.
Constantly being on the move has been a rewarding challenge. At first it was exhausting—carrying luggage, worrying about housing, feeling like half my time was spent in a bus or train. Now that the travel schedule has become somewhat fixed, I’ve had a chance to reflect on how this amount of travel can change one’s perspective, both positively and negatively.
I’ll start with the challenges. In some ways, constantly traveling can make you quite self-centered–“How am I getting to the next city,” “Where am I staying,” “Where will I eat,” “Where can I find an ATM,” “How will I get around”—travel can make you focus entirely on putting one foot in front of the other, and in the process you forget the others around you. Relationships are also hard to form when you are never in one place for too long a time.
On the other hand, just as they say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” travel makes you appreciate the different places you come back to. When I arrive in Yamuna Nagar, I am excited for the amazing food, the great people, chit-chatting with the night guard or the Canteen cook, and the relative calm of a small city. When I arrive in Delhi, on the other hand, I am relieved to have my own personal space (I stay in a guesthouse in Delhi and a hotel in Yamuna Nagar) and access to all the conveniences and shops that such a big city provides. Both places have their pros and cons, and going back and forth illuminates these in a way that a single daily routine would have masked.
I still am unsure whether this amount of travel is something I would look for in a long-term career. In any case, this summer it has been vital for keeping my ideas and thoughts fresh and challenging me to adapt to a different kind of lifestyle. All of these are skills I will be happy to take forward.