In the first 25 years of my life, I barely travelled- I lived a content life in India spending most of my time between Chennai and Bangalore, travelling to a few nearby places. I started travelling in earnest after I started working in ICICI-initially within India, then outside of India. Now I am an intrepid traveller. When I travelled out of India for the first time, I wanted to see as many places as possible. In the past 20 years, I have visited about 25 countries. In the early years of my travel, I wanted to go on a ticking off spree. Some places and things that spring to mind in this ticking off spree are the enchanted island of Bali, the South island in New Zealand, the glens and lochs of Scotland, the romance of Istanbul, the quaintness and fading grandeur of Venice, the natural beauty of North Eastern United States, the eternal spring weather of California and the mind boggling beauty of Hawaii. I am not into ticking off anymore- I visit some places over and over again at the cost of visiting newer places- I can live with that. There are still a few places I want to visit that I haven’t travelled to so far- the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone national park, the Grand canyon, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Greece, Jordan, Egypt and Cambodia- I hope I can visit them before my time on Earth is up. My time now is taken up between Singapore where I live, India, where my parents live, North Eastern United States where my daughter lives and where my brother used to live till a few months ago and Bali where we want to live- that doesn’t leave me with much time to visit other places.
The most memorable trip I went on was a 50-day long trip to the US last year when I ostensibly went to drop my daughter off at college but stayed on, travelling and visiting friends and relatives across the length and breadth of the US.
The high points of this trip were the 3 days that I spent in the beautiful town of Hanover in New Hampshire chasing early fall colours in the White Mountains and the two weeks that I spent in California and Hawaii. Hawaii is this lovely string of isolated volcanic islands that sit in the middle of nowhere, though they belong to the US. I spent about 10 days in upcountry Maui in a wonderful yoga retreat run by a quirky architectural designer from mainland USA. Hawaii deserves the epithet of ‘heavenly’- it is a place of stunning natural beauty and geographical diversity ranging from lush tropical rain forest to alpine shrubs; from turquoise beaches to majestic volcanic craters. My trip was absolutely relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time.