Monday, September 9, 2013

'My Happiest Yatra' in My Frame

So here’s the latest of the IndiBlogger challenges that has got me thinking:

If I could take my friends to any place on the planet,
where would that be and how would I make it the happiest one ever?

First things first. Let’s face it. There is no magic wand that ensures happiness. Happiness has to be created in order to be enjoyed. And isn’t it true for all the things in our life? And, those things include travel too. I consider myself fortunate to have learnt this from my Yatras that I have taken with my family over all these years. My happiest Yatra memories are never of rosy beds or of fantasy islands or fairy-tale castles. But more of finding out that my ticket is booked for an AC III tier instead of the “dusty” sleeper class or knowing that I will be spending the hot summer night in an AC room instead of the regular one. Simple memories these, yet so full of joy and delight and these, I owe it all to the pampering of my family.

This time, however, the onus is on me. And, therein lays the challenge. From ‘happy’ I have to figure out my way to the ‘happiest’. Right now, I am sitting with a map in my hand and trying my best to pin a place as our destination. And let me tell you, it is not an easy task. So, skipping this part for now, let’s move to part two: how will I make it the happiest one ever. For this, I have decided to create ‘My Happiest Trip Plan’. I believe it will work. Every time, everywhere. Let me share with you my formula:

#1. Forget the camera:

“But a few photos as reminders don’t hurt?” If I didn’t hear my brother just protest!

True. But not when you are on your happiest trip ever. These digital equipments sometimes act as barriers to our most memorable moments. Picture this: You are talking to a local, you don’t understand each other’s language but hearty smiles are being exchanged and warm memories created. Suddenly, you pull out that camera and you spoil that moment, one which you will never have again.

After a warm interaction with a Japanese local

I will take care this does not happen in my happiest trip. No cameras would mean no more fussing over the settings or the angles or the light. It would also mean more interactions, more eyes, the natural God-given camera and more visual treats to savor and store in the chip of our hearts. Heart is one place where it would never get erased or corrupt. Not even by chance.

#2. Book a hotel:

Hotels can make or mar a trip, isn’t it essentially a home away from home? In that sense, the staff make up for your extended family till the time you are with them. It’s very important to pick a hotel that has been researched by you. Recommendations help and it works best when you map that with your own needs and wants.

It’s something very basic but in the hullabullo of a trip, many a times hotel booking takes a backseat and nitty gritty details are forgotten. Is there a geyser in the room, a shower? And is our family room spacious enough for us to throw our baggage around? And what about the window? Since we love to catch the rising sun the first thing in the morning, we would need a window that opens in the right direction. Although not everything might be possible to have in a single room, still I would be looking out to check as many as possible in my happiest trip ever. What works for us are rooms with a nice wide window so that we can catch the rising sun on the horizon, the first thing after opening our eyes in the morning or a large space enough for us to throw our baggage around. After all, a hotel is a home away from home and so much depends on where you are put, isn’t it?

#3. Check list for Mom:

Almost every mom is a supermom but even then, there’s only so much she can do. She is not a machine. She can't remember each and every detail of yours for you. This is one of the major complain at my house and I am guilty of being one of her greatest offenders. To set things in perspective, everyone would make a list of things-to-do well in advance and then cross it out before we leave.


Make a checklist

Like packing that toothbrush on the last day or switching off the mains or tucking in the house keys. Happiness on the face of the mom reflects in the happiness on the face of the family. Because she is the ultimate boss, the quintessential manager who knows just about how every situation can be dealt with, in the right manner. She can turn those wrongs into rights and her intuitions seldom go wrong. And she is one person who truly deserves all the happiness of the world.

#4. Anticipate:

Now that everything is packed and the hard work done, everyone should get down to thinking of the trip. This is the first step to happiness. Think of all the good things that will happen and they will happen.

#5. Share the same bread:

Eating diverse is one thing but eating separate is another. In this trip, everyone eats together, shares the same table and bites from the same bread. What and how we make our holidays can lay a strong foundation for many a life values. Sharing is definitely one.


 
Bite the same bread

#6. Keep cool:

This is especially true when traveling with family. You are so close to them that you expect them to do certain things in a certain way. Failing which, moods go astray and tempers fly. That’s what will not happen in this trip of ours.  This trip will only have smiling faces and cheerful smiles. All along.

#7. Go with the flow:

Which simply means that you can’t plan everything and have to leave certain things for them to happen by themselves. There is only so much you can do. And any good trip should be like that. So, this would be no different and we would all go with the flow. 


Go where the roads take you

There will be moments of great joy and happiness, and also inevitable moments of sorrow and frustration, for that’s the nature of life, and travel is a part of it. Not everything can be controlled, not everything has to be in order to look beautiful. Sometimes, the most beautiful things come out of unexpected situations and that is what makes a travel memory become our happiest then what it might be otherwise.

#8. Enjoy the journey, forget the destination:

Why? Because happiness lies there. Yes. Happiness does emerge from places, even from crisp little notes, and from our interactions with other people. But, in majority, it comes from YOUR own self and only you and what you make out of your journey. I am grateful to my family for teaching me this invaluable lesson. I will always be. This is what sums up my Yatras. And the joy in them.

Happiness in OUR Frame!

So the final question now. Where will I take my family to? What is my happiest destination ever?

Thailand, Singapore, Goa.. or ... ?

Guess, I will just let them figure it out. Because that’s what happiest trips are made of. In them, there is never a destination. The journey is the destination.



PS: This post is my entry to 'Creating Happy Travellers!' contest conducted by IndiBlogger and Yatra under the topic: If you could take your family or friends to any place on the planet, where would that be and how would you make your trip the happiest one ever? If you enjoyed reading the post and if you are an IndiBlogger, please vote for it here - http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=276224 Else simply send in your best wishes for me. Thank you. :)


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49 comments:

  1. Interesting thoughts, I really like the idea of forgetting the camera. I have indeed done it a few times. All the best for the contest.... :)

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  2. I think I might be able to do all of these, except the camera part!! But I do really see your point. I have had times when I really want to take pictures, but I know it would ruin the moment.

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  3. I am taking to heart your 8 points, but I'm maybe balking at that first! However, I truly believe in your last: "Enjoy the journey, forget the destination. You have planned and taken so many trips, Arti - you are the expert!

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  4. I can't wait to see where you end up on this trip! My favorite travel hint is #8...it really says what I have on the top of my blog: "It is not so much the destination as the voyage itself that matters."

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  5. Wow! what a beautiful post! A sure recipe for a happiest holiday:) Best of luck, Arti for the contest!

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  6. These explorations we will always remember.

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  7. Arti, nicely summed up ! Completely agree with the no camera point..have felt that it complete plays spoil sport when instead of enjoying a moment, you are busy capturing pictures.

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  8. Where nicely written Arti . I complete agree with you,Happiness has to be created in order to be enjoyed and we have to learn to enjoy even the petty things..

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  9. I cannot forget the camera. :)
    I have to bring back happy memories.

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  10. Hi Arti, what a nice write up! Great tips and very useful. Hahaha, I would never forget my camera, don;t want to miss a lasting moment. But true, we should feast our eyes to what is around us.

    Nice to be back for a while blogging....

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  11. A lovely post and you are right about the camera being so intrusive.

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  12. Now THAT's what I call experience! :)
    Reflects through the minute details in your piece!

    Cheers
    Sammya

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  13. I love your words about happiness Arti :-)

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  14. Nice one...And yes, camera do take away the joy of enjoying the travel. I always have a conflict in my mind about this that I might loose those memories which I could not capture. One such instance I remember when I could not capture the beauty of Kanchenjunga from Kupup due to clouds coming in very fast but I now feel that since I could not capture the shoot, I could enjoy the view more.

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  15. researching about the place before we plan the trip like,, what are the major attractions, what are the traditions, do's and don'ts and and history of mishaps.. to take enough precautions.,, Lon time ago I have read an article which says purchase a magazine in local language. so that taxiwalas and others assume you are a local

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  16. Hi! I just discovered your blog - and what wonderful readings you have here! Without happiness from within we are not really happy! Enjoy the moments;:-)=

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  17. So well put Arti - the journey is the destination! Yes - and too many expectations just stand in the way of what life wants to show us ... Hope the journey of this week is a happy one!

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  18. Arti - i just posted something, is it still here? Anyway, i so enjoyed your post and hope that the journey through this week will be a happy one for you - i see life as a journey ... all your tipps here are wonderful! xx

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  19. Lovely points and I agree to most of it. All the best for the contest!

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  20. Such an amazing post, I love your picture of the happy travellers, it says so much about you as a kind and caring person.

    I'd add throw away any maps as we have found ourselves on some wonderful journeys whilst lost.

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  21. I see a wining entry in your post!

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  22. You're just as right as I am in my post... which is another way of saying that I liked your post. :)

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

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  23. Go with the flow,share n eat together,organize-lovely trips--Best of luck Arti.

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  24. Yes, we lose number of special moments just watch through lens. What u told about mom is so true! Until she’s there, we are tension free. But also how true memories are not planned and there’s less frustration when things happen on its own.

    A beautiful, as well happy post! Sometime leaving life on its own is fun.

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  25. Hi Arti,

    Great post and helpful advice.
    As we are traveling around France now all of your points are useful.

    Hope you are enjoying the week
    Carolyn



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  26. I am okay not taking pictures not to ruin a moment, however, to take the camera away from me during the entire trip would also mean not my happiest trip at all, since somehow, we have this family activity each trip that we really pause from exploring, but instead enjoy each other more, where we would do fun actions that we would record with our camera, I would always see hubby and other family members all of a sudden transform like a child when we are given the chance to act what we can be, just us, no one else, and the camera is always a part of that activity. once, hubby also lost his eye glasses in our hike from too much having fun, we would have not found it at all, until we remember to go through each pictures one at a time, until we solved the problem, the camera helped us find the eye glasses since we were able to identify the place where it was there, and then, suddenly, it was not there.

    i could not picture us however, in precious conversation, then, all of sudden ruin that just because we wanted to take pictures. there is a time for everything, and such is not the time, one must really have self control and patience. I probably see more people who are in conversation, but texting or surfing in their cell phone, I mean, I was the recipient of cold attention when seeing friends, they were too busy with cell phone. Knowing the feeling, there is no way I would do that with a camera, because people are always very important.

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  27. Reminds us of the same old rhetoric - Does it matter where you go, as long as you are with the person with whom you'd love to go anywhere.

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  28. Lovely post, Arti! Forgetting the camera -- now that would be bold. But then we always have our cellphones. Indeed, any place is good if the companions are right!

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  29. Wow! Arti, it does not matter where you go, with all this the happiness will be in the heart - as indeed it is actually if you think of it. And I loved that leave the camera bit - now you know why my travel posts almost never have photographs - and never mine :)

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  30. Very interesting trip, Arti! which narrated beautifully. thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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  31. I absolutely agree with camera issue. It can really spoils the perfect moment especially when you interact with locals. It happened to me few times and I kinda regret this.

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  32. Great and awesome post.It is very helpful.This blog shows the importance of blog commenting. Thanks

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  33. We're proud of warm interaction. :D
    That's a great list.

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  34. Nicely juicily deliciously writtten....very good arti

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  35. Sweet post.
    You're sure to have the happiest trip, this way. (I'd feel handicapped without my camera. Most of the time I take some pics and then keep the camera aside and take in the sights. But I make sure I can pull it out if I need to.)

    All the best, Arti. :)

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  36. That is the reason I always advice a point and shoot. No settings, angles lighting. I still use a point and shoot. Sharing memories can only be done with a picture.

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  37. I quite agree with you about camera on your happiest trip.I like all your tips of happiest trip well written and above all heartwarming.
    I'm sending you my best wishes for the contest,Arti.

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  38. So nice post Arti, Wish you all the best :)

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  39. Interesting and apt pointers Arti! A camera is used to capture the moment and help relish it for lifetime, but sometimes a camera can spoil the moment. Also, a journey (especially on a holiday) is more important than the destination. Kudos! All the best :)

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  40. Well thought and composed, the post exhibits the art of storytelling interspersed with philosophy. It makes the read all the more interesting :)

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  41. Perfect tips, Arti! Much-needed for happy hols :)
    Congrats for winning!

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  42. Little late to post - but this is a very very interesting post ... Liked it

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