For us travelling started because of a simple need that soon turned out to be a life changing passion. That passion was our urge to be in a natural setting rather than an urban scenario. As a couple, one thing that bonded us together is our shared passion for the beauty of the natural world. We both admire architecture, immerse ourselves in the music and marvel at technology but our love for the natural world surpasses all these by a huge margin. Living in a city posed challenges and limitations to our desire to be with the natural world. All we have is pollution and nothing more. So travelling was not an option but a necessity. So herein lies the answer to “where we travel” – we travel to places where natural world has atleast a little bit of splendor left.
While most people look at boundaries of cities, states and countries , our travel is based on ecological zones. For example , for us Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan are all Central Himalayas. In other words , India is not 30 states , it is Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, North Western deserts , Eastern Himalayas, Sundarbans, Islands etc. Internationally, Malaysia , Thailand and Singapore are all the same to us because they are all part of the Indo-Malayan ecological realm. We decided on this approach because it gives us the maximum chance of seeing different species, which is ultimately the urge behind the travel.
So where we travel is always answered by simple question “which place ranks high in biodiversity”.
This calling has taken us to different terrains of the world and given us the viewing pleasure of majestic landscapes of the world and some of our magnificent natural world neighbors.
One more criteria for travel location is population density. In a country of 120+ crore people, It is always a nice feeling to be alone. So remote locations are always a priority. Further, biological diversity is always high as you move away from people. Once in a while we get into a city just for the heck of it. Indulge in roaming the streets , try different types of food etc but to be frank all these only adds to our urge to be with the natural world.
Our travels before this and after this will always be in tune with this criteria. Its been almost 10 years since we started travelling and I am pretty sure that the taste for places that we have developed is permanent. In the last decade, we have on rare occasions visited theme parks, parades, music shows, games, movies, zoos etc but all these turned out to be just fads which fade away. All the while, our desire to be in the biological hotspots of the world has grown manifold.
We will travel to Rameswaram but not visit the temple, will travel to San Francisco but will not even take a picture of golden gate bridge, will travel to Jaisalmer but not visit the fort, visit Mumbai just to pass through…our approach suits us and we follow it.
Crowded tourist spots and media promoted locations are not for us.
Just because someone asks ” have you not seen it? ” will not drive us. Just because someone says “you should see this atleast once in a lifetime ” will not push us. Just to be clear on what we do , we spent a day in Agra but we have not seen the Taj Mahal and we do not hope to see it at all. We were happy to see an Egyptian vulture near the railway station than a glorified cemetery.