Not all travel is expensive.

Not all travel is expensive.

Very often people tell me that they think they cannot “spend” on travel because it costs too much. They tell me that they think I’m “lucky” to be able to travel. I understand that travel is much more than just cost, which is sadly the part that gets the most attention and questions. But it’s also about communication with loved ones, a disciplined calendar, about “being able to go away” or finding time for oneself. More importantly, it’s about purpose.
What are you travelling for? What do you seek?
The idea that travel is only about spending money is a misconception. Travel, like anything else in life, is a priority to some of us. If you’re passionate about it and you believe in the essence rather than the forms, you will find a way to make it happen. To plan ahead, to cut corners, to save from every pay cheque, to re-align other aspects of daily life and choose who you choose to travel with.
Because travel is about finding yourself, about keeping it simple. It’s about connecting to how others live elsewhere and not doing the same things you do when you’re at home. It’s a conscious effort to peel away what’s unnecessary to find what really matters.
Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with splurging on a holiday or living it up on a trip someplace. But it’s good to remember that not everyone thinks of “travel” the same way and that just like everything else, if you really want to, you will find a way to travel on a budget. To start with, here are some ground rules that I follow when it comes to any journey: let’s say this is for an international trip, given the sheer number of people asking me how I manage one every year.
I’ve also been working on putting up my itinerary for Vietnam for those of you who asked. I should have it ready soon (note to self!). If you would like to read more about the different aspects of travel and budget backpacking, here are some of my favorite bloggers/sites:

 

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I think this quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is the best way to end this note, because his work is just like real travel: you can find as much magic in it as you look for. It stands for something much deeper than the physical aspect of packing.
Safe travels and inner journeys to you all!

He who would travel happily must travel light.

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Vietnam Sketches

Vietnam Sketches

Every time I return from a trip, I have with me a pile of photographs: a mixture of specific moments, landscapes, emotions and cultural nuances. A flag somewhere, a local delicacy on a plate in the corner of a photograph, a frame of another frame and more.

One of the things I enjoy doing with these photographs is to doodle over them and extract specific characters who form the crux of those moments. Something about them that makes the photograph stage for that character to unfold.

Here is a series starting with 3 such characters from my backpacking trip across some towns in Vietnam last year. An effort to represent the flavour and the feel of the local culture. I plan to turn this into a full pack of cards that comprises of unique stories: one detail at a time.

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Illustrating love for caffeine

Illustrating love for caffeine

‘Love for Chai’ and ‘Filter Kaapi’

Tea in India is called chai. It’s as common a word as that for water. Almost a national beverage, if you will. And there are hundreds of flavours to a chai (apart from tea dust, milk and sugar) such as ginger, herbs, cardamom, etc.

And in the South of India, coffee is made using a filter and is hence colloquially referred to as filter ‘Kaapi‘ which comes in variations of Arabica, Chicory and more. I’m not an expert. But  those of you who know me know that I luurrrve chai 🙂 And I love illustration. So shot and doodled this as part of a creatively restless past hour. Which one is your favourite? 😀

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Days without chai are kinda sad
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Kaapi makes up for some other days
Completely shot and designed personally. Vectors done on Adobe Illustrator

Goan Squares

From my trip last weekend to the Southern coastline of Goa comes this set of snapshots that I call ‘Goan Squares’. These are memories of the quieter side of Goa, away from the hustle-bustle of the North with its tourists and flea markets.

These are moments of the real Goa peeking through: old houses, charming churches, golden sunsets, secluded beaches fringed with coconut trees and pines.

For the album, visit my Flickr Photostream.

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