Travel Diaries: Learning from my trips across India

Who does not love to travel? Most of us do. When I was young my travels were primarily to Kerala from Gujarat. Those were the days when the Konkan line was not ready and it took 3 days to reach Kerala by train. Plus, the luxury of not having gadgets meant you either talked to someone or read something to pass time. I really miss that somehow. The non-agenda conversations and getting to know people just before they get off or you get off. Also the fact that it has many children for company, also made for an entertaining time. 

However, what do travels have in common with communication? Something or is it everything? More like everything, every step of the way.  

  • Perspective: When we travel to a place, we experience something different from the mundane repeat cycles of our lives. While we were young, there are always insights into a place which you gather. A cousin of mine for example was so thrilled to see small ponds around almost each house in Kerala, he wanted to take them with him back to Nashik.  

My vacations in Kerala were filled with time spent around ponds, lakes and rivers and enjoying the stillness. Of course, you do soak up the culture which is slightly different from that of Gujarat, where I lived most of my life. Time just moved at a leisurely pace. As a communicator, we have to change gears too. Somethings move at a lethargic pace, no matter how hard you push and some projects move faster than a formula 1 race car. Striking a balance is what matters.

  • Embrace uncertainty: Road trips take the cake here. You can never actually anticipate what lies around the next corner, irrespective of the fact that you are on high speeds or careful as a driver. 

While on a road trip, crossing the Bandipur forest, we saw an elephant grazing far away. We thought we will take some snaps and continue. However, the elephant had other plans and it started rushing towards us. Good sense prevailed and we escaped in the nick of time. An angry elephant can speed up to 40 kms per hour. 

A managerial lesson was learnt that day – you can never judge what a person is going through. We deal with multiple stakeholders all the time. And there is a bit of uncertainty in every situation. Just like in a road trip, if you get a flat tyre, always be ready to change it on your own.

  • Athithidevo bhava : The best consistent part of travelling in and around India is the hospitality. Most places across India, you will find people who are genuine and nice. Hotels might be nice because they have a transactional relationship with you but what about people you come across in the streets? Or the people whom you interact with at a Shack in Goa or across a restaurant table? Leaves you with better insights into a place. 

    A screen grab of my travels, post the advent of mobile phones and geo tracking!

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019 ranked India 34th out of 140 countries overall. India improved its ranking by 6 places over the 2017 report which was the greatest improvement among the top 25% of countries ranked. So what are you waiting for? Take that weekend trip from any of the city centers you live in. 

Sanaj Natarajan
Sanaj Natarajan is a Corporate Communications Leader with experience in Capital Goods and Technology industry. In a career spanning over 14 years as a communicator, he has worked on campaigns around External Communications, Investor relations and Greenfield and Brownfield sites.
Sanaj loves to read on current affairs, technology magazines and travel to different places and absorb cultures and relish various cuisines. In his free time, he dabbles in video production, film making and running marathons.

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