This year I planned a long standing solo travel and a hard earned break to celebrate my birthday with myself. When my father and brother came to know of my plan, their first reaction was – take Aai along. For a while, I was that grumpy child not wanting to share my toys with anyone. And she would be the other child waiting to put her shoes finding the smallest opportunity to go out.
Few days later Aai & I boarded an early morning bus to Nashik. My solo holiday break was now going to be shared with her, and my dream of going on a solo trip continues. We enjoyed wine tasting & tour, a lazy lunch, bought some farm fresh vegetables and most importantly relaxed!
This was probably our 4th or 5th holiday together, just me and her. The first time we travelled alone was to Nainital, almost 10 years ago. Remembering all our holidays, I realized we both have agreed or are comfortable on a certain pattern and enjoy it:
- Non-touristy holiday – Either travel off-season or visit a place that is not very crowded
- Homestay over hotel – I introduced her to homestays, and now she prefers it over hotel. A good farmhouse / nature stay and home cooked food!
- Local food – At restaurant I was thinking of ordering some Paneer starter. She quickly said order Misal, eat local food we keep eating Paneer all the time. My memory jogged to our Coorg holiday where I took her to a Tibetian restaurant, a first for me too
- Comfortable travel – Bus, train, flight, car; mode of transport does not matter. It has to be comfortable and flexible to travel
- Relax or enjoy some activity – While I was busy acknowledging birthday wishes, she enters the room and says “they have so many books. I picked up books on travel, philosophy and wildlife”. The wintry mornings meant we woke up late, bathed in the morning sun followed by a hearty breakfast. Realized it was a luxury for both of us
On our way back home she mentioned she trip has given her the confidence of travelling again, eyes have regained some strengthen to look far, sun is not hurting much.. She was finding a new ray of hope amidst her journey of recovering from a major illness.
A different birthday present I gifted myself…