Friday, March 26, 2010

Whats your travel style ?

Travel roots go back  to the time of Marco Polo and his silk route to asia. But it was predominantly after the the Hippie trail Movement of the 1960's and 1970's, that marked the beginning of the backpacking era. The old fashioned backpacker now has a richer, glamourous cousin called the flashpacker.

Now I personally hate to differentitate between travellers, but nouveau trends are emerging. I have been flashpacking for a few years now, but I finally knew I had a generic name for my style of travel only last year.

Wikipedia defines backpacking as low-cost and independent international travel. Backpackers use public transport, prefer youth hostels, have no fixed trip plans, and a lot of time to meander around. In the process plan to see the sights and meet a few locals.

A "Flashpacker" is a neologism and will soon find place in the dictonary. Flashpackers are usually in their 20s to 30s, and could be called as "upscale backbackers". They expect better accommodation and amenities and travel with their latest gadgets like laptops and ipods, but have the same craving for adventure. They may carry their backpacks, which will often filled with designer wear night outs. They rough it in style. The camping setup above and below compares the style of backpackers v/s flashpackers.

Will you see a flashpacker on an 18-hour bus ride to save fifty dollars? Most probably not. They spend money smartly often wavering between splurging and being frugal. They usually have well paid jobs and not as much free time to wander around like backpackers. They could be on extended holidays, sabbaticals, or mid-career switch gaps and they dislike package tours and mass market destinations.

 I will be candid and admit that once in a while I regret to call myself a flashpacker. What sense does carrying a backpack in the day, and snoozing in the night on a bed fitted with fine egyptian linen make? I feel like a hedonist pretending to be an adventurer ! A true adventurer gets down and dirty :-). When travel is done at the grassroots level, the experience surely feels more authentic. IMO backpacking is vintage and it will always maintain its legacy.

It doesent matter if you are a backpacker, flashpacker or boarding a tourbus. The ethos of traveling as a hasnt changed, only the styles have.We are all out there to have a good time. But however and wherever we go- lets be responsible and have a positive impact on local people and their environments.

Whats your travel personality ?

“A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse… and thinks of home.” – Carl Burns.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Boarding AT-AW.

"Jai Jinendra" (greeting from Jainism). My mom would be delighted if this blog promoted Jainism, but unfortunately I have fallen prey to hedonism. My folks are going to be offended, if they know about my travel blog. Firstly, I'm not supposed to write....gujratis and writing is an oxymoron. We only write bestselling recipe books :). We're supposed to spend time on lucrative things which inflate our bank accounts and waist sizes. If we ever feel we need a workout - we take a holiday, like the one I took mentioned below.

Travelling for us, by default is supposed to be like this . Ten countries in seventeen days - Hell Yeah, Been there Done that :-). What can elevate your senses more than "Aam-ras" (mango pulp) below the tower of Pisa and "Paatra" (dumpling made of steamed colocasia leaves) under the Eiffel tower. My community says "Eat pizza and burgers at home, and khakra and thepla in Rome". All said and done, I'm still a happy Gujrati.

Its been a long way since that marathon trip to Europe when I was seven. After twenty years, I am a self-proclaimed flashpacker. In the most basic terms, a “flashpacker” is an affluent backpacker. A flashpacker seeks the independence and adventure of backpacking; however, he or she has disposable funds to splurge on certain comforts, such as a nice meal or a night in a comfortable hotel. It combines the words “flash,” meaning stylish, and “backpacking.”

I dont intend to make this blog my personal travelogue, but rather explore the science of travel. I want to seek the "why" and "how" of travel, focusing more on the insights into the cultural and the natural beauty of destinations.

For me, its always been about the 360 degree travel experience; the sights we see, the people we meet, the food we eat , places we stay, and the transport we use along the way. I also want to try and explore the psychology, mindset, and the mysterios behaviour of the contemporary traveler.

Travel is the essence of this blog; It lives inside me. My other budding passions are architecture and design, culinary art, fitness, gardening, spirituality and wildlife. Once in a while I will go off-track on these youthful pursuits. Lostness always make journeys more fun. Boarding "Another Time, Another World."

Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.’” – Lisa St. Aubin de Teran