Making The Most of Travelling: Things That I Learnt From My Dad

…& will pass on to the next generation

By Kapil Sharma ‘Kalhan’

Growing up, summertime was family time; and although my dad remained busy throughout the year, he made sure that the family took a trip and had an unforgettable time. A lot of these journeys were road trips. We would hop on a bus, hire a car to explore a little more than just the destination.

As I think more about those times when a global pandemic prevents us from going out, I think of all the things I’ve learnt from him. In many ways, my love for travelling is a result of his and the lessons he unknowingly taught me, which I will surely pass on to my child.

Make a Bucket List

Every time we came back from a trip, my dad would say “another off the list”. I only realized the sense of accomplishment he felt later. He didn’t always want to go where the crowd went; he wanted to visit places that piqued his interest. Whether they were of historical importance or offered gorgeous views, my dad made a list of places that we could all enjoy together. And that’s how I learnt the importance of making plans and sticking to them, both for travel and life.

Prepare an Itinerary

One of the things I loved about travelling was how my father allowed us to pick places and create an itinerary. This involved reading and researching a place. We were told to make every minute count. I’ve realized the value of research and how helpful it is to make to-do and to-see lists and to be flexible with plans, while travelling. It takes everyone’s feelings into consideration so that you have a happy and enjoyable trip.

Explore at Your Pace

My dad has not been a big fan of tour packages, where you travel in large groups headed by a travel guide. He believes that everyone seeks different things from their travels, and a tour package would not do complete justice to those who want to explore places off the beaten pathTherefore even our road trips would sometimes include multiple stops and detours to see places that we wanted to. It taught to explore lesser-known things and to truly appreciate the food and culture of a certain place.

Look for Off-Beat Places

Over the years, I’ve realized that I’ve been to several unique travel destinationsT This was because my father preferred off-beat places to commercial ones. Of course, we’ve been to some exceptionally popular places but we loved places that drew fewer crowds and offered opportunities that haven’t been unexplored by many before. It taught me that you could find gems and pleasant surprises when you didn’t follow the crowd.

Record Memories

About 70% of our family pictures and videos are from our travel escapades. My parents are both big on documenting every aspect of our trip. This included everything from the breath-taking views to unexpected encounters. But dad didn’t only document our memories through pictures; he would buy a postcard from the place we were in, write the date and what we were doing at that moment. It seemed silly at first, but now it’s a family tradition. He even encourages my son to take a journal along when we travel and write down anything that interests us or things we would like to remember.

Experience; Don’t just Sight-See

Like many others, I was always concerned about how “Insta-worthy” my travel pictures were. I remember one trip when I was trying to get the perfect shot, my dad told me, “In a few years you probably won’t when this was taken or where. What you will remember is how amazing this meal tastes, and how you will never find authentic food like this unless you come back again.” I realized that while it is great to document travel memories, to fully understand a place, you should immerse yourself in the experiences it offers.

So, sign up for that culture walk, tie and dye class, village tour or historic talk. You’re bound to learn something you didn’t know before.

Looking back at these travel memories, I understand that on every trip my dad wanted us to #DiscoverMore about the places we visited. His travel mantra has always been, keep your mind and heart open and do things that you’ve never done before. And it is something I try to live up to not only on my trips but in life, in general.

The author is the Director of Communication at Ford India.