Travelling to my hometown is always interesting. It starts off slow, languid, exhausting and ends with a hint of sadness. I enjoy the place and I enjoy the process. Every time I can expect something new to happen.
It’s a beautiful hill station that of course bears the burden that comes with tourism. I didn’t grow up there, didn’t live there so I live the place through my parents’ eyes. I imagine their childhood and what that must have been like.
Luckily for me my parents would take my sister and I to our hometown ever so often. They bridged the distance between us and our hometown every summer and brought us up to appreciate it, flaws and all.
The place has a rich history, going back to the time of kings and queens. Even our plantation was given to the family when the King fell in love with a woman from our family. It’s the local stories, the culture and the remnants of the past in every nook and cranny that make it that much more fascinating.
When you grow up in a city you take some things for granted, like the internet and electricity. Life in my hometown is uncertain in comparison. You need to stand on your tiptoes on the verandah to catch network signals to make a call or send a message. You make the most of the moments when the power is available because you don’t know when it’ll be gone.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like insects, then it’s probably not your cup of tea. Once in our house in my hometown we had a snake and another time a rat infestation. The problem is you’re plonked in the middle of wildlife. These things are just part of the life there, it’s not unusual. You can hear jackals in the night and might even catch an elephant in sight while travelling around the place.
Animals and humans coexist with equal right to land and resources. I can go on for days about the greenery. Sprawling landscapes with trees as far as the eye can see. Who wouldn’t like to be there. I love it.
I would go there even if it was just for the night sky, something you just can’t buy and if you’re in a city can’t hope to see. Stars in millions skirt the moon, every constellation easy to spot like joining the dots. These are things you can only experience.
I am a very bad traveller, I get roadsick and airsick and I am very fussy. But I have travelled a fair bit, overall I enjoy it. Sometimes early morning travels can be a groggy mess and if it takes the whole day it’s exhausting. But going to my hometown isn’t really travel as much as it is a way of life.
I’ve kicked off my gap year with my first travel and what better way to start than going to a familiar place. I like to think it’s the first step. Slowly I’ll go to more places, take more pictures, write more about it. Going to my hometown is an adventure of sorts, you can go trecking while taking stock of the plantation, you can play in a river and skip stones. Enjoy the nature and breathe some fresh air. The best part is that no one can reach you while you do all this.
You can say that in a way my gap year has begun. This was the first thing on my to-do list. It’s just one thing but I think it’s some thing. This is where my soul-searching starts. I am just following my roots. I can’t wait!