Don’t Let Boundaries Bind You
You can stop a traveller to travel, but can’t get travel out from a traveller, they say. And so true it is, specially for a person like me who is a crazy traveller with a dream to explore atleast 100 countries, if not more before I hang my boots.
Now imagine locking up that person in a 1500+ sq ft apartment with just my pet dog and my domestic help. I was bound to drive them both crazy. And so I did.
Owning a travel firm did not help. The travel world came crashing down and my business disappeared overnight. Suddenly the word ‘Travel’ was a taboo. Whosoever I spoke to wouldn’t even want to imagine a holiday. It was as if talking about it would get Corona into their houses!
Feeling the Lockdown Pinch
Within a couple of weeks into the lockdown, I was going nuts. Day and night I would be on calls with airlines and vendors for refunds. I had started to look and sound like a zombie, sleep deprived and frustrated with hours spent on the phone.
Suddenly from a bubbly positive person I became the natural cribber. Whosoever I spoke to would hear my sad story of how my life has been shattered with the Covid impact. It was true, but repeating it again and again has worsened my state of mind. Not just others, but even I had started to get wary of myself.
When friends almost stopped calling and all the acquaintances that I could possibly reach out to talk, were exhausted, I turned to my closest friend, who is also my business associate to complain. But instead of sympathy, she gave me a dress down that shook me up completely.
People are in so much pain…the ones that have the virus and don’t know if they will survive, the ones that are already gone and their families who could even bury them themselves, people on the roads, without food and shelter walking hundreds of miles to reach their homes, the corona warriors and all those who are working on double & triple shifts to get us food and amenities. And here I was in the safety and comfort of my home, with all essentials by god’s grace and just cribbing.
Birth of a New Idea
“Don’t give up Sang, you are a fighter. Get up and do something to make others feel better.”, she said. And her words stuck to me. “ What can I do ? I am trapped in my own house”? I asked her. “People are under lockdown, but their thoughts are not. You are so passionate about travel. Why not take travel to people’s homes till the time you can’t get them out to actually travel”.
And that’s how “Travel Tales with Twilight” was born. We decided to do an impromptu series of the places I had visited and share my experiences with a live audience, telling them about other countries, their cultures and people.
I was nervous as this was my first time “Live” on Facebook. Just a dash of my favourite red lipstick and a ruffle through my hair was all I needed to get ready. Wore a decent top with shorts underneath (as with most video calls these days!) and I was ready! So we started with Turkey, one of my most favourite places. And without any script, practice orcheat sheets, I started talking. And soon I got into the flow. Storytelling in a light humorous way was something I discovered that day. I was loving it!
And to my surprise I started seeing people joining the live session and soon questions started pouring in. To interact with people on live chat, answering their questions gave me a sudden adrenaline rush. And what followed was a daily session with a new country every day! More and more people started watching my show. Their comments told me that they were loving my storytelling approach.
Learnings & Blessings
I realized that by sharing positivity and hope through my travel tales, I had bought smiles to people’s faces. They had started to dream of days when they would be able to go to these destinations. And most importantly what I realized was that this had healed me. I no longer cribbed about what I’ve lost but regained the zeal and energy to plan my journey ahead. Engaging with people and sharing happy moments, made all of us happy. And that has been my biggest learning in this lockdown. Gratitude for what I have and being thankful for what I can give back to the world.
We are all already tensed and so a light conversation that brings a smile on someone face is priceless! And when I tried to do so for others, the universe gave my smile back to me.
So share love and compassion in these testing times, not just for humans but also animals. Give what you can… be it your effort, your time or anything that you can share. It will help you the most. Be Human.
About the Author: Sangeeta Malhotra took the plunge to follow her heart, quit her 25 year old corporate career and founded TWILIGHT ESCAPADES, her boutique Travel Company to provide experiential Holiday Experiences to their clients across the world.