Day 0: 24 Hours to Take-Off

Saturday, 15 Oct ’16

A holiday in Europe – something that has long been on my bucket list, about to get crossed off.

Aside: Remember to publish my bucket list

For the next 17 days I’m going to be hopping across the continent:

London-Amsterdam-Rhineland-Innsbruck-Venice-Rome-Florence-Milan-Lake Como-Lucerne-Paris-London.

Stay tuned for updates under the #Europe ’16 Diary. Will be writing everyday, hopefully will be able to publish online just as regularly.

P.S. A rule of travel (or at least of the tourists’) seems to be to take a lot of photographs. And while I am quite a photo enthusiast myself, I’ve realised that in an attempt to capture a memory and save it for posterity, I sometimes end up not enjoying the moment, not observing the scene through mine own eyes but through the lens of a camera. And so a resolve on this trip. To keep photography at a minimum. To capture that which evokes a feeling, not necessarily a postcard shot. Will I be able to begin the much sought-after transformation of moving from a tourist to a traveller with this?

24 hours to take off – from Mumbai to London – I sit here wrapping up my work, sending out the last of the emails to my colleagues for this month (hopefully), thanking S.B. for helping at work while I’m not around, and getting around to zipping up my bags. Packing my luggage has never been an issue with me, closing up has been. I can never carry the exact number of clothes as days, can’t drop the iron and hair dryer from my must-haves (although I have chosen to not pack them on this trip deliberately, in an attempt to test whether I can really survive without the two. Ofcourse keeping my fingers crossed, that when I do need them, the hotel will be able to supply them). So yes, I can’t exactly travel light. So the great question of the hour is – what to retain and what to discard?

P.S. When I checked-in my baggage on the flight later, it was over 23 kilos, 1 kilo above the maximum limit. Sigh! On my way back home, expecting to pay for extra weight, with all the shopping I intend to do.

16 hours to take-off: 17 days away from home base; what book/s to take with me? If you know me, you will know that I’m a compulsive reader. I read before going to bed, I read immediately after getting up. Even if that accounts for a mere 5 minutes of a page or two. And I read at every opportunity I get in between.

So herein lies the conundrum – I’m a fan of paperback. I’m not a fan of digital books. I read both formats in equal quantities though. The only drawback of a paperback is that it occupies space, which is challenging to deal with at the moment. But I must have a book with me! So considering that I have over 500 unread books at home at present, it’s a challenging task to pick just one that MUST travel with me to Europe. What will I be in the mood for? History or historical fiction? Thriller or Drama?  A light read or a massive tome? I spend nearly twenty minutes browsing my shelves. Looking in my wardrobe. Peeking under the bed. I finally pick Daphne du Maurier’s The Scapegoat. A brilliant author who hasn’t disappointed me in any of the 6 books that I’ve read of hers thus far. So she absolutely deserves to come with me on this trip!

6 hours to take-off: D.S. has decided to make this trip more fun and challenging for me. He wants to set up a travel challenge for me. I want to blog. Together, for our own individual reasons, we want to construct a travel diary. So he’s given me a list of 18 tasks that I must accomplish. I have to do them all. D.S. won’t make exceptions. Will I do them? I don’t know. Am I going to try? Hell, yea! Thanks D.S. for this novelty.

2 hours to take-off: I’m jet set. Checked-in. At the airport lounge waiting to board the flight. There’s something about airports that I love; it’s the place of convergence and divergence of thousands of people, most unknown to each other, all moving away from the same town or all moving towards the same part of the world. It is strange, being so connected to so many strangers. I wonder what all their stories are.

Aside: Write about this sometime

I send a few last minute goodbye texts to friends; promise to send them updates, promise to write in my diary/blog, promise to not work during the holiday, promise to de-stress/detox, promise to leave my emotional hauntings of the past two months and come back a fresh person.

It’s an unburdening of sorts. To go away. To my own kind of escape. To see something new. To feel something new.

A lot seems to be resting on this holiday. Not expectations. Not challenges. Just to refresh, reconnect, perhaps even rediscover myself.

How will this chapter of my story unfold over the next fortnight, I wonder.

Until next post – from London.

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