In one of my previous posts – https://kalpavrikshafarm.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/breaking-the-invisible-barrier-2/, I had mentioned about this trip. This is in continuation with that, a part II series of that post, if I may say. Though I had decided to join the all women trip with my friends and colleagues, the weeks leading up to it were filled with anxious moments and riddled with a continuous supply of ‘what ifs’ and ‘buts’. I tried not to think about the D-day and went about my work which kept me busy as hell – report cards, promotion meeting, handing over, syllabus meetings and so on, with the academic year coming to an end.
My good friend was one of the trip organizers and she didn’t leave a stone unturned to make me feel comfortable about the trip. A briefing about the trip was done with all the members and an itinerary planned meticulously with every minute detail, of where we would eat to what to wear (what’s a women’s meeting without a discussion on dress code) and everything else under the sun was discussed. Now that did put me slightly at ease, if not completely.
There was a minor hiccup though when I shared the itinerary with my beloved hubby. Now he and my daughter were the ones who encouraged me to take up this trip, so he was enthusiastically going through every little detail, when he paused at one particular point. It was the travel timing for Bangalore to Udupi; It was mentioned that we were to start our travel to Udupi from Bangalore at …ahem….11 pm and reach there early morning.
This started a small but serious discussion on “Is it necessary for ladies to travel at that hour?” “Couldn’t you plan your travel during day time?” Now let’s not jump and start a new convo on “why can’t women travel alone at night?” because that’s not the point. His concerns were genuine; what if there is a breakdown of the vehicle or a medical emergency or….. Anybody can face such situations and it was a perfectly reasonable argument, I would say. Not to mention the state of women’s safety, in our country especially.
So, my anxiety, which had taken a backseat temporarily, had started looking at me hopefully for a comeback and delightfully moved back in, to stay with me, taking a permanent residence.
When I shared my concerns with my group, they immediately pooh-poohed it and comforted me that a well acquainted guide would be accompanying us who had made all the arrangements (even a back-up vehicle… just in case) and not to mention a well-known driver who had accompanied them in several previous trips. Now if this wouldn’t put someone at ease, what would.
Still, from the time I left my home, my apprehensive husband’s worried look haunted me. But the minute I hopped into the cab that was waiting to take us to the train station, my worries seemed to slowly melt away, as waiting inside for me were my carefree, overjoyed travel buddies’, whose enthusiasm was infectious.
There started our adventurous trip, with a great deal of travelling through the city scape, deserted highways, sometimes crossing forests and mountainous terrains in the middle of the night. The home-stay experience, the trekking to sunset point, kayaking, riding in an open jeep through the beautiful hilly scenic route; the passers-by shouting encouragingly at us (secretly wondering what’s up with them), feeling like a kid again, not a care in the world, feeling free, with the wind blowing on our faces and… for once not having to worry about kids, home or work.
But nothing could compare to the experience of travelling with an enthusiastic bunch of strong-minded and kind women. We were a wonderful mix of vivacious, spirited and timid ones. We had a great time bonding and knowing each other.
It was a wonderful trip which taught me a little independence, as they say, experience is the best teacher and travelling is one such experience. Most of all it was liberating to be a part of an all women group, managing everything on our own and knowing that a man’s presence is not necessary to feel secure.
I needed this. As much for me as for my daughter, because if I want my daughter to grow up to be independent and empowered then I think I need to set the right example for her. Kids don’t learn from what we say but from what we do. If you want to teach your kids to be independent and happy, you can’t do it by just saying it and not doing anything even remotely independent yourself.
And another plus to this kind of outing is you and your family actually realise how much you miss each other and that leads to a greater bonding than you could achieve by being always there. For me, this was a first of its kind and I am sure there are more to follow.