travel bug
Reflections Travels

The Moment the Travel Bug Bit Me

I sat at the edge of my seat, my lower jaw hanging a mile away from my upper jaw. My eyes wide with astonishment. 

Getting completely blown away and building a dream in my head at the same time. 

It was the summer of 2017. And I was just shy of being 20. 

Until then, the travel I knew was travel with family. Where train journeys meant packed meals, getting ready involved a lot of fighting, and seeing a place meant point A to point B sightseeing. My childhood’s joy of being shepherded around in nice clothes, posing for my patient and admiring photographers (aka parents) and eating all the local snacks possible with my father. 

I have not thought about travel through any other lens. Travel is a break from life when you visit a few new places and splurge on comfort and good food. 

That was what this trip was going to be albeit a much more expensive, kind of my first solo and my first international trip. 

Early in the year, an organisation showed up in my college. They take students on a themed Europe trip and this year they were going to do a World War 2 theme trip across 4 countries in Europe – Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. Of course, for a handsome price! 

I had just gotten a passport and this sounded too exciting. When I called my father to tell him this, I was prepared to do a lot of reasoning and to get a ‘no’ for an answer.

Travel Bug - Photo of me in Germany

“So, when can we pay?” he said when I was barely into my 3rd sentence about the trip. 

I caught myself saying, ‘But it’s too expensive’ and gave a few more arguments as to why it’s not worth it. 

Did he even understand what he was saying yes to? Ready to send his daughter on a group trip with strangers to foreign countries paying a shit ton of money! Maybe this is normal for rich kids, but for a middle-class kid, the ease with which my father agreed baffles me to this day! 

After waiting eagerly for months, the trip happened. More money had gone into shopping for it. I got the shortest haircut I have had until then and even waxed my arms for the first (and last) time, getting a complete makeover. 

When I landed in Germany, my first ever country outside of India, I was screaming in my head – This was going to be EPIC! 

The overall experience was kind of mixed though. I had moments of pure joy and fascination when exploring. With the group though, I felt out of place. It was full of richer kids who I couldn’t relate to, so I mostly kept to myself. I was thoroughly enjoying the history tour but the disinterest that the other kids showed made me feel like a ‘nerd in the cool group.’

If travel bug was about to bite me then, these kids shooed it away! 

Also read: My Non-Existent Travel Friendships – An Introspection

Then came a long bus ride from Austria to Poland. Me and a few other kids were asking our two cute guys who were our trip coordinators about their story and how they got here.  

They started with how their fathers were army men and that meant they lived in different parts of the country. Then they got into stories of living by the mountains somewhere up north – random hikes to see beautiful views, doing not-so-PG13 stuff in the woods and embarking on crazy adventures just for the heck of it! 

Travel Bug - Photo of me in Poland

And they did it all without adult supervision. Just young guys exploring nature without being told what to do each step of the way. This was the first time I heard of the freedom and the joy of such carefree adventures.

This was cooler than my craziest dreams. But as I sat at the edge of my bus seat and listened to their stories with a gaping mouth, I felt a deep yearning… 

And that’s when it happened… The bug bit me. 

Or should I rather say kissed me slowly as my brain exploded with the ideas and the thrill of travelling with freedom? With the thoughts of me hiking across mountains, laughing with strangers from different countries and having stories of crazy adventures that I can never tell people just like how these guys were censoring their stories! 

That day, that moment, I knew what my future was going to look like. 

Author

  • Nivetha Kannan

    Nivetha Kannan is a joyous soul who loves to follow the flow of life with a open and curious heart. With 5 years of writing experience and a useless law degree under her belt, she hopes to inspire and encourage people to live a life of simple curiosity. As a passionate writer, dancer and traveller, she loves to tell stories through her words, moves and journeys.

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Nivetha Kannan

Nivetha Kannan is a joyous soul who loves to follow the flow of life with a open and curious heart. With 5 years of writing experience and a useless law degree under her belt, she hopes to inspire and encourage people to live a life of simple curiosity. As a passionate writer, dancer and traveller, she loves to tell stories through her words, moves and journeys.

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