Journey is all about making new friends, and having great adventures, as“There are no strangers in this world, only friends I haven’t met yet.”
Travel helps us meet interesting people fromacross borders and time zones. Travel open doors to new culture and traditions.The people you meet while travelling often become friends for life. Some entertain you, some motivate you, and others change your life forever.
You share experiences and ideas with them, talk about your previous travel memories, learn about new places, and plan to undertake newjourneys and adventures together. You meet these people in hostels, guest houses, boutique hotels, and more such places. And you connect with them almost instantly for you have shared passion for travel.
I can still feel the goosebumps I experienced on my first solo trip to Himachal, about three years ago. Filled with apprehension, I had only two options - either to cancel trip when my friends backed out at the last minute or to go ahead with it solo. I decided to go solo. And it was one of the best decisions of my life.It was a nine days itinerary, including five days stay at Mcleod Ganj, two days at Dalhousie, and two days at Palampur.
At Mcleod Ganj, while checking-in, I met a young couple from Bangalore, and as soon as I saw them, I knew a grand adventure was about to begin. The couple had no particular travel plan in mind and was willing to go with the flow, and after hearing my story, the instant connection happened between us.
We started our tour together, and decided to dedicate three days to sightseeing, and remaining two to trekking to Triund, and rejuvenation. Triund is a charming hamlet in Kangra Valley, where we camped overnight amidst jaw-dropping scenery.
Mcleod Ganj, being the abode of the Dalai Lama, has a spiritual vibe that offers solace for mind and soul. While here, we explored Namgyal Monastery, Bhagsu Falls, Tibet Museum, Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, and Dal Lake.
Our next destination was Dalhousie, anotherpicturesque summer retreat in Himachal, nestled amidst plunging pine-clad valleys and arresting mountain views. The quaint town is known for its scenic beauty and vintage charm, and while here, we alsovisited nearby Khajjar, known as the 'Mini Switzerland.' Other interesting places we covered here included - Kalatop Wildlife Reserve, and entrancing Satdhara Falls.
We spent the last 2 days at Palampur, a scenic hill town known for tea plantations. The stay at Palampur was quite reinvigorating for each of us. All we did here was - sat at the hotel lobby overlooking the emerald tea gardens, sipping mugs after mugs of tea, and sharing our life experiences. And I knew at that instant - I have found friends for life.
It’s been three years since I visited Himachal, and I am still in touch with the young couple I met there, and we have taken few trips together. I also undertook plenty of solotrips since then and have befriended people from different parts of the country, and abroad. I believe, what Robert Louis Stevenson said once - “Weare all travelers in the wilderness of the world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”