My affair with Travel

I’ve been often asked about my travels- how I do it, what drives me to travel, and why do I prefer to design my own itinerary. So here’s my attempt at explaining this and am going to use it to be my first blog as Miss Travel Junkie!

When I first fell in love with Travel?

To offer more clarity on my travel story, I think I must begin with answering the when first. For me travelling was something that made me happy. Initially as a student, my travels were restricted to family outings (like most of us, I reckon). My stint with travel planning begun when I got my first job. At the end of the month when the salary hit the account, while most of my peers where looking at buying the latest gadgets or planning to splurge on a night out, I was busy calculating the cost to take a quick weekend. I hadn’t realized but my love for being a wanderlust started then (I’m talking 14 years back).

I managed to cover a good portion of South India during those years. I saw some beautiful places, met some amazing people and ate delicious regional cuisines. I wasn’t sad to return from those travels like most people say they feel because I was more excited by the very thought that coming back meant finding a new travel destination for the next.  I’m fortunate in a way that my then boyfriend (now husband) shared a similar passion for travel and we would grab every opportunity to pack and go.

We did this for a good time and it worked but then we began hungering for more. After our wedding when we had more of each other’s time, we would spend it in travel planning our next. Once we started there was no looking back. Today between our work schedules and responsibilities we fortunately manage to do a decent amount of domestic and International travel. We would pick a place that we fancy and then read all there is on the internet on it to help make us a trip that mattered, a trip that counted.

What drives me to Travel?

There are so many reasons to travel that I’d rather ask ‘Why not?’ Travelling can be relaxing, some will tell you it’s a great way to unwind or even that it’s a holiday. While I partially agree with all of these abovementioned, none of my trips are ever just to do nothing. Of course to each his or her own because the ultimate goal from travelling ought to be happiness. For me my elation for travel begins from when we make the decision to pick our travel spot. I love having the world to choose from and picking the one place that makes your trip.

I travel because I am a curious being (my mom can validate this), I am always very eager to see new things, inquisitive to explore the unfamiliar and not fussy enough to try out different things. Being a photographer’s wife also has rubbed off me and my senses are always heightened during a trip. I love to be able to document my travel story visually and share it with my family and friends back home. There is a sense of entering an unknown and coming out the other side familiar. All these and more, drive me to pack my bags and get going to a new place.

When I travel, I am the best version of me- happiness does that to you. I’m up early to begin exploring the new place we’re at (I am happy to sleep late and long otherwise), I am more careful to keep my essentials safe (something I can let slide when I’m back in my own city), I am more disciplined (there is no wear pajamas and do nothing today), I feel more active (because obviously I am on the go, walking, climbing, swimming, diving), in fact I even eat more (perhaps the yummy spread waiting for me to try is too much to ignore). There is no one reason I travel, I travel because I feel stimulated- mind, body and soul!

Why do I prefer to design my own itinerary?

So as Miss Travel Junkie, all of what I write are my own views and does not reflect anyone else opinions or thinking. There, I said it so don’t hold me for what I tell you but this is me sharing my honest travel story in the best way I know- writing, through our photographs and videos. I know there are plenty travel agencies and tour companies to help with my travel planning but with no offence it doesn’t work for us. You can call us obsessive or private travelers, call us what you may but the simple reason we always plan our own trip is because we do not trust anyone to understand what will make us happy.

Travel planning it ourselves gives us the luxury to pick dates and flight hours we prefer, choose hotels and plan an itinerary that works around our interests while also giving us the flexibility of exploring a place in our own pace. We love to research, have a loose skeleton of an itinerary with the activities we want to indulge in while there, even tick off must local sightseeing and must dos. Look we do not always get it right, we’ve hired bikes only to get lost and find us a better spot than the one we were looking for or end up in a quiet bar only to meet a bunch of amazing locals we will call friends for life.

So, why do we design our own trips you ask? Well this is why, because not everything can and should be planned. Doing something on your own for the first time in a new place has a very different exhilarating feeling that is rewarding. Most will tell you having someone plan your trip can relieve you of making many small decisions or the stress of getting something wrong, but for me personally, having someone take away my ability to choose, plan or pick what I want to do would be a complete damper on my travel experience. I need to feel that I have a choice; that my entire trip rides on my decisions and that I can make it one to remember.

We, therefore in all of our travels have never once sorted expert help (Google doesn’t count alright! ;-)) I put in hours over days, weeks and in some travel planning even months of research before we seal the travel deal. There is much to gain when one travels, so much to learn, many ways to stand corrected and wonderful people yet to meet. I am ecstatic when I embark on a travel planning, to actually boarding the flight, to getting there, checking into a hotel I’ve only seen on pictures, exploring the new, meeting people, trying out food and also to returning back to life as we know it only to plan our next.

10 Comment

  1. Shari says: Reply

    This looks like a lovely start to a travel blog and I’m looking forward to reading more! We travel full-time in an RV across the US, but haven’t traveled Internationally yet; hoping to start soon. It sounds like we shouldn’t be afraid of planning our first trip ‘across the pond’ on our own.

    1. Sheena Benedicta says: Reply

      Hi Shari, thank you for your encouraging words. RV across the US sounds absolutely awesome, it’s great that you are living your dream full time 🙂 Yes like you said no dream trip is impossible. There are plenty places that I may be unable to do today but the world’s waiting patiently for me and I’ve got the will to make it happen in time. Much love and safe travels! 🙂

  2. reading this got me excited to plan a trip. you really know what you’re doing and how cool that your husband is interested in traveling too.

    1. Sheena Benedicta says: Reply

      Hi Jessica, thanks so much. I try, I don’t think I know it all but then it excites me to find out 🙂 My husband is a professional photographer (all the awesome pictures you see here are his :-)) So yes, I’m grateful he loves this craziness (of travelling) as much as me!

  3. carissagarabedian says: Reply

    I love this! I wish I had done more travel as a young adult , I am trying to create more memories now with our kids . It is so cool to see new places and how others live, I am fascinated by other cultures .
    Do you have a favorite place?

    1. Sheena Benedicta says: Reply

      Hi Carissa, I reckon there’s no age to start doing something AWESOME, wouldn’t you agree? 🙂 But I get what you saying, I often feel it would have been nice to have started earlier and not deny ourselves this experience but now that the journey’s begun I intend to keep at it. To pick a favorite would be rather difficult but I have to say I do LOVE BALI 🙂 The mix of culture, adventure and good fun totally worked for me and my husband 🙂 What’s your favorite if I may ask?

  4. themrick says: Reply

    I love how we all have our own travel origin stories! It’s the most infectious bug, isn’t it?

    1. Sheena Benedicta says: Reply

      It sure is infectious 🙂 I know I have no choice now, I’m possibly addicted for life but who’s complaining 😉 I truly love everything about getting out there and exploring the unknown!

  5. U and kiran are an inspiration to all around you ,
    The best traveller i know ur blog will help and inspire

    1. admin says: Reply

      Thanks so much Dev 🙂 You have always encouraged me to start writing so here goes.

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