For many years, my passion to travel the world, capturing new countries and cultures in my dreamcatcher, was only wishful thinking. I was obsessed with the idea of traveling, but, it all seemed a little too unreal – given my middle-class background, limited resources, and routine lifestyle.
I had doubt – will I ever be able to ‘afford’ the snow of the Alps or the beaches of South Africa?
From the unpretentious monotony of my small apartment in Kolkata, that I shared with my husband, and first-born, the goal seemed unattainable.
I had found a way to channelize my interest, though. I started making itineraries for trips that were not to see the light of day.
My scrapbook was filled with trip details for destinations within and without the country, without any idea of when and how these elaborate planning will see fruition.
I was also hooked to travel channels on TV, airfare scanner websites and inspiration blogs.
The Eureka Moment
On one such excursion through a popular airfare site, something incredible happened. I chanced upon a return air-ticket from Kolkata to Kuala Lumpur, a whole year into the future, that cost INR 6000 per head. That number, right there, triggered something for me. That number did not have an international tag! It was not some ambitious, superfluous fantasy. It would take me more than that amount to travel to my friend in Bangalore. I probably spend around that amount in dining in my city over a month! On an impulse, I purchased the tickets for my family of three, for Kolkata-Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur-Sandakan, Sandakan-Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur-Kolkata for INR 23,000.
Plan it Like a Mission
And then, I had a year ahead of me to plan. I gave myself a target to save a lakh of Indian currency before the trip. Over the course of the year, it seemed plausible. I might have cut down a few frivolities here and there from my regular lifestyle – but, I never did anything drastic. I cut down on impulse shopping, took public transportation, and refrained from visiting gourmet dining houses. And, the money started piling in bits in my piggy bank!
I also did tons of research. I read up on Malaysian tourism, explored best possible ways to have a comfortable trip with my two-year old, that would not burn a hole in my pocket.
I booked my hotel months in advance, after scouting extensively for a discounted offer.
On 14th November, 2014, I finally set off on my first international adventure with my husband and little one. The success of that trip has given me immense confidence over the last three years. With careful planning and pure passion, we have since added Switzerland, Netherlands, South Africa, and Seychelles to our travel diary. I do want to point out that life has not stopped around me. In this time, we have also had an addition to our family, my second born joined us on the planet!
In a nutshell, I believe, all you need to see the world is a heart full of passion and a mind ready to do research. Go, get yourself a ticket today!