Traveller - Marghanita da Cruz

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Mudans - Konkani for a Change for a short period; Soujourn - French for a short stay; Reise - German for a holiday

Backpack - Photo MarghanitaPeople travel for many reasons... but to set out there is always an element of uncertainty and a degree of confidence that you will be able to overcome adversity and a belief that there will be opportunities not available if you stay put. Without this conviction or necessity you stay home.

Throughout history, groups and individuals have sought alternative places where they can practice their culture and maintain their values, improve their economic situation or just find shelter and food. Gypsies, Bedouins, Australian Aboriginals and the Mongolians are well known nomadic societies, whose cultures have incorporated travel. Individuals often Travel to find work.

Trade and Travel go hand in hand. Merchants have travelled to far off places by foot, horse, camel, boat and now air to facilitate the exchange of Food, Clothing and the exotic and rare.

As a backpacker in the early 80's, Youth Hostels were full of "travellers" - who did not wish to be associated with the ugly face of tourism. We set out to broaden our minds and meet people from different cultures. The extent to which this happened was in itself a learning experience. With limited language skills your conversation, let alone, obtaining directions was difficult. Though the biggest obstacle seemed to be that you only met other like minded "travellers".

In October 1985, I set out on a backpacking adventure which began with a coach trip from Canberra to Sydney, where I borded a plane to Mumbai (then Bombay).

The contrast between Canberra, an inland country town and seat of government and a population of two hundred thousand people, and Mumbai a hustling metropolis and major trading hub of over 10 million people, could not have been greater. Even the local train ride on Divali a major holiday for the festival of light was crowded. Finding the train station was not difficult, as the swarm of people made its location obvious.

After a few days in Mumbai, I caught the train to Delhi. From Delhi I did a day trip to Agra and visited the Red Fort and Taj Mahal. I then caught a bus to Srinigar - the capital of Kashmir. Kashmir in November is cold - but the stay in a houseboat and early morning visit to the floating markets were memorable.

The bus trip back to Jamu, the summer capital of Kashmir, and connection to Delhi took longer than anticipated. But then everything in India happens at a different pace on a different scale.

After Delhi and Kashmir, Rajestan was a welcome change. There were women on bicycles and everywhere. There were palaces with ceilings that sparkled by candlelight - a demonstration the guide was particularly proud off.

The train ride back to Mumbai was fine and returning to a familiar city was more comfortable than the previous arrival in the city. The bus to Goa was long, but my cousin was there to meet me at the Mapusa bus station.

After two weeks in Goa, including a steam train ride to Dudhsagar Waterfalls, I flew onto Europe, where I bought my backpack at a Market in Spain. - Marghanita. © Ramin Communications 2007. Last Updated 7 May 2015.