Many sunsets since Vasco da Gama took his voyage from Europe to Asia connecting the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. With every new development and scientific innovations the world is attaining a new heights every minute and along with that the society and life around us becoming more and more complex, stressful and demanding. Inspite of the material comfort and luxury, the indubitable urge to go back to the nature – to relax in the green meadows, breathe under the blue sky, diving with the waves, all that staffs that make your soul happy, could never be ignored. On the other hand, the modern lifestyle emphasizes the importance of ‘Travel’ in a much serious perspective. Travel today is no more looked at as a simple break from regular life or a family get together. Numerous studies have suggested time and again the benefits and relevance of travel in today’s world. Whether it is knowledge, philosophy, peace, rejuvenation, love or health – travel is the answer. Travel & fitness or as they call it fitness-travel these days, are no more two separate words. Travel is nothing but mediation and we all celebrate and practice the same in our own unique ways.
Sangeeta Saikia a medical professional from New Delhi, who believes in the fitness & travels as the only mantra to a happy and healthy life shares her experience with us:
Growing up in a typical middle-class family, travelling and holidays weren’t really a thing we thought much about. But as circumstances got more comfortable, the travel bug hit hard. It was simply an excuse to get away from the mundane and relax for a few days. When my son was younger, the holiday destinations were chosen bearing in minds his age and requirements. As he grew older, the choice of travel destinations were very varied-hills and mountains, beach holidays, international holidays, wildlife holidays and so forth. Luxurious holidays scored much lower on the list of priorities but I must admit sometimes the pretty and fancy hotels on the internet looked very enticing and some precious, hard earned money was spent in those indulgences. Holidays back then meant off from work, break from the routine, ticking off the ten (internet suggested) top things to do in the particular destination, lazing, shopping, eating, drinking and coming back feeling kind of fat and guilty.
But, sometime in my late 30s, the fitness bug caught up with me and there on, as my life changed for the better in so many ways, so did my travel preferences. I started running to stay fit and then I fell in love with the sport hook line and sinker. I have been running for almost 12 years now and as I have matured as a runner I have also matured as a traveler. I don’t come back feeling either fat or guilty anymore. Now walking, trekking, cycling, running to explore the place are top priority. The luxury of the hotel or the resort no longer catches my fancy. As long as the stay is nice and comfortable with basic amenities, all I care about is the surroundings. Are there any running trails around? Could I probably explore the place on foot? Or maybe cycle around? Will I be able to walk down to watch a sunset? And, last but not the least could I probably make my travel coincide with a nice running event or vice versa and have a runcation rather than a vacation. Fitness (read running) is a way of life for me. It keeps me happy and going. So, it is but natural that while travelling, Ishould yearn to feel happier still. No, staying in a hotel which has a fancy gym is not what I want. I don’t travel for work; I travel on holiday necessarily. Hotel gyms and likes are a strict no-no for me. I need to be outdoors, under the sky, enjoying nature. My typical vacation morning would start with 10-12k run or a very long walk exploring the place and taking in the beauty of the simplest little things, have a full hearty breakfast and then sure, tick off a few things from the list of places to visit there (you won’t come back from Paris without a dekko of the Eiffel tower after all) Even then, a checklist on a holiday! -Sounds very drab to me. A relaxed itinerary with lots of me time is what I want. Shopping absolutely does not figure in my list of things to do unless I am buying a little souvenir for the family back home, or buying something made by the local artisans, more to encourage and support them than anything else.
Give me a village holiday, give me a wild life vacation, give me a hill resort vacation, give me a destination which is not really popular or swarming with people, give me a destination far from the madding crowd, give me my running/trekking shoes and let me just do my thing and I am a happy woman while travelling.
The pleasure of sitting down with that glass of wine or two and enjoying the typical local cuisine at the end of a day spent well- walking, trekking and exploring a beautiful place -Priceless!
And it’s not surprising then, that I sleep like a baby when I am on vacation. Before one such trip ends, the next trip starts shaping up in my mind!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dr Sangeeta Saikia
Runner & Travel lover
Dr. Sangeeta Saikia has been a passionate runner and she believes in the mantra of fitness and travel in nature as the source of real happiness. She has participated in many professional events related to running and fitness . She shares with us the secrets of runcation , as she loves to call it.