Comment grandir en Inde m'a fait tomber amoureuse du voyage local


C'est une matinée froide et brumeuse à Mumbai. On est en février, notre pause d'un mois est terminée, et je me réveille enthousiaste à l'idée de retourner à l'école et de revoir tous mes amis. Avec cela en tête, je me dépêche de sortir du lit, m'habille avec mon uniforme et pars avant que ma Maa (mot hindi pour "mère") puisse me proposer des "pohe", un classique indien du petit-déjeuner au Maharashtra, composée de riz aplati et d'une tasse de café chaud.

The school’s faded brick walls covered in vines always brought me comfort. Upon my arrival, everyone is sitting in groups ready to start the day and discussing the destinations they visited during the winter break. “Singapore!” “London!” “Paris!” They announce their vacation spots in excited tones. While it’s fascinating to hear this list of far-away places, I notice that none of my peers seem to have travelled within the borders of our own country. I spent the break roaming the tiny pockets in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India and trekking the snow-capped Himalayas. “Am I the only one who decided to vacation in India?” I think to myself. Somehow, this thought brings me comfort.

We often overshadow the beauty of domestic travel with the pomp and show of travelling abroad. However undeniably adventurous it may be to backpack through Western Europe, hike Machu Picchu, go wine tasting in the South of France, or jump off the cliffs in Santorini, there’s a charm of travelling within the borders of your own country. Exploring domestic historical landscapes, widening your cultural horizons and wandering the streets of your motherland, offers offbeat adventures that should be appreciated and not overlooked.

While the list of reasons to travel domestically could be endless, here are a few points as to why you should consider getting to know the little hamlets of your country before you decide to step out into the vast lands of the rest of the world.

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1. Travelling locally helps cut costs

One of the biggest reasons I enjoy travelling domestically is the amount of money I end up saving. Travelling within India changed my perspective on splurging on travel completely. Where a trip to an international destination could cost twenty or thirty thousand rupees, a local adventure could be covered in hundreds or a couple thousand. For example, an overnight bus from Mumbai (Western India) to Goa (Southern India) is only one thousand rupees. Identifying the methods and costs of travel within your country enables you to book a journey without the financial hangover. Buses and trains are the way to go IMO.

2. Tu découvres les cultures régionales de ton pays

En tant qu'Indien, j'ai le privilège de pouvoir interagir avec des personnes de différentes cultures à travers le pays. La diversité d'un État à l'autre est surprenante (dans le bon sens du terme). Par exemple, le plat de base du Maharashtra inclut le « vada-pav » et le « sabudana khichadi » (fait à partir de racines de manioc) tandis que si tu voyages au Tamil Nadu, dans le sud de l'Inde, le plat de base varierait de l'« idli sambar » à l'« uttapam ». Voyager à l'intérieur du pays te permet non seulement de rencontrer de nouvelles personnes dans tes frontières mais aussi d'apprendre sur les cultures diverses, les langues et les nourritures qui se trouvent dans ton pays. Lors de mon voyage au Ladakh, dans le nord de l'Inde, j'ai essayé leur célèbre "Ladakhi khana" (khana signifie nourriture en hindi). C'était délicieux, chaud, et riche en glucides et en protéines. Tu commences par une soupe appelée « thukpa », puis tu passes à des plats plus légers comme le « chhutagi », et ensuite un plat principal comme le « khambir » ou le « skyu ». Pour le dessert, il y a un plat sucré et un peu de leur célèbre thé au beurre. Oui, tu as bien lu. Thé. Au. Beurre. Crois-moi, c'est délicieux.


3. I feel more secure

I don’t think I can stress the importance of feeling comfortable while travelling. While there may be a certain thrill to international travel, exploring your own country gives you the safety net of having a better understanding of the space you’re exploring with the option of returning home if you feel lost, lonely or just ready to sleep in your own bed.

4. The local economy benefits

By choosing domestic travel, your local economy benefits. The money you spend on your vacation will go to local businesses, communities, and tourism efforts. Back in India, the government has consciously made an effort to boost domestic travel. “Incredible India,” is the slogan used to promote tourism in my country where people are drawn with travel incentives around tours, getaways, and experiences where they can soak up the beauty of the country. This campaign seems to have worked extremely well and today, many Indians choose to vacation within the borders and not overseas.

5. Hidden gems await

When I’m back home, I frequent the north of India more than I travel anywhere else, mainly because it feels like home more than home ever did. This comes with wanting to explore a hidden area of my country that tourists tend to overlook. In the north, I trek, meditate, unwind, and mingle with other hikers. Even though many of us seek to find undiscovered gems, that’s easier to do when you’re travelling domestically and have a more in-depth sense of the land. I speak from personal experience when I say there’s a joy in finding these underrated places by yourself (or with close friends) that’s like no other. I’ve made the north ones of my spots. Part of the satisfaction is knowing I can return whenever I decide to without too much of a hassle. That’s not true of most international destinations which you often get the chance to see just once.

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6. Local travel is more environmentally friendly

Travelling domestically can significantly reduce your carbon footprint especially when you choose not to fly. Travelling nearby might be your way to travel ethically as it contributes to sustainable tourism efforts and minimizes the environmental impact of your trip. If not for anything else, do it for the environment.

When I think back to the conversations we had after winter break, many of them referenced far-away cultures. But travelling within your own homeland can be a truly remarkable experience, as I’ve learned. With what I've come to know and appreciate about local culture, I wish more of us held closely a national pride and a value for the opportunity to truly know our own beautiful country.

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