Away from the trodden path

Of the 7 themes, 'travel' was a sore point for me when the WriteTribe prompts were announced in November. It reminded me of how much I had missed in life over the last decade or so. Part of it was definitely due to the bonds that come from being in the medical community - I had spent nearly a decade living inside hospital campuses, sometimes literally inside the hospital for years as a student.
But a major part was my own misgivings and invisible handcuffs - when I would get 6 days off in 6 months during my post graduate studies, invariably the only place I could think of to return to was my family. That pretty much dictated my life - hospital, family, hospital - with a major percentage of that being dictated by the medical fraternity.

I decided to change that around last month. I didn't want to wake up a decade from now and look back, wondering why I allowed myself to stay tethered by professional obligations when all I would ever be was a nameless man behind a surgical mask to so many. There comes a point where 'doctors must give up their lives and be selfless' just isn't good enough a reason to lose out on my own.

When this Festival of Words began, I was unavailable for awhile. I took an unheralded break from work. Early one morning before the sun came up, I drove down to the railway station, got into a train and then took a flight right out of the state. I honestly did not even know what I would be coming across once the plane landed but I'm glad I did what I did. I met some lovely people whom I had never met before, had the most fascinating conversations sitting up till 4 am and did some stuff that even I would not have forseen myself ever doing in my life. 
I lived the life I wanted to lead, the life that my heart yearned for. I took the road away from the trodden path that was drawn for me. And I'm glad for it. 'Travel' was supposed to be the one prompt which should have reminded me of my wasted opportunities. Instead today, when the prompt finally arrives, there is a smile on my face. And a memory of the most spontaneous and satisfying trip I made in my life. For a brief moment in time, I got a glimpse of a life that was not my own... and it was wonderful.

Nisha once blogged about how in addition to saving money for daily expenses and long term goals, a part should be kept aside for traveling to new places every year. Thank you for that. I aim to follow your advice a lot more often in the days to come.  

This is my post for the prompt 'Travel' in WriteTribe's Festival of Words.

44 Comments

  1. I believe that a trip every now and then rejuvenates you and you can face the battles again afresh :) Good that you took that trip
    Bhagyashree

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    1. Thanks Bhagyashree... I agree. Sometimes a break is needed to get some motivation back...

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  2. So what was this mystery place you went to? Impromptu trips are the best, aren't they??

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    1. That's my secret :D But yes, this was seriously fun... just a wonderful chance to be someone else.

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  3. Every year, we sit and plan where we can go next year keeping in mind the budget and the no. of leaves we can get. Everything then revolves around THAT! Infact, we have even thought of how we want to spend post-retirement age travelling and now our long term goals revolve around that!!
    I guess we are lucky to know things in advance and decide. In a profession as difficult as yours I can understand the limitations. But there is always a way out. Thankyou for taking my advice. Like I said, travelling beyond the limits of your city is the best gift you can give yourself.

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    1. You are my guru! This was something I would never have even considered if not for you... as you said, it is not at all easy to get leaves like this. That is why the sheer mystery factor, the anonymity and secrecy was just magical..

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    2. Really? I'm so glad! :)

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  4. Each person has different ways of enjoying travel. For some it's a trek to dangerous altitudes and for others it's exploring the countryside. It does rejuvenate though. Whatever be ones profession taking some time off for travel is a birth right :)

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    1. Dangerous altitudes and me !! no chance in this world :)
      Gimme a relaxing spa with a working remote control, good food and drinks and I'm good :D
      But yes, did go to some places Ive never been before in my life.

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  5. I can relate to this post. Earlier when we were in different cities, even our vacations were visits to the home town only. But now that we are in the same city as our parents, our vacationing style has changed and we move out to different places, sometimes alone and sometimes with different groups of friends, And such travels are enriching experiences. Agree, one must travel!

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    1. I totally get that.. how the vacationing style changes based on other commitments... and having people you care about to share the journey with makes it better anyday

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  6. I'm glad you got to do what you wanted to. We must at times become 'selfish' otherwise it would be something really wrong for our 'selfless' efforts. Do take time out for yourself. Nobody else is going to live your life for you. And about the nameless face behind the mask, those faces do not need a name, they are always there in the prayers of many. :-)

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    1. I know Rekha... at some point, being a 'simpleton' and a 'good obedient guy' just isnt enough anymore... we have to be happy with our choices and being shackled by profession is never a happy choice to bear.

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  7. The daily grind does get us down. We should remember to take time out and smell the roses. Love how an unplanned journey became a beautiful memory. Not sure if I would have the courage to be that spontaneous. Nice one.

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    1. The daily routine of a doc does wear me down... cant deny that. But even then, this trip was unlike anything I had done for many reasons... if you had told me a week ago that i would be doing this, i would have laughed at you..
      I agree , it does take some courage to be so spontaneous... I'm glad I took the chance.

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    2. I'm glad you took time to travel. It gives us the opportunity to be someone else for a while or rather, be ourselves and let our hair down ;) Here's hoping that you get enough breaks to travel to all the places you want to go to.....

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    3. true Bhavya.. thats exactly how I felt... touchwood there will be more in the days to come.

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  8. Wow, you actually did that. Fantastic! One really does need to get away. I never miss my vacations no matter what. It rejuvenates you in a way nothing else does.

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    1. Thanks Rachna :) i needed a vacation badly after a long stint...

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  9. We are more than our jobs, our titles, our position, our opinions, our relationships and our achievement...Giving ourselves the time to realize that makes life more meaning and we become better at what we do everyday of our lives. Glad you did that for yourself. :)

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    1. i totally agree... a break can help by replenishing the batteries making it easier once we come back to be more productive

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  10. Did you meet the pussy cat when you went to London see the queen?

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    1. I met some really big dogs... I'm pretty sure they had the pussy cat for appetizers :D

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  11. The worst thing is regret, Roshan! :-) I spent too long postponing trips. Now I am in the process of changing all that! Happy travels to you!

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    1. I already feel that I've spent too long leading the life everyone else expects me to lead and not living my own.. do change. It's worth it.

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  12. That's a superb way to travel and happy u didn't regret by closing the eyes and went along. Love it:)

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    1. Thanks Vishal. There was some amount of trepidation... but then u just go for it. See where the world takes you...

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  13. Good for you that you did that for yourself, Roshan. More power to you, my friend. Here's to you making more trips for yourself!

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    1. Thanks Corinne :) Touchwood, there will be more trips in the days to come.

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  14. I know what you're talking about. It was home and work, home and work for my husband and me too. There was the issue of coordinating leaves since both of us were working. I think the kids came along and changed things for us. Spontaneous holidays are the best kind. Great that you could dash of like that. Keep going and keep blogging about it too. Looking forward to more travel here.

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    1. Travel as I mentioned has been the sore point here.. I dont think you will find even 3 travel posts in this entire blog over the years. And yes, I do intend to change that with time.

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  15. Travelling does help in shedding off the cobwebs and the complacent nature of everyday life. Have a good trip.
    PS : After years of being a silent spectator on your blog, here I show myself ! :D

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    1. yay!! welcome to Godyears!! party :)
      You did know that there is a rule here right - first time you come and comment, you must give me gifts.. "Tellicherry biryani and nadan chicken curry with fried prawns... one suleimani also to wash it all down."

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  16. he who does not travel has just read one page in this book of life....so goes a famous saying.... being in the profession that u are in...travel would be farthest on ur mind..but it helps to unwind sometimes, and enjoy like u did!

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    1. Oh so true... that saying is so me in many ways...

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  17. Better late than never...
    I am happy that you took the decision...
    The 2nd para carries so much importance...

    Nice!

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    1. True... that was the turning point. Not wanting to live a life of regrets.

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  18. Well so doctors all over seem to have a similar regret. Anyways, as long as you change course perhaps a lot can be sorted? I am a firm believer that traveling is one of the most important part of a writer. We need to understand more about others before penning them down.. no?

    Richa

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    1. I agree Richa... sometimes we need to move away from the confines of the hospital and medical life and explore the world beyond...

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  19. Living our lives in a way that won't make us feel regretful is the best gift we can give to ourselves.Great post.

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    1. True... at some point, we do need to live the life that we always desired. Its just taken me a long time to realise that...

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