I dont remember the last time I did this. Should be 10 years back, when i was well in my early twenties, when i did not have much money with me, but had this immense hunger to travel, to see places. I would go out to random places, unplanned, without any schedule or map, and come back when all the money is spent. I used to sleep in bus stands, foot paths, and where ever it was cheap. The bulk of the expense was batteries to my old BPL walkman, which played cassetes, and possibly the cheap hotel i would take for an hour to fresh up or to use the toilet.
As time went by, the general compartment in the train gave way to Airconditioned coaches, and then trains gave way to flights. The lifts i used to take in long distance trucks gave way to cabs. The cheap hotel was replaced by decent, expensive hotels. Well, travelling was no more fun.
Last saturday made me realise the one thing i miss. The curiosity and the hunger to do the unknown, to explore the unexplored. Those days, we did not have ATMs, Mobile phones, google maps, and not even a decent digital camera. So after getting drunk in a couple of pubs, i decided to do it, again.
So I took off, straight, with a pair of bathroom slippers, a shorts, (I realised i was not wearing an underwear later in the bus) a t shirt, and my jacket. There was no charge in my basic phone, so mobile phone was switched off. I took a 1000 bucks from the ATM so that I will not visit ATM till i am back. And then, i took the first bus to hospet. The plan was to go to Humpi, roam around, and do what ever i felt like doing.
I reached Hospet in the morning, and i desperately wanted to fresh up. The hotel guy refused me a room, as i looked suspicious without a luggage. I manged to bribe him a 100 bucks, to let me use a room for half hour.
I revisited the old times, wandering without a destination, stopping by and not worrying about what i missed to see in humpi. When i got tired, i sat down the side of the road and watched people. When i could walk, i walked. I played with the monkeys and dogs and cat on the road, kept watching the beggars on walkway, spent an hour doing nothing at a small shack where i took masala tea and omlette, and sat amused looking at the huge boulders. I imagined myself to be the king of the bygone era, I imagined the people around me to be the masses who will want to queue up to see the king. Then the thought wandered to Manthri the Tantri of "tinkle", and I just let the thoughts come and go.
Isnt this what i always did, when i did not have a single penny in my hand? And now, when i have money and time to spare, why do i visit the crowded city pubs and drink?
I was always happy travelling alone, because i get to do what i feel like doing. But now, i realise i do miss a partner to share that beautiful scenery with. When i was the sun rise as a red coloured disk, i felt the urge to wake up a girl and show the beauty of it. That is the hormones playing with me, but then, the trip went fine. I did not spend anything other than the food, which cane to less than a 100 bucks. and the bus to and fro from Bangalore, which came to 560. and the 100 rupee bribe to the hotel guy.
I did not have to use a google map, a mobile phone, internet, ATM, or anything electronic. I did not even use an earphone. I am very happy for that. I can still do it, and feel good about it.
Now, its just a question of, where next. I cant wait, I cant wait to hitch hike. Next time, no more buses. Its going to be the trucks hitting the highway. Or may be my bicycle.
I guess the traveller in me is back. After all there are a hell lot of places i have never seen in Karnataka. I am already excited.