‘Life is short and the world is wide.’
There’s nothing else that can widen a person’s horizon quite like travelling does – meeting new people, learning about different cultures and the history of a certain place and getting to eat the delectable food that it is famous for. Every place you visit has something unique to offer – the more you explore, the more there is to know and learn.
In fact, travelling is one of the best ways to get out of your comfort zone and learn to become independent. It is like self-discovery, a way to go into yourself and realize things you never knew about yourself. Apart from that, it’s also a great way to disconnect from your daily routine and just unwind, only to come back rejuvenated with a fresh perspective. But more than that, you get to make memories that warm your soul for a lifetime.
Now you wouldn’t want to miss what piques the interest of the writers at Brown Magazine when it comes to their favourite travel destinations. Here you go!
Divine child resting on the country’s crown, Kashmir, has to be my favourite travel destination ever. I was about 12 or 13 years old when I visited the ‘Paradise on Earth’. To say that it was magical would be an understatement. It was really special because I boarded my first flight ever and celebrated my birthday in Srinagar. Boating on Dal Lake, breathing the musky air, staying on a houseboat, it was too overwhelming to witness Srinagar’s beauty! My family made sure that we didn’t miss any experience whilst we were there. We drank the famous Kashmiri drink ‘kahwah’, visited the green apple garden, rode a sledge at the Zero Point near Sonmarg, visited Pahalgam valleys, and climbed up hills while horse riding. These were merely some of the major activities you can do in Kashmir; there is so much more. You are definitely missing out if they don’t have the opportunity to witness Kashmir’s grandeur in its uninterfered form. I cannot articulate the full-fledged details about the place, so this is just a nudge to prompt you to visit these tranquil and fulfilling sites of Kashmir.
When it comes to my favourite travel destination so far, it is Goa for me. With a population of 18.2 lakhs, the smallest state in India has always been my dream destination. I remember vividly that my parents had given me a surprise after my class 11th exams, that we were travelling to Goa. Not only was I visiting Goa for the first time, but I was also going to board my first flight. From food to road trips, cruises, and undoubtedly the sea beaches, Goa has something to offer to everyone. My favourite and first-ever beach in Goa is Sinquerim. The smooth sand grains that stick to your skin and the incoming waves that welcome you to the beach fill you with indescribable emotions. Fun activities in Goa included parasailing and riding a water bike; these became the most precious moments of my trip. The pandemic ruined my plans to revisit this enlivening paradise. My heart yearns to be on the beach in the breezy afternoons of Goa, making it my most preferred travel destination.
I feel I have had the good fortune to travel widely during my childhood and teenage years, mainly due to the nature of my father’s job. A bonus has to be that he himself loves to travel, and I believe it has rubbed off on me too – a chip off the old block! I love to explore and meet new people; there’s always something new to learn from them and their stories.
Although it’s hard to pick just one among so many places, my favourite travel destination has to be Bhutan. It probably has to do with the fact that I am also a nature lover. No other place has managed to capture my heart the way Bhutan has – the scenic beauty, the people and the rich culture. I was in awe of the place throughout my trip. Bhutanese people are one of the kindest people I have come across to date. Landing at the Bhutan airport is the toughest because you’re flying between the mountains – it was so surreal, though! The weather can make one feel like they’re in paradise, the cool breeze that hits your face – one can say it’s like a natural air conditioner, maybe even better! My favourite thing to do during the trip was going for the Tiger’s Nest trek – the Paro Taktsang Monastery clings to a cliff at 10, 240 ft. It is truly an architectural marvel. Bhutanese momos are something I loved savouring; to describe them as heavenly would be an understatement; I never knew that street food could be cooked so deliciously.
I had the chance to visit the ‘Simply Bhutan’ Museum, where I met Pema Tshering – an artist with cerebral palsy who uses his feet to create wood carvings and paintings. His outlook towards life really moved me, and I will say that I consider myself very lucky to have met such a beautiful soul. Bhutan has a piece of my heart, and if given a chance, I would love to take a road trip to get there next time.
My favourite travel destination is my grandma’s place in Bandel, Kolkata. There are places you have your emotions attached to, and in my case, Bandel is the one!
The green lawn just outside the bungalow of my grandmother’s house is the spa that my bare feet crave. The sweet shops will leave you in awe during the evening when they bake hot Rasgullas and various Bengal delicacies. I personally love to wait in huge queues to grab those Rasgullas with hot syrup, and sometimes the shop owner is kind enough to sneak my brother and me in and give us the first batch because he knows that we only visit once a year! The famous Bandel church and the Hooghly Imambara (a Shia Muslim congregation hall and mosque), reminds me of the diverse culture this hidden gem of a place holds.
Durga Puja (Hindu celebration of the Mother Goddess Durga) is the only time of the year when all of my family gathers together. We laugh, barbeque, gossip while sitting on the rooftop of the house, watching and counting the flights passing through the sky and lighting up Chinese lamps during special occasions. It’s the down-to-earth vibe I crave, and Bandel never fails to surprise me!
In my 20 years of life, I have not travelled widely besides a couple of places that I visited with my parents, out of which Mussoorie impressed me undoubtedly. Popularly dubbed as the Queen of Hills, Mussoorie in Uttarakhand has to be my favourite destination ever. From enchanting mountain peaks to serene local roads to the adrenaline rush, the place offers it all. The lush green hills, tall trees of Deodar, silver falls and the enriched flora and fauna have always called me. I call the area surrounding Mussoorie closer to heaven, and even in the hill station, the higher you climb, the more beautiful it gets. Sunrises and sunsets are best seen on the road connecting the bus stand and the city library. Perhaps one of the best attractions of this place is Kempty Falls. At a height of 4,500 feet – the 40 ft high waterfall offers you a chance to spend some leisurely time amidst the music of nature. Even the mall roads, with the brightly lit neighbourhood, are ideal places to shop in the midst of the hustle-bustle of the delightful ambience. A trip to Mussoorie always makes me smile and brings a freshness that won’t fade away so easily. After all, who won’t fall in love with a place like Mussoorie after visiting it four times in a row.
Shatti Beach, Muscat
My favourite place in this world is a beach in Muscat – the Shatti Beach. To be honest, I never thought that one day I would call this place my most favourite place on earth. After all, a beachside is almost the same everywhere, right?
When I left Oman for college, I realized how special that place is to me. Only after I would come to this beach during my college vacations would I feel that I’m back home. Two of my special memories of this beach were when my friends and I ran around the entire shore catching balloons when a sudden storm messed up the entire outdoor party decor. The second was a hilarious BBQ session with my classmates one last time before we left for college.
This beach holds so many memories and parts of me that no matter where I go later on in life, I’ll feel at home only when I’m back on this beach, walking barefoot on the sand while the sun sets in myriad hues of pink and purple.
When you travel, you leave a part of you behind in the place that you visit and, in turn, take a part of it, along with you. This alchemy is what keeps the wanderer in a person alive, so go out there, set your soul free and explore this beautiful world, every chance you get.