For a fauji kid, travelling is a habit. A yearning.
After living in more places than we can count on our fingers, changing more schools than the number of grades and packing and unpacking our ‘trunks’ a hundred times over, we become default travelers.
Our lifestyle so far has set the ball rolling on our desire to travel but here’s why fauji kids make the most amazing travellers.
1. We get used to and love the nomadic life
One would think that we’d be sick of it by now – having to move around all the time. Only we saw it as getting to move around all the time. Getting to make new friends. Friends, who sometimes don’t even speak our language. Getting to live on the highest hills and the remotest plains (even some underground bunkers). This nomadic life, keeps us coming back for more.
2. We don’t ‘belong’ to any one place
When the answer to the question, ‘Where are you from’ is multiple places, travelling feels like second nature. We don’t identify with any one place, but we relate to many.
3. We can never be tourists, we have been made into travellers
We can’t just go to a place, click selfies at the most crowded tourist spot and come back. For us to travel is to go to the most remote niches, meet locals, dance alongside them at a local festival, enjoy the local cuisine and come back home with a bag full of experiences (and laundry).
4. We interact with strangers easily
After being the new kid in school 2,745 times, we have mastered the art of making friends. Finding buddies in random strangers and talking to people who don’t speak your tongue, for us, is an essential part of getting to know any place.
5. We can find a home anywhere. Even a tent. Especially a tent
To some, the best thing about travelling is leaving home and going far. But to us, the best part about travelling is going far and finding home. Hotels were never on the itinerary growing up, so even now we find comfort in shacks shaking on a windy night or tents barely keeping the wild out.
6. We can pack our entire world in a VIP suitcase we bought from the CSD Canteen
While shifting houses, from the first lot of our toys which our moms asked us to pack to keep us busy to the last box of gifts from boyfriends, which we packed to hide from our moms, we learnt it all. Today we can pack our suitcases with everything we need – not a bit more and not a bit less.
7. We don’t just survive, we adapt
Throw us in the trickiest of terrain or the driest of deserts and we will tread through it like a pro. And while we are at it, we will also pet a native animal, learn to say ‘I don’t speak this language’ in that language and pick a favourite off of the local food menu. After all, this is what we have been doing all our lives, with the added pressure of being the new kid in school.
8. We have been taught survival skills so rad, that no terrain seems too harsh
It was mandatory for us to learn how to drive, ride a bike, climb a rope, swim, shoot, play golf (duh) as part of the process of growing up. Because when you have a fauji dad, life is a summer camp. If you overlook how hard it would have been for some of us clumsy beings to undergo mild levels of commando training, it did equip us with survival skills to make the most out of what we have in remote lands, to find our way without GPS and to challenge someone to golf in England.
9. We pick up local languages and accents quickly
While we tried to become a part of the ‘cool’ table at lunch in school, learning the local language spoken amongst the ‘cool’ kids was the biggest key to success. A hundred such episodes later, now we hold an expertise in picking up languages and accents. For us, picking up bits and pieces of a language, if not learning it entirely is the core to being a part of any place and truly experiencing it.
10. People who have spent all of their lives in the same place, amaze us
We are called fauji ‘brats’ for a reason. We judge everyone and anyone who doesn’t share our spirit for travel. We are shocked by the way of life that is waking up to the same view for your entire life.