It was 10 pm and I was wandering around the empty roads of Salt Lake, Kolkata in search of a taxi. On any other night, they would be loitering around the roads, honking like crazy, but on this night they were missing. The humidity and heat of Kolkata were making me sweat all over the awesome new branded t shirt that I had bought especially for that night. The backpack was heavy and the neighborhood stray dogs were barking at me, but on that particular night, surprisingly I did not seem to care. It was the 9th of June 2010, had a flight at 2 a.m and I was excited.
It was my first international trip and I was going to Hong Kong.
Since then there have been quite a few more trips, but that particular trip three years ago was special. Not only did it change my lifestyle in many ways, it also changed the way I handled my finances. It taught me to save and to control my urges to buy something useless and expensive. For example, I went to a shopping mall the other day and was checking out the infamous iPad 2. I realised that it would cost me almost as much as a roundtrip airfare to almost anywhere in the Middle East or South East Asia. Needless to say, I did not buy the iPad2. (Feel free to gift it to me though!)
This post is a few days overdue, since I wanted to share it on the 9th, on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of the historic trip, but something came up and I had to postpone. However, that should not take away from the significance of this post, because tonight I introduce to the world my travel buddies. (Maybe I do not travel alone, after all)
One of my most trusty companions when travelling is my laptop, a Dell. Yes, it weighs a ton and the battery does not work anymore. It does not have the most advanced processor, and its USB ports are dying one at a time. But still, packing my bags without it just doesn’t feel right.
Every night after a long day of travelling nothing feels more soul satisfying than coming back to my hostel or hotel, finding a nice quiet spot with a power socket and browsing the internet to plan the next day, or maybe writing a couple of lines. I know there are quite a few advanced gadgets out there, which might enable me to do things more efficiently but still, it just won’t feel the same.
I remember every night while I was in Phnom Penh, I would take my laptop down to the lobby and quench my thirst with a cold Angkor and browse the internet to understand how awful Polpot was. (Turned out, very!)
My Sony Cybershot camera even though is newest member of the group, it made its mark in South Korea. It is the most expensive camera I have had and I am really happy with it (so far) and hopefully, it will not drown itself in sea like its predecessor, a Canon which was equally good and loyal.
Here is the awful story of how its predecessor died.
We were visiting “The Beach” or the Maya Bay near the Phi Phi islands in Thailand. The waves were big and the wind was strong. Our small kayak was rocking back and forth dangerously as we tried to make our way back to the long boat which would then take us back to Phi Phi. It had started raining and my camera filled with snaps from The Beach was in my pocket, wrapped inside a poly-bag which we used earlier to carry a pineapple. Our kayak was taking hits after hits of strong waves. Finally one of these waves succeeded in its quest, our kayak lost balance and capsized. A Thai boy pulled me up on a nearby boat, but it was too late for the camera. Water had crept inside of it and I soon found out that it was beyond repair. The guys at the Canon service centre in Bangkok told me that it was irreparable, but they managed to save most of the pictures from the memory card.
Every time I see those pictures now, I remember the horrible day when my beloved camera drowned and died.
Rest in Peace, old friend!
Even though originally from Bangkok, my iPod Touch can sing only in English, Hindi… and a bit of Bengali. No Thai. However, I listen to podcasts more often these days because they make long journeys way more fun and engaging. (And also partially because I really need to update my music library).
Apart from my outdated music library and some awesome podcasts, the iPod is also home to some awesome TV shows and lots and lots of pictures from my travels.
There is also a sad story of why I bought this iPod.
I used to have a Sony Ericson smart phone which used to house all my music. It was an awesome phone with great features and I loved it dearly. On my last day in Seam Reap, I booked an evening bus to Phnom Penh which did not show up at its scheduled time at my hotel. The friendly hotel owner offered to drop me off at the bus stop from where the bus originated. When we got to the bus stop, I saw that the bus was about to start. I hurriedly thanked the manager and jumped inside the bus. The bus started and about an hour into the journey, I thought of listening to some music that would drift me off to sleep. I fished around in my pockets and searched around in my back pack but I just could not find it anywhere. I am quite sure I did not leave it in my Seam Reap hotel room and know that I did not take it out anytime in between. It had disappeared without a trace.
(Why phone why…Why did you leave me! I was nothing but good to you.)
Towards the end of trip, I had a few days to relax in Bangkok. I was roaming around in the malls of Siam, heartbroken, when I saw an iStore, and decided to fill the void left in my life with the iPod. Yes, it is a rebound relationship and one that I am really enjoying the hell out of.
How I lost the phone will always be one of my life’s biggest questions.
My new Samsung phone has also been a loyal companion during my travels. Apart from lots of music and photos, it also filled the shoes of a camera in Malaysia when the original one drowned in sea. I will not say a lot about this phone, because even though it is great at what it does, it will never fill the shoes of the Sony Ericson.
When I am travelling, my phones, Sony or Samsung, usually find themselves at the bottom of my backpack, ignored and uncared for. They are used at crucial times. My phone’s main job is to send a text to my boss, at the or towards the end of the trip, telling him about some random event that would require him to extend my leave by a couple of more days.
And then there are my boots. I bought them about seven years ago and have been in love with them ever since. Love them so much that I named my blog after it. Now they are old and wrinkly, but instead of retiring in the shoe rack, being given away by my mom and eventually gracing the feet of an orphan, it has joined me in my travels.
Sometimes when I am packing for a trip to a beach destination and know that I would be spending a lot of time wearing flip flops, I ask myself if carrying these heavy boots is logical. The answer is quite simple, it is not. But that does not stop me from carry them with me anyway. The reason is quite simple, a flip flop can break but these boots have proven time and again that they just cannot be broken. Does not matter how rough, or damp the terrain is, the boots will keep my feet safe, dry and clean. And for that I have been thankful to it, for so many years now.
The time to pass on the torch is fast approaching, but these boots will never ever be forgotten.