Would you be ready to go on a blind trip? I have always been excited about the possibility of traveling and not knowing where, such as going to the airport and taking the first plane that leaves. I am seduced by this formula of going on a trip to know the destination only at the last minute. While traveling blindfolded may seem unimaginable, it is possible to buy a plane ticket or stay at an unknown destination.
I had to be strong and contain myself so as not to cheat. Two months before the scheduled date, I could have opened the website and planned an entire trip. With a click I could have made all the bookings but what grace would it have?
For 48 days I restrained my impulses, convinced that surprise was one of the best parts of the enriching experience. I want to go on a completely blind date. For my date I only knew that as it was winter I should have enough protection for it.
The Blind Date Arrives
The night before, I could hardly sleep. The mind jumped across continents. In Europe I kept visualising from Portugal to Norway, from France to Italy, from Belgium to Iceland, from Germany to Finland, from Greece to Turkey. In Asia, I kept visualising from Dubai to Tokyo and Beijing to Singapore. In America it could be from Canada to Argentina, from Chile to USA, or from Mexico to Brazil.
Which would be the chosen one? I had my predilections, but I was not going to confess it. I looked at the clock on my smartphone again. It was 2.30. Did I place the umbrella in the backpack? I went back to check the alarm to make sure that the four alarms were properly set at 5:10, 5:20, 5:30 and 5:40. I left my smartphone on the bedside table, covered my blanket up to my neck, and tried to sleep.
I jumped out of bed with the first alarm of the alarm clock. I walked to the kitchen and put the coffee pot on the fire. I looked for the clothes that I had left ready on the chair and I began to dress with some awkwardness. I’m not a morning guy. The smell of coffee flooded the house and I poured myself a cup. Black, without sugar. I sat down, still with half eyes-closed and half-dressed in bed, and took a sip. It was still too hot. I looked at the clock and it was already 5.30.
How is it possible that the minutes in the morning go by so fast? Or am I so slow in those inhospitable hours! I put the coffee aside and I finished dressing. I went to the bathroom to wash my face and teeth even knowing that I would still drink coffee, but there was no time to wait. I put more cold water around the eyes to make them look more open. I took a couple of more sips of coffee in the bathroom, because the cup comes with me wherever I go.
The time had come to unveil the great mystery. The heart began to beat hard and the hands became wet. I picked up the phone, opened Google Earth and clicked on the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button to get the random destination that I will go. I looked at the large blue screen with white letters and scanned all the destinations with my eyes. What would be waiting for me? What would be my blind date?
My hands were shaking. And there that marker appeared with the information of my appointment. It is Pulga! I checked on the map where this place was located. It was somewhere in Himachal Pradesh. I tried to search the map for the major landmark and I could see the only known place to me was Manali. Automatically a chink appeared on my face.
I put one more sweater in my backpack, closed it, took a last sip of coffee and went out of the door. The early morning of that Delhi winter was freezing. I almost did not cross anyone in the streets that I walked till the auto rickshaw stand. I was lucky and I did not wait more than 5 minutes. Sitting on that yellow coach I fiddled with the idea of my blind date and imagined the qualities of the chosen one from food to culture, art, and elegance.
I could not sleep all the way, a little because of the discomfort of the seat, another bit because I did not want to miss anything that I saw through the window. The dense jungles after entering Himachal never ceases to end with sounds of strange birds, monkeys of all kinds, and sounds unknown to my ears.
- Kalyan Panja
- : Kalyan is a photographer and an avid traveler sharing stories and experiences through photographs and words to spread happiness among an internet-savvy generation through vibrant visuals and compelling stories.
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