Everything Is An Adventure
July 01, 2023
Kayak on Lake Tahoe


What kind of a holiday do you prefer?

One filled with action and adventure (hopefully planned ones) or one that offers you time to chill and relax?

I have been on both types of holidays, not including the ones involving pilgrimages to religious places that my parents dragged me to when I was little. As a child, travel involved getting on hot, dusty trains, sleeping on hard benches in crowded compartments and sleepily rubbing my eyes in a brand new location the next morning. Travel in India meant days filled with unexpected surprises, eating new foods in each state, meeting long lost relatives and experiencing life in smaller towns very different from our life back in the city of Bombay where we lived.

More variety, greater comfort

When I first left India, the adventure of travel meant the sheer magic of setting foot in a different country where everything was different. Not just the food but also the people and of course, the weather. The ubiquitous heat and humidity of India was nowhere to be seen. Instead, there was gentle spring, colorful autumn and in many places, snow! 

I was thrilled to simply be in a place that was so different from everything I had known. Soaking in the surroundings, inhaling the ambience of a new place stimulated my senses in a way that reading books about the same place had not. Just being there felt like an adventure.

Over the years as I made my home first in the US and now in Singapore, I have felt compelled to visit other cities and countries in response to both a pull, for novelty but also as a push from the monotony of daily life. I have been fortunate to be able to afford better travel options including booking into nice hotels in central locations. I am a traveler who prefers comfort and convenience.

But what about adventure? 

In search of an adrenaline rush

As my children grew older and fond of travel, they wanted more excitement to mark their holidays. And suddenly I found myself co-opted into activities that I would normally not participate in while at home.

Last month, we tried our hand at shark cage diving and swimming with turtles in Hawaii. Upon our return we visited Lake Tahoe with the extended family for the long weekend. Our group of fifteen ranged in age from seven to seventy-seven and it was not easy to find something everyone could (or wanted to) do.

Someone suggested kayaking. And that’s how, we found ourselves at Crystal Kayak on Kings Beach at 7.30 a.m. learning the basics of rowing a two-seater kayak. Most of us were still not fully awake and I wanted to hold off on my morning coffee until we returned. Still, I tried to recall the instructions as I sat down and gripped my paddle tightly.

The lake was calm at that early hour, with only a handful of other kayaks in the vicinity, not including the half a dozen or so that our family group had rented. It took a few minutes (and a few impromptu circles) for the two occupants of each kayak to get into sync before we headed eastwards along the shore.

The sun rose up slowly casting the entire lake in a gentle light, the silvery waves shimmered and responded to our paddle, allowing us to move ahead and turn as we chose. At various points we stopped to simply sit still and look around. We watched the houses on the shore come alive. Two kids ran down to the water line. An elderly couple tried to get their boat to start. In the distance we saw another group of kayakers getting into the lake, their life jackets a bright green unlike our red ones.

Kayaking was exciting because it was new to us. There was no adrenaline rush because the lake was calm and the physical demands on our bodies was not too great. There were no loud jetskis (yet) and no large groups of noisy tourists. I was reminded of my trek to Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan last month and the skydiving adventure we had sought in New Zealand many years ago.

Each holiday is memorable for different reasons. The places are different. We are the same. Or so we think. But we are also different at each place. Whether we acknowledge it or choose to ignore it, everything we do leaves an impact on us. And time, the most insidious of all, leaves its mark on us with every breath we take.

The joys of travel

I love holidays regardless of whether they are the adventurous or the lazy kind. No matter which kind you prefer, it is imperative to periodically walk away from your daily routine.


Because it can be lifesaving (if you’re suffering from exhaustion and burn out), life-affirming (to be in nature or a different environment that is more nourishing) and life changing (when you put enough space from your current life to get a fresh perspective).

On my recent trip to the US, I did many things – swim with sharks, spotted turtles, kayaked etc but I also sat around doing nothing. I saw sunsets, admired rainbows and simply chilled.

The book I carried around took a long time to finish, not because it was boring but because it was not a race or on deadline. Back home I unconsciously track my activities and sometimes berate myself for taking too long to complete a task, even something as pleasant as reading. But on holiday, the rules are different. I can take the book with me, but I don’t have to finish it in one sitting.

Being in a different place sets the pace for my days and juggles around my calendar in a good way. The tasks still remain, but time expands along with a pleasant amnesia of the to-do list that awaits.

Even if I do nothing to write about upon my return, I know that the holiday has served its purpose. 


Because when I return, I embrace my humdrum everyday life with renewed enthusiasm. And that makes it completely worthwhile.

What do you do on holidays?

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