I had been studying German for three years at that point, and I felt it would be a good opportunity for me to see a bit of the world while also getting to use my German language skills. That was the time I decided, that I eagerly wanted to win that essay competition and go to the country I love the most on this planet, Deutschland!! Lo and behold! After about a month my dream came true. With those goose bumps on my hand and hopes in my heart when the results of the competition were announced my happiness knew no bounds. I so wanted to immediately pack my bags and set off.
The day arrived. With that worried look on my mother’s face and contrasting that, the beam on my face I got ready to go to the land of dreams!
The tour explored various parts of northern Germany. The beautiful and untouched coast of St.Peter Ording, the wonderful beaches of Husum, the cold yet marvellous beauty of the Toening village, the bustling metropolis of Hamburg and the punishment city of Flensburg, on the verge of Denmark where driving punishments are granted. The final leg of our journey was filled with some bitter memories of paying bills at the restaurant which I and my friends kept on thinking to be a treat on behalf of a professor. A hole in the pocket for € 5, 10 cents was not a joke for 17 year old teenagers who were promised a false treat!
But that did not ruin our spirits of enjoying. We cherished each and every moment in this country from getting lost yet being shameless in Hamburg, from being wild yet being polite to the Germans, getting the best of German cuisine and jumping with excitement when we saw and ate Indian cuisine, dancing to our hearts content at the disco and yet learning Salsa the amateur way at the workshop. From behaving like crazy hooligans in our youth hostels but still being ambassadors to India in a way that the Germans felt proud of Indian culture too.
For me this trip has been a whole lot of cultural and learning experience in a very cooperative yet competitive environment that is going to remain a lifelong memory. After this mind-blowing experience my views about travel have totally changed.
Each of these experiences has helped me to understand the world just a little bit more and to recognize my own small place in it. I don’t travel just because it is fun or cross experiences off a list or to give myself something to talk about in social settings. I travel to meet people who are nothing like me and to learn how the rest of the world lives. I travel to be challenged and to be changed.
And as long as it still has that effect on me, I will never stop traveling.
©Rucha S Khot