Almost six years ago, I boarded a plane to Oslo, Norway. First trip to Europe for me. The culture is different from countries like Australia where I worked before. The harsh weather, the land of Pathira Surya, which I had heard about since childhood, all these longings were packed into a box.
On the other hand, I am a person who does not travel much except that I have been to places like Kullu Manali and Munnar.
Norway, on the other hand, has only about fifty million people. Oslo, the capital of Norway, was a small town like our Perumbavoor or Chengannur. Coming from a small village in Kerala, even traveling without touching each other in the public transport system that was interwoven like a spider’s web was new to me.
The common culture of Scandinavia is seen as a group of people who generally do not interfere in the affairs of others. It was a new experience for me, coming from Kerala, that we can do whatever the legal system of the country dictates in that country without any coercion.
We, on the other hand, will intervene in all aspects of the country. It is our common society that decides how others should walk, what they should wear, and how they should live.
It has often been felt that perhaps our religions and social environment have a big role to play in this. It can be argued that our society is often driven by interdependence and that this differs from the welfare states of Scandinavia. We can blame population, corruption, and money availability.
They often learn to do things on their own from a young age. Be it cooking, cleaning the house, or looking after the children, people here are interested in doing everything on their own without depending on others. Even parental leave can be divided equally between men and women.
Above the flat where I lived, there was an old lady who could hardly even walk. I often feel sorry for them when I see them walking in the snow and cold with the help of a walking stick (that’s how we think :-)).
I once asked them who goes to the store alone every day to buy things, if they want, they can buy things when I go to the store. I could tell from their facial expressions that the very question was insulting them. Their reply was quick, living alone, leaving my house, and going to the shop are the main joy of the day.
For them, going from home to the shop is a journey. Suppose this grandmother is in our country. With that, they will stop going out of the house.
Many people mark journeys in many ways. Some like to travel alone, some enjoy traveling to the same places over and over again, some are happy with the number of countries they have traveled to, those like to see historical things, those who travel to dark tourist spots, these are the choices of each person.
Once I went to see the city of Rome with my mother. I couldn’t even finish seeing all the churches and places with centuries of history. Due to the infirmities of my age, even if I had the desire to go anywhere, not Rome, my body would not allow me to do so.
When she was healthy, she did all the housework, brought up her children, prepared food, and also looked after work, and I never saw my mother go on a trip. Because when the household chores are done, the only constant answer is time.
Another time we planned a long trip with the kids. A group of about ten to fifteen friends traveled to Lisbon. There were people with and without children in that group. Traveling with children is difficult for those who do not have children. Often our journeys proceed according to the mood of the children.
Often sights like the museum are not even a little interesting for children. Because if you want to make the sights enjoyable, the kids have to like it too or they’ll be clamoring to go back. Even access passes, which are often paid for at large sums of money, are given away. We often decide what to watch based on our current situation. Often things that are out of our control are what drive us forward.
In our country, there are many female travelers who travel alone. If you ask them, you will know the objections that arise when preparing for solo trips.
In our country, there are many female travelers who travel alone. If you ask them, you will know how they overcame all the objections and questions that arise while preparing for solo trips. How society looks at such journeys is enough to understand how behind our thinking is despite our education. If the same trips are in Europe, relatives and friends will encourage these trips very much, or they will keep quiet.
A few days ago, a friend who is a government employee said that he even needs permission from his superiors before going on trips. How many people there are in our group who refuse to travel because they need permission to take leave and travel.
Now for the people working in private institutions in our country
take care If they say they are traveling, the superior officer first asks if there is any work. Are trips to go when there is no work?
In Europe, companies will encourage people to take vacations because the benefit companies see is that people who travel come back very energetic after their trip, which reflects in their work. Scandinavian countries also require employees to take 20 days of leave a year, and if they take leave, the company will give them a small allowance along with their salary.
Civil freedom, the opportunity to think and act independently, equality between men and women, the opportunity to travel freely without worrying about what the society sees and thinks, all these will make our journeys unforgettable. If you are someone who puts off traveling because of what other people think, you will never be able to travel. You are going to miss a handful of beautiful scenes to remember in the evening of life. Your journey is your choice. So pack your bag and get ready for your next trip…