I have been writing a travel blog for a decade now. And I must admit I have not read much of either travel blogs or travel writers of the day. Why I have not read is a question that I partly know the answer to. But there are unusual gems that come sometimes that you are happy to read. Bucket List of a Traveloholic by Sarika Pandit is one such book that I am happy I read.
Sarika talks about the usual throwing her job to travel around the world. Though in her case sensibly enough she only took leaves initially. And then a sabbatical. And I assume she is back to business after that sabbatical. She talks about her urge to travel. To put measurable and achievable targets for travel and working towards achieving them.
She describes her travels through the lens of a unique experience from each of them. So it’s learning Spanish in Spain, tracing the literary trail in the UK. And discovering wine in Greece etc. While describing these, she takes you through the landscape of the place and highlights the few Aha or Oho moments of the trip that probably stand out in her memory from that travel. She has traveled quite a bit with friends and then in women-only groups. I think that is a very sensible way to travel. Solo travel is being highly overrated these days. While it comes with its own merits, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. It always helps to have a companion, while having too many as the author rightly says wastes a lot of time. As everyone has a different itinerary in mind.
Even when she says traveling solo – she actually traveled with a stranger who became a friend by end of the day. I have done solo travels, traveled with a friend or a family member. And I traveled on fixed itinerary tours. I can tell you while Solo seems most interesting to come back and tell stories, it can be boring at times. The only missing space for me in the book was author’s engagement with the place through its people that kind of tends to happen when you travel with a fixed itinerary and has no space for unstructured time or directionless wanderings.
Her language is very engaging and keeps you engrossed in the moment. She puts in a lot of herself in the story and that gives a personal touch to the narrative and it does not look like reading a tourist brochure. Her emotions – be it fear, excitement, disgust or sheer joy are the highlights of her stories. She talks about the people who came with her, who all seem quite like her.
The book Bucket List of a Traveloholic ends up giving you a bucket list in a way – either as destinations or as experiences that you want to go out and explore NOW. To that extent, it works very well for the reader.
You can read it.