Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Why is travel important

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Any naturally curious person would as a matter of coarse wish to travel and see the world around them. It may be hackneyed, but the old adage about a journey of a thousand miles being more educative than the reading of ten thousand volumes is very true. Travel educates, it uplifts and it instills an appreciation of fellow humans in the traveller. Most of all, travel is self-discovery. Journeying is important for all of us whose minds work. I do not mean expensive journeys abroad or even to the great Gilgit-Baltistan region. But why not just hump a light backpack and go walking, say, in the Salt Range, the Suleman or the Khirthar Mountains and, when the situation once again permits, in Balochistan.

If you ask me, I would never say no to a journey. In fact, with the poor security situation in Pakistan, I feel extremely restricted. Time was when I never worried about being in peril in Balochistan or Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa and just went when the fancy took me. Even to the remotest parts of these provinces. In 1984, I was freewheeling in Bannu when a turbaned Pathan asked me where I was from and what brought me to the city. I told him I was freewheeling so he asked why I didn't come with him to his Miran Shah. And off we went to North Waziristan where I stayed with this kind person in his home in Miran Shah. I would have to be completely mad to do that today!

In this regard, at the book fair held some months ago Expo Centre, Lahore, I met a young Wazir, Sohail by name. He had seen my documentaries and read some of my newspaper pieces and he studies in Government College University. The first thing I asked him was if he would take me to Waziristan. He said yes. I have his contact number and as soon as I am finished with the current assignments, I will be mad enough to travel with Sohail.

Travel never really has been a hassle for me. It has been an endless sequence of discovery and adventure. I treat the time away from home the same way as a student would who goes off to hostel in another town. Only my break from home is generally much shorter than that of the average student. The planning of my forays is generally quite hassle-free. I read something and then plan it on the map. For example I have recently finished reading a very interesting book published in 1834. This is the travel account of the civil servant Mohan Lal. His journey from Lahore to Peshawar through Gujranwala, Rasulnagar, Pind Dadan Khan, Rohtas, Rawalpindi etc took my fancy. I think this is one journey to undertake to rediscover what Mohan Lal saw. So, next winter and I take off on the motorcycle.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 10:05,


At 24 April 2013 at 16:53, Blogger Nayyar Julian said...

WOW! You seem to have been every where. Do you always travel on bike?

At 25 April 2013 at 10:28, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

@Nayyar Julian

I seriously wish I had been everywhere in Pakistan! But the truth is there are so many very interesting places in Balochistan where I have not been. I long for the ease of once again being able to just go travelling in that province. But I have not always travelled by motorcycle. I first discovered this mode of transportation in 1984 and for two years had a great time riding around much of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Then it was other means.

I reverted to a motorcycle last October with a two-week ride through Kashmir. It was great fun because unlike being in a car, you see more of the country. This is because, one, you are in the open and secondly you travel at a more leisurely speed. Also the way so many country roads are in Punjab, it would be silly to take my car there and get it busted. I also realised on the trip to Ketas that on those pot-holed roads, at 30 km/h I was faster than all the fancy cars.

The motorcycle also gives me the freedom to get off the road whenever I fancy. This is far greater room than a jeep would ever permit me.

At 25 April 2013 at 23:23, Anonymous Nayyar Julian said...

Thanks you sir.

At 27 April 2013 at 00:56, Anonymous Carol Yates Wilkerson said...

No matter where we live in the world, we all have to be careful and alert to our surroundings. That said, it's so wonderful to get out and really experience our own neighborhoods and local areas. As Dorothy says in "The Wizard of Oz", "There's no place like home". Beauty is in your own backyard.

At 6 May 2013 at 17:00, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Hi Carol, I have been around. But to tell you the truth even though i enjoyed my travels abroad, I never seem to get enough of Pakistan - my own backyard. This is still a place of anxiety making travels, of the unexpected cropping up out of nothing, of some kindness from stangers that will bring tears to your eyes.

At 3 August 2013 at 11:38, Blogger Adnan Alam Awan said...

I belong to central salt range (soon sakesar),,in my early childhood i used to go on some hills for adventure and always had the fascination what is beyond, usually i thought nothing. Later during my university times, i developed my skills to cross some areas, usually one day tracks. I tried to travel wherever i could manage. I conclude that i learned more during my travels than any other source. The persons who travell are additionally blessed that is sometime difficult to explain to others.

At 7 August 2013 at 12:50, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Very true observation, Adnan. Keep safe and remain blessed.


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days