The thought of being a ‘traveler’ is fancied by many. People often associate travelling with ‘having the fun moments while exploring new places and having the time of your life’, that’s true but then there is a difference between the ‘vacation’ travelling and being a traveller. The later, comes with much more unexpected challenges and pitfalls (You see, the possibilities of something happening (good or bad) are ten times more for you).
I myself quit my job to chase my dream of travelling and it’s been seven months now that I have been on the road. These seven months were enough to teach me the essentials of travel that I wish, if someone would have told me before I took this plunge.
So, if you are one of those who are planning to hit the road for indefinite period or can already categorize yourself as a ‘traveler’, then you must possess these skills that will definitely comes handy while you embark on the journey of being a traveler.
Here is a list of 11 skills that every traveler must have:
1. Driving and basic mechanics:
If you are a traveler, you must know how to drive (both car and bike/scooty) and have a valid driving license. Not that, it is mandatory for a traveler to know driving, but being on road is full of challenges and unthinkable circumstances and you should be prepared for it. And along side driving, you should know the basic mechanics of the vehicle as well such as changing the flat tyre or fixing the bike fuse etc., to make sure to keep you going until you find some help.
I remember, I was on my way back to Manali after completing Parang La trek and while I was having my tea break, the driver was having the ‘beer’ break! He was two bottles down and the road ahead was nothing but the knife cuts and deep gorges. Luckily, the other fellow with me took the charge of driving and I realized the importance of it.
Moreover, self driving on an open road or alongside the beach or through the thick forest would be so much fun. Isn’t it?
Where am I going with the cooking? Your itchy feet might take you to the remote corners of the world where you could camp alongside the river, do some star gazing and can literally have ‘into the wild’ kind of experience. Knowing how to cook can save you on many such nights, can prove extremely healthy for your wallet and moreover its fun at times. Imagine, having barbecue night with your friends, under the stars, into the forest?
3. Reading Maps:
A traveler can’t always rely on Google’s self assisted maps where the voice guides you when to turn left and right! Moreover, you are going to go to the places far off the corners of the world, remote, secluded places. Don’t you? If yes, then how are you planning to find your way if there is no internet? A traveler would work on everything that makes him independent of things that won’t be available everywhere. You should know how to read maps and compass so as to ensure you always find your way when you are on your trips.
4. Basic Survival Skills:
The basic survival skills are essential for all the human beings especially if you are a traveler. You should know few basic skills such as:
Purifying the water using the foam cloth or any semi transient cloth you have and also figuring out, where to get drinkable water. Like, you should never drink the stagnant water and must analyse if there are dead insects in it.
Tying a knot: Though you may treat this one as one of the most irrelevant skills but, tying a knot comes out to be one of the most needed skills out there. Our simple knots cannot stand the needs of wilderness thus the knots that training institutes teaches you like the eight knot or clove hitch, they are more reliable if you are planning to make a hammock, a temporary shelter, fishing, descending a tough mountain slope and many more such encounters.
Lighting a Fire: This is quite tricky. Producing fire out of stones or by rubbing wood needs lot of practice and patience but at least you should know how to kindle fire from a spark and how to generate a spark using whatever batteries/ electronic devices you have.
5. Basic First Aid:
While on road, you need to know how to clean a wound, stop the bleeding, and treat the sprains, blisters, which medicine to give for treating cold, fever, ache etc. and to give CPR.
6. Tent Pitching/ Temporary Shelter:
Though you might be the traveler who always sort out the staying option well in advance or know that you are going to scrape out a place to stay where ever you go but you never know, in what ways things are planned for you! What if you get stuck in middle of nowhere because your vehicle broke down? If you are an avid traveler, you must know how to pitch a tent or even better, make a temporary shelter using leaves, branches and mud. Better to be prepared for the worst because you are going to hit the road indefinitely!
7. Networking and Negotiating:
You might find it hard to talk to unknown people but if you are a traveler you need to step out of your comfort zone, so often that it becomes a part of you trait. You need to network where ever you go because you might be in an unknown territory and if something bad happens, locals would have faster reach than any of your relatives. Moreover, if you are a pleasant talker then who know you might get to see the local culture or get invited for a local wedding/festival, trust me nothing bad can come out of some well curate, pleasant talks as long as you are in your limits and can behave according to the demand of the situation.
8. Search Engine Binge:
Internet is your holy grail. Travelers explore, they experiment and for that they need to extract the information out there about the place they are going to hit, adventure they are going to do. A well through research about the place will multifold your experience because you will know what’s around the corner, what is a better deal. Some people might disagree here and would like to explore as life present itself on the plate, but then hope you would not regret the festive that took place just around the corner and you missed it because you didn’t know it.
9. Self Defense:
I really want you to believe that the world out there is good and safe and heaven and it is, but only to some extent. You can’t ignore the miscreants that exist everywhere and anywhere. You should be prepared to handle such situations, at least the one that are of mild intensity. Learning a self defense technique will not only ensure your safety but will also give you the much needed confidence while travelling.
If you are a traveler, you need to be the ‘Jack of all trades’. No one on this earth can literally write down the possible things that can go wrong during travel and how to fix it and no one can even carry so many things just to safe guard any ‘future’ wrong happening! So, my dear traveler, you need to keep your head cool and figure out how to fix the problem using the things that are in hand during that time and moment. For example, fixing a shoe with the glue or stitching a torn jean using safety pins etc. You got to find creative ways of fixing things temporarily till you reach the safer resort.
If you are not good with the budgets, you are going to burn a hole in your pocket before you even start your trip and being a traveler, you would not want to stop just after one trip right? So, you need to keep checks on your expenditure, have a properly allocated budget on how much you are going to spend on different sections like stays, food, travel etc. Just a little bit of math and adjustments and you would be good to go for many more years as you wish to.