Posted by: Kiran Vaidya | July 30, 2007

Paulo Coelho on “Traveling Differently”

I am reading Paulo Coelho’s “Like the Flowing River”. It is a collection of his reflections and short stories. I liked almost all barring a few.
I loved the thoughts expressed by him in “Traveling Differently” (Pg. 132). I could somehow relate with them. After finishing reading it, I kept on thinking of all the things learnt from each trip, especially Goa in 2004 – the most memorable trip till today with friends, Kerala and Dandeli with family and my stay of 4 months in Hyderabad. I repeatedly watched all my fav, snaps of the trips that I have enjoyed the most. Staying in Hyderabad cannot be called a trip, but it was an experience in which I learnt some very important values. It made me a tougher guy and it enlightened me on a few things.
 Here are 9 tips given by Paulo on traveling. 

1)     Avoid museums.  SalarjungPaulo says that it is always better to learn about the present of a city, than it’s past and I completely agree on this. I visited Salarjung museum on my second last day in the city only after someone said that coming to Hyderabad and not going to Salarjung museum is like visiting Agra without viewing Taj. I still would have preferred going to Golconda Fort and even today I regret on not getting a chance to visit the same. And if you have the company of someone like Anmol for a visit to a museum then PLEASE AVOID. There is no point in just appreciating the ancient architecture, the history behind it and then saying WOW!! 

2)    Hang out in bars a bar in goa

Paulo says that the “real” life of the city is in bars and not in museums. He clarifies that not to confuse a bar with a discotheque. He says one shoud enjoy silly conversations with strangers. I remember, when in Goa, on Sinquerim Beach a Dutch was totally drunk and kept on producing weird noises and said “The most important thing in life is to f*** more than getting f***ed.” 

3) Be open  

  Spot Me

Paulo says not to go with an organized tour operator or a trained guide. Rather to ask the instructions to someone who is native to that place. He says there is no point in listening to the “leader of the group”. I don’t need to worry about it, since I am always the one ;). The photo shows me having a conversation with the fisherman of Harne village. I asked them everything about high and low tide, the fishing season, the fish auction etc. (BTW one amongst them is me 😉 ).  

4)    Try to travel alone, or if married with spouse      Angling

Somehow I don’t agree on this note, but I feel 20% of your travel should be alone. By the word “alone” I don’t mean being a lone traveler.  I have been to Kerala (12 days) and Dandeli and many more 3-4 day trips with my family. These trips give me a chance of spending time with myself. I find answers to some of my unsolved questions. And the most important being, I can be just myself. I can go in the market, ask the locals a few questions and in the night call up Mukul to tell him how I spent the day just to hear “Vaidya Guide” as his reply.  

5)    Don’t compare     A memorable moment    

Paulo feels that while traveling we should not compare anything- the food, the lifestyle, hygiene etc. I feel the same since comparison contradicts the basic purpose of traveling. I had been to a 3-day camp organized by a NGO in a flood-affected village and this was the first thing told to us- DON’T COMPARE. Our job was to educate the villagers on the use of clean water, take a few surveys and to distribute medicine. The most interesting thing I noticed was in spite of all the problems faced by them, yet they continued to celebrate their traditions and rituals and somehow were satisfied in their life.(In the pic- Me joining the villagers in a traditional dance on the eve of Gokulashtami). 

6)    Understand that everyone understands you     Mukul with his friend

Language cannot be a barrier, especially if you are traveling with someone like Mukul. He can connect with any stranger and can even make friends with them. In Goa, Mukul was keen on flirting with a foreigner, so we decided to play a prank on him. We convinced Mukul that he should talk with a phirang girl and introduce himself as a digital artist. This will give him a chance of photographing her tattoos. Excitedly Mukul went on his adventure and the moment he was at a distance by which he couldn’t hear us we said “Pitega saala”- a la DCH style.But 10 minutes later we could see Mukul chatting with a foreigner. A smiling Mukul returned with photographs of all her tattoos- on her shoulder, neck, hands and even her belly. Although we had lost the never decided upon bet, but still we never accepted the loss and instead even today tease him as he didn’t photograph her face. 

7)    Don’t buy too much      k7.jpg

Paulo says in this internet age you get everything at your doorstep at the click of a mouse button. In our trips we also hardly buy anything for 3 reasons. a)     For whom- Me, Manmit, Mukul and Hal were almost always in the “Being single” phase of life.b)     Trips in our college days were always on a shoe-string budgetc)     Some of our trips initially were on bikes and we carried just one small sack.It reminds me again of Mukul who had told his mom that we were going to Lonavala, when actually we were in Konkan. Him mom asked him to bring a pack of jelly sweets and he purchased them from Paud Phata, 2 kms away from his home while returning back 😉 . 

8)    Don’t try to see the world in a month @ mahableshwar

A brilliant quote by Paulo explains everything“A city is like a capricious woman, she takes time to seduce and reveal herself completely.”   We spent 8 days in Goa just in its northern part. Although Mukul kept on insisting to visit South Goa also, we didn’t even bother of giving it a second thought. 

9)    A journey is an adventure 

@ bondla national park 

 Paulo advices to visit a never heard of church rather than going to Rome and visit Sistine Chapel with thousands of other tourists. We stayed in Bondla National Park and also visited 2 temples in Goa and didn’t just visit its beaches and churches.   Hats off Paulo!! Agreed on all your points, but I am happier since I remembered the countless moments I will cherish forever.    



  1. reading it after being published…too much of editing probs by doesnt follow Microsoft’s principle of “WYSIWUG” (What u see is what u get). And too much of Mukul…uurgghh!!

  2. More on Mukul and point #6. Communication was never a problem between Mukul and the phirang girl. She was talking in a language which Mukul didnt understand (English) 🙂 and God only knows in which language Mukul was communicating so that she cud understand. 😉

  3. In reference to the snap in point number 4. That was the month when helmets were made compulsory in Pune. Kiran complied, I defied! And therefore Mukul refused to sit behind me. “Pakadnar tula” and “Marnar tu” were his attempts at having a mature conversation.

    Kiran, on the other hand, over-complied. He refused to remove that, ugly, helmet of his even when we stopped for breaks. I tried to pry it off his head, but the bloody belly, his, got in the way. Hmmphh.

  4. Dear Kiran,

    Paulo Coelho has found your post from Google Alerts.
    He would like to post it in his blog :
    Would that be possible? Would you mind?
    If you could be so kind to send a reply to we would appreciate!

    Thank you and Have a nice day!
    Mustafa Suphi Yilmaz

  5. nice post. but far too many mentions of Mukul and far too few of the great piggie 😉

  6. loved it , makes me think of my trips …..hey how come anmol ain’t in any of the pics ??? oh btw how many times has mukul won against you guys… think you guys need to find another scapegoat or you’re gonna end up losin a lot of money soon…..if you want any suggestions on who that could be, i have someone in mind!!!!

  7. Hal–> Mukul read out the entire post to Balle Balle on phone as she is ill and cannot go out!!

    Pink Imp–> Ya, i realized the reference to Mukul was a bit too much only after publishing this post , but then trips without Mukul is just unthinkable. He is the life of our trips.

    Loki–> Generally either we dont include anmol in our snaps or he is the one with the camera ;). Moreover since this is my blog most of the snaps will have me .Snap # 2 and 8 r clicked by Anmol and the baby octopus in snap#9 is none other than ha..ha..haval.

  8. @Kiran: You do realize that in Mukul’s context, there are two “balle balle’s.” Ha ha! Imagine him reading to the second balle balle, the one related to Bob and Mr. Mikey! LoL

  9. Forgot to mention Byomkesh, hope he is not too angry! Ha ha!

    P.S: The fun part of these comments is no one other than the five of us can tell what we are talking about! LoL

  10. Hope you sent you that mail to Suphi! And once there, please provide a trackback URI on your blog, like in a hall of fame or something. “Amcha Kiran kiti famous zhala,” I will tell people.

    P.S: My inner voice (haven’t heard of him for a while) tells me that you bragged to C about Suphi’s comment, haven’t you?

  11. Looking back, I realized I think in spurts. What else can explain these four comments where only one could suffice?

    Ah, self-revelation. It is heady feeling, sometimes, I tell you.

    I shall stop now.

  12. Shhhhh!! abt our keywords. i wud have definitely bragged abt sufi’s comments to C , but she has no idea of my blog (obviously). Arghhhhh!! i am hating this..u know me too well.

  13. Ha ha! We all live lives of such intertwined secrecies. Damn the f***ing double-edged sword. Damn!

  14. hey pretty nice read… njoyd it! Loved the simplicity put together n words on travel…the title should be “Realistic Travelling” and not Travelling Differently” Core travel lovers have similar set of rules… n some r so strange to it who then become pricks n a travel… like ” kiti ghann low class zaaga aahe hee” , “khup uncomfi room aahe”, “I don’t leave ma heels sandals anywhere”, “eeeks ha keeda mala chaavla tar?!?!, ” mala thai food khayachi eechaa aahe”… blah, bhal, bhal… NUMSKULLS!!!

  15. Sneha–> i know of ppl who travel in ST buses, but for a distance between Deccan to KP need a car, and if not available wont budge even an inch 😉

  16. I have been reading ur blogs and sounds fun !!!! . I cam across ur blog just today morning and was a good way to start my day !!! …baki kay how are u ?


  17. thnx for reading my blog. mi ekdum majet aahe.. keep in touch 🙂

  18. […] erfuellen, soll man entweder ALLEINE machen oder mit dem, den man liebt. Hier gibt es mehr dazu Ich fand das – wie – den schickt Dir der Himmel. Leider – gab es fuer mich nur […]

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