In conversation with Mina Tilakraj,
Independent Tourism Professional
Mina Tilakraj is an independent tourism professional who looks at travel and life from a different dimension and perspective. She describes herself as a storyteller guide of India, and promoter of tourism for global goodwill and understanding. She is currently the only Travelism Expert in the country. Starting off as a licensed tour guide over three decades ago, she graduated on to become a tour manager and later an itinerary designer.
She is also an inspirational speaker, welcoming you to travel with her to discover and experience the wonders of the ‘outer’ and your ‘inner’ world at the same time – a journey that will enhance your world view and help you meet your real inner self - the wonderful ‘Incredible & Absolute You’!
On the travel front, she welcomes you to a world of memorable experiences in the country and discover the true spirit of ‘India beyond books’ - on road-trips, story tours, spiritual tours and pioneer tours.
For this second segment of our feature interview we use quotes from our initial conversations with Mina Tilakraj as story highlights for our readers – because her thinking about travel is a lot more than arriving at your destination.
Travel for me goes beyond just reaching a destination
There’s more to travel than reaching a destination, or visiting monuments and tourist sites. It is an entire philosophy that draws in the romance of visiting a new place, and the breathtaking effect of a whole new experience. (I have seen people cry tears of wonder and joy at their first sight of the Taj Mahal.)
“Travelism” is a term coined by me to inspire within you, the spirit and philosophy of travel. When applied to life, the concept teaches you acceptance, tolerance, being non-judgmental and adaptable – making it a wonderful journey.
I encourage travelers to have a renewed mindset and a positive attitude towards life - taking each day as it comes. It is also interesting to develop an interest for critical thinking and being minimalistic – with a simpler approach towards life.
To share this philosophy with others, I do workshops on Travelism for Life.
Travel allows you the freedom, curiosity and enthusiasm of a child
Travel allows you to enjoy simple things gleefully like a child. It’s when curiosity, wonder and enthusiasm peak to a wonderful high – helping you go from boredom to excitement. You become an Alice in Wonderland - asking questions about sights which are normal for the locals, but beyond the imagination and comprehension of visitors.
During my tours, my visitors often go overboard with amusement when they see cows, camels, monkeys, and an occasional elephant roaming around freely on the roads – and with the enthusiasm of children, they go crazy taking pictures.
And they have so much energy. They have fun dressing like locals and getting adventurous - like joining a marriage procession and dancing along. They will dance to a Bollywood number with the same enthusiasm as a serious classical mudra. They are adventurous with local cuisines as well and will take the trouble to understand ingredients and cooking methods.
I have seen them playing gully cricket, flying kites, or running to be the first ones to reach our tour bus.
Travel helps widen the mental and spiritual horizons leading to self-discovery and self-evolution
Travel according to me is the ideal pathway to understanding your inner self and grow – it gets you out of your comfort zone. You discover your own amazing self by being increasingly aware of changing surroundings to challenge and face unforeseen situations.
Occasionally, I combine travel with a life skills workshop for my participants - to help them unleash and discover their own true self and inner power. Travel also brings in elements of adventure, physical activity, discovery, learning, awareness and character building. At times due to an unavoidable deviation, the thrill of discovering new and unexplored paths and sights becomes heady and mesmerizing. (So many new sites have been discovered by travelers who lose their way.)
For me there is a spiritual side to travel, as well . . .
Travel has a spiritual impact as well. During my travels I have discovered that nature is the truest temple of God – in return we must give back some loving, caring and preservation of nature’s creations. That is our truest Worship of God!
Nothing matches the intensity of spiritually-uplifting emotions, like the natural beauty of nature – the Dudhsagar and Panna waterfalls during the rains, a beautiful sunrise or sunset in the desert, the twinkling of stars, the panorama of a mountain range, as seen during a road trip in Ladakh. All this makes me feel so close to God. (And so does a rash and speedy driver on the tricky mountain curves.)
The real potential of India as a tourist destination is yet to be explored. India has so much to show and so much to enlighten when it comes to tourists and visitors from abroad. India is where your real journey begins.
I share all this as a ‘Promoter of Tourism for Global Goodwill & Understanding’.
All images used are courtesy of Mina Tilakraj
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