“This place feels like a dream,” I said while staring at the Zabarwan mountains glowing with the setting sun.
“Better than a dream actually. You can’t come here only once, it just embraces you in its purity and calls for you, again and again, a reality that then haunts you in dreams, until you return,” listening to me, Shikarawallah replied while rowing further into the unexplored canals of Dal lake.
It was a warm July afternoon of 2015, and we were in the middle of our first Xplorience trip that brought together ten Instagrammers from different walks of life and sent them on a journey of a lifetime through Kashmir. Where away from the commercial side of Kashmir, they traveled to the remote parts of the region, learning about the culture, celebrating Eid in a hamlet, and conducting workshops with the kids.
It was a dream coming true for us, as we wanted to put forward the experiences one goes through while traveling and not just the factual part of the journey. We wanted to showcase all the experiences that are there to be explored through the medium of traveling.
Kashmir gave us a glimpse into the reality that was brought forth when we dared to dream, and two years later, we carry the same dream in our heart.
Especially after watching the new-age travelers hitting the paths less taken, and dabbling into the unknowns, we realize that this is what the future of travel looks like, as one moves further from just ticking the well-known places, and into the ideas of exploring.
At Xplorience, we on the road, but also the tales of travelers, about the changes they went through while traveling across the country. Their own stories, coupled with the stories they discovered, their own realizations waiting to be shared with the rest of the world, and thus ensuring that we can create a domino effect, want to bring out the stories that not only one discovers which can make a larger part of the community look into a wholesome and experiential way of traveling.
And today, I once again think of those words from Shikarawallah, when he told me of a beautiful reality that continue to haunt us in our dreams. And that’s what Xplorience has been for us, it has kept haunting us with the idea behind its creation, with this energy bubbling in the center of this whole idea that’s been making me travel from past two years, and taking me to the places and stories, which I never dreamt about arriving at.
So here’s to the dream that keeps pushing us forward, and to the stories that we find on our travels and the stories that we are becoming during all those journeys.
And here’s to a journey to capture all the journeys within, and all the journeys in the outer realms.
Written by Abhinav Chandel, and you can know more about him by following him on instagram at @Abhiandnow