I met six couchsurfing members within the past month. It was surprising for me that four of them did not know why they were traveling. They spent most of their time sleeping and relaxing in their guesthouse room. Two of them were from Germany and the other two were from the US. The German guys stayed in Benares for four days but never went to see Aarti or took a walk along the ghats. They spent only a few minutes watching a funeral and that was the only time they spent along the Ghat, they had not even heard about Aarti or Sarnath.
The US guys were students. One of them was learning Urdu with some institute in Lucknow for the past one month. She was preparing was for her research about tension between Hindus and Muslims. I really wanted to spend more time with her to learn about her research but unfortunately I had to leave for Gwalior the same day I met her. The other one was learning Hindi with Virendra singh and has been living in Varanasi for the past month.
The Urdu student knew about Aarti but she didn’t know anything about Sarnath. The Hindi student knew about Sarnath but he didn’t know anything about Aarti, even he had never been to Godaulia which is downtown Benares. I don’t know what he has been doing for the past month. After watching Aarti he said that it was very impressive, maybe the most impressive part of Benares for him. Natasha, the Urdu student, also liked Aarti a lot. I suggested that she should visit Sarnath and they both decided to go the there next day.
Swami Vivekanand said that if you have free time then it is best to travel, if you want to utilize it. Because this way you learn about different cultures, you talk to people, and it makes the world a better place. I think people travel to learn but these people, whom I met in the last month, seemed like they were traveling just because they had extra time and money or maybe they wanted to tell others that they have traveled. They could have learnt better staying in their own country if they had just spent sometime online. I don’t know why they were traveling.