No matter where in the world I am, I have a fleeting feeling. A feeling that even though I am here and now, I’m not really here and now. I am also in the snow capped Himalayas of Sarmoli, also on the white sand beaches of Zanzibar, also in the Andes of Ecuador. I’m filled with a longing for somewhere far away.
Trust the Germans to have a word for it: fernweh. A longing, a kind of homesickness, for a distant place that isn’t home.
Also read: Thinking of Home
I first felt this longing while studying in Singapore. I longed for the chaos of India, and for solitude in places that looked lonely even on the map. But like many do, I dismissed it as the restless soul syndrome.
Fast forward eight years, and I indulge that longing, transient though it is, like indulgence is the only way to survive. A little dramatic, maybe.
But that longing is the reason I impulsively decided to travel to East Africa a few months ago; bought a flight to soak in the rains in Goa from Zanzibar (on credit); accepted an invitation from The Blue Yonder to travel along the River Nila in Kerala and connect with inspiring artisans who are single-handedly sustaining ancient local traditions.
That longing had me craving an authentic Ethiopian beyaynetu while transiting through Delhi, and a traditional Jordanian mezze while saying goodbye to Quito. That’s probably why Anthony Bourdain is opening a giant food hall in New York; I guess the more you travel, the more the world becomes your backyard.
That longing made me dream of lying under a pitch dark night sky, just the stars and me – and I took it as a cue to travel back to Ladakh, back to the nunnery where my love affair with its stark barren mountains began. I planned to travel further this time, but lost all sense of time and reality, and felt contended staying where I was.
But as I drove a scooter with the drizzle in my face along the verdant rice paddies of Goa, as I hiked along the cloud-kissed Himalayas of Ladakh, I felt that longing again.
A longing that I’m off tonight to indulge (another annoying Schengen visa application notwithstanding), with the glee of a little girl traveling to distant shores for the first time!
Tonight, I’m heading back to one of my favorite countries in Europe – Germany.
This time, I’ll be exploring the Hessen region with Hessen Tourism – revelling in a quirky street festival in Frankfurt (where even strip clubs have an open door policy, I hear ;-)), cycling to ancient monasteries to sample fine wine, feasting on vegan food at one of the world’s 10 most innovative restaurants, and perhaps exploring some Bollywood connections!
After Germany, I’ll be attending the Social Travel Summit in Inverness, Scotland, as one of 47 travel influencers from around the world. I can’t decide what I’m more excited about – exploring the Scottish countryside for the first time (and chasing the Loch Ness monster), or upping my blogging game at this exclusive gathering of the travel blogging industry.
An adventure in Wales will follow, with a lot of firsts – surfing, coasteering (seriously, google it) and visiting a town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch! I might decide to spend some time in London after that, or head back to explore Scotland on my own.
Join my adventures in the UK with #STSinverness and #OMGB.
I can’t wait to board my Lufthansa flight now; see you from the other side.
Have you ever felt an inexplicable longing for somewhere far away?
I wrote this post as part of the #DiscoverHessen blogging trip.