Mariyam Niuma – the first female solo traveller, couchsurfer and female surf photographer from the Maldives.
The world is full of people different from you and me – and when we embrace those differences with an open mind, we go from being citizens of one country to that of a shared planet.
Moments that have changed something in me.
Practical tips based on sticky situations, stupid mistakes and WTF moments.
Come with me, for if you never step out that door, you’ll never know how far you can walk.
There is only so much I can control about the wanderings of my mind.
On a sunny afternoon, I sit on the steps outside my room, gazing at the bare, brown mountains and their snow-clad peaks. I’m lost in thought when four kids, wearing maroon sweaters and warm stockings, their heads shaved off, come and sit next to me. Word has gotten around that I speak Hindi, and the curious ones have come to check for themselves. On first glance they look like young boys from the village, so I ask Aap sab bhai hain? (Are you brothers?). They solemnly nod no, point towards the nunnery, and tell me they are nuns.
I often look back upon my life, wondering at what point I went from being a regular, 20-something Indian girl trying to figure life out, to someone who (sometimes) gets paid to travel the world! Well, I’m still the regular, 20-something Indian girl, and I haven’t quite figured life out. Someday, this blog will remind me of all the things I was in my twenties, and if you’ve been following my travels, I’m pretty sure this little list is going to surprise you.
There are some stories that I promised myself I would never write. Like the time I fell into an open drain in Rajasthan. Or when I was convinced a leopard was going to eat me alive. Or a painful trip to a hospital in ‘paradise’. In the crevices of my mind, I’ve been hiding away such memories. But it’s time to pen them, for these are the moments that keep travel real, and have gradually become good stories or memorable lessons:
Somewhere deep within, I feel a quiet longing. When I brace my ailing heart to say goodbye to a place I’ve come to love. When I’m filled with adrenalin by the uncertainty of where the road will take me next. When the soles of my feet hurt from days of traveling. When I feel my feet itch from being in the same place too long. On days good and bad, warm and cold, happy and sad. I feel a quiet longing for home.