I’m going to remember 2016 as the year I imprinted myself into the sky.
A longing that I’m off tonight to indulge.
I’ve come to realize that traveling is about opening up your mind to new feelings and experiences, not about validating the opinions of past travellers.
I’ll spare you the clichés. Four years of constant travel hasn’t made me the most fabulous person; in many ways, the opposite. It has gradually, sometimes unnoticeably and sometimes frustratingly, evolved the way I think, interact and live. It has broadened my perspective but also narrowed it, given me answers but many more questions, taught me to appreciate camaraderie but perhaps made me more of a loner. My restless mind is no longer my best friend. The very thing that helped me build this incredible life of travel four years ago, the one that wouldn’t let me settle for anything but freedom, is the one I seem to chide often these days. Perhaps I’ve fallen in love with a place too many times and broken my heart that many times (Read: How Travelling is Breaking My Heart). I long to go back to places that I made an instant connection with as much as I long to discover new horizons. I long to build deeper bonds with people I meet along the way as much as I long for fleeting new encounters far away. Sometimes I even long …
21 months ago, when I packed up my home into a backpack and decided to hit the road indefinitely, I wondered how long it would take me to crave a “normal” life again.
Feliz Año Nuevo! Lounging in the shadow of Volcano Mombacho in Nicaragua, 2014 feels like a gust of wind that blew away too quickly. That I have journeyed through countless countries this year is humbling. That my book is somewhat taking shape is thrilling. That I’m winding down my startup is downright heartbreaking. But such is life. Sometimes you’re left with with no choice but to let go off one dream in pursuit of another.
As I swayed on my hammock, hearing the gentle waves of the Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica, India seemed pretty far away. But I only had to traverse the crevices of my mind, to recall the solitude of the Himalayas, the serenity of the backwaters and my serendipitous encounters over the past year.
Last week in the Pico Bonito forest reserve of Honduras, I met Juan and Roberto of the indigenous Garifuna community. I was fascinated by their affection for the dense rainforest and the diverse life it harbored, but even more by their culture, an integral part of which involves celebrating death as a new beginning. When one of their own dies, there is no mourning at the funeral; instead the community gets together to play the upbeat Punta music, dance and make merry – One last celebration!
I’m sitting on a window sill as I write this, feeling the cool breeze on my face and watching the incessant rains spring new life into the wilderness that surrounds my (temporary) home in Goa. The joy of driving, walking and just being in the monsoons is not mine alone. The village folk are out in their carpet-like rice paddies, tilling the land in their colorful ponchos, humming along cheerful tunes at the late monsoon arrival. It took me a few days of being here to slip into the susagade mode of Goa, feeling content with life, appreciating the little things like hot tea and freshly-baked Goan poi on rainy evenings, happy to gaze out at the wild beauty that surrounds me.
This is officially the longest I’ve been on the road. I’ve lived out of my backpack for four months. And while I don’t long to have a home to go back to, the romance of being location independent is slowly wearing away.