If I had to look for memories of travel from the years I would like to call my childhood, it is interesting to note how memories of times as a toddler were scarce, although looking at the photos and the smiles I gave, I travelled and experienced much more then. Everything after that, excluding school excursions, were a blur of travelling in a car from district to district, from hotel to hotel once in a while.
It was almost like we travelled 5 hours in a car to sit in a hotel room that we could have easily found in our own city. Like that, I didn’t think much of travel. To the very naive me from a half a decade ago (totally possible considering I’m just 18), real travelling was about vacationing in countries abroad, like my rich friends did, finding touristy spots and taking fancy photos. These trips to the neighbouring districts to roam the malls and shop for clothes was beginning to seem tiresome, although I clung to them with my life since it was a short-lived, yet welcome change from my normal routine.
My idea of travel was at once fulfilled when I participated in an exchange program that connected my school with the students of a Danish Efterskole. This meant I had to go there, to Denmark, in the month of April in 2015 for a period of 10 days. It was the most thrilling thing I had ever done. Everything was new and interesting, and I was learning something new every hour, not just about their culture, but of my own culture. But ten days is but a flutter of a butterfly’s wing. It passed by just as quickly as it came.
Things remained stagnant for that period of my life, from the age of 13 to the beginning of my 18th year of life, – I might even go as far as to say that my mind was festering in self-doubt and in nihilism that seemed to have no end – and I was soon on the borders of what one calls depression. What bothered me the most was the fact that my burdens were, in fact, worthless, for I knew others who carried worse problems in their lives. It was painful that way, being unable to open up in any manner to anyone. For anyone I did manage to be vulnerable did not listen; they simply judged and advised.
But last year, I found myself opening up to more opportunities – I had rediscovered the spirituality that was introduced to me years ago by my uncle, and I started to pour my energy into understanding what this world and the ‘Universe’ is all about. I started using the law of attraction and indulged in Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. I began to see radical changes in my life, and one of those was reconnecting with Rumi’s poetry. This coupled with my friend who introduced me to Sufism helped ignite a flame so powerful and deep, that merely thinking about it manifested two separate travel opportunities just three weeks later, each lasting about 5 days.
Ever since then, people have been randomly suggesting various beautiful movies, like Into the Wild, Tamasha, Highway and various others related to travel, freedom and rediscovery, and that in itself has inspired a change within me.
I realized that travel isn’t just about vacationing in a picturesque city or town and taking great photos, and relaxing in a hotel bathtub (although it isn’t a bad idea).
No, no. Travel is about discovering the culture, the traditions and the stories that each place, that each moment has to give us. It is about observing the world around us, about learning more about the way life works, and about adapting our lives after being opened to such diversity. It is about spreading love, about consuming it. It can be anything, as long as you indulge in it fully, without flinching when things get rough -as they will – and without complaining about what could be and what was.
If there is anything that matters, it is about what is.
And you need to catch those moments before they fly away. You need to grasp them and make sure to absorb them as easily as one breathes. It is a lifestyle, that comes from gratitude, self-realization, and a great deal of trust in the Universe.
So, this thirst for real travel is here to stay.
I’m willing to try and see where the road will take me.