Friday, 30 October 2009

I remember...

In what feels like a few lifetimes ago, I remember...

1. Chocolate tastes better up in the mountains, the Himalayas touching the heavens. It feels like a beautiful dream now, looking back...

 2. Driving through the night across Anatolia Turkey, waking up to a dream of driving past rich golden fields of flowers and the sunshine in my eyes, snowy mountains in the windshield, framed by the words "Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim" towards the fairytale world of Cappadocia.

3. Arriving on the night train in Varanasi to a power-cut. Total blackout, chaos, surreal sweltery night in the City of Shiva with no place to stay, heavy packs, and all cloaked in darkness and silence - the ghats, the streets, the railway station...

4. On the same thread - sleeping at Agra Fort railway station and waking up to the chai-wallah walking among sleeping bodies, Indians brushing their teeth by the tracks, the station slowly coming to life with the first warm rays of the day's sunshine...

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The "Quest"

Happiness is right here, right now.

Start looking for it and you miss it.

(all you need is here)

Friday, 23 October 2009

The soul of a road junky

By Tom Thumb, from

When you’ve traveled too long the only direction left to go is inwards.

When you travel for long enough, you eventually leave your past behind. It becomes another place that you might visit physically or just behind your eyelids on another bus journey someplace, as confused and indistinct as last night’s dream, real in the same way as the plot of a favourite book or movie, buried deep inside you like a thorn that may never come out. You look in the mirror and don’t quite recognize yourself, you’re a stranger to who you once were, a traitor to your ambitions, a convert to the winding designs of the road that take you anywhere other than where you expected.

Your life fills with places and people like the items that you stuff into your backpack, there’s only room for so many and you lose half of them along the way like odd socks. In the end it seems that you stand still and the earth passes beneath your feet, changing climate, economy, language, race, all of it like scenes of a movie and when you wake up tomorrow you have to wait a full five minutes before your brain works out where you are.

You carry none of the treasures that others strive to amass, the endless zeros in a bank account, the paper qualifications, the garage full of yesterday’s consumer goods, shelves lined with little luxuries. Yet when you sit down at a table with the right mood served up, your heart can suddenly open and out poor a wealth of experiences that leave your company in laughter or tears.

Unable to see yourself, to follow the incomprehensible trail you’ve followed like Pooh footsteps over the years, you can no longer even describe your life, the details running off the page and the words wrapping themselves up in images as beautiful as they are untrue. You allow others to make a legend of you rather than argue the point and then walk disguised past a doorway where you would have been more than welcome.

The countries you’ve seen pile up as smudged stamps in lost and stolen passports, random emails from the past re-awake a foreign affair, a forgotten crisis or a revelatory moment shared with a random friend picked from the casual flow of coincidental acquaintances. Remember me? when you don’t quite remember yourself.

Your body remembers. Smells bound up with days spent ill with fever, or stepping out of a bus and smelling mountain wood smoke, the sound of crows heralding tropical mornings, even the unapproachable stars reflecting back every place you ever stood and looked up, wondering why, how and where, where, where, will someone tell me where?

The time not spent in movement is spent waiting, hanging around for that bus, train or plane, killing time in unfriendly hotel rooms, drinking tea, watching other people live their lives, all the things they’re bound to, that they would never dream of leaving behind and feeling like another species, studying the human race through the microscope of your own eyes.

The journey, the way, becomes an unconscious flight from growing up, from the relentless pull of growing old, of jumping on the same bus as everyone else, the vehicle that is heading only in one direction and you’d choose any destination other than that one. Only when you look in the mirror and see the first grey hairs and lines around the eyes does it occur to you that you’re all traveling, no matter which way you go you’ll get there.

You might scramble, hustle, backtrack to cover your trail, send your inner compass spinning around until north is a subjective term. You might gorge on yet more new experiences, deeper thrills, higher highs, picking up the pace in order that you might never quite catch up with yourself.

But then you do. And suddenly there’s no longer anywhere to go, nowhere to be. Your bags spill open their contents onto the floor and you split open, your unfulfilled, junkie selves tumbling out, begged to be downloaded, decoded. It might be in the hands of a therapist navigating the treasure map where you buried your soul, three steps north and two to the south; it might be in the warm embrace of a lover or child, their heart melting the many masks you’ve learned to wear on the varied stages you’ve trod in the great human comedy; it might even be the long slow arguments of the waves on the shore somewhere, or a handful of earth between your fingers, as you laugh at the impossibility of ever outrunning your own shadow.

And when it happens – if it happens and you don’t go insane, get jailed, killed or die inside – then you learn what it means to be free. You continue to learn with each step you take, the journey now taking place on the inside, a voyage of exploration as you head off the beaten track and wind your way inexorably in.

And that’s when you really begin to travel.


This was what i was after, what i was trying so hard to say, to put into coherent words what i was feeling - this passion, this life, this flood of incoherent surreal memories - flashbacks of seemingly different lives. I couldn't have put it better, more fittingly, than this. Its amazing other minds out there shares my madness - like Robinson Crusoe finding footsteps in the sand.

Friday, 16 October 2009

The Great Life Experiment

This is my thesis statement about my life.

What travel does is that it opens your eyes to the endless horizons of life, the multitude of paths, the infinite possibilities stretching away. Its about life - living life consciously, deliberately, your eyes open. I stood at the rooftop today and looked out at the sunrise, the brightening skies, and realise, in a flood of realisation, that its the moment, perfection in fluid motion. Its about every moment, and wanting to live each of these moments in that amazing journey called life.

And just because you can't have everything in life, its about making conscious choices, knowing what you want from life, and being happy with the choices you make. That's it. Ive made mine, I know how i want to live my life, who i am, who i want to be. Its not about the money, its not about the new things, its not about doing what everybody does just because everybody does...

Call me naive - at the very least i'm doing no one any harm. And if this naivete, this optimism, an excitement about life can bring me content and fulfillment, my purpose in life (to live), then so be it. Its probably an easier and more fulfilling karma neutral way than say reaching a million dollars or having to buy that car/gadget/whatnot that advertisers tell you to, for instance.

Instead of just stumbling along in life not knowing who you are and what you want and sticking to the mainstream highway just to be safe, until that one day you will know. That one day. I've made it today - Ive made my choice, to live life with eyes wide open, a collector of experiences, come good come bad - anyhow both come together don't they.

I feel i've come a long way. A really long way. I'm not tired - I'm excited. About life, about all the things ahead, about all the things i'm going to do - even if not all of it is rosy. I've made my choices in life - I may be poor, but damn, am i going to be self-actualised content and fulfilled.

This is my great life experiment. Conscious living Eyes wide open. We'll see how it goes. If i die someday - I'll be the happiest man alive - no, dead.

Friday, 9 October 2009


A time, a place, a memory. Istanbul June 2009.

In Istanbul, Somewhere special. One of those places that you know will remain with you for a lifetime. Fond memories climbing the hill up to Galatasaray, the Istiklal Caddesi for evenings on the town, Galata bridge and the smell of fresh grilled fish on Istanbul mornings, hopping on and off trams like an Istanbullu, living in Aksaray for the first part of my stay, walking down to Sultanahmet square, sitting in the Topkapi palace gardens, reading, writing, eating chewy Turkish dondurma ice-creams...

Unabashedly, the country i have gone back in my dreams most is Turkey.

Just yesterday I found myself strolling down a cobbled street, a seafront promenade, in a small Turkish town by the sea, the Mediterranean, the sea breeze in my face. A street-side cafe, the waiter beckoning, people walking down the promenade in the evening, couples hand in hand.

I wish i could go back again. A happy little foreign town where the stars hung upside down and where we were so free, not thinking about the future, the past, but the now, the moment, the sunset.

It feels like another life. In fact I feel that i've had many different lives, each so different, so crazy, from the next - mad to live, an exuberance, a passion to live, and to burn, burn, burn until i go with a bang and make people go "aww"...

Yep. When i ask myself, what is the purpose to life, i find that i can come up with no other answer than a simple, to live.

Blulist 2010 - ?

Broken skyline, which way to love land

Which way to something better
Which way to forgiveness
Which way, do i go

1. Walking the Camino de Santiago

2. the Motorcycle Diaries - South America by bike, tracing a line up the continent

3. Finally Africa! The North, combining a bit of Portugal and Spain, or the East with a Kilimanjaro climb...

4. India, again, definitely. And Nepal and Tibet.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Quick update

Song of the moment: Goran Bregovic - An annis aigh

I long for those days - an orange grove in Olympos, on the Mediterranean in southern Turkey.

Been thinking a bit about life recently. Where its going and where it will take me.

Currently - 3rd year in University, staring at an immensely tough semester in front of me, and then working life for 6 months. And then a last year to go before i graduate.

And then what? 3 years of office slave being bonded and paying off my debt - id throw in an additional year saving up a bit actually, so make that 4 years. If i can, ill do 2 years in Norway, doing my masters, and hopefully staying on to work for a while.

And after that another 2 teaching in rural India (hopefully Punjab or Himachal Pradesh), and then hopefully 2 more on working holiday in the UK or New Zealand. And then I would be 32. Ahh Life.... Not too young, not too old, happy enough to die. What then? Only God knows.

If all goes. If it will.

In the shorter term: December - Serendip, fingers-crossed. Something to look forward to in my current darkness - a depressing semester so far, in life, in work. In work, especially. Struggling and suffocating would be good descriptions.