Reflections for a new year

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Well, 2015 is here. It’s another year…

The past two years have been so incredibly meaningful, dotted with innumerable occasions that my soul yearns always to remember.

Like a firework bursting in the black sky ignited by a single spark and illuminating the night, my life has been like a firework with the initial decision to quit my job to free up time for travel having produced treasured accomplishments, triumphs, memories, friends – each highlight part of a collective memory but flickering uniquely and unmistakably in the kaleidoscope of my mind.

The past couple years have been filled with experiences where I’ve not only stepped outside my comfort zone, but expanded it so that I now feel comfortable in so many more situations and environments. They have been years where I’ve pushed myself to my limits and reached new frontiers in what I now know I’m capable of. They have been years where I’ve crossed lines that I assumed were so far beyond my reach, only to realize my surprise when I discovered that my strength could take me so far beyond these lines. They have been years where I’ve periodically stopped and shaken my head, marvelling at how everything comes together almost magically at a common time and place to create something really special.

And they’ve been years that will fill my upcoming years with laughter and merriment each time I recount the strange circumstances in which I’ve found myself that sound utterly ridiculous to declare as fact (That time a guy tried to mug me in Morocco/That time the marshrutka dropped me off at the side of the highway in Georgia, 10km outside of the town I wanted to get to/That time I hiked to the top of a mountain in Taiwan only to have a 360 degree view of dense fog/That time I rode a bicycle in Thailand to a hospital to get the stitches on my foot removed/That time I fell in a moat in Myanmar/That time I was sleeping in a hammock at a hippy lodge in Nicaragua/etc/etc/)…

Like any year, I know this one will also be filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, trials and tribulations that will continue to make me question and wonder.

But you know, 2015 is another year of life. It’s another year in which I continue to breathe and I know that once in a while, my breath will be taken away by something so beautiful and unexpected. It’s another year in which my heart continues to beat, and I’ll appreciate that sometimes it will beat lightly in comfort and safety while other times it will pound to its limits, like on a challenging trek.

It’s another year to dream, another year to learn, another year to love, and, of course, another year to travel!

The past years have been so good to me, and I’m grateful. Yet somehow I know, without any tangible proof, that the best is still yet to come. Always.

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Cambodia reflections

It’s almost time to say goodbye to Cambodia. The past two and a half weeks have been really memorable – pushing my body to my limits on a bike to get to the temples of Angkor, unleashing my inner Indiana Jones while exploring sometimes deserted ruins, seeing bats taking off into the night, riding on a bamboo train, lazing around in Kampot (a consequence of rainy season), refining my bargaining skills, and the surprising urbanscape of Phnom Penh…

I also visited the Killing Caves in Phnom Sampeau, and the S-21 Prison turned Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh. These places gave me chills, eerie reminders of the atrocities that occurred here less than 40 years ago. It made me think of how I felt in Sarajevo, Bosnia every time I walked through a cemetery from my hostel into the Old Town and seeing so many tombstones of people that died within a span of a few years. (Co-)incidentally, it was a year ago since I was there…

For the most part, my posts are positive, and I like to focus on the good of humanity, but being in these places brings into my mind the cruelty and destruction, the bloodshed and violence that humanity is also capable of. So many hearts stopped beating, so many dreams died for unjustifiable reasons…

And I think, my heart is still beating, my dreams are still alive. It would be a shame to let them go to waste.