Perhaps it was peace

05:24, 9 May 2015, Sikkim, India

Eyes touched by the day’s first light, lying between a hard mattress and a rough blanket, I decided that I wouldn’t be able to fall back to sleep. So I left my shack, a crumbling wooden box taped with newspaper, walked past the outhouse, and climbed a shaky ladder to the top of an unfinished building. I breathed in the crisp morning air and saw a rising sun illuminating the magnificent Himalayas.

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Up on that roof, there was no fear, no worries, no doubts, no anxieties. Just a willingness to accept whatever the world would bring me that day. Just this harmony with my surroundings, modest and humble compared to other extravagances of the world.

Perhaps it was peace. Just peace, then and there, at that moment …

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Do not follow…

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Morning at the Thar Desert

Morning at the Thar Desert

This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson struck a nerve with me while surfing the net one day some time last year, and thought it apt to go with this photo I took early morning at the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India, last April.

It ain’t too far

Camino - en route to Acebo

Often during my month in India, a rickshaw driver would pull up to me and try to convince me that where I was going was too far to reach by foot. And I’d just be thinking, “I once walked 800 kilometres across Spain. It ain’t too far.” 😉

Sunrise over the Thar Desert

I’ve spent the past couple nights back home in Canada, and am grateful to be home again after the latest series of travels through Asia, although jetlag ensures that I will be sleeping and waking up at odd, random hours for the next few days…

One of the most unusual places I’ve ever woken up was in the Thar Desert in India last month. I’d fallen asleep on a cot, covering myself completely in a thick blanket to shield me from the blowing wind and accompanying sand. I awoke, not knowing the hour, and this was the first thing my eyes laid sight on for the day 🙂

Thar Desert sunrise

Thar Desert sunrise

Good morning, everyone!

Catch me if you can

So, I’m travelling again! And my upcoming travels might very well be the most intense and diverse that I’ve ever embarked on. This trip was supposed to be all about India, and I’m spending just over a month in the country, so it primarily will be about India. But in my attempt to look up flights to get there, I (eventually) ended up booking a more complex itinerary involving 6 countries on 2 continents – Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, South Korea, and Malawi (that’s in Africa, folks) over the next seven weeks.

How? I figured out that I could use my MileagePlus miles from United Airlines to book a Toronto-Taipei, then Seoul-Lilongwe-Toronto trip. I then used my British Airways Executive Club miles to get me from Taipei to Hong Kong to Delhi, and then I purchased separate tickets on AirAsia from Calcutta to Kuala Lumpur and onwards to Seoul to close the gaps. The result? This…

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Why? There’s always more to see, and there’s things to see again in Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and Seoul. Whenever I’m somewhere for the first time, I’m not concerned about “doing everything” there is because I figure that if life has brought me to some incredible places, life might just be great enough to let me see some of these places again, and I can always do things that I may have “missed out” on the first time around. On the other hand, I’ve never been to India or Malawi. India has increasingly become a country that I’ve wanted to visit and explore, and attempt to know and become familiar with. I’ve heard a ton of stories from fellow traveller friends who have explored this vast country and their stories are always intense and strongly opinionated. I have to go and experience it all for myself. And Malawi – this country has come up at least twice from friends the past year. This was essentially a “bonus” country on this trip; I learned that I could go here without spending any additional miles. I’ve never been to sub-Saharan Africa, so this is a dip in the water that will hopefully lead to more forays into the continent in the future.

I’m nervous and beyond excited, adrenalin is pumping through my veins even though it’s just past 1 am here in Toronto. I’m about to board my flight to Taipei and I hope you join me over the next seven weeks to explore a bit of this beautiful world of ours! Cheers!