The Winter of Sweet November

 From The Globetrekker Diaries – Nordica

"Do you want me to tell you something really subversive?
Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It becomes that something which is so worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. It's what makes people travel miles, that search and that journey which drives them towards that something which they feel they belong to.... Where miles mean nothing and money is zilch... All that ever matters is being with that someone you so cherish, that someone who completes you and the trouble is, if your don't risk anything, you just risk even more" 

It was November, for me; the sweetest month of all. A journey I so looked forward to is finally here and I can't wait the excitement it carried for. With my heart drumming with its midnight moments, I moved into the car and the driver welcomed me with a warm smile, I requested him to take me to Terminal 1 and as we drove we spoke about the upcoming holidays and his life and about my trip to the North of the Europe…. As the shades of the city dimmed down, the car slowly entered the terminal buildings and I took my leather jacket, while the driver helped me with my luggage. I took out some cash and snuggled up into his warm palms and wished him a happy Eid. He smiled and wished me back with delight and waved me farewell.

I boarded my flight and a Texas man sat next to me, he wished me with a ‘hi’ and we both shared compliments along with where and why we were travelling and quite an interesting man he was….His name was Hardy and he works as a plumber in the 42nd U.S Marine division in Fort Bastion in Afghanistan. After 6 months of heart wrenching work and struggle, he is now on his way to his hometown, but the story doesn’t end there. Back in the U.S his wife also works as a Army nurse with the 2nd Battalion of the U.S Marines medical unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan and right now, she is finishing her 6 months of leave, taking care of the kids and the house. And the most impacting part of it was, right now, that woman is travelling all the way to Bahrain to meet her husband and she will be on her way to Afghanistan to re-start her duty with the U.S Marines. And that 3hours of transit they get in Bahrain International airport is all what they can see for the next 6 months. When he told me about his story, I didn’t know if the meaning of sacrifice was ever described this deep. I looked into his eyes and said, well mate; you sure make your country proud and am sure your kids back home will be so overwhelmed to see their dad come home with a big smile…. He shook my hands and said “The American spirit wears no political label. In service to others and yes, in sacrifice for my country, there are no Republicans; there are no Democrats; in the end, there is just me, as an American.” I looked up and smiled at him while the pilot announced that we’d be landing in another 5 minutes. From the window, I could see the lovely lights of Manama.

I sat down at Costa’s and sipping my coffee, I thought about this day I was waiting to unfold, a journey I so looked forwarded to, the people am about to meet, the food I am going to taste and most of all the colors which are going to paint my eyes, those blissful mesmerizing moments which cannot be described nor asked for, but just felt and melted down your heart stream. Travel can sometimes be such an addiction; every piece of it instills an impulse of discovery within you. The art of growing up is nothing but letting go of yourself from where you belong, to throw you away from your home and then lift you up and show you those panoply of moments which can be just yours if you just go for it.
I smiled within as my heart drummed up even more and I heard the voice from the speaker saying it was gates open for the flight, and I lifted the handle of my little leather case and walked my way to the aircraft and my soul whispered “In a matter of 7 hours, the breeze will be as chill as falling snow and the colors of fall will embrace me with delight” I look forward to…..

The flight landed and as I walked out of the Terminal, the breeze was as much as I loved it to be, a chill snowy gush of fresh breeze flew across me and in front of me was the Nordic. I finally feel it, I am here now!

I picked up my red suitcase from the belt and pulled down my little brown case and walked out to give a tight hug to a few of my best friends who were eagerly waiting on the other side to receive me….It was a lovely moment to make up those 5000 miles just to get here, somewhere beyond those thousand miles lies a warm thought that your away from the chaos of work and madness and your finally in bliss at least for just a week.

Scandinavia is ecstasy filled with colors and that’s how I would call it…. The colors, the people and the graffiti just make it one of the most revered places to me. The climate during fall is just amazing and the all you have to do is keep warm and walk away to where your heart leads to. The world is on the move and there is nothing you need to think than the list of places you want to see. Have a walk and keep discovering, that’s all you need to do.

I got a lovely Jacobson Creek white wine for the last day…. Even though I never wanted that day to come, I know it has already started as soon as I put my foot there. Well nevertheless time is an uncontrollable, unexplainable moment of events which just make up a big part of our little sweet lives and there is nothing better than filing those best of moments into a piece of your memory and labeling them as the best to be. I placed the wine in the center of the table to remind that all of life’s best moments have to be celebrated and rejoiced, for who are here with you now, might not be there tomorrow and to picture a moment of that celebration is one of the best things life can award you with.

One week is all what I have in front of me and this one week is all what I want - Eat, Love and Travel is all what I think I should do.....

To Eat:

“There are times I stood there watching the kitchen table dreaming of what to do and I run across to the side window and look down the empty street for 10 flat minutes and I know exactly what to do”

I am not great in cooking, but I love to do what I have learnt, I know it’s not always the best, but its all about what you want to do and most of all for who it is….. All those mix of spices and colors and taste’s mean so much when you know that at the end there is a lovely smile pending as you look at people’s lips tasting what you have done.. The best of life comes as a part of eating food and when you learn it best, it always works wonders in life. As far as I know, there isn’t a moment a lovely food has spoilt a soul…… Before I traveled I didn’t even know how to boil water. I was that ignorant. After months on the road and living alone for a long time I became an avid chef aficionado. Whatever you can imagine, I can cook it or at-least learn to cook it. Maybe not that much… But I certainly learned to love the arts of cooking and have learnt to produce the best dishes travelers around will find. It’s become so essential to me that sometimes I don’t even mind travelling with a Spices Kit, eh.

And learning to cook goes beyond the pleasure of a good meal. It’s an opportunity to relax, socialize and share a moment with your new friends. Its good vibe and I wish everyone embarking on a trip to do it for yourself and your loved ones.

To Love:

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn your whole life around, so go ahead and find that person who will love you because of your differences and in that search you have found something truly beautiful for yourself"

From the time I boarded the flight, the resonance of love has been moving me ever since. A full week of sharing love, doing things I have never done before and most of all earning the love out of people who have never been a part of my life before.

Just like in the heart of an atom lies an enormous power, which if allowed to explode can destroy everything around it, similarly, there exist moments in our lives, which if allowed to come to surface and open up, have the incredible power to demolish all the emotional blockages, that we take years to build, in order to keep our sorrows, hurts and suffering of our pasts locked up inside us. We lock them up so that we can survive and go on with our “normal” lives.
The lives that other people see us living. But only we know, that how other people perceive our lives to be, is not how our lives are. There is always an undercurrent of life that we live, along with a life that we live on the surface.

People say that you can only love once in your life. They say that you can never forget your first love or your last love. I say that there is no first or second or last love. There is only love and we love the people we are supposed to love when it’s their time to show up in our lives. You won’t be able to stop that feeling of love for someone when it is time for you to love him or her. Reasons don’t matter in the affairs of the hearts. Hearts come with a reasoning of their own.
And every love that you experience is different and yet the same. Each love leaves you with something immortal, eternal and changes you in an unchangeable way. And listen to me when I say this; If you have loved someone, and that has not changed your life for good, you have never really loved”. To find out that your long gone away from that city, and to still pondering on how every little piece of the house, still holds strong a piece of you and keeps reminding the one you love, that someway or the other you still belong where they most want you to be…..
That is the unchallengeable power of love.

To Travel:

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”

I scribbled these lines watching out the early morning sky from the window of a Boeing Business Jet soaring on top of Warsaw, Poland.

Deep in my mind, I can still listen to all the travelers who are chatting around me; their usual conversations about where they came from and where they’re going next. Miles down below, the Earth is still rolling and the world is moving as it should be in paces of its own.

In many ways this is an idyllic scene, but to be honest, hours before leaving Scandinavia I was feeling a bit heavy and jaded about travelling back to the world of chaos where I sit and work. But sometimes when you’re on the road too long the spark of newness fades, and travel can feel like a long, pointless slog, a detour from loved ones and from life.

Then I started writing below what I learnt from my travels. Some made me laugh. Some made me wince.

But all of them rang true, and reminded me of why I travel: to learn and grow, to challenge myself, stretch my limits and foster an appreciation of both the world at large and the chair waiting in front of the woodstove back home.

  •          I’ve learned how to thank in languages
  •          I don’t mind getting dirty.
  •         I have met several travelers who have inspired me to go further and see more.
  •          I appreciate what it means to have a home.
  •          I recycle more.
  •          I drink tap water knowing many people around the world can’t.
  •          I know how to do laundry by hand.
  •          I’ve proven I can hike high altitudes.
  •          I notice the colors of the world.
  •          I appreciate the need to take a day off.
  •          I’ve been able to do what I love (write) …
  •          I look for challenges.
  •          I listen to more foreign music than any of my sedentary friends.
  •          I’m more aware of hidden fees.
  •          It makes me realize how small the world really was and depresses me to think of those who will probably never leave it to go and see the rest.
  •          I seek out world news and think about what it means in my life and in the big picture.
  •          When I was younger, I used to think, “I wish I had her/his life.” Now people say to me, “I wish I had your life.”
  •          I scour maps over breakfast.
  •          I think about how my actions affect the planet.
  •      It’s not uncommon for me to have interactions with people on three or four continents in a single day.
  •          I appreciate a long hot shower …
  •          … and home-cooked meals …
  •          … and a comfortable bed more than I ever did before I started traveling.
  •          I now have some understanding of history, which completely confused me as a kid.
  •       I’ve made some of my closest friends through traveling and writing in the travel industry.
  •          I think about ethics.
  •          I watch more foreign movies.
  •          I have a bucket list that includes countries beyond Europe.
  •          I’ve learnt to fall in love with the World Map.
  •          I’ve finally understood that “To Travel is to Live”!!!

I could see lights from a distant view and the flight was making a steep decent when the pilot voiced up saying “Dear Passengers, in a few minutes we’d be landing in Dubai International Terminal, the local time is 12:24pm and the weather is a lovely 24`celcius… We hope you had a pleasant flight and we look forward to seeing you soon in one of our flights” I looked down and I could see the lovely lights streaming out of Dubai.

 This Globetrekker’s journey never ends; the next stop who knows, may be “The Amazons or may be New Zealand”!

Recalling the lovely lines from Eat, Love n Pray - In the end, I've come to believe in something I call "The Physics of the Quest." A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. And the rule goes something like this: If you're brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you. You will eventually get what you want and will be where you belong…. Eat – Love - Travel

God Bless all of you..... 
Up in the Air :) - Leaving Scandinavia 


IB7 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smitha said…
Dear Vasanth,

The book u mention m guessing is "Eat, pray' love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. The title probabaly ahs missed ur attention.

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