1st July 2015 – Mamallapuram, India
The memories will remain etched for ever
Of a year that went by in poetry and pics.
But its not the places that will spring to mind.
Its only – and always – the people who will stick.
I thought this day would never come, but it’s day 365 today!
Its been 35 countries (and Kosovo), spread across 3 different continents. With 21 international flights, 23 international border crossings by land and couchsurfing in 20 countries. Riding a motorbike through 12000 km of the indian subcontinent, including the cold Himalayan roads of Nepal and Bhutan. And still riding one as I end the project, with 1400 KM of road and the dreaded August monsoons remaining between me and my home in Kerala.
Saw gold souks in Dubai, an eccentric billionaire’s private museum in Qatar, anti-stripshows in Bhutan, musical houses in Dresden, Pyramids in Albania, a pink city in india, blue mosques in Turkey, and white sandy beaches in Maldives. Clicked the love bridge in Paris before the locks were taken off, and feasted on the beauty of Nepal before a devastating earthquake played havoc with it. Drank kava with the Vanuatuans, Raki with the Turkish, Rakia with the Serbs, trappist beers with the Belgians. Got high in Unawatuna, and hungover in Darjeeling. Ate smuggled eggs in Pushkar and slept next to hookers in a shady Istanbul dorm.
Celebrated 3 new-year days in a year (Malayalam, Gregorian and Iranian calendars) in Kerala, Srilanka, and Warsaw respectively. Watched an Indian festival in Bucharest, spent valentines day between 2 continents in Turkey and my birthday next to the Taj mahal. Randomly bumped into the Bulgarian tourism minister in Sofia, the stilt fishermen of Srilanka and Kurdish demonstrators in Vienna. Hobnobbed with CEOs in Riga, yet found no problems hanging out with the hare krishnas in Estonia or sleeping in a village without electricity in Fiji.
There were the good times, the bad times, and sometimes the darndest ugly times. Was bitten by leeches in Belgaum. Was refused by Bahrain, Bangladesh and Georgia for a visa. Was refused by nature and landslides to get to Andorra. Was stranded in Kashmir in the midst of the worst flood the region has seen. Got racially profiled in Monaco and Bucharest. Got the Delhi belly. Became a spectator to a horrible accident in Kolkata, ending with somebody else’s blood all over my tshirt and unsure of the lives of 2 young girls, whose faces haunted me for days. Watched the cycle of life and death in Varanasi. Got interviewed by newspapers in India and Estonia, and even earned the title of being one of India’s top-photobloggers. Got driven around by random strangers, and was allowed by folks to sleep in their houses, despite their absence. Restored my faith in humanity. Kissed under the Eiffel tower, held hands under the Hagia Sofia, and cuddled by the sweet sounds of the Maldivian waves. Yet, when I found love, I lost it. And did it again.
I lived and travelled a whole year and documented every single day of it in pictures, prose and verse. Did I enjoy it? Hell, yes! But you know what I enjoyed more? It was your company! All of you amazing souls who I met on the roads. How can I thank you enough for being part of an amazing year? By simply making a blanket statement that wherever in the world I end up after this, I owe you a spot in my house.
Peace, love, hugs and kisses. I am going to get myself some rest now!
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