Wherever you go, becomes a part of you somehow. The destination is no longer a place, instead it's a new way to see things and tests our basic instinct for survival in a complex world.
It's been challenging for me to express what this part of my life has been like and I can only sum it up with the word "Journey," for there is never a journey that doesn't change you.
There have been many times that I've felt insignificant amongst the constant chaos of the streets, powerless in front of the humbling poverty of people, useless in understanding what exactly I'm searching for on the road and simply lost in accomplishing what I thought I was set out to do.
Since I've had more time than ever before for reflection, I decided to share some of those thoughts & conversations that I've been meditating on for the year overseas.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE WORLD THAT MAKES US FEEL LOST?
Is it our imagination that leaves us wondering about the different realities that we are inexperienced with OR is it our ambition that pushes us to see the world in all its beauty and suffering
OR perhaps it’s through travelling the world that we truly learn who we are and then by continuing to wander the world we truly learn how to co-exist with one another as better humans.
Whatever the reason or purpose may be, being lost in the world will change you forever.
A TRAVELER SEES WHAT THEY SEE
It's hard to imagine that I've been on the road for six months chasing the life long dream of making the world my home.
Well how exactly can six months on the road measure up?
I've slept on hard floors and cozy homes from one coast of India to next in order to learn and appreciate the story of my family's heritage and roots.
Some nights of mine were sleepless, where I would reminisce the about home and friends I left behind in order to chase this crazy dream of mine.
But there were more countless nights that had turned to mornings, where I toasted to life with great friends both new and old along the road in the Asian continent,
I've prioritized my time to learn about people, culture, heritage and issues in order to create more meaningfully as a storyteller and an artist who is making his mark internationally.
As a photographer I made more conversations than captures and learn the art of being present by making the switching from digital to film during part of my tour.
There was early mornings wake ups that reminded me how beautiful life truly is, from seeing the sunrise across one of the great world wonders in Siemp Reap, Cambodia to attempting to run up an 11km mountain road in Chiang Mai, Thailand just because the locals said it was good luck to do so.
I've gained more heart in my hustle by finding focus & waking up daily to spend hours training mixed martial arts from Fitness Fight Club in Bangalore to Elite Fight Club in Bangkok
I got stuck in transit for a month in Thailand waiting for a return visa to India only to come out with a new business partnership that would help to continue building my vision for Hard Knock Leadership.
For me my journey has been dotted with movements, memories and lessons that will forever define the way I choose to live my life.
We can only measure a journey of a thousand miles by each single step that we take to live differently
WHAT IS ABOUT TRAVEL TAKE MAKES US WANT TO WANDER MORE?
From the moment that I began my journey at the start of this year, I felt that returning back to settle down in the home I knew would no longer be an option for me. Once I opened my eyes to the world I could no longer turn a blind eye to the humanity that it holds.
After a month of living in Bangkok, Thailand and splurging quite a bit in the comforts of the city of angels, I returned back to the hot summer streets of Chennai, India.
I'm mentally burnt from the months on the road so I spent three evenings running over 12k with my older cousin through the chaotic Indian streets. Dodging both moving crowds and vehicles, we navigated the concrete coastline of Southern Chennai. Running through the a smog ingested city is not paradise for runners but for me the chaos is a reality for the world that we have created.
We would pass a number landmarks that my cousin would identify as milestones; the fish market and its mongers selling the last of their catch as their children play amongst the crates with self made toys, the low rises under construction with temporary labourers who work and live with their entire families on these sites for food and shelter. Each corner turned was the story of humanity waiting to be heard.
We ran towards the marina overlooking the Indian Ocean, allowing the sea breeze to blow against us as a form of resistance training. A stretch of the city that seems to be slowed down by the joy of lovers, children and families who are taking a break to find their peace of mind.
We slow down to trek past a village that dots the Southern Chennai shoreline and stop by to visit one of the fishing families who we have become close friends with.
The mother smiles at attempts to speak tamil and helps us quench our thirst with some water. Her husband pounds my fist as a greeting as his three young sons joke around playfully with my cousin.
This is a family whom just earlier that day provided us with some of their freshest catch, a family that welcomes us into their hut daily to feed us some freshly fried fish, a family who only knows life by the sea.
I saw their sons much younger & snapped their picture many years ago, it was a relationship I first made in 2009 but despite the years apart the love is still very much the same.
As we parted ways to cover the rest of our run I took a moment to pause. My eyes got lost in the wasteland of nets and boats that powers the economy of Chennai's fishing villages and I realized
Here is life, here is reality in all its complexity and beauty and here I am with the ability to experience and share this reality with the rest of the world.
WILL YOU TRAVEL FAR ENOUGH TO MEET YOURSELF?
I may consider myself more of a journeyer who travels with purpose and can see the world that exists rather than a tourist who sees the world he expects to see. I want to have an impact in the world as much as the world has had an impact on me
This has been one of the longest journeys on the road that I've taken and it has strengthened the principles and values that carries me today as a hard knock leader.
The fact that I rather live in a place than just visit is a defining factor for the type of traveler I would like to be. Even if I have to return back to place many times over, building a relationship with the people and place has become more important to me that just seeing the sites are listed on the tourist route.
It's not the road for everyone but I have chosen this as the road for me.
The question that now remains, what is the road for you?
Well whatever the road may be and wherever it may take you, I ask that you...
travel far enough to see the world but also allow the world change you..
Get lost in the beauty and struggle of the world and it will make you appreciate life a little more.
Make the most out of circumstances that challenge you by making your time count
Look back at where you have come from and realize that movement makes you more stronger and adaptable to the chaos that the world commands.
Become humbled by the world experiences you encounter and very often it will impact your life's message.
Chase the inspiration that continues to fuel you and you will surround yourself with the people that move you to make greatness happen.
So let your journey be your catalyst,
Let the world be you canvas,
Let movement free your soul,
AND one day perhaps we shall share our stories with the whole wide world.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
A year ago I decided to slowly start stepping away from the reality I knew in Canada to begin a new journey. Today I am miles away from where I first started, knowing that this journey is nowhere close to being done.
I asked myself if I was willing to choose a life where I could do more on my own to build a better foundation not just for me but for the communities I surrounded myself with & then took the dive.
This post was created as a travel writing piece and reflection to put into words what the last six months on the road has felt like to me before coming home for a summer in Toronto.
Leave a comment below & share if you believe someone else would like to read this
Photo Credits goes to my Canadian creative partner in Bangkok - Rod Tasaka of Surface Collective
Photo edits & writing by @thekidsid