Friday, 6 June 2014

Wild or messed up? – A look back into life after wanderlust happened

Written by Prachi Shrivastava

When I turned 25 in August last year I promised myself a five-year life plan to “play the big hand” without bogging myself down with aims for the “winnings” I collect or “losses” I make out of said hand. I resolved to go for the kill in every possible way and live life queen size without worrying about the actual “queenly” possessions I amass in the process.

And boom exactly two weeks later the universe picked me up and dropped me at the smoothest gateway to accomplish this life plan. Out of the blue I was put on a hike through a strange jungle, in the company of chronic wanderers, and the universe said: “Here child, I give you one ground to learn how to go for the kill. Go fulfil your resolve!”

I was gifted the jungle and I was gifted the company of the chronic wanderer and today, a little over nine months and countless literal “into the wild” excursions later, my heart has been cut open to receive risks and unseen possibilities like never before.

Through several beautiful yet painful scars on my heart, mind and body from these last few months I have learnt important lessons of spontaneity, adaptability and letting go. But the most important lesson of all that I have learnt is to honour myself before honouring those who teach me new lessons.

In the wanderers I met since August I befriended, loved and shared intimate and exclusive corners of life with a certain species of living organism which likes to call itself the “Not a tourist but a traveller and an explorer” (NTTE). By repeatedly throwing ourselves into the wild, I believe, we gradually become the wild. Now since the NTTE and I both pride ourselves on this innate “wildness”, it was but natural that I very quickly grew an inspired awe for the NTTE and felt a deep connection to the NTTE.

Consequent to this deep connect with the NTTE I learnt new ways of life, and consequent to getting to observe the NTTE so closely I learnt how much I value certain age-old things about myself.

The NTTE has a remarkable ability to “move on”. I have a remarkable ability to “add on”. While NTTE men and women shed friendships and relationships like snakeskin as they move ahead in life, my life is one big never ending Ferris Wheel where the party keeps on growing in size! I have learnt from the NTTE how to bid adieu with a smile instead of blood tears, but I have also learnt how much I value “deep attachments” moving on the highway to “deeper”.

In my travels, I collect souvenirs, and bring them back and decorate my home and hearth with them and carry them with me in suitcases to new homes, where I again take them out and decorate them and watch them rust beautifully, lovingly adoring their age.

The NTTE implores me to “think less” and “question less” in life. I am impressed by the number of places thinking less takes him or her to, and the variety of things questioning less has helped him or her try. Sometimes shutting my eyelids and numbing my brain to looming questions has helped me let go and experiment, even when there was no hand to hold in case I fell.

However, I’ve learnt that in seeking the truth experiments are only the allergens that help uncover the most optimal atmosphere required for us to survive. It is not the mountain peak which changed my life. It was my perception of the climb up that mountain that I carried home.

Also had I not deployed my “habit of thinking and questioning” to understand a different kind of intellect, the NTTE and I would never have become friends in the first place! Travel has taught me to open my heart and mind to different tribes’ ideologies, instead of just sticking to my own.

I think therefore I am.

The NTTE is brazen about his or her sexual pleasures, I, on the other hand, am brazen about wearing my heart on my sleeve! To the NTTE, nights of passion are possible keeping one’s flow of emotions gated and restrained. I applaud the NTTE for unapologetically connecting purely from the body with people who watch the moon from the other side of the planet. But I contrast this with my own bravado to take an emotional chance on people who watch the moon from the other side, and I give myself a pat on the back.

I trust, and I trust again, and I paint and I paint a beautiful picture again, of that scenery which shook me and scarred me and almost demolished me – because I am wild enough to!

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too.Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 
.... Terry Pratchett

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