3780 Kilometers Of Introspection, Contemplation & Appreciation
Three states, two wheels, one goal and innumerable memories.
We’re back with another story! If the weather’s good, you’ll definitely feel like going for a walk after this.
A Story For You
I’m in the company of a cloth stand, a crackling fan that’s responsible for the flapping of the chipped-off paint on the wall and a flickering lamp light that’s barely going to make it till the end of the week, as I write this. The present, however, eludes me. Ever since the breeze that escaped the harsh monsoon rains, brushed against my cheek, I’ve been nostalgic—I’m reminiscent of the 3780 kilometers of purity and vulnerability, of solitude, and of an incessant drive that led to me discover some things I knew all along.
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It took me 3780 kilometers to understand the significance of the words my parents once enlightened me with. “You need to break it down,” they said. Break your journeys, goals, ambitions down to small denominations. Build checkpoints—start with 100 meter jogs in your quest to complete a 100 kilometer marathon. Increasing your checkpoints makes the goal smaller, and always believe the start is going to be slow. Motivation doesn’t last… the sense of achievement at every step significantly compounds over time and you’re left with triumph at the end of it all. Increasing your reliance on short boosts of motivation is actually more helpful than waking up feeling like there’s still a long way to go. 3780 kilometers seemed like a lot when I first started out. It really wasn’t.
It took me 3780 kilometers of contemplation to understand gratitude. Looking up at the mountains that somehow mocked my tiny existence as I meandered through the curves humankind once built to navigate their way, I was grateful to have been born in a family with innately beautiful souls… grateful that the presence of my forefathers had passed down to my immediate elders who made sure they protected me. They clothed me, fed me, loved and cared for me. And in the short stint of growing up and realizing that a certain world existed outside, I’d forgotten, for a second, that the people who brought me to this world, were still waiting for me. It made me realize how fickle life was—that the number of years we have, we spend on questions like, “How am I ever going to make my place here?” when it’s already answered for you by the people around.
It took me 3780 kilometers of introspection to comprehend the true value of things. There’s a certain joy in witnessing the first rays of sunshine as you ride on clear roads, having strained your eyes through obstructing fog. You tend to value the warmth of a woman serving you a cup of tea at the end of long and empty winding roads, hugging and sprawling through mountains. You tend to seek comfort in the clear skies after the unforgiving rain pelts down, as you blast through the wind and water at 100 kilometers an hour. You’re reassured in the safety of your journey as you cruise past strangers waving at you; and you’re humbled as you share your stories with locals who can barely understand a word you’re saying because of your thick urban accent. They’ll laugh with you and gasp at the right time to make sure your excitement doesn’t fade away, but it’s only out of courtesy that they don’t mention having seen the world more than you. They will wave you goodbye as if they’ve known you for years and they will offer you more than just the goods and wares they sell.
It took me 3780 kilometers of straight roads and hairpin turns to appreciate change. Bone dry to sweating like a pig, no problem. Belly-happy beer to delicate but surprisingly tasty homemade wine, bring it on. Meeting a few friends along the way to being taken out for dinner by complete strangers, hallelujah! Somewhere, change truly had become the only constant in my life. There was one true constant, however. At 8000 RPMs, 120 kilometers an hour, you’re drowned in the noise of the wind, that eventually turns into a calming hum, and the repetitive thumping of your engine against your thigh. They’re somehow related but I couldn't never figure out how.
At that speed, enveloped by what’s around you, you’re taken aback by a 13-year-old you, smiling and waving frantically at a 24-year-old you. Smiling in pride and in joy. Smiling, because you haven’t let him go yet. Smiling, because you let him come along on this journey; because maybe if it weren’t for him, you wouldn’t have begun anyway.
It took me 3780 kilometers to fathom the fact that some things don’t need to make sense.
“Are you crazy!?”
“Why don’t you take the bus, train or flight for God’s sake?
“What’s so fascinating about being on two wheels for such a long journey?”
“Wait, what? ALONE?”
It didn’t really have to make sense. You know what else doesn’t have to make sense? “Ambition, goals, making it big in life!” Because you may not. You strive for greatness, dream to be the face on the front page of newspapers and online articles. Some die in the process of living unsatisfied while others make it. Live with the fact that many don’t. You may not be famous or you may not be the greatest. But none of those things matter as long as you’re happy. You might find happiness in using your resources to do something good. To do an act of kindness for someone who’s suffering. To mend a broken heart with a smile. To be the guiding hand for a lost soul. Focus on what you want as long as you’re grateful for what you already have.
It took me 3780 kilometers to understand that it takes only an unprecedented fall, a wrong turn or a tiny puncture to ruin just about everything you set out to do. And that it’s as easy to fix the small things as it was for them to ruin your plans.
A Story From You
We’re all wanderers. I’m different when I’m traveling. The feeling is unlike anything I’ve experienced when I’m back home, sticking to the routine and being part of the grind in the hopes of making it.
Who do you become when you’re traveling? Are you someone who loves spending time in their hotel or are you on for constantly experiencing something new?
See ya in the next one,