Home is a beautiful place. After being on the go constantly, it’s nice to be able to call a place home. As with most things, after being away from it, you realize its true value. As soon as you land into your city , you feel the pouring in of unconditional support and love from every direction.
Being on the road is great, the meeting of new people and characters from around the world who really gel with your personality and are synced to your soul; but home is where you meet the people who know you and have known you and have respected your choices and your journey and have stood by your side encouraging you along the way. They’re the ones who respect your individuality and urge you to seek where it leads you to. They’re the people who listen to your stories attentively and whose eyes light up with excitement with every twist to your tales. They’re also the ones who believe in you and remind you of your potential and urge you along the way when the end is so very far away. I could not have come as far as I have without all of you. Please know that you are a very big part of my story and I am so grateful for this.
You see me in a certain light.. adventurous and brave , but I am as adventurous and brave as you make me. “When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.”
Fatim Chachi, I have to give you a special shoutout for always listening to my stories, pushing me along the way, reading my blogs and being such a great supporter. To my family, my friends, your support is so Very Appreciated. I’m pretty blessed. Thank you
” Set your life on fire, seek those who fan your flames.” – Rumi
Sometimes, pictures say more than I can.
These are taken off the coast in a place called Cinque Terre in Italy. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Venice, Rome and Florence are historical but touristic. Cinque, a bit less touristic and more so nature- orientated.
Hikes along the water, sitting on ledges overlooking the Ocean, grabbing some bread and cheese from a local supermarket and meeting people from around the world.
One of the greatest fears people encounter when traveling, especially solo, is the fear of being alone. There is a certain discomfort that comes with being without those who we generally surround ourselves with. We are suddenly “alone.” However ,over the past three years, I have come to realize that this fear is largely unfounded. Somehow , you are never really alone. A lot of the time you are caught by people’s humanity.
You will find that even though you do not have your loved ones by your side ; help will be there if you need it. There is a greater force out there looking out for you.I traveled to Tanzania two years ago, completely alone, and not really knowing anyone in the country. Yet over a span of a few months, the people in Tanzania became my family and to this day, I still consider them my family.I joined up with a travel group last year in April where most of them came from the UK and now some of them are now my closest friends.
More often than not, friendship and kindness will come from those you never expected it from and it WILL amaze you …if you take the time to reflect. Sometimes they will simply enter your life and leave – in a random act of kindness and sometimes they’ll stay to go on to be your friends. It reminds me of something that happened to me in Toronto at a bus stop. I was about two minutes early for my bus..so I inserted my debit card into the machine only to realize that machine was broken. So I ran over to the next machine ..almost tripping over myself and had that machine reject my card. I scavenged into my wallet for some change but didn’t have the $3.50 I needed..my bus had come in by now and looked like it was about to leave. I ran towards the first machine again hoping I had misread something or inserted my card wrong and then a random man came up to me before I inserted my card and asked if I needed a ticket because he had caught a ride with someone. I was speechless. I thanked him and somehow caught my bus. I don’t know if he saw me running around like a headless chicken or if it was just some awesome stroke of fate. I didn’t put too much thought into it but sat amazed for the entire day at how there is a force out there taking care of us.
I’ve been really blessed, to be honest. On Every trip I’ve made over the last two years ; I’ve made amazing friends who I believe could be life-long friends. People that you meet in different countries are , at the end of the day, people. When you do not have your friends or family close by ; you will, more often than not, find similar kindness in strangers who may then go on to become your friends.
Obviously, one needs to also keep ones wits about them and be alert when in a new country. It is really important to be cautious when traveling alone yet what I am trying to say is that there is goodness out there. There are people who will smile and be kind. I won’t deny that it a bit difficult being in a new place sometimes. Generally the first few nights are sometimes challenging as you are getting accustomed to a new place. But in good time: you will be amazed by the strength of your own human spirit ( it is not easy to throw yourself into the unknown); empathize with those who are in a similar situation ; have overcome one more fear; made new friends hopefully and you will be enriched by yet another life experience.
I am a believer in Karma so do some good and hopefully you will receive good. Be a friend and you will gain a friend.
Another year gone by. There is so much that happens in a year yet in a way it is all the same. The highs, the lows and the inbetweens. Our moments of triumphs, our moments of despair and our moments of indifference. Each moment adding up to seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and then our year.
It reminds me again of the mountain. Our goals being the mountain tops, yet in life there is not just one mountain top but many because every ceiling becomes a floor once it is reached. As we struggle day in and day out; we keep sight of our goals. We seek it out in the middle of the night under the moon. We wake up at dawn to take a glimpse before the fear and pain set in. Our guides up the mountain are our friends and family who pull us through when we are not strong enough. They can lighten the load but we are left to walk the path ourselves. We know where we want to go but we don’t know the paths we might need to take to get there. Despite the difficulties, at the end of the day there shall be triumph – either we will gain what we wanted or learn patience and gain something else.
There will be moments where we will be able to fly but we are not expected to fly all the time -otherwise we would have been born with wings. When the springboard appears – take your leap and when it’s not there – you are not weak- you are normal.
To all those who have followed me – through the last year and a half – and all those reading this – Thank You for following this journey,our journey. It started off as an external trip of travel and mystery but ended up with an inner change – a discovery from within.
I wish you all so much – I wish you the world and more.I hope you find the courage inside you to go for your dreams, to fight fear and stare it in the eye, and friends and family and love that will pull you through when it’s too hard to stand up.
Here’s to 2013 !Happy New Year Folks!
I was talking to a friend a few days ago. She was telling me how when she meets new people she doesn’t have a lot to say in terms of life experiences. She has lived in one country for most of her life and has not gone through anything life-changing in a sense. I went on to tell her that one does not necessarily have to go through all the life-changing experiences but can also live through their friends and their experiences. Sometimes the most rewarding experiences and life-changing experiences are also the most painful.
I continued to give her examples from my life. Last year I went to Tanzania and worked there for 6 months and it was the most amazing time of my life and personally feel like it changed my life, however, I also spent some of my loneliest nights there. Sometimes I would want to work in the farms just to work myself so hard that by the time I got back to my apartment, I would just fall asleep. My mountain, Kilimanjaro, was also a milestone for me. At that moment, I did not grasp what the climb meant, even what getting to the summit meant but today I look back and it taught me so much. And even though I look back on it with so much pride, I do not forget shivering in my tent on the first night thinking this was the hardest thing I would ever do. I do not forget unwrapping that chocolate bar in the snow and watching it fall to the ground and be too tired to pick it up.
However, through everything that this year brought me , a lot of what got me through were kids. Little children from the ages of 2 -6. The point where they start talking and are developing their personalities. Not only do they watch the world in wonder, they want to share it with you. In Tanzania, whenever I felt ungrateful, I would go and spend time with the orphans. They were around these same ages. I would walk in and they would all gather around me. ( I don’t think it was “me” they were excited to see, but a person to share their love with.) Not only were they loving , they were happy and they got excited over the smallest of things and it reminds you of how you’re really suppose to be living your life. You are suppose to live it in wonder and excitement not in dread and lethargy. Kids climb ever tree they see , ride every bicycle in sight and hop on one foot and laugh for ages. They experience it all. You came feeling ungrateful, but you leave knowing that you can have fun doing the simplest of things.In Congo, I fell in love with my best friend’s little daughter, Aniqa. She was naughty but reminded me a lot of myself. She wouldn’t let me sit still if she wasn’t. If I was lying next to her, and turned around she would turn my face around to face her and insist that I had to look at her while she slept. She wasn’t afraid to express her feelings. We would sit on the trampoline and look up to the stars and name them random things. When you’re with a kid – you become one. Its the magic they have. They can make you one of them. I’m volunteering right now and I have little 5 and 6 years olds. They’re the cutest things ever. A kid wasn’t feeling well last week and I didn’t know what to do . You can’t give a kid medicine and so we called the parent. In the meantime I thought out loud to him and said ” I’m not sure what to do right now, should I give you a hug?” and he replied ” Yeah, Maybe that’ll make me feel betttewwww” It melted my heart. They’re so innocent, so loving, so caring, so straightforward, so happy and they can bring so much joy.
Anyone who is in constant contact with a kid knows the magic of a kid. With all of this being said , the Sandy Hook shootings as well as the China stabbings are a real tragedy. Every kid was magic in their house , their school , their community and every kid made people smile wherever they went. It is heartbreaking to think that this world , which sometimes lacks hope and happiness, lost 20 beautiful shining souls. They are the epitome of innocence and life. They bring smiles to all faces. My heartfelt sympathies and love go out to all those who have lost their loved ones. People from all over the world have you in their prayers.
Below is a beautiful picture taken of “Children in Pakistan lighting candles to remember the victims of the School shooting in Connecticut, U.S.A.
This one’s overdue.
In March of this year, I was in Cape Town. A couple of my friends had called me up to let me know they were going skydiving. This was something I had wanted to do for a while but the date did not fit into my schedule. I was surprised at the fact that I wasn’t antsy about it not fitting into my schedule. A weird sense of calm had overtaken me. If it was meant to be , it would be.
Funny enough, they weren’t able to go that week because of the weather conditions and had re-scheduled for the following week and had even booked me a spot. I smiled..maybe it was meant to be. They picked me up that Saturday and we drove about an hour out. Being about ten minutes away from the place – we received a phone call from them saying the weather conditions in that area were not suitable for the dive. Once again, I just looked out my window and figured : If it was meant to be – it would. My friends were pretty determined and searched up other companies close by. Sure enough, they found one half an hour further and booked our six spots.
I don’t know why but I wasn’t even scared. Before I went scuba diving, I was pretty sure I was about to die. Before I climbed Kili, I was getting serious cold feet but jumping out of a plane..just didn’t scare me and I couldn’t figure out why.
We arrived and got explained everything. I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt that said “Siyashova” on it. I had read about 3 guys who had biked from Cape Town to Cairo and figured this guy supported their cause and I asked him about it. He was actually one of the 3 who had biked from one end of Africa to the other – Mad Respect Ria!
We all got ready and I walked into the plane. It was a small plane that fit 6 people in. We flew up into the skies and had the beautiful Capetonian scenery surround us. I was totally mesmerized by it …but still no fear. Maybe, it was the fact that I was going as a tandem jump – attached to a professional. But still, I figured if the parachute doesn’t open – it doesn’t open.
Even as we forced ourselves outside the airplane , it was exhilarating – but no fear. Even when we were falling…I was watching the ground as it got closer and closer but I was not afraid. It scared me a little how calm I was about it all. I wondered what was wrong with me. But in hindsight, I think I had faith. Faith that it was going to be ok.
That day, I chose to jump out of a plane. Sometimes, we are forced to jump in life. We don’t know what awaits us a lot of the time. We scramble for a rope,for some kind of control , maybe even a constant. Yet, we are not always given that constant and scrambling for it leads to anger, resentment, and even rage. Jumping and being at peace are a difficult combination. But it is necessary. It reminds me of an Arabic term : “Tawakkul”. Roughly defined – it means having full faith in God and his plan. I’m not saying, sit and do nothing. I’m saying, try your hardest to get to where you want but sometimes things ARE out of your control. Know that you tried your best. If it is meant to be – it shall be. And if it’s not meant to be – it shall not be. Maybe something better is waiting!
When you are forced to make that jump, try and ENJOY the Freefall, however insane it may seem.