I tend to ask myself that a lot after travelling somewhere. I’m currently in the flight back to Stockholm via Frankfurt. Flying and travelling always puts me in a state of reflection. Why do we travellers always have to have more journeys planned ahead when the last one isn’t even finished? I question whether I really am travelling because I want to explore and see the world, or if I’m escaping something. I would like the answer to be simple and clear and that I’m just looking to expand my horizons, by seeing more than just what I call my home. If we (travellers) really dig deep inside ourselves I believe there might be a reason for all the searching for answers. But I still don’t know the question.
I wonder if it all comes back to soul searching activities. Everyone handles the questions differently and we all have different means to explore the answers. Some people are expressing it through art; whether it be painting, music or writing, they’re all good ways to expressing our inner core of emotions. The emotions that we don’t let anyone see or come near. My favourite way of unraveling my soul matters is to write. Writing poems, long complex outlines, blog posts and journals.
I have gathered some pictures of different types of food we had in India throughout our trip. Everything, everywhere we went, was absolutely amazing and delicious. I don’t think I ate anything not worth it ever during the whole trip. Of course I have loads of more pictures of food, but I didn’t want it to take over the whole post so here’s a bunch of my favourites. Hope you enjoy and that you’ll be interested in making a food trip to India sometime soon!
Peace and Love,
Aja in Chandigarh, Punjab, India
Radisson Dwarka, Delhi, India
Leopolds, Mumbai, India
Chocolatti café, Candolim Goa
Chocolatti café, Candolim Goa
Bombay. Mumbai. Whatever you’d like to call it, this great urban city of India that Bollywood calls its home. So much diversity and so many nationalities in the same city, living under the same rules – freedom. There’s a sense of freedom in India which cannot be found elsewhere, you can do as you please, come as you go and just mind your own business – there’s no problem. Anything is do-able in India. If you have plenty of time and patience. Don’t rush it and things will fall into place – eventually.
I will be travelling down to Bombay by air from North India, and it’s amazing how you only get to half of the country in 2½ hours with flight. It’s the same distance as Stockholm to London, it’s incredible how large this country is. When we get to Bombay (which is what I still call the city most of the times despite the name change back to Mumbai) we’re checking into a hotel near the airport to freshen up and get some rest. We’ll be doing some shopping in the city the first evening in Bombay and then just take it easy because of all the travelling. The next day is planned for sightseeing and local shopping, and hopefully to meet a dear friend of mine.
I want to capture and take in the whole experience of being in Bombay for the first time. Travelling with someone who’s never been to India is also very special, you get to show what you’ve been accustomed to since childhood and also see it through their eyes. How do they look at the surroundings? What do they think of the mad traffic and driving on the “other side”? What are their first impressions when coming out of the airport? The smell, the people and the rush. Either you love it or you dislike it, that’s what I believe. Either you’ll love India and it’s randomness and the need of being present all the time, or you’ll be fed up in no time if you haven’t got the patience. If you remain open throughout the whole experience you will probably love it.
What would you think when you see the huge gaps between the rich and the poor? How do you react to the people begging openly in the streets? This is the whole experience and not just go to the tourist places and turn back to Europe after the vacation is finished. When you’re here, you need to see the whole 360 of what India has to offer you. From the 5 star hotel restaurants to the roadside dhaba’s, from the fancy and exclusive shopping malls to the local crowded markets, from a private taxi to a rickshaw or a 3-wheeler. Then you’re able to judge it with real open eyes, without judgement and without fear.
Peace and Love,
It's been very inspiring to read other people's promises and goals to accomplish during the next coming year. I want to take a moment and document at least some of the things I would like to do and complete during the year of 2017. Without goals and something to look forward to it's easy to just get stuck in a wheel of the same mundane things.
(The list is not ordered chronologically.)
- Travel. A weekend in Berlin, London and Scotland is already on my list for short 3-4 day trips. Other trips will be planned depending on plans and/or business plans and vacations.
- Vipassana meditation. I really hope that I will be able to complete a Vipassana during a trip to India or in Sweden. I believe it might be more possible with India since I can go during next winter. I don't think there will be time for that during summer in Sweden; and I want to have good weather when I go to the Vipassana centre. I'd rather have that experience alone but I'll ask a friend or two if they want to join. Share the experience.
- Writing my book. I have had a long break from my book writing due to personal reasons. I need to reevaluate my story direction and almost start over my writing, unfortunately. I will make a plan for the book during my current India trip now in December 2016.
- Meditate daily. I know I've been having this on my list for ages, and it comes back every now and then, but it's crucial for my mental health to wind down and be peaceful on the inside.
- Exercise 2-3 times a week. Yoga, Pilates and weight training.
- Improve my stamina by starting to jog. Apply for a 5km run with a friend to have as a goal.
- Practice to be more mindful.
- Watch Darren Hayes' musical in London or somewhere in Europe whenever he is finished with it.
- See the one-man-band Assemblage 23 live for the first time (of many). Waited for around 8-9 years. Those lyrics he writes are some of the best in the genre of futurepop/EBM.
- Practice riding a bike and become more confident again. It's been years since I knew how to, and I guess you never really forget, I just need to be good at driving it in traffic as well.
- I don't plan on taking my driver's license during 2017, but I plan on practicing driving again and be more confident in traffic. I knew how to 2-3 years ago but that was before my laser eye surgery. Now I need to spend weekends every now and then to just get into the routine and then eventually when it's in my priority I will apply for and take the license.
What's your bucket list for 2017? Share and link to yours below so we can all take part and be inspired.
Peace and love,
My heart is pounding hard
Hands are reaching out for more
It’s never been so difficult
To breathe in this familiar air
I’ve been gone for too long
This place is no longer mine
My memory is failing me
Falling deeper and deeper
Into this well of clouds
Wandering about endlessly
Always looking for something
To capture my heart
Always looking for a hit
To preserve my sanity
Walking amongst the bouncy clouds
The endless clear blue sky
Tip toeing through it all
The only thing driving me is,
Salty tears falling from above
Peace and Love,
I have always been a very reflective person who needs to slow down my everyday life to just think and meditate to be at peace. If I don’t get to have a moment to myself and have my space to reflect I feel uneasy and get anxiety very easily. It’s easy to just get caught in the daily chaos and forget to wind down and just take a deep breathe. I always get to remind myself of what is really important when I’m travelling or get a moment like that totally alone. Alone, yet surrounded by people all around me. Everyone in the same situation. So next time you’re travelling, plan ahead, find a special tune or song to listen to and just listen inwards. Take a deep breathe and just relax. Think about your blessings and count them. Think about the people you love and how much they mean to you. I like to daydream a lot (hello, I’m a Pisces) so I take the moment to think about nice memories or nice future memories that I’d like to come true. Thinking about how to achieve my dreams. All while having that special song in your headphones.
My airplane music is called Endless Skies by my favourite band in the whole world, VNV Nation.
That song is not a very typical representation of their sound, they’re more towards the industrial synth sound.
Let’s listen to this now, meditate and reflect on life:
What’s your airplane music?
Peace and Love,
My relationship with my native country India has been up and down throughout the years. Since I’m born and raised in one of the most opposite countries to India, culture wise, that is Sweden, one can say it’s been the major reason for my very mixed cultural experience. While sitting in the flight back home, via Turkey, I’ve had my fair amount of reflection time, as I usually do while travelling places. Growing up it was a natural milestone to travel to India every other year to visit family and relatives; my parents wanted us to get a glimpse of India and our heritage from an early age. When growing up and being a teenager I found it particularly hard to motivate myself to travel there again and again. Relatives moved far away from India and soon everything I had associated with the trips would no longer be awaiting us, and perhaps it was my way of not wanting to accept change, but I briefly lost interest in India overall throughout those years.
This summer I’ve had a rewarding and thought provoking trip to India where I’ve reached a whole new level of my relationship to India, in a very positive way. Of course these kind of thoughts don’t come over night, it’s been an ongoing process mentally over the past few years, embracing my heritage and being a Swede with Indian roots. I am more than ever interested in Indian languages and regret not going from learning Punjabi to knowing Hindi at a more earlier age, so that I could be fluent while travelling all over beautiful India. I’ve come to terms with accepting the country for what it truly is; a great independant nation with all kinds of people, religions and cultures gathered in a country as big and wide as a continent. I can see the beauty in what I see out in the streets of the captal, New Delhi, or just as well travelling between cities and seeing agriculture, old houses and slums being side by side with 5-star fancy exclusive hotel chains. Watching how people help out each other in the streets while parking your car in the most narrow street with all kinds of difficult obstacles you wouldn’t cope on your own, or just simply reaching out for each other despite being strangers. Walking side by side with the lowest ranked citizens of India’s caste system, while on the other side seeing people unbelievably wealthy. Everyone has a place in this giant naton called India, despite all injustices that exist. I just wish I could do more for the poor people, I want to save them all from this horrible poverty. By travelling to a country like India, you can’t help but to involve all your senses and emotions, even the ones you thought you have forgotten about in comfortable and safe Sweden/Scandinavia, they all become alive and floods through your system and it makes you more compassionate. You embrace the world with all its flaws and don’t just take your calm good life for granted when you get home. The important thing after all is that these emotions and thoughts don’t stop or shut down just because you travel home. I will forever be grateful to my family for introducing me to my heritage and home country so I can in turn make my future children know where they came from and also feel this sense of pride that I finally can say that I do.