A Wanderlust Daydream

I am one distracted adult. It is 7 pm on a Thursday night and I am on the second last row in my Geology class of 60 students, fidgeting in restlessness, ready to leave for the day. Right, my legs can’t always wander, so this imaginative mind takes over for it. Somewhere in between plate tectonics and earthquakes, I found myself in a whole another train of thoughts:

With distance comes clarity. Perhaps, that’s why I love to distance myself, from myself. I travel, to the faraway, undiscovered parts of me. It’s almost shameless how I kiss my changing versions of every particular country goodbye. A new land’s sunrise sees my very gently altering personality- the one that I’d vow to give to only that land in which I wake up now, temporarily. Many have called it manipulative and many others childish, unstable and impulsive. I call it being me. A sworn nomad. If I do not selflessly give away my intricately woven particles particular to the specific country, am I even slightly myself? Certainly not. An empty canvas, I let the winds sneaking through the mountains to meet me, splash paint all over my soul. Red, green, yellow and blue, I am soaked in the very curious mystery of this rich life; rich in wet soil of knowledge, grounded roots of wisdom, and swaying leaves of freedom. “Je suis libre, mon chéri”, I lovingly hum to myself this and every other dusk. ‘Flow like water, your element!’, if only uplifting self-talk was enough to make all my fond ambitious dreams come to life.

‘Has anyone been to Iceland?’ asked my professor, and I was obviously ought to wake up in a thud. I turned around impressed at the raise of four hands. They are extremely lucky to have been to a place where 90% of energy is geothermally acquired from the currents produced in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. ‘Why do you know that, you crazy woman?’, I sighed. If only I were blessed enough to be in Iceland right at this moment. Oh I would breathe in the night sky stolen away by the beauty of Auroras. I would act like wonder woman as I push away two tectonic plates underwater swimming gracefully in between just for a perfect camera shot. I would lick glaciers just to know what they feel like and maybe even take a moment to pray that they don’t melt.

Oops, floating in space again. I nodded in disappointment and disbelief a little like my mom would- disappointment because I am a spoilt kid who will chase her daring dreams in spite of her parents’ disagreement, and disbelief to the extent at which my thoughts could limitlessly wander with unrealistically high hopes. So I nodded and chuckled, carefully, so that nobody would notice. With all the time I waste each day juggling these fleeting thoughts of wanderlust, it felt kind of strange today as it was satisfying knowing in my chest that I am one step closer to my childhood dream, The National Geographic.

Never stop daydreaming,

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KAZI SHERPA – The Mount Everest Record Breaker

In 1998, a mere human being became a legend.

A Nepali Mountaineer, Kazi Sherpa, defied all odds, as he set forth for a record breaking journey – to climb the highest peak in the world aka the Mount Everest (8,848 m) in only 20 hours and 24 minutes without supplemental oxygen.  As I spent my last day in Pokhara, Nepal after having climbed two mountains on the Annapurna Circuit, I took the opportunity of visiting the International Mountain Museum. The whole visit seemed even more auspicious as it was The Mount Everest day, the day Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzin Norgay became the first ever summiteers of the mighty Everest in 1953, 64 years ago.

A little talk was given by a very down-to-earth man standing behind the podium at the assembly room. It hit me – I was listening to KAZI SHERPA, or ‘SPEED KAZI’, the 2000 Guinness World Record setter of the fastest Everest climber. Every nerve in my body lit up with excitement and I couldn’t help myself but ask to borrow a fraction of his time and interview him about his extraordinary journey. Believe me, get some tea or popcorn before reading this one, it’s totally worth your 10 minutes!

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What makes you, YOU, Mr.Kazi?

“My name is Kazi Sherpa, and climbing is my life’s calling. I have summited many mountains out of which eight were above 6000 m. I was in fact born on the foothill of the Mount Everest in Solukhumbu. Growing up, I saw people going for the Mount Everst expedition and it grew in me to do the same. I could never go to school since I was a Yak herderer in our family farm. I didn’t like what I did so I rebelliously left home when I was 14 to start climbing Mt. Lang tang (7,205 m). Lets just say that this is where my journey began. ”

Kazi was only 19 when he first tried summiting Everest. Unfortunately, his attempt failed but his zest never did. So he tried over and over, until one day, on his fifth attempt, he not only made it to the top and back, but also did it faster than any human being on the planet!

 

Can you lay out your experience in detail for us – What were the thoughts that crossed your mind throughout that day as you were climbing?

“I didn’t focus on many things, except my ambition to make a record. The only thoughts that crossed my mind were about where I had to be, at what time and how exactly. But most of all, through my entire journey, I was praying to God.”

You connect your journey with ‘prayers to God’. Can you explain how climbing the Everest could be a spiritual journey? 

“Our two main belief systems are Buddhism and Hinduism. We believe in and worship the Gods and Goddesses (as in hindu polytheism) very much. For most people who are unsuccessful in their expeditions, it is assumed that they have sinned, for example having sex with someone who isn’t their vowed partner. It is believed that the Mountains are so sacred, that they know, and they punish you for your wrong deeds.

For instance, this once I was climbing with a Korean expedition team in 1995, and I found out that they came from the Tibet side and carried a dead dog with them to eat. The next thing you know, a huge block of ice fell on them and and all except two died. That was clearly because they were disrespectful towards our religion. I thank God that I could summit the Everest.

A famous superstition is the signaling of crows. Crows are quite big in Tibet and it is believed that if a crow takes three rounds near an area, that is a warning from nature of an avalanche.”

 

Were you always this spiritual? Did you come across any intuitive signs yourself?

“No, I wasn’t a regular worshiper, but climbing the Everest is like visiting Lord Ganesha’s (Hindu Lord of obstacles) house. So I asked for strength in the form of prayers and got signs from the nature in return. Whenever I had nightmares, it immediately came to me that the day would be a rough one to climb. One time, I saw a lady in front of me, but the next moment, she vanished. When I was sleeping in the tent, I would also hear some noises of people moving around me outside, but no one seemed to be there, and no footsteps on the snowy ground when I checked in the morning. ”

Did you maintain a journal or record your journey in any form?

“I had recorded my voice through the day’s climb, but unfortunately there was a flood at my home later on October 6, 1998, and my recording device and camera was damaged.”

 

Do you know anything about the Everest that people wouldn’t know – what isn’t so much in the mainstream media?

“There is one such thing that many don’t know – In 1953, 12 years before Hillary and Tenzin climbed the Everest, a man named George Mallory tried to summit it. His body is on 8,500 m and is still intact ant frozen. A letter by his wife was also found in his pocket by a group of researchers in the US that I do not know the details of. This mystery has the ability to change history. However, we also have found records of E.Hillary saying that a true summiteer isn’t one who makes it to the peak, but is one who is also able to make it back to the base camps safe and sound.”

 

Would you like to leave a message for the future climbers?

“Yes, people should climb for greater good of the whole globe, not for individual interest. For instance, light should be thrown upon bigger causes like awareness programs about the dead bodies, pollution and little oxygen that there is while climbing. Climate change is another big one.”

Nobody has been able to break Kaji Sherpa’s record till date and to this he smirked showed us how keen he is for someone to break his record and for a good cause. He also said that he dedicates his record to his ‘Apna Rajya’ which means his nation and Nepal is obviously very proud of him for that!

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*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The cameras  used to capture these pictures are Canon EOS 50D and iPone 7. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts!  🙂

Yours,

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Advantages of Traveling Solo

photo-feb-19-18Arushi Sachan, Feb 2017

After walking on the streets of New York for hours in a row last thanksgiving, I went to Starbucks to take a little break and enjoy my green tea latte, as I stared outside the glass window at how people passed- they came and went, just like the season itself, and I smiled to myself.

A couple that sat beside me, asked with curious eyes, ‘You can’t be from around here?’. I nodded, asking what made them think that- they replied, ‘You look like you are too much at peace for being a New Yorker!’ We ended up talking for hours about how they came from Ireland for a week and how different the lifestyle back home was. They were happy to find someone who could relate. Today I am in touch with their little kids, who I didn’t even get to meet, who are in fact regular readers of my blog!

So why travel solo? Do you think I could have had this beautiful experience if I was with a travel buddy?

There are so many advantages to traveling solo:

FLEXIBILITY. FREEDOM. FUNphoto-mar-02-28

March 2015 @ Orlando, Fl

I call these the ‘F TRIO’ of traveling, and they are the ultimate mantra to enjoy your trip! Taking on the world one country at a time can be so much easier if it is done on your own terms and at your own pace. There aren’t travel buddies you have to catch up with or vice versa- you have the freedom to create your own timeline as you go and do whatsoever pleases you. Selfish, but for all the good reasons! There’s nothing more fun than the combined feeling of freedom and flexibility- you become a metaphor for the flowing water.

SAY GOODBYE TO THE COMFORT ZONEphoto-mar-02-10

October 2016 @ Austin, TX

Traveling on your own will push you to talk to new people, try new things, eat different food, learn foreign languages, and best of all- experience their culture first hand. The urge to try the taco in the food truck you saw while you were passing by, the train ride that wasn’t on your list of itinerary, or even a detour to an old village that is in ruins now and you’ve only heard stories from locals about- traveling solo gives you the liberty to open up your mind to an infinity and act upon your curiosity.

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July 2016 @ Phuket, Thailand

You will get to know yourself better when you breathe the air of a new city on your own. How? Every time you travel to a new country, you are on your own. You can either choose to stay in a hotel or go out and explore as much as you can; you could hike 5 miles and relax or you could go non-stop till you reach your destination- you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want when nobody is watching.

The only difference is, you are watching even if nobody is. Every decision you make, how far you can push yourself before you collapse, every feeling, moment and step- you are 100% responsible for!

You learn to enjoy your own company and become the reason for your own happiness. It’s pretty liberating and a very good confidence booster.

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June 2014 @ Kerala, India

By traveling alone, you create your own itinerary, and hence you end up saving a lot of money. You realize that it isn’t as important for you to sleep like a king or a queen at a hotel as it is to go and try your favorite food, adventure sport or visit the famous museum, and hence you act based upon your opportunity cost and get better in terms of financing your funds.

I have a few friends who even use their freedom of being solo, to take up part time jobs such as translating, serving as a bartender or even travel writing to sustain their journeys.

WIDENING YOUR KNOWLEDGE

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October 2016 @ Austin, TX 

Above all, by traveling alone, you fill the empty pages of the book that is YOU. People always tell me that I have all my life to travel, why now? I cannot undo the trips I took to new countries before I even started school (thanks ma and pa)! In school, they taught me to read about the world through textbooks. But it wasn’t the same; yes, I did learn a lot through my text books, but only traveling to those countries sparked feelings within me, feelings that are unique to each country and stay within me forever.

For instance, when you say Kenya, I instantly smell the air, feel the sensations of the fresh grass and nostalgically remember how a couple of hippos tried to mess with my room’s window when I was trying to sleep in a cabin one night. It was terrifying back then and I thought I was about to die, but it’s the reason I’m smiling as I write this today, four years later!

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June 2014 @ Kerala, India

You see, sometimes taking risks can be rewarding!

*All the pictures in this post are original and subject to claimed but not legal copyrights. The cameras I used to capture these pictures are my iPhone 7 and  Canon EOS 50D. For more information, contact me via email or leave your comments in the section below. Please feel free to provide feedback or just share your thoughts! 🙂

Until tomorrow,

Arushi Sachan 

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TRAVEL W/ ARUSHI: Feb 26-Mar 4🌏
•Sun, Feb 26th: Overview 📢
•Mon, Feb 27th: Being an International Student in the US🇺🇸
•Tues, Feb 28th: My 2017 Travel Bucket List 🗺
•Wed, March 1st: Tips to survive a long haul flight ✈️
•Thurs, March 2nd: Advantages of Traveling Solo 👩🏼🎤
•Fri, March 3rd: Budget Traveling Tips $

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