“The journey itself is my home.”
365 days of homestays, high altitude cycling, and beautiful landscapes throughout India.
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
Asia, more specifically India and Nepal, have taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. Spending a year between these countries, mostly alone as a young female, has lead to some of the best and worst experiences I have ever had. The memories of families who took me in, the beauty of the Himalayas, the wonderful nights in my tent, and the constant stares and harassment I received from trying to live in a scarily patriarchal society will stay with me forever. More than that though, this year has shown me how much I value where I grew up and the things, equality of women, openness to difference, and abolition of a ridged social hierarchy for instance, that I take for granted.
“Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”
We had only arrived halfway up the impressively steep path which wound up the monastery in our last village in the Zanskar valley before being ushered into a small house by a monk with a wonderful curly hat. He quickly made us ample tea and fed us biscuits while explaining that trekkers in the region need food since there are no shops or restaurants. While talking with him we discovered that he had lived in this seventy monk monastery for forty years, making him sixty years old now. He shared his small “house” with four young boys (age seven to fourteen) who lived upstairs, and seemed to be a bit of a grandpa to them. We later found out that every house has an older monk with a few youngsters who all live together in a multigenerational community.