It’s been exactly one year since we packed our lives, put few things in our luggage and left what we called home. We went on a journey that took us to India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and China.
Twelve months, thousands kilometers, a million people crossing our path, beautiful places, humanity at its best, humanity at its worst. A journey where we both learnt heaps, mostly on ourselves. As I mentioned many times to family and friends, the word that keeps resonating in my mind is gratitude. For who I am, all I’ve got, but moreover for what I could become. I could choose whatever path I want to follow, a luxury not everyone has.
Trying to remember everything of the last twelve months is not easy, but I want to give you an idea. These are the memory I will take with me forever, because they are the ones worth remembering. For the emotions, conversations and restless questions coming out of each situation we lived. Hopefully, the gratitude I felt in every single second of the journey will never leave me.
So here we go…
A garbage collector wondering around Beijing, picking up rubbish with the biggest smile on his face.
An old lady in the street of Chiang Rai cooking the best pad thai ever. For less than a dollar. She had a beautiful smile too.
A group of Indian women with whom I had the pleasure to sit for a while and chat, using approximately ten words of my Hindi vocabulary.
A Muslim man that walked us around the Bhopal Mosque. He told us everything about his life and was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge.
The owner of a hotel nearby Jodphur. He offered us Chai tea and then shared his view on modern India.
The two guys we spent our first days in Mumbai. We talked about religion, humanity, world problems through the nights. With the best Chai Tea to date.
Jaisalmer. Everything about it. A wondrous place everyone should visit once in a lifetime.
The Taj Mahal. See above. Sit down at least an hour, whilst listening to The Dark Side of the Moon and paint or meditate. Your choice.
The boat driver in Phi Phi Island that left us in the open sea and nearly killed us. Story alert, maybe with a nice glass of wine.
Maya Beach at 6am. Deserted.
The greenest rices field and terraces in Sapa, Vietnam. Rent a scooter and end up with no fuel on top of the hill.
Wear a sari at the most memorable Indian wedding.
Riding a bicycle in Phnom Penh.
Swear at the locals for how they drive in Phnom Penh.
Watch a peaceful demonstration through the street of Phnom Penh to welcome back the opposition leader.
The best massage in Koh Samui.
Paint a kokeshi doll in the factory where they make them near Tokyo.
Japanese courtesy and friendliness.
A group of people inviting us over for lunch in the middle of Gujarat.
Feel the need to wear a burqua. Understand why many women do.
Fear for the safety of total strangers like they were old friends.
Spot a dead body surrounded by curious people.
Being cheated by a fake Indian guru who managed to spill a lot of money for the worst half an hour of meditation in history.
Bath in the Ganga during the last day of the Kumbh Mela, with another twelve million people.
Pois. A woman with a a little kiosk in Chiang Mai, cooking the best BBQ pork. And she loves Bob Marley.
An Australian lady that works with humanity at its very lowest.
How difficult is to breathe in Beijing.
Cardamom lassi in Jodphur.
The Great Chinese Wall, till the eye can see. And the awareness that human beings can create the most amazing things. When they want.
A lady in Seul giving us her mobile number to take us around during the weekend.
Sleep in the Indian desert underneath a billion stars.
Wear a kimono.
Share all this and more with the most important person in my life.
This is what I have stamped in my head, fixed into my eyes. Maybe it will change over time, things will be forgotten and others will come up. There is one thing I am totally certain it will never change, never fade: this trip has been the most enlightening, wonderful, exhausting, unforgettable and genius thing we could ever do. So here my advice: sell your stuff, get your loved ones, pack few things and travel. Three, six, twelve, eighteen months. It doesn’t matter. The immensity you are going to gain is simply infinite!