187 Days

Awake. Asleep. The mind restless and yet calm as I recall the events of the past six months. Images run through my head like they would on a vintage film reel at an old cinema. Almost dream like. The tranquil memory of practicing yoga, the crisp morning inviting the summer sun as its rays climb up over the Fishtail and night becomes day once again in the Himalaya. The snow capped tips so white and clear. The bubbles subsiding, my breath slowing and the current cradling me as the shadows of reef tip sharks and the florescent corals form an undiscovered world beneath my navel. Like the waves, the train sways from side to side as its carriages crawl along the circular route, passing merchants and farmers laid beside the one way track. Business men and children sit in the carriage beside me, their faces glowing in the afternoon heat. Tea ladies serving glasses of the milky liquid amidst the crowds as other vendors pass by, rolling and selling betel nut to the many travellers. The chatter, the clunking carriage, the whistle in the distance, this orchestra dissipates as my mind draws on the sound and cool breeze of a paper fan amidst the noise of the cicada. Venturing into an antique shop off the beaten path, as I take shelter from the scorching sun and find myself engulfed by Japanese vintage trinkets, china and an array of paper fans shielding Geishas and their immaculate beauty from onlookers. As the deafening silence sends chills down my spine, I listen to the survivors of Hiroshima and watch tears role down faces as we commemorate the thousands killed. An origami crane clasped tight in one hand, given to me by people unable to travel, I make my way to the memorial and place it among the vibrant paper shapes that give hope to peace. Piece by piece the paper crane dissolves into a fluid image as I am reminded of the heart felt exchanges that have shaped this trip. The smiles on the women of Pokhara, as they exchange their first successful words in English and conclude in their touching good byes as I am wrapped in the sari and asked to come back. The eighteen to twenty-something year olds, torn between anxiety and excitement about what lies ahead of them. Courageous explorers in a world where virtuality is becoming reality and generations seem further apart than ever before. The Nepali healer, who felt it in his heart to give me a parting gift that would protect me on my travel. An evening of espresso martinis in the company of a wonderful Danish traveller as I had almost lost faith in meeting anyone remotely nice to talk to. The praying beads gifted to me by a wonderful woman, who shared a similar life story to mine. The guest families, who took me in as part of their own. The vibrant Californian Chica who brightened up my day with her all in pink outfits and overall sunny disposition. The amazing couple living between two worlds as his falls apart in the recent earth quake and she calls on hers for help. The Australian surfer, come Austrian traveller and a trip around the island on the back of a scooter as I enjoyed the only moment we had together. Basking in the sun and soaking up the vegan treats with the only other woman in this world I can share shoes with – size and style – and catching up with friends on both sides of the pacific in an effort to be part of something truly memorable. A walk through Kamakura in the company of a wonderful travel companion, celebrating life and the beauty of being as we shared stories, embarked on a hunt to find vegetarian food and cold beer. A birthday to remember, planned by people who have become dear friends to me and 187 days in which no day was ever the same. 187 days that I would do all over again and would not change a single thing.

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