I still recall that feeling when I printed my ticket to India and held it in my hands for the very first time: fear. panic. I was petrified.
What had I done?
I have made some city trips before, on my own or with friends, I was on holidays before, sure, but just me at the other side of the world with nobody I knew...
What was I thinking?
And to be honest, I really hadn't thought much about it.
Those months before were a really tough time in my life. My mother was diagnosed with a rare form of leucaemia and received a bone-marrow transplantation, my father's cancer relapsed in the year before and I was struggeling with too many feelings.
I wanted to run away so badly.
And when both my parents were stable enough for me not to worry about their safety while I was gone, that is what I did.
I booked this ticket without knowing what I would find there. I hardly knew anything about India (I didn't even know what written Hindi looked like). I remember reading my Lonely Planet at the airport for the first time (and calling Mumbai from there to book a hotel for the following night).
I didn't care. One thing I knew for sure: it would be different. And that was all I needed.
I had no idea of where I was going, what I wanted to see or even how long I was going to stay.
Those months I spent there, were the best I have ever had in my life.
I started out being afraid of everything and then I fell in love with a country that is so complex, so different, so absolutely not what I expected. The first time in my life, I felt absolutely alive and whole.
It has taught me that sometimes we need to act in spite of fear.
The following year, I went to Cambodia.
It was three months after my father has died but this time I didn't want to run away. I wanted to travel because I knew it would make me feel alive again. It would remind me that there is still some beauty left, that there is meaning and life. It was what I needed. I felt so much closer to my father seeing as he too, was an adventurer, he taught me to be in awe of nature's miracles.
Even living in Switzerland turned out to be one of these amazing adventures even though I didn't plan it to be. The way I look at things and the way I experience things is so different from how it felt before.
Not one day goes by where I don't dream about packing my things and just start walking. I am always planning the next big trip. It's like an instinct I have to constantly fight against. If it weren't for M. and my studies, I'd be long gone. We made a deal though, we'll finish our studies and then we're off to wherever for as long as we want to.
I can't wait.
Next time I'll share my top ten destinations I plan on visiting over the next couple of years.