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10:30am – After a three hour layover in Frankfurt, we set out for another eight hour flight to Toronto. We enjoyed the onboard entertainment and laughed out loud during several funny movies. Our gastrointestinal problems gave us gnarly gas but the laughter helped relieve our bloated bellies. With the anticipation of returning to our beautiful country, the final hours of the flight passed by quickly and before we knew it the seatbelt light came on and we were bouncing off the tarmac.
FIVE DOWN! ONE TO GO!
12:30pm – We arrive in Toronto with just thirty minutes to pick up our checked luggage, re-check it and run to catch our connecting flight to London. We sprinted through the airport at full speed with all of our gear, passed through customs for our final frisk and scan of the trip, and made it to our terminal just as everyone was boarding.
SIX FLIGHTS DOWN! HOME AT LAST!
We arrived in London at 2:30pm to big hugs from my parents who were carrying a giant bag of our favorite sour jujubes and Doritos! In the past three days we travelled 18,000 km by plane, six hours by bus and two hours by ferry and though we were utterly exhausted, there is nothing better than the feeling of being home. We looked up to the blue sky and breathed in the crisp Canadian air and remembered one last time just how lucky we were.
As the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence teaches, nothing lasts forever. Though four months felt like an eternity while sitting on the floor eating dinner with our hands among our Muslim couchsurfing hosts in Delhi, 120 days later the trip has come and gone in the blink of an eye. But what a trip it was! On this trip we experienced the extremes. We saw the Taj Mahal which is the most intricately designed piece of architecture in the world. We were deeply saddened by the extreme poverty in the Delhi slums and were moved by the smiles from the 200 children who accepted our gift of paper kites. We sat on the banks of the Ganges, the holiest of all rivers, and witnessed the most ancient tradition of escaping rebirth through the burning pyres of Varanasi. We celebrated the largest ever Kalachakra for world peace, the most sacred of Buddhist initiations, with the 14th Dalai Lama, the wisest living human. We meditated under the most famous tree where thousands of devotees waited patiently to catch a falling leaf from the Bodhi. We lived for three weeks in a tent village with hundreds of thousands of Tibetan refugees now exiled throughout Asia. We trekked for a month in the Himalayan mountains to a height of 5416m and lived for another month at sea level. We spent weeks wearing six layers in -35C and spent weeks wearing nothing but our swim suit in +35C. We flew over Everest, the highest point on the planet and did back floats in the Andaman Sea. We witnessed the Annapurna, the most breathtaking mountain range in the world, and Koh Payam, arguably the most beautiful tropical island. We reached the pinnacle of exhaustion after our grueling 300km trek with 30lb packs and the pinnacle of relaxation after three weeks in a seaside bamboo bungalow.
After another four months on the road, we are fully convinced that there is no greater teacher. Living the good life requires forming habits of the mind which are conducive to human flourishing and vagabonding on the cheap is a sure way to foster these habits. Thoreau wrote, “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” This trip has allowed us to discover and rediscover these pathways to profound and lasting wellbeing.
In the whole of human history, humans have been nomadic far longer than settled agrarians so a new horizon was always a reality and the adventures of the unknown provided our ancestors with a great sense of feeling alive. Joseph Campbell said, “People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we are really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.” Our Asian odyssey provided this feeling on almost a daily basis, requiring us to continually reflect on what is truly important and to be grateful for all of our blessings. The truth is Thoreau was correct when saying that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” and our trip has reminded us that regardless of our trials in life, it is up to us to find the lessons and to create experiences of being alive.
We often wonder what it would be like to travel alone but agree that there is nothing like sharing unforgettable experiences with the ones you love. We supported each other through very difficult times and celebrated together the awe inspiring moments which forever strengthened our bond. There is no one I’d rather climb to the ends of the earth with than my goddess, my partner in life, my partner for life! This honeymoon is a metaphor for our life together in so many ways but most of all, it has reminded us to continue making new memories together. Since time is our most valuable commodity, a typical week long honeymoon was just not going to cut it for us and instead we enjoyed a life changing four month adventure. We are forever changed from our Currymoon and we need only to flip through the 110,000 words in this journal to be reminded of all that we can accomplish together.
We are like the spider.
We weave our life and then move along in it.
We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.