Where to Next?

Lately, everyone I know has been asking me when I’m travelling again, if not “where to next?”. My answer for the past year has always been the same – “I’m not sure”.

About a month ago, I did the road trip I wanted to do this year, which was to travel to the Drakensberg mountains with friends. It had been over 10 years since I had last been, so it was long overdue. I was also recovering from my Switzerland trip last September, so didn’t want to go overseas again this year. Well, ok, I did want to, but I told myself to calm down.

My first view of the Amphitheatre

Work has been insane this year, but in a good way. I made several good friends, some of which I can’t go without talking to on a daily basis. However, on the downside, I was so involved in everything that I found myself feeling like I’d be abandoning it in some way had I chosen to take a break. It was only when things became relatively quiet did I decide that I needed a week off in August – perfect time for my birthday and to do the Berg trip.

I avoid talking publicly about anything work-related, however I can’t help but share the below pic. These are the friends from work that I’m so proud to have. 3 are missing though – they know who they are. The lot below got together away from their busy schedules just to celebrate my 30th before I could make the Berg trip. They’re some of the most humble, down to earth and sincere people you’ll probably ever meet, and some of them have become closer than family. At times, I forget that we’re just friends.

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Because of the love and encouragement I’ve gotten from these friends, I have managed to get over a lot of things and think more clearly about what I want.

Since I got back to work, my next overseas trip has been picking at my brain. I’ve been so confused all year about where I wanted to go – USA? Australia? New Zealand? Thailand? Canada even? Whenever I thought about each of them, I was unsure and confused. My heart kept telling me that none of those places were where I really want to be. I’ve got friends in all of those places (except Thailand) but my heart kept holding me back. It was the reason why I kept telling people “I’m not sure”.

So where is my heart? I have come to realise that it is still in Europe. Europe is embedded in my soul, and I can’t escape it. Even though I’ve travelled neither to the west nor to the far east, those can always come later if and when I decide that I’m bored with Europe.

About 2 weeks ago while on my way to work, I had a light bulb moment. I had just stopped at a traffic light, my eyes not quite focussed on anything, and I said to myself out loud: “Berlin”. Coincidentally, later that day I read a tweet by my friend Brooke, author of World of Wanderlust (www.worldofwanderlust.com), saying that she had decided to put an end to living out of a suitcase. For a moment, I thought it was something to do with her stopping travelling, which freaked me out for a few moments. I wasted no time in reading the blog post she had attached to the tweet. Why do I say it was a coincidence? In her post, she said she had decided to move to Berlin! Now what are the odds that the very same morning, I had uttered the word “Berlin” to myself?

I do believe in 6 degrees of separation and that we have a deeper connection to people than we think. Its funny how things work and how we meet and get along with certain people. Brooke, for example, became a friend of mine through Instagram and later, Twitter. We met a couple months ago when she was visiting Johannesburg, and for me it was like meeting an old friend.

Brooke at Neighbourgoods

After meeting Brooke, we communicated even more frequently on Twitter, no matter where in the world she went to since. It is fascinating keeping up with her and her travels, not to mention insanely inspiring. The reason I bring Brooke into this post is because she has largely influenced where I want to be next. Tying in saying “Berlin” out loud with her blog post about moving there has only made my decision easier. Its not very often that 2 friends on opposite ends of the world have exactly the same place in mind on exactly the same day, without prior discussion.

So I guess that settles it then. I now have an answer to that question that I’ve been asked so much lately. But its not just Berlin; it going to be Munich (including Neuschwanstein Castle) and Prague first – all bucket list items. Of course, Brooke will not be forgotten and I plan to visit her while in Berlin. As she says, visiting her “will be the gold at the end of the rainbow”.

The time to plan is upon me, so best I make haste.

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4 thoughts on “Where to Next?

  1. Hey Aradhna, nice blog. I see some masterful words being used from a master “evangelist”. U should definitely do the trip as life is too short to be wasting in an office. South America (particularly Mexico) is also a good destination, haven’t been there but heard of great things., esp the tequila. “Ariba!!!!!”

  2. Sorry I missed your birthday drinks. I didn’t want to give you chickenpox for your 30th birthday. So what sort of time frame are we looking at to “make haste”?

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