The first commandment for every good explorer is that an expedition has two points: the point of departure and the point of arrival. If your intention is to make the second theoretical point coincide with the actual point of arrival, don’t think about the means — because the journey is a virtual space that finishes when it finishes, and there are as many means as there are different ways of ‘finishing.’ That is to say, the means are endless.
– Ernesto Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey
10th January 2015 | 01:00 PM IST | Dhanushkodi, Tamilnadu, India
It was the start of 2015 and mid of the Indian winter. South India usually remains cool in winter and makes it a good season to explore the humid and coastal area. I didn’t have any list of places before I started traveling but I had an inner feeling for the places I wanted to see. Dhanushkodi was one of them.
They said the last tip of the land is just a few miles from here. You can get a bus till one spot and can walk down till the tip from there or just tag along with fishermen vehicles but they won’t take you till the end. And as always, I decided to walk. It was a 4kms walk on the beach where I reached the ghost town of the Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi. It’s a southmost town of India towards Srilanka and also a place from Hindu mythology Ramayana. This place is also referred to as Ramsetu in mythology.
By the way, religious places never excite me. For that matter, I had never chosen any religious place for traveling. Dhanushkodi was again not for the spirituality the world come looking for. The place was full of abandoned buildings and ruins of an old town which got washed away in one of the cyclones. I chose it for the tranquility of the ruins and wildness of the sea that ranges both the side of a strip of land that goes deep into the sea. And I had to reach the tip before the sunset.
There I was, on the tip of the land, surrounded by sea on three sides and a strip of the land connecting back to the mainland. I had no battery in my phone to click the pics, nor I used to carry cameras for the trip. It was not my first solo trip. I had a year full of traveling before reaching there. But I knew by that time, it was just a start of the long journey I have been through. I knew by that time, that there are going to be many moments in this journey, that the stillness of each moment will be the journey itself.
29th November 2017 | 07:00 PM | Ganga Ghat, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Have you ever been to Rameswaram? asked a baba sitting on Ganga ghats while passing the smoking pipe across the group. Yes! it’s been a long time, and it stays one of the firsts from my travel journey, I replied. Why do you ask me that by the way? I continued. That’s where I came from, he replied with a smile.
It was dusk. After the Ganga prayer when I decided to sit on a ghat for some time, a group of sadhus settled down near me. One of them was talking about how does wireless charging work in his torch. I was curious about their discussion, so I joined them just before a baba lit a smoking pipe for everyone there. I never could get why they left their home on a journey either to get enlightened or to escape the worldly things. When I started talking to one of them, eventually he explained how far he has traveled and yet he is nowhere close to so-called enlightenment. I asked why are you still on the journey then? He replied, calmly, where do we go from here now?
Where do we go from here now? After traveling relentlessly over four years, I was again at a spiritual place but not looking for the god. But somewhere in my journey, my traveling started getting influenced by spiritual ideas, I repeat not by the religious ideas in any way. It revolved around identity, purpose and sometimes the chaos. By then I had started looking for my own gods. When traveling for such a long time, you end up with the same questions you asked before, pause for a while and try to look at what you have unlearned. Traveling then wasn’t about finding something which I was looking for, but losing the things which never belonged to the journey. It will be chaos when you would be left with very few things you relate to, but it will be freedom if you manage to contain it. When you have left with nothing to rely upon, you have the freedom to choose your thoughts, ideas, and identity.
Whether you have started living in the moments or have started building up a story, whether it’s freedom or chaos, doesn’t matter how far or how long you have been on the journey, it will ask you only one question;
when the means are endless, where do we go from here?