A trip is completed, if trips are ever complete!
433 days. 15 months. 7 countries. 2 flights. More than 35 thousand kilometers by land (not bad at all considering that the perimeter of the earth is 40,000 kilometers)… on foot, by bus, train, boat, bike, motorbike… hitchhiking, in public transport, tractors, on the roof of buses, on ferries and boats, by bicycle, on shared bikes, in trucks, taxis and jeeps, in cars and vans, tuk-tuks and rickshaws!
Many trips, many pathways: some solitary, others accompanied. Mates that lasted for hours, days, or extending over weeks or months. Unexpected and spontaneous encounters. Mismatches.
Cities remain, large and small, capitals or just villages, some already forgotten, some so striking and unforgettable: the intense and seductive Phnom Penh, the vicious Vientiane, a Bangkok full of contrasts, heavy and decadent Varanasi, charming Pondicherry, the muslim Srinagar, and above of all the frantic and exciting Kathmandu.
What remains forever in my memory are the desert landscapes of Ladakh, the aridity of the Tibetan plateau, the paradise beaches of an island in the south of Cambodia, the Himalayas and the sight of Annapurna, endless rice fields of Laos, the fantastic blue sky of Sishuan, the brown waters of the Mekong, Thai forests, the smiles of Burma. The dry and cold air from the mountains of Leh, the hot and humid atmosphere of the Indian monsoon, the scorching heat of Rajasthan, the gray clouds of thunderstorms that last for hours, the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand, magical sunsets, mystic sunrises, a sky decorated with stars and a moon the size of the world…
But most of all were the people. People that gave precious help. People who were forever associated with places, cities, routes, experiences… landscapes… moments. People who left their contacts, others not even their name. Some remarkable people, others forever forgotten.
There were many sacrifices, endless nights on buses, noisy rooms, cold baths, dangerous travel, health problems, hard mattresses, cold, heat, rain, loneliness, fear, dust, dirt, sweat, fatigue …
Traveling is not only what we live but also what we left behind.
And is it worth it? Yes.
Yes, for the indescribable feeling of freedom.