On a September night, about a month ago, I left my house by the river, in Geneva, looked at the clear sky for a moment, picked up my two bagpacks and started walking. Towards the bus stop, nothing extraordinary, but still, it was one of these moments where you wouldn’t mind an epic soundtrack, it would suit. Here’s why:
First, in Geneva, I cycle, I don’t use the public transports (a sometimes suicidal principle, but it’s another subject altogether) so for me to have abandoned my loyal (and rusty, and frankly crumbling apart) bicycle, it must have been a special night.
Secondly, those two bagpacks contain my life, my home, and everything I have for the next 3 months. I’ve left my room to a friend, packed up all that was in it.
That is: made about 10 boxes of books, which I left to a bookworm-friend of mine, with a feeling of loosing part of myself that probably shows how far my book addiction has come to; Packed all my clothes in one suitcase (yes, that’s the ratio : one suitcase for 10 boxes of books, is that not normal?) which I left somewhere in the attic, and kept only a few t-shirts, pullovers, my hiking boots, an e-reader (had to try it, couldn’t pack all the books I wanted to take with without travelling with a private library-carrier-elephant (though, now that I’ve thought of it, I want one!)) and that’s about it.
The worse choice to make was: do I take my small italian coffee maker? And coffee? I’ve spent a lot of nights thinking about it, but then decided , in what could be best described as a totally sadomasochistic minute that it would be good for me to part from coffee for a while. (Number of times I’ve regretted this decision in the last month: about 5347622, and counting).
So, I’m coffeeless, bookless (that is, physical, made-of-paper-bookless, let’s not be too dramatic about it) and homeless. For someone who likes nothing more than to sit with a good book and a good coffee on a raining day, it might be perceived as a strange life choice. But here it is, I like to travel, and I have a restless mind that, when left sitting in one place for too long, starts planning adventures and expeditions on its own. So it was time to go.
All this blabbering to say one thing: I started walking on a September evening, just 2 days after finishing my last university exam (because it’s a well known fact: you only pack sensibly when in a hurry, so you better plan as many things just before a long travel, for example your final medicine exams, they’ll occupy your time perfectly if you add moving out and a few other things in between, and that way you’ll be sure to find interesting things in your bag (as well as the absence of others that would have sounded useful had you packed in more than 3 seconds) that will make the journey worthwhile).
So I left it all and came to India. This is the start of my gap year. I wasn’t thrilled by the idea of starting to work in a hospital a mere 2 months after spending 6 years studying, so I decided to take 14 months instead. The plan, for this year, is still in the making (understand: I’m not quite sure what I’m doing tomorrow, so in the next months…) but it includes travelling, starting a thesis project in Nepal, travelling some more, earning money to travel even more, learn, or learn again, how to say various body parts and diseases in German (warum nicht?), read, see the world and plenty more.
So here is where I talk about it,this year that feels like a perpetual journey, as it seems to be infinite both in space and time when I look at it right now, about the discoveries made, the places visited, the things eaten and desperate search for a good coffee, the books read and people met. More details coming in the next posts, which will be when I find some Internet connection, and until then, Jullay! as they say here in Ladakh.