Saturday, December 30, 2017

Summing Up 2017

 I know I am guilty of not summing up the year 2016 and some of you might have missed that annual ritual in my blog so here I am back to sum up 2017.

As always I would begin with some interesting statistics and then go on to some elaborations.

Countries visited (in chronological order) – Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Norway, Greece, Germany, Nepal, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Slovenia, Italy, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Total 17 countries including 3 first time (Montenegro, Kosovo, Laos), which has now taken the number of countries visited to 178. This leaves me around 18 more to chalk up during the rest of my life.  Unless UN adds more recognized nations to its list.

Total distance covered (approximately) – I travelled to three continents, crossing the Atlantic and several seas couple of times, and as per my guesstimate during 2017 I had covered around 148,000.00 km. Of this, around 100,000.00 by air, 40,000.00 by road and water, and 8000.00 on foot. I spent total 271 days outside of India and of the 94 days in India, only 22 days when I wasn’t on the road. And these 22 days were spread through several cities and towns.

Physical extremities - highest point – just above Balcony on Everest south side at 8250m, while the lowest must be somewhere underwater in the Aegean Sea.

January 1st 2017 I was upon a mountain that is the highest in the world when measured from Earth’s Centre, namely Chimborazo in Ecuador. It was my third ascent of this peak. From there several other high mountains including Everest saw my presence. Aberration to my choice of places to visit happened towards the end of the year when I took an impromptu flight into Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. What exactly was I doing there beats me except I know for sure that I was gorging full time on mangoes and exotic fruits while gulping in staggering number of temples and religious sites in all shapes and sizes.

As always the year was full of adventures of body, mind and soul and I met and shared my life with hundreds of people from around the globe that I crossed paths with at places where neither of us were meant to be, yet there we were. Memorable among them, an old Finnish man with severe gout relaxing by the Sea upon a deserted island, a middle aged Swiss Lady in search of her ideal man, a young girl bereaving the loss of her soul mate, a monk with FB account full of beautiful girlfriends, a French lady sketching the magnificent sunset upon Mekong while her partner patiently holding her parasol, an old German lady capturing her trip through watercolours, while a young Spanish maid looking for an escape from her life. I found generosity and kindness everywhere, all doors opened to me and never was I shunned or hated or turned away. If we are willing to open our soul to others that’s exactly what we would receive in return, I learned this lesson once again.

There were lives and deaths too. Three of my climbing friends departed mortality doing exactly what they loved doing while two became proud parents. I continued to spread my message on dissolving boundaries of body and mind in order to accept and understand each other through our differences and not live in fear or hatred of the unknown. I told stories and hearkened more, I stopped and paused often too, pondering and just learning to be in the being. I continued to read and passing from one book to another, always leaving one behind from where I picked a new one.

I finally accepted that to learn some form of musical instrument I must seek one that is easy and compact to carry and my ambition of becoming a piano or harp or saxophone virtuoso was as imbecile as impractical. My piano teacher suggested harmonica and so I now have a harmonica, I also have a pack of card (though I don’t play cards), which is the same thing more or less. Both of which are easily carried in person no matter where I go.

I also sent inquiries of my first inspirational book to several international book agents and publishers. Needless to say they all declined, either I wasn’t good enough or they weren’t interested in this genre. Friends suggested self publishing in Kindle, yet I tarry. Let’s see what happens in this regard in 2018.

I began the year being 4 kilos underweight, then gained some before Everest, plummeting again abysmally upon the mountain and finishing the year at exactly where I was at the beginning. Remarkable what a diet of fruits, salads and brisk walking can achieve.

I am slowly coming to terms in accepting my mother’s physical absence; time is indeed the healer, even though her memories are becoming stronger. I talk about her to everyone more, keeping her alive through my words and passing it to others. I regret less now about the fact that I didn’t spend enough time with her, having accepted that I always did my best under the circumstances. Regret is never the solution, rejoicing is. I rejoiced more this year that I was born to her and that I am whatever I am is due to her guidance and lessons.

I tried to become a better version of me, and know for certain that best is yet to come and never will. Yet we must continue to strive upwards and onwards.

Was the year meaningful, some might inquire... as meaningful as the word is, it was a year, a collection of 365 days and 31,536,000 seconds give and take a few. If you want, you can find some meaning within this time span while my Zen mind has taught me to be without being. Hence if there was a meaning then it is still out there somewhere while I am just being be.

Not all stories can be told, not because some are not worth telling, but because there are simply too many to be told and not enough time to relate and hear. The stories that came out of 2017 might or might not be ever told but they remain the foundation upon which I shall build 2018. And thus from one year to another life will and must go on. 

I would like to conclude 2017 by expressing my deepest gratitude and love to each one of you who showed me the way through your kindness, love and words and actions. To you, my friends, I offer my stories weaved out of my memories of this year and the ones gone by while the New Year and the ones to follow hold promise of untold wealth and priceless memories.

Never forget to breathe, to hydrate and to slow down and to look within where all answers lie waiting to be found. 

And as always I will see you on Top!

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