10 moments to help CNT editor Divia Thani realize the magic of travel.
Where are the skyscrapers? I was 17 years old and went to the United States to study for an undergraduate degree. After a heartbreaking 20-minute phone call (international calls were one dollar per minute at the time), an admissions director confirmed that the University of Pittsburgh would provide me with a scholarship at the Bradford, Pennsylvania branch campus. These are the days before Google; we don't even have computers. But I know that Pennsylvania is directly below New York on the map. I immediately said yes. Little did I know that Bradford is a predominantly white town with about 10,000 people, and New York City is a 7-hour drive away. I remember all I saw on the plane to Bradford were trees. My only contact with the United States is Manhattan, and I have no reason to think that the entire United States does not look dazzling and majestic. Instead, I landed at an airport the same size as my home; there were no immigration counters, porters or food stalls. Moreover, I found that there were no taxis with two large suitcases dragging from a small belt. "Bradford has a taxi driver," a kind local man explained. "And it's Sunday, so it's Bob's day off." At that moment, I knew that this experience would become unfamiliar in a way beyond my imagination.
I am 5 years old and my sister is 12 years old-she is a naughty person. We are not allowed to eat beef. But we are far away from home, in our father's second home in Lagos, Nigeria. We are foreign children here: we don't know the locals, we hang out with other Indians who live between Africa and London, and we swim in the Ikoyi club every day. On the site far away from the swimming pool, under a big tree canopy, Didi and I have a secret. There is a hot barbecue pit, where a shirtless man stands grilling beef skewers coated with spicy Suya powder. When finished, the meat is slightly scorched, burns the tongue, and juicy-but tastes, oh, taste. After so many years, if I try it, I can still taste it on my lips. It's too spicy, it stings, but it's sweet. So unique, I have never eaten anything similar enough to compare it. The price of skewers is 10 naira. My sister knows how to pay; we cannot let our mother know. It didn't feel right, but it was so delicious that it was irresistible. I didn't know at the time, but this was the first of many long journeys for food.
In Florence, I saw a woman selling her small artworks on the street. The canvas is painted with the soft colors of some fairies and some mermaids, flowing hair and long eyelashes, and glittering lights on the wings and tail. I am 23 years old and my life seems to be open to all possibilities. I have many dreams to realize. I want to buy this artwork, but my companion thinks it is too silly to bother about it; this is not serious art. I don't argue. Anyway, I won't go to the woman to buy it. I don't even praise her. We keep going. Something at that moment has always been with me. Some things about that art have always been with me. It will never win awards, nor will it be hung in the museum, but it captured my spirit at the time. In every subsequent trip to Florence, I will look for it. Since then, I have learned to buy artworks that move me, trust my instincts in interpersonal relationships, follow my heart and use my voice when chasing dreams, no matter what others say. When I close my eyes, I can immediately be teleported to Florence, next to the cathedral, surrounded by tourists, to the moment when everything is possible in my life, when I feel like a fairy, a half-mermaid.
My childhood friend was an exchange student in Albi, southern France. She had applied to study in the United States, and when she received Albi, she choked up. But she went. I was 16 years old and spent the summer in London, so I decided to visit her to cheer her up. I was not prepared for her happiness. I live with her host family and we go horseback riding and visit a spectacular and beautiful place that I didn't know existed. They drink bottled wine at every meal, in simple glasses instead of the fancy crystals we bring at home. Their lunch lasted several hours. We can't imagine how they eat dinner, but they did it. They put cheese and meat in pies with a golden crust, and as the sun sets, the smell of baking drifts over their tall house. They light candles. They live like we see in the movie. We are riveted. She learns to make pastries and speaks French. She will come back again and again; one day, she will open a pastry shop in Mumbai and will develop into a national chain. For 30 years, we have been friends, experiencing success and failure, heartache and joy. We have experienced countless bottles of wine together. We drink them for no reason, because as we learned in Albi, every day is a celebration.
On a sleepy Sunday afternoon, two days after my ex-boyfriend passed away in a car accident, I went on a business trip to Ladakh, which I am very grateful for. We are shooting the cover, I try to supervise the crew, decide the location, clothing, hairstyle and makeup, when to eat, rest, and drive. But I went from place to place in the car, in the corner of the monastery, crying on my pillow at night. There is almost no cell phone service, the food is terrible, and the altitude sickness hit me a lot. I tried to absorb the Buddhist words carved on the mountain to make things meaningful. The vast landscape makes me empty. Darkness and cold fell together, and it wasn't until my teeth trembled that I realized that I was outside the tent, alone, cold. There seem to be a million stars in the sky of Ladakh. None of them are him. He still felt too close to be so far away. Then I realized that I didn't need to fly to New York to attend the funeral. I realize that space can make you feel close, and it can also make you feel lonely. In the end, I learned that travel cannot repair a broken heart, only time can; even so, after many years, you may find yourself in an amazingly beautiful place and find that the wound has not fully healed.
One night, after the meeting, we ate delicious French food, drank perfect martinis, went to a fashion show by a local designer who worked for Christian Dior, and danced hip-hop at a table among a teenager And order champagne to celebrate the club with fireworks, Chivas Regal cocktails and green tea. The next attraction overlooks the spectacular Bund; you can hear beautiful people speaking to jazz singers from the southern United States in a dozen different languages. In someone's apartment in the same skyscraper, works by world-famous British, Chinese and South African artists hang side by side. Shanghai is more international than I thought. I left with souvenirs: ceramics and porcelain made with ancient techniques of modern design; handmade shoes from an all-female studio; soft golden silk cheongsam. Overnight, I thought of Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, New York, Hong Kong-all the big cities in the world-but in Shanghai, the energy is higher. It quickly became my favorite subway. During the subsequent trip, I discovered the art districts of Beijing and the unforgettable tea gardens in Hangzhou. I like many places where the general media tells me not to go, but in China, my ignorance makes me look directly at me the most.
Oh, the flight back home. As a child, brought back Barbie dolls, cheese slices and VHS tapes with Top of the Pops recordings from London. There are a few rolls of wallpaper in my mother's suitcase with a pattern of roses from her bedroom. In addition, curtains, cushions, and even trash cans and kettles with rose patterns. Flights from Hong Kong and Singapore to visit relatives home are full of food; we even plan what to eat at the airport before departure. Going to college in the United States is always the cheapest airfare, long-distance trips without leg room, quarrels with airlines because of missed connecting flights, and eager to return to familiar places. Any place from New Delhi to Marrakech on a flight back from a work trip, when you sink into your seat, put on your headphones, and prepare for a carnival, your mood is complicated, knowing that you only have a few hours of undisturbed time to land, and everything is all over again. Start.
After spending so many nights in faraway places, alone, no one can share the beauty, and no one complains about a bad meal, you know what you miss the most. Mom’s yellow pigeon peas with a bit of fried garlic. mother. That position on the bed, the perfect pillow. Be with your sister and niece on Saturday. The fact is, you are your home. No matter where you go, you always take home things with you. This is why it gets old so quickly, and you are ready to fly again.
My childhood dream has come true: watching ballet in Russia. Swan Lake. I wore a flowing pink dress to make up for the disappointment that I am not a ballerina. The rest of the audience, mainly American tourists and 12 Parsi from Mumbai, were wearing jeans. Before I closed the curtains, I was at a loss-the grand theatre itself was so beautiful, with all the gilded chandeliers and red velvet. After finishing, I asked a stranger to take a picture of me. It is vague and cannot be mailed. I don't want to sleep yet, I want to extend this night and let it last for a while. I walked to the rooftop restaurant, ordered wine, looked up at the sky and the charming Russians around me, thanking the universe for making this moment happen. I smiled and went to bed. I woke up with a high fever and shaking. A doctor is here. I need a translator. prescription. antibiotic. I'm too sleepy to eat. This day is log off. I set off the next morning. Lesson 1: How fast things change; how grateful you must be when the magic happens. Lesson 2: Purchase travel health insurance.
On a windy morning in Tasmania, Damien took us out for a boat trip. He pointed out that some bones and fossils were embedded in the jagged Dolomite cliffs. The water is sapphire blue and the waves are rough, but you can see 20 feet deep. I found abalone, coral, fish and two killer whales. A gust of wind blows across your face; you zip up and fasten your belt. Damien explained how Tasmania separated from the pan-continent, how plate motion pushed mountains up from the water millions of years later, and how they later weathered. These are valuable insights into different eras. You are immersed in it. Geography has never been more active than this. You want more, you want to know how the earth survived, how species evolved, how rich nature is, how lucky we are even here. You are determined to stay healthy and protect the environment; you give up your next jewelry or car. You feel the need to be a part of giving back to the generation. You want this kind of air, this kind of food, this kind of water, this kind of sky. You want to take it home; no, you want to move here; no, you want it to be like this everywhere in the world.
I woke up after spending a quiet New Year’s Eve at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on January 1, 2020, and started my day in Gudwara. A week later, I was in Delhi, then Maldives, Jaipur, Dubai, Goa-then prosperity, blockade. In the next seven months, we are all more accustomed than ever. The first 40 days are the hardest. I will breathe some air on the terrace, otherwise I will be like at home, thanks to the quiet outside, greenery, work, Netflix, health and comfort. I dabble in Pilates, illustration, neatness. My bucket list has changed dramatically. Coming from Japan and Argentina, I now dream of a luxury product near my home: a piece of grilled halloumi; driving across the Sea Link to the suburbs, with the Arabian Sea on both sides, moody and gray as we are. When I finally drove through, it felt as strange as traveling: escape, freedom, freshness, familiarity, excitement. Sometimes, when you see something new that you want to remember—such as when you see the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower for the first time—you have lost the current point. You are already experiencing nostalgia, even if it is still in front of you. You live in memory. You are in a magical state, a delicious purgatory. But this is the function of travel: it forces you to live in the present, it forces you to remember. It forces you to be grateful. It is a practice of meditation, courage, letting go, accepting, and adapting. You don't have to go far or far to get its benefits; they appear in every turn and corner, in every color of the spectrum. May the magic of travel soon reign as it has been in these pages for the past ten years. Thank you for participating in our wonderful journey.
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