Delhi, October 14th, 2010, just before midnight.
It’s like entering an oven. That’s how the atmosphere feels like, despite the nightly time of day. Me and my travel companion leave the arrival hall of the Indira Gandhi Airport, and take a cab to the hotel. Yellow-green rickshaws drive like maniacs on the long, dusty roads. We leave the concrete world of the suburbs and enter labyrinthic neighbourhoods with little, claustrophobic alleys. Man sleep on primitive cars. Families are gathered around fires. Are they all homeless? Another claustrophobic alley with neon lights. We arrive at our ‘boutique hotel’ in touristy Pahar Ganj. De receptionist, a tall man with an impressive turban and full beard, says that there is no reservation. Finally, after a short hassle, we crash in our room without a view.
The first impressions of ‘incredible India’.
Since I was twelve I dream about travelling. About the imposing Himalayan mountains, about buddhistic monks in a state of levitation surrounded by waving prayer flags, about the intoxicated odors of curries and incense. About multi headed gods in excessively decorated temples. My naive and romanticised worldview was based on ‘intellectual’ and ‘responsible’ sources like ‘Tintin in Tibet’, ‘Lambik Baba’ from the Dutch comicserie ‘Suske en Wiske’ and ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. Intrigued by buddhism (and Brad Pitt) I decided to be a vegetarian. A change my meat loving family accepted grumbling and only at second instance.
The desire to travel became more specific and realistic as the year perished. At the same time, again and again, I put my travel plans ‘in the fridge’. Weaving between study- and career plans, financial certainty, stability and escapism, ‘sehnsucht’ and the desire for adventure.
But, like a German Guru said, “the power is NOW”. It’s time to knot the Gordian knot. Together with my love I make my first Big Journey. Two months with backpack through India and Nepal. A journey full of unforgettable encounters, enchanting art, stunning meals, sublime landscapes and refining mountain hikes. But also annoyances, disenchanted experiences and physical hardships. It’s also the beginning of a new addiction. After India and Nepal many more countries followed. Not only Asia, but also the United States and South-America we visited intensively. All are unforgettable, epic trips that – sorry for the cliché – broadened my horizon and triggered my taste buds.