Usually I stick around same places without traveling to new places. That's how I used to live for so many years. However, last 12 months proved me that there's a different kind of interest inside my body. I discovered that traveling to new places and exploring places where I have never been before is something that recharge the internal batteries of my body and refresh my imagination. I got the chance to travel long distances during last 12 months and sometimes I took the decision to step outside and travel when I did not feel like doing things which I was supposed to do. I know, there are lot of people who love to travel. It's not just about traveling to a new place that I'm talking about. This is about looking at every little detail of what we see and hear while being a complete stranger of a place and how the new train of thoughts affect our thinking pattern.
It's a long and a much painful story of how I returned home after taking one of the most difficult decisions I've made in my life. It is true that I had to step back from my first attempt towards the Ph.D dream. Besides getting more and more willingness to work for that dream, I earned an insight about life by being to new places during that troublesome time period. I never thought before that physically moving to different places and seeing around has this much great impact on my mind. A long bicycle ride in Ulsan (South Korea), another long bicycle ride along the Sincheon river in Daegu (South Korea) and a one day tour around Chiang Mai (Thailand) can be highlighted as some of the enlightening journeys. It is true that I've been traveling to many other places during that time period but somehow these few occasions added something into my thinking pattern than any other.
The first bicycle ride in Ulsan provided an important discovery of traveling for myself. That is, riding a bicycle along a silent road for a very long distance where I've never traveled before gives a great incomparable feeling to anything else. In Ulsan, when I was riding the bicycle, sometimes there was a river flowing parallel to me. Sometime there were paddy fields and other farm lands which cover the eyesight to the infinity. The sun was setting over the horizon. All those problems that bothered me seemed insignificant and pointless in front of the excitement filled into my body by the environment. The bicycle ride along the Sincheon river is another beautiful journey. There, you always have the river from one side parallel to your bicycle path. You can keep watching the river flowing throughout so many miles along the way. You can have an uninterrupted ride without facing road junctions or motor vehicles in your riding path, allowing you to enjoy the fresh thoughts of your mind which makes you feel better.
The tour around Chiang Mai was a completely different experience. I signed up for a one day tour. In an early morning, a jeep came and picked me from the hotel where I was staying. We went to few other hotels around the city to pick few more tourists. The fellow travelers with me in the jeep included an old Canadian couple, a young couple from UK, two young sisters from Chile, a French guy and a South African guy. There were few others but I can't remember where they came from or any other information. After having all the people on board, the journey began. We were taken to different far away places from the Chiang Mai urban city area. Among the list of places we traveled within that day, the bamboo boat ride and a visit to a poor village were the places which caught my mind so tightly. Throughout the journey, I had just one question in my mind; why didn't I love to travel so far in my life?.
I've been in trips to visit different places around Sri Lanka but never revealed that I have a passion for traveling this much. Perhaps it's because so far in my life, I was looking into the future dreams so much. I was restless to achieve my academic dreams. So many other important components of a good life were missed while I was busy on academic dreams. Now I think, time has came for me to balance everything. Of course, still the academic dream is in the highest rank of my "ToDo" list. However, when one day I reach there and think back, I believe I will never feel satisfied unless I spare some more time to see the beauty of our world, the universe and everything included in it.
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