It starts with nothing. A void, a numbness. You know you’re in for a change once again; an uprooting, a shift in that part of you that bases itself on where your home is. But at some point that feeling will come forth; that realization, that anticipation that today you are, indeed, returning home.
Home from where? From what? My mind starts to unravel the last seven months. Bit by bit the depth of this experience starts to unfold. And I am humbled. Humbled by everything I’ve experienced; the scenery, culture and people. Scorching beaches, humid jungles, lush hills and barren mountainscapes – not to forget the spectacular skyline of Hong Kong, or the wonderful ambience of Nepal. Random festivals, peculiar customs and genuinely nice people.
My mind goes all the way back to that first week in October, and how different it all felt back then, still on the doorstep of this amazing journey. Still unknowing what awaits.
All this talk about scenery and culture puts the real stars in the shade: my new friends. The people I’ve been hanging out with here are truly good guys, and I will miss each and every one of them. Good thing we have Skype.
It’s all still too much to take in, really. I will have ample time to ponder on this later. What I need to do now, is say goodbye.
Sitting on my last cup of cold hazelnut twist coffee at Habitats, I began to sink into that same melancholic state I had before leaving Helsinki. Knowing that this was the last time in a long while that I would see these places cast it all in a slightly different light: all the small everyday frustrations began melting away, and what I saw underneath was what was truly good – what I’ll miss.
Hell, for a moment even the constant honking seemed innocently ludicrous.
With slow steps I left the office for the last time. The bike ride down Baner road was made with slow pedal strokes. The air didn’t feel as hot today. The traffic less hectic.
Every now and then I would glance around, just to imprint it all just a bit more. Stop and watch a herd of cows cross the street. See street dogs resting, waiting for the cool of the evening to descend. Zigzag around people walking on the driving lane. Savour all those moments that I’ve gotten used to over the months.
Bags are packed now. Soon I’m heading down to Mumbai International, and from there to Istanbul. A few hours layover later I’ll be on the plane to Helsinki, and by tomorrow evening I’ll be back home.
Home. That word keeps pointing to different places.
Funny thing, that.