“... Flying for the first time brought me no fear, for the sight of eternal clouds as quiet as they are calm, brought peace within. And although flying high above the surface, chasing those horizons, I felt more grounded in my thoughts.
Flying was like floating above the skies with my first opportunity to look down on the world below. I struggled to grasp the immensity of our world as I witnessed reality reaching far further than I could see. Horizons have no end and may only exist to remind us that there is always more to see.
I was leaving a part of the world to see another and I spent most of the time looking out of the window of my seat admiring the various landscapes and cities below. I saw no barriers like those which are imprinted on the maps I had so often studied.
The barriers we create are only ghosts, invisible walls, and I was sure that if the world could speak, it would most certainly ignore them. I never really understood why humanity constantly fought, for I had not seen anything but beauty in our differences, and the opportunity to celebrate the richness that has been created through cultures.
I think, that as humans, we tend to fight not only when threatened but also when we are scared. Unfortunately, the unknown is scary to most.
I remember my first feeling after getting off the plane in Mumbai. The air was much heavier but no less warm to my skin than it was back in Cairo. The humidity struck me the most but I knew my body would quickly get accustomed to it as I did to the dry heat of Maghreb.
A gentle coastal breeze brushed against my face as I looked out into the distance. The horizon that was separating the ocean from the skies led West, the direction from which I had just come from. The very horizon to which, just the day before, I stood on the other side.
Mumbai’s chaos was overwhelming and exciting at the same time and I instantly fell in love with the thrill of being in the middle of it all. I ventured on foot through the street of Mumbai where shops and markets were even higher in numbers than they were in Marrakech. The diversity of people and the cultural change I was witnessing was nothing short of inspiring.
Roaming through Mumbai, I admired the magnificent colonial architecture of the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India and the Victoria train terminal which was going to take me North towards the Himalayas in a few days, but what struck my eyes and senses the most was the local culture, the diversity of people and the colours of the markets which surrounded me.
It was not only my eyes but all my senses which fell under the enchantment of the place; the sounds of Marathi combined with the melodies of sitars and sarangis brought this unreal moment to life where once again, Difference was holding hands with Beauty.
I went from stall to stall, trying different foods, filling also my hunger for discovery as I admired this culture far older than my own.
My journey was to take me north across India to reach Agra and eventually the roots of the Himalayas.
I longed to witness and discover the isolated monasteries to which only stories and travel journals were to prove their existence.
This part of the world had always called for me the most, for I imagined a place in which isolation was a gift and a part of the world where modern society had still not reached.
I had only ever read stories of the Himalayas, in fact, before my travels, Home was all I had ever seen. My books became a gateway for my thoughts, and I had only ever used maps to help me understand my way around in my own imagination..."