June 3rd to July 17th. I was in Tunisia, a country which I could not point out on the map six months before. An experience I never knew could change my life in such a powerful way. I wanted to do something useful in the summer, so I had started planning few months before. I applied to an internship through IAESTE to Tunis, Tunisia, by the guidance of one of my seniors. All that my senior said was that it was a great country, and had a lot of European Influence. And that was enough for me to try my luck. And I’m so thankful to myself for making such a random decision. It was a great experience, and experience that could never get better.
I landed in Tunis, at about mid-day, and I was greeted by two great people who identified me from a really bad passport-size photo I had previously mailed. Immediately, they made me comfortable. And within no time I was accustomed to the city. As they drove me past the city, As I was just staring at the city, As I was getting accustomed to the heat, As I was repeating for my accent was bad, I knew that that place was my home for the next month and a half. First day, I was taken around by one of them, and shown around. In the evening, we went to the supermarket. I was surprised at the duration of sunlight, and I realized that I had to get used to that. And as I sat in a room after dinner, chatting about life in general, and evolution, more people joined in. I was surprised at how friendly the people were, and the ease at which a conversation could be made. I stuck low, always knowing that I represent my country. I loved the culture of being a student at work, an intern, a trainee-the immediate bonding was inexplicable.
And just like that, time flew. I met one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen, I met one of the most intellectual people I had ever known, and I met one of the most sarcastic guys I had ever conversed with. Living by the beach, playing football by the week, travelling to nearby places for the weekend- and that’s how my first fortnight was spent. People came, and people left. And the people who left before I did had a great impact on me. My heart was wounded, and got mended pretty soon by power of friendship. I had eventually built a rock-solid friendship with people of my kind, people who I cared for, people who I loved deep inside. I made sisters, I made admirers, I made role models, and I made memories which never could be erased!
And all of a sudden, all so randomly, one more person arrives. Powered with vigor and the uncanny ability to never lose energy, she stimulated the interest and reason to live life with energy. Every day was a mission; Everyday was a goal; Everyday was the undying possibility of doing something never done before. And this is how days got more exciting, and nights got calmer. The calmness and the power of the night is realized when the day is utilized perfectly. And as the days got more exciting and random, the nights got more focused, and determined. And this is how my next fortnight passed.
As the days passed by, as the reasons in life were realized, as a comfort zone was reached, things were rattled again. People shifted into a new accommodation, and slowly the divide was created. Two groups of people were formed; one comprising of the old, experienced group, and one consisting of the “newbies”. They say when separation is reached, do people realize how much one cares for the other, and whoever made this is completely right. As the next few days passed, there was more of general travelling, and socializing with a lot of new people. Few great places were visited, and few things were achieved, that I had never done before. Dancing till dawn, getting to sleep after 6 in the morning, sunbathing at 40 degrees; All so new!
And just as quickly as I got to Tunisia, my last week was already there. We were on a never-ending south-trip, which was fortunately infinite. A trip of my dreams! The vastness of the desert was truly inspiring, just as much as it’s calmness. The brilliant beauty of the wind, shaped so beautifully by the sand it carried and the complete randomness of nature which created a water source, in the middle of a desert was just so inspiring. Life was refueled, and reshaped by the completeness of the trip of my life. People got closer, by the heat in the bus, by the forced separation due to the camels, by the realistic beauty of nature and the unending desires in life.
And just as the trip was to complete, did a few people realize that the end is near, and that life takes away all it gives. For it gives you immense happiness, and then it finds a way later to rip your heart, for it shows you that love can be found in a place far from your comfort zone, for it shows you the importance of making the most of your time. The last week was all about leaving, and it got a bit depressing at times. Soul-crunching goodbyes and suppressed tears, it became tough to bear it all.
As I was travelling back to India, the unending flight journey stimulated a chain of thoughts in my yet so immature brain. Travelling can cure your heart, can fill your head, can create a spark of inspiring thoughts, can define freedom, can show your heart and can help you discover yourself. And that arises a question-“As one travels, and gets accustomed to adapt, does he still enjoy new sights, and thoughts, like before?” Whatever be the answer, I think the unending journey of life would only be discovered by traveling and unearthing new paradigms, and not by the darkness in a room, not by books, not by the gloomy suffocation of a single place. The soul needs to flow, and the mind needs it’s freedom, and I personally feel that the energy and freedom in travelling can never be replaced by any other feeling.