When less is more

The most memorable journeys take place only when one is completely withdrawn from one’s origins and is immersed into the surroundings.

Travelling is a life experience.  While most likely are mere quick getaways from our mundane lives, some can have tremendous impact on our perspective for many things in life, including ourselves.

If there’s such a place leaving a lasting impact on me, that would be India.  I have heard India is one of those travel destinations where you either would never go back to or would revisit endlessly.  For me, it’s probably the former.  But the 37-day chaotic journey through the world’s largest democratic state opened my eyes to some of the world’s most needy population (although I must say I have not witnessed the worst first hand thus far).  It’s the kind of environment that would make one feel guilty for being so pampered from living in the insanely materialistic society in which I grew up.  Life can be so simple, even dire at times.  We have just so, so much, yet life goes on for millions of people with even basic necessities a rare commodity for many.  That sleeping bag tucked inside my backpack?  I was probably the only one on the entire train that even had a thought of using one on that cold and windy sleeper train, let alone actually whipping it out late at night when I felt I was nearly frozen.

The next morning, I could barely face the old lady and her grandson whom shared the same cabin as me.  I had actually tried to offer them my sleeping bag, partly out of respect for the weak and partly out of guilt, but they only refused.  Till this very day, I still hold vivid memories of how the two survived through the night using the same piece of thin shawl.  Age and weakness don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Have a second thought about what is really important.  The next time you travel to a less privileged part of the world, pause for a while before you insist on needing something.  Perhaps you would bring home a lot more by having less.

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