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Chapter XXV

Your World

Your world is as big as you make it.
I know for I used to abide
In the narrowest nest in a corner,
My wings pressing close to my side.

But I sighted the distant horizon
Where the skyline encircled the sea
And I throbbed with a burning desire
To travel this immensity.

I battered the cordons around me
And cradled my wings on the breeze,
Then soared to the uttermost reaches
With rapture, with power, with ease!

-Georgia Douglas Johnson

This inspiring poem about self-discovery talks about embracing a new world of feeling, acting and living which you never thought was possible earlier. Like a little bird whose wings are closely pressed by her side, we tend to lead our life in a constricted manner. We are complacent, fearful and reticent. However, once the realisation of YOLO or the “You Only Live Once” concept dawns on us we realize that there is a world of endless possibilities that await us. So shatter your imaginary shackles, pull up your socks and get cracking on your dreams. It’s time to make them come true.

Feeding the pigeons in Pigeon Valley in Cappadocia

YOLO – You Only Live Once

“You Only Live Once” is just so irresistible that it forms a pronounceable acronym. It is impelling and soul-stirring. It’s catchy and gets you thinking about you and your life. Not only does it describe the attitude but also the whole mindset and the idea to enjoy yourself every single day. Such an eye-opener!

Literally on top of the world – Khardungla Pass

To do or not to do? Should I or should I not? These are perhaps the questions you have asked yourself in the same paradoxical manner as William Shakespeare did when he wrote “To be or not to be?” in Hamlet. The truth is that many of us get caught in the conundrum when it comes to simple decisions in our day-to-day life that choosing the safer option becomes easier. After all, it is viable to follow a routine rather than try something different.

A picture with the little monks near Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh

What could be more uplifting to an adolescent than the action-packed adventures of Tintin and his little dog wandering the world? The visually-driven Tintin comic books gave a sense of wanderlust to us as children and we spent hours dreaming about accomplishing them once we were adults. However, isn’t it true that work pressures and responsibilities have put our dreams in the backburner of our lives? “YOLO” is the awakening for most of us to not let life pass by but to get cracking on those dreams. To me, it is as inspiring as “Carpe Diem” – Seize the day. Stop procrastinating! Get out of your comfortable safe-zone. Get moving! Go, Make your dreams a reality. You only live once.

The mandatory picture with the sailor statue outside Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh

If there is a speech that has inspired me a lot, it is Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address. His “three stories” narrative holds depth about his life experiences and they are valuable lessons. In my moments of doubt, I have gone back to listen to him to keep my motivation flying high. He says, “For the past thirty-three years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today and whenever the answer has been “No” too many days in a row I know I need to change something.” He continues with a reminder, ” …..Remembering that you’re going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking I have something to lose.” Wow! His words are profound and inspiring.

Two brushes with death and one life lesson

My first brush with death was in my first year of college when the army vehicle in which I was seated, smashed with a fast-paced Toyota car. I was rushed to the ICU and then had a month-long stay in the hospital. A few years later, I fell seriously ill and was in and out of the hospital for six months. These two near-death experiences made me realise the importance of savouring every moment of my life. Since then both Sam and I make it a point to gather new experiences that thrill us. Travel tops the list. We have straddled on the Prime Meridien in Greenwich, shopped in Chicken street in Kabul, soaked the amazing views at Cape Point in South Africa, stayed amidst wildlife at Kruger National Park, saw sunrise at Angkor Wat, fed and bathed with the elephants in Chiang Mai, snorkelled in the Maldives, danced in front of The Sphinx in Egypt, tried amazing cuisines – both street and fine dining, drank the finest wines and so much more.

Let not the lockdown and the pandemic inhibit you from learning something new. Look at downtime as a critical time to enhance your skills and building on your expertise. A travel addict or blogger can hone their skills in photography, videography and editing. Why not look at this as an ideal time to write a book? It’s also important that we make positive plans of things to look forward to when it’s safe to travel again. When the situation starts easing out and you can move out with precautions, you can quench your thirst for wanderlust by travelling in your city. While we want to travel the world, many of us still haven’t discovered our own city in entirety.

All ready to swim deeper in the Indian Ocean while in Maldives

All we have is “Now.” With yesterday already a memory and tomorrow a mystery, let’s embrace the moment. and enjoy every minute of it. Spread your wings. Explore the world.

We are all placed on earth for a purpose, find yours and follow your dreams. Live by example and always show pure love to those that are in need of it. We are all going to leave this world; it’s just a matter of time for all of us. So let’s leave a legacy that we can be proud of.

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