Friday, December 8, 2017

Life Lessons through Travels | A Roundup of 2017 #AditisPen

I sit writing this on a grey December evening. The temperatures have dropped down in London and though I would have liked to hold on to the autumn colours a little longer, I can’t deny the long winter nights. They have arrived.

December is a month for reflection, to sit back and take note of how the year has gone by, learnings and achievements, and to plan ahead. We are always reinventing ourselves, most of the times we are unaware of this, but each new experience, a new memory, paves way for personal growth. We mould, we change and, yet we stay the same.

We are all a collection of memories after all, so what memories did I create this year? What stories do my travels tell? What do they teach?

Live in the Moment.

When we went chasing the Norther Lights in January this year, it made me realize the importance of being in the moment. Of the seven nights standing in the cold and waiting for the magic to happen, we got our moment on just one night. They came, first a slight streak of green, then they deepened, flickering, singing and dancing, and then without a warning they vanished.

Like the Northern Lights, life flashes before your eyes. So, take in each moment. Live in the moment. Do not let it pass without experiencing it, without saying a gratitude prayer.

Chasing the Norther Lights, Iceland, January 2017

Life Ebbs and Flows.

Do not resist it. Embrace it. Nature is a constant reminder of the ebb and flow of life. The sun never questions why it must set every night. The seashells weathered by the ocean waves, rise again, to be polished by the same waves and find place in the hands of curious little children at the beach. The autumn leaves fall with grace to give way to the white winters. Nature reinforces that everything around us is temporary, including our hardships and challenges. Life is always in a state of flux — it’s constantly flowing and constantly changing. My travels remind me of this. Each time I climb up a mountain, walk through a forest, bathe in the sea, I am reminded that everything happens for a reason. If I am feeling low today, I will get back up tomorrow with more vigour. And if I am riding on a high wave, the tide will come sooner than later taking me down with it.

What I can do is, accept this ebb and flow of life, even appreciate it.  

High on Irish Coffee, Kerry, Ireland, April 2017

There’s no Light without Shadows. No Love without Trials.

My trip to Rome was the first time I felt my travel mojo withdrawing, but then the city turned its magic on me and I fell in love despite my initial apprehensions. Rome taught me that falling in love is a process, that maintaining a positive attitude through uncertainties will always see you through. You need to give life a chance, love a chance, travel a chance!

Don’t be too eager to judge, don’t let hearsay or pre-conceived notions be roadblocks in your journey.   

Bowing down to the magnificence, The Colosseum, Rome, April 2017

Shift from Doing to Being.

Every year we take at least one beach holiday where we do absolutely nothing. While each of our travels is a way to unwind, this one time we just let life pass by as we soak in the sun, listening to the waves, reading good books, watching the sunset, tuning out everything else. We go without a plan in mind, no travel lists, no places to visit, no background on what, when, where. We make a conscious shift from doing to just being. It is important to do so to create balance, create wholeness and to connect with yourself.

You need to meditate through travels too.

Being swooned by the sunset, Dubrovnik, Croatia, May 2017

Home is a State of Mind.

I have always believed that impermanence and change is the only constant in life. More so, since we moved abroad three years back. It is the memories then, that brick by brick build a home. It is the feeling then, of being loved and loving back, a place, a person, a memory that is home. And each travel helps us create these memories, another brick that goes in our forever evolving home.

Feeling blessed, La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, July 2017

The only Journey is the one Within

When I am travelling, I rediscover myself in a new light. There are no masks that I am wearing. There isn’t a familiar face or a known surrounding, travelling gives an opportunity to get away from everything and everyone known. I am able to connect to my true self outside of things – outside of the expectations, outside of the routines, outside of the normal. I rediscover the joys of unabashed laughter, of putting yourself first, of dancing on the streets, of rolling down a hill. I rediscover the hidden corners of my heart and every travel helps me take a journey ‘into’ myself.    

Being myself, Bratislava, Slovakia, August 2017

Importance of Advancing, Not Perfecting.

In life, we all are on our own paths of being awesome. We strive for excellence, but one should allow for imperfections too. For who is perfect, right? There should be wiggle room for imperfections, for mistakes. I have been trying to teach myself to not be too hard on myself. Earlier, during my travels I had to tick off all the must-see places that made the list of ‘Top Ten’ or ‘Must Visit Attractions’, I had to take the perfect picture, eat at the recommended restaurants and so on. It became too much of a pressure, too much of an effort. And I turned sour when I missed out on the chances of capturing these ‘perfect’ moments. I let the idea of achieving perfection, ruin the almost perfect journey that was happening right in front of me. Now I focus on advancing, of the heart and mind. I am embracing life, even the missteps. And I am a much happier person.

Embracing Life, Oia, Santorini, Greece, October 2017

Let me end this post with a confession. The first few days into this month I was feeling really low. Self doubt badgering me, screaming in my head - A year has flown by and what have you accomplished? You are so far from my goals, You've been sitting at home for a year doing nothing, You are not good enough - and me at constant edge trying to dodge these remarks. After a few sleepless nights, I wrote this. And it has given me such joy to look back on my travels and reflect on the lessons learnt. To know how far I've come this year, how I've grown, how I am much closer to my truth. 


  1. Just so beautiful Aditi! This account is such an effortless flow of emotions and your thoughts give an insight to the wonderful person that you are!

  2. Straight from the heart. So beautifully written..

  3. Those are some lovely lessons you've learnt and your travels seem amazing. I'm a tad envious of your ability to travel so much! :D But then again, I long for routine after about three weeks of travel so I can't really complain. The pictures are beautiful. You've had a lovely 2017 and hope 2018 is even better!

  4. Loved your lessons and I couldn’t agree more! I feel that each year/month has things to offer. It depends on us how we want to learn from that situation.
    Such fabulous travels, Aditi! Wishing you an even better and happier 2018. Stay blessed!

  5. Reflections are a great thing and you have done yours with such depth and joy- fulfilling is the word that came to my mind reading this and each of your lesson resonates with me too. Step back and enjoy life, we are certainly not here to accomplish all in one day or even one year!! Pace the journey with love and relaxation too. Hope the coming year brings more joy n gratitude Adi 💜

  6. I so loved this post, Aditi. Direct dil se!
    Travel teaches you so teaches you so much. Some of the things you mentioned here are just what I needed to read today. So, thank you! <3 :)

  7. This is a wonderful post. Deserves to be shared on LinkedIn as well. I loved how you drew references from your journeys.


    Do drop by mine.

  8. There are some great lessons here! I think so many people forget about the ebb and flow of life, and then they get caught up in worrying when things aren't at their absolute best.
    Britt |

  9. Gosh!! That's a lot of travel and life lessons from travel, wow, nice!! Absolutely in awe that you did so much traveling in the year that went by. Travel opens up your mind like nothing else does. Wishing you an even more exciting 2018, that involves loads of travel and writing as well!

  10. A beautiful post on giving life and love a chance, living in the moment during travel that truly educated one in offering a limitless perspective. But, guess one also needs the moolah for travel :)