A dazzling multi-storied shopping mall or a dimly lit bar of another country, they attract me, but they never call out to me in my dreams to go back there.
It’s the Ajanta cave or the wildlife of the Amazon -- they come back to me with their enchanting mysteries every night in my dreams. They come slowly, whisper: “Unveil me, see me.”
I fall into the dazzle.
I am the girl who wanders alone, yet, is not lost. My travel diary talks about all the nights I was shivering out of fear in an unknown hotel room of a foreign country, how I had to gather all my fallen-apart courage in the mornings to start a new journey, in a place where no one speaks my language.
My wallet has a few chambers, but it was never full of money. It only could afford rides on public transport and eat at road-side food stalls most days.
But all my hardships were worth it when I inhaled the fresh air of Mount Lavinia Beach in Lanka, and listened to the silence engulfing it. I wish I could take home with me the silence of Mount Lavinia.
The mountains, Kotagala of Kandy and Adara Kanda of Ratnapura, made me miss my hilly roads of Chittagong, where all the hills are my home. I wonder how many mornings I have craved to get up in my little yellow-green tent.
Babughat and Kalibari in Kolkata, they’ve never made me feel like I didn’t belong there. I was showered with love and the sheer beauty of the places overwhelmed me.
When I entered Thakur Bari of Jora Sanko, I felt Rabindranath in the air. I felt him in my tears, reminding me that I am a Bangali, and so was he. Oh, this connection, this bond of souls.
Travelling has taught me how to open my heart and embrace the diversity of language, lifestyle, apparel, and culture. I could see a new person inside my body while talking to the lady who dwells in the mountain in Kandy with her son. The loss of her family stayed with my soul, and her motherly softness eased my mind.
The sadhu baba outside Birla Mandir showed me, while having our prasad together, that people of different faiths can live together, in harmony.
Travelling has taught me how to open my heart and embrace the diversity of language, lifestyle, apparel, and culture
I never felt out of place when the shonkho was being played around at the time of Shondha Aroti at Dakshineswar Temple, and I felt the strength of Islam when I encountered how gracefully they maintained the saintliness of Nakhoda Masjid near Ganga.
I traced the history of my ancestors in Fort William, where I learned of the glorious history we once made.
The orchards of Kharagpur, or the streets of Kuala Lumpur -- how breathtaking they looked when I passed through them and took parts of their grace inside my soul.
It is indeed beautiful. Travelling has taught me to dive deep, see the unseen. Have we ever listened to how amazing it sounds when raindrops fall onto the glass windows?
Travelling solo also reminded me every time that I am a girl, and it’s an identity that feels separate from being human. Random people who talked about my safety were the ones who wanted to invade it, if there was ever a chance.
I had to be more careful than the opposite gender while travelling, regardless of it being on my own land or foreign. It took me years to have the guts to chase my dreams and follow my passion for travelling.
Yes, I dared, and I am not going back into the hut again. I am afraid to roam alone, but I have also gathered all my courage to quell any fear. That’s when I met me.
I am the girl, who wanders alone, yet is not lost. I enjoy travelling alone, which is why I can feel the connection between me and nature without any disruption.
Fariya Rahman is a freelance contributor.