Thursday, May 26, 2011

One Year After the Mountains

One year ago was my first day back from my Tajikistan odyssey. It was a fabulous bit of travel because it also involved stops in Ireland and London as well as a couple wonderful days in Istanbul. It was a great Habitat build because the people in the Tajikistan office affiliate are awesome, and the location was so interesting. It was definitely good for me - as it would be for anyone - to connect with people in a village so far off one's beaten path, so different in life experiences and yet so similarly willing to sing goofy songs after the lunchtime bowl of plov has been devoured.

It was also interesting because on that trip I came across many people who were also travelers, wanderers, thinkers...and the wanderlust became a theme of the trip, specifically, that one must cast away whatever is tying one down. I found myself repeatedly involved in different conversations with different people in different countries about how I should just go, go, go. At the time I was feeling "stuck" in Chicago, even though I loved my new city of Chicago, and I had some discontent churning around the back burner of my brain. I marveled throughout my Tajikistan odyssey at how well-placed people kept cropping up to say things to inspire me to go back out globetrotting, from random Bosphorus acquaintances to the fellow Habitat builders.

I have found it difficult to describe the experience in Garm - it was such a far away village in misty mountains that lay in front of bigger mountains, and when you peeked past those you glimpsed the peaks of a lifetime. I will never forget first spotting those 6,000+-meter high crags when I got high enough on the hill outside of "downtown" Garm. I will never forget seeing those same jagged snow-capped points from the air, a group of them covering miles and miles and miles.

As it happens, today was a strange day in Korea, for a variety of reasons, for us personally. So it was a day that gave my brain a lot to contemplate all around.

Tajikistan made me feel full of good things, and made me think things are worthwhile. Also? I was pretty terrible at hurling mud at walls to reinforce them. But we all have different skills in life, I suppose.

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