For those boards now and to correct the lack of a chronological order in blog posts, here I trace the path taken by Jeguetrip.
My plans were to spend twenty days in Berlin visiting a friend and then fly directly to India where I would study Ayurvedic medicine for about six months. Then come back to Brazil. I ended my trip in China thirteen months later without going to India, which was left of being my main goal.
I fell in love with Berlin as soon as I arrived and just left there three months later when the winter came shortening the days and increasing the cold and the wet. Moreover, I ended a relationship kind of “Berlin is too small for both of us”.
Then I thought that Greece would be a better place than India to heal a broken heart. Could not be more wrong. The isolation of the Greek islands empty in winter and its beauty were a devastating shock treatment to me. But finally I was able to dive deep into a forced process of self-knowledge. And the cure came, brought for Time, this brother with whom I have this love and hate relationship because erases regardless friends and lovers from my mind.
Then I took a boat to Turkey to see some cities and to get my visa for India. Specifically I crossed from Rhodes to Marmaris. And went the same night to Istanbul. Istanbul is one city but two continents, Europe and Asia. Divided by the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul has this fascinating double personality. But my money would not last long. Although cheaper than Europe, Turkey is still far more expensive than most of Asia. So quickly I asked the consulate for a Indian visa that would take 10 days to be ready. I took this meantime to go to Cappadocia from where I have seen pictures while I was still in Brazil.
So there was this Slovenian friend who convinced me that I should not miss the opportunity to see Iran as it was next door. He said the Iranians were an extremely hospitable people and Persian art and architecture worthy of note. The economics of moving over land was also crucial weight in my decision. The wait for the Iran visa made me spend the end of the year in Istanbul.
In early January then I left on a bus heading to Tehran. It would be almost two days of travel in a scenario predominantly covered by snow and ice. However I dropped off in Tabriz (northwest Iran) in the middle of the night. I was in Iran for more than two months. The country was entitled to all that Madison had told me. Unfortunately my visa wouldn’t allow me to stay for “Norooz”, the Persian New Year’s Eve celebrated on March 21 when they started the year 1388. In the time I was there I heard from several other backpackers about the natural beauty of Pakistan and again about a kind and hospitable people. An unique nature relying on some of the highest mountains in the world, a hospitality that was even a tourist attraction, a culture shaped by a maelstrom of historical events and prices “ridiculously” cheap.
I was in Pakistan for four months. The country had in me a strong impact. Despite all the cultural shocks with which was often difficult to handle, I left it with an early longing and a deep gratitude. Traveling has taught me to respect the seasons, so I delayed again my trip to India thinking that China would have a better climate for the summer.
I took the path of China following the KKH. Karakoram Highway is the highest international highway in the world. A road that winds through valleys between mountains and glacial rivers. I came this way to the province of Xinjiang in China, where most of the population belongs to a mixed race called uigur and is predominantly Muslim. Thus they suffer great prejudice of the Chinese government. Some recent protests had caused the government shut down international communications (telephone and Internet) across the entire province. Then I took my first flight since I started to travel over surface, crossing the whole China from west to east and going to stop right in the capital, Beijing. After falling seriously ill twice in a month, I decided it was time to allow my body a rest and decided to return to Brazil. Also I was saturated, it seemed there was no more space to absorb news. It was time to assimilate them.
Before Brazil I spent around 15 days in Berlin where I was hosted with immense affection by Chris. Until I see her I didn’t know exactly what would be the feeling that this meeting would arouse. One outcome full of meaning for a trip even more "profound" than long. Quartered alive today, my heart in Perpignan, my mind in Asia, my body surviving mechanically in a city which I identify myself less than most in which I have been.
But the redeployment also brings rich learning and acceptance of old and new friends softens the impact of return. The inevitable comparisons between these other worlds and mine enrich my perception of all events, yet intensely alive inside of me.