We were standing there filling petrol, it was the last bottle the mechanic had. The petrol pump wouldn’t dispense anything until night and we had to reach Dhankar. In Spiti, the only petrol pump is in Kaza and it regularly fails to dispense. The petrol comes in on huge trucks and if they are held up in a road block then Spiti can be without petrol for two or three days.
The mechanic was a buzz of activity. As I turned around and looked at the Himalayan Cafe, it struck me how familiar it had all become to me. The place seemed so different since I had first arrived in the pitch black of night, holding onto the edge of my seat as if I could lose my life at any moment. Everything seemed to be my own: the smiling locals, the friendly tourists, and ever cheerful monks.
For about five seconds, I was completely and utterly immersed in the moment. I detached from all the things happening around me and time seemed to just freeze. It lifted me into this space of complete appreciation; because everything around me was so beautiful. And then it hit me, how much I had changed. Though I am normally quite aloof from the world, I had somehow allowed people into my life without compromising on my personal happiness.
My journey was always changing me in subtle ways. Sometimes I picked up on them, though many times I only realised after a few months that I was going about my life a bit differently. And in that way, travel can teach you balance. Because it makes you fluid and non-static, allowing you to grow yourself into the version that feels most natural. As I snapped back to the voices of my comrades around me, I smiled internally. Because I knew that no matter who I was with and where I was, my experience was still completely my own.