Searching for the Magic of Life

Why I did a 90-day solo journey to ‘The End of the World’

Chapter 1: Routine of Life

I have met a lot of people who have active work-lives. ‘Busy’ is their tagline and their excuse for missing out on important events in the lives of their loved ones. However, when the sudden void of retirement hits, everything turns topsy-turvy. Decades they spent at work feels only like a tick in a clock. Years slipped by in the blink of an eye. Joining the service feels like yesterday and today is the retirement- everything in between it is just a blur. Plans which they had postponed to their retired life slowly start disappearing owing to bad health.

In every adult life, there is this concept of ‘Day In’ and ‘Day Out’, which David Foster Wallace refers to in his commencement speech ‘This is Water’. You wake up, get dressed for work, work for 8 or 9 hours, eat dinner, maybe recline in front of the TV for an hour, go to bed; and this process repeats Monday through Friday. Weekends are for shopping, cooking and attending a range of social gatherings. This routine of life is the enemy of the current generation. Once this routine takes over, life becomes a bookmark in your daily calendar and your heart aches for weekends. But when the short weekend finally comes, you are too tired to venture out and you have to get back to the grind the very next day – Monday. You lose the happiness and restfulness of weekends the moment you think of the routine of the upcoming week.

Thanks to the Almighty, the job I chose is one that I am extremely passionate about; meaning I can work over weekends even without pay! However, like every job, after a certain time, you get the hang of it – you understand the patterns and know how it is done. The element of novelty slowly fades and the routine starts to take over. Days and months pass in the blink of an eye; and you slowly realize that time begins to move fast.

But the reality is that time is passing as normal, however, the routine of life has sucked the hours and days from your life.

Routine is the biggest enemy of Time.

Chapter 2: Magic of Life

Taking a decision to break the routine is challenging as the life of routine is relaxing, comfortable and effortless. But there is no magic in it; the magic of life lies outside our comfort zones. So I packed my bag and ventured to see the big-wide-beautiful world only to get lost in a place that is far away from my comfort zones and experience the magic of life.

With little money and not knowing where I would stay every night, I set out on an adventure trip to an unknown continent. I survived on little food; slept under the stars in breathtakingly beautiful places on earth; interacted with the locals; stayed with strangers who gave me shelter and food; explored local cultures; felt the love, warmth, and goodness of the people; and much more. I had nothing to give them in return but stories and a portion of the magic I received from the Universe.

Chapter 3: Life on the Road

Travel brings alertness, fascination and openness. It melts away the prejudice, pride and fatigue that have been accumulated by the routine over a long period of time. It gracefully crumbles the self-created universe, in which you think you are the center with the world revolving around you. It lays bare the reality that you are just a speck in the creation, and that you exist only to experience the world and share it with others.

Travel changes your perspective and slows down time. It converts each moment into a memorable experience worth cherishing throughout the rest of your life. It lets you experience an hour like a day and a day like a week. When you finally return to your office at the end of the travel, you feel like you left a decade ago; but colleagues and friends remark that you left ‘yesterday’.

Travel with an open mind and soul has the power to change a person because the journey is not only to the outside but also to the inside – deep into the areas you haven’t explored before. As the Chinese proverb says. “He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.”

Our time in this universe is limited. Each person is the sum of the experience they have had in their life. So let’s stop worrying about what others might think about us. Let’s invest more on our dreams howsoever difficult and foolish it might sound.

Let’s invest in Experiences.

So, my friend, I suggest to you- Break the Routine of Life, come outside the comfort zone, get lost….. but most importantly witness the magic.

With an unquenchable thirst.

Yours truly, Abin Joe

Crossing arctic circle

Route map

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