"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. This quote by St. Augustine has always resonated within me. I had my first taste of solo travel when I was 19. This trip, lasting a year, took me to Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan. This is where my great love affair with travel began. I started to learn about new cultures, traditions, and ways of life. I met many people from afar and hoped I would one day visit their lands.
As I reflect back, I realize that my desire to travel started at a very young age. My grandfather emigrated from Italy and opened Ceretti's Grocery and Hardware in Borden-Carleton, and my family has been operating it for the last 70 years. I can remember always wanting to travel to Italy in order to visit the land of my heritage, but as of now this task is still on my bucket list.
For me it doesn’t quite matter exactly where I go, as long as I keep on exploring.
Over time my wanderlust has grown stronger and stronger. My second trip brought me to New Zealand, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, India, and Thailand with family and friends. Although I prefer the unparalleled freedom of solo travel, there's immense pleasure and rewards to be had when traveling with those closest to you. This trip is when I started to evolve my taste buds. My stomach has led me to some truly wonderful tastes around the world, like trying traditional Vietnamese food such as 'pho', snacking from one of the numerous street carts in Bangkok after watching the vendors do their magic, getting to eat freshly made 'pav bhaji' on the streets of Mumbai, and struggling through a delicious, albeit spicy 'papaya salad' in Laos.
My third long-term trip, which has taken me to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, back to India, and which will soon take me to Nepal and to Eastern Europe has been endlessly rewarding. Everyday is an adventure. I want to visit every country on earth, however India was so special I decided to return for a second time. It is like no where else on earth. Indian people are genuinely hospitable. I find their culture fascinating as it’s based in so much history and spirituality. India is an assault on the senses: Incense and spices fill your nostrils, honking and hollering fill your ears, a smorgasbord of colors and designs occupy your eyes' movements, and so much more. India’s landscape is incredibly diverse and beautiful, this combined with the local dishes make it one of the most rich and flavorful places in the world. It is a feast for the eyes, a country of strong paradoxes and stark contrasts.
One of my favourite things about traveling is visiting the local markets. There's something magical about wandering through a massive market and seeing how it all works, how everything unfolds. This photo was taken at Perry's Corner in Chennai, India. Perry's Corner is a shoppers paradise. The streets cover quite an expansive area and are lined with shoppers, hawkers, and gawkers. Fruit and vegetable sellers, flower merchants, spices, toys, car parts, snacks, household goods, and everything else in between. In all its chaos there is a sort of unorganized system at work in which everything seems to miraculously flow smoothly.
India is also home to many festivals. One of the most famous being the Hindu festival Holi, also known as the festival of colours which is celebrated by hundreds of millions of people. Holi celebrates the victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring. People from all backgrounds take part in 'playing' Holi and everyone sings, dances, and paints each other in a rainbow of colours. Whole towns get blanketed in an assortment of colours, and no one gets away paint-free!
I love meeting new people, whether locals or fellow travelers, and learning about their way of life, their culture, and their traditions. I love waking up and not necessarily knowing where I'm going. There's something special about seeing new landscapes, new architecture, and new wonders. For me it doesn’t quite matter exactly where I go, as long as I keep on exploring. "One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things” - Henry Miller.