Life after Auroville

Too much happened in the months after Auroville. As mentioned in my previous post, I had reached a point where even thinking about anymore travels was making physically and mentally exhausted. I needed a place where I could settle down temporarily. So the plan when I left Auroville was to head back to my folks’ in Pune, pack my backpack and come straight to Australia but as life would have it I ended up retracing my steps around the globe.

Before I settled down anywhere (I knew it wasn’t going to be in Europe just yet) I wanted to spend time with my sister in Germany so that was my first stop. In the month that I was there, I spent time trying to get used to not being in Asia, getting used to the cold after being in tropical climate for a year, getting over the jet lag and getting used to the German language again which started to seem rude and curt after having spent so much time away. I couldn’t make it to London to see my friends or to Munich for that matter (which was just 45mins away) as I was seriously rationing my travels and trying not to over burden my travel-fatigued body.

From Germany, I went to the US to spend a few months with somebody who I thought was interesting. It became obvious after the very first weekend that it was going to be a waste of my time and that sadly he was not up to my standards so I (quite literally) made a run for it and decided, despite being traveled out, to visit some friends and family that I very much wanted to see. I spent a week in NYC with some of my dearest friends, Akshay and Anne, with whom it is like being home. And NYC itself is beginning to grow on me!

With Anuja, a friend from high school, whom I bump into every 6 years in different cities around the world!
With Anuja, a friend from high school, whom I bump into every 6 years in different cities around the world!

From New York, my cousin, whom I hadn’t seen for 3 years, and I drove to Columbus where he lives with his family. I spent a week with them, just chilling and eating way too much food (although my cousin disagrees as I don’t eat half as much as I used to back when we still lived in India). While in Columbus I also met Ryan whom I never thought I’d see again after we first met in Portugal 2 years ago!! Seeing him was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

With my favourite niece and sis-in-law in Columbus
With my favourite niece and sis-in-law in Columbus

After that it was a week with Vivek in, what is now one of my favourite cities, Washington D.C. I luuuuved DC. The architecture, the young student/professional crowd, the suburban neighbourhoods, the history, museums, restaurants and café was basically everything I could ask for in a city. Ok, so DC doesn’t have a beach close by but it has a river which I love for those long solitary walks/bike rides. I’d go as far as to say that I would want to live in DC, even if it’s just for a few months.

Lincoln Memorial at twiight
Lincoln Memorial at twilight
Washington monument at sunset
Washington monument at sunset
Washington memorial and Thomas Jefferson memorial
A view of Washington monument and Jefferson memorial captured during a bike ride along the river

Long story short, US was one hell of a trip! After a quick stop back in NY it was time to (finally) head to Australia and I was nervous! I had one person I counted as a friend, couple of other acquaintances, a very low bank balance, a traveled out body, a 33hr hour journey and a 14hr time difference and resulting jet lag to look forward to. I knew my body needed rest, I knew my mind needed rest from constantly thinking about “where to next”. I was craving for the known, for a 9 to 5 life that I so needed a break from 18months ago.

As I write, it’s been a little over a month since I arrived in Melbourne and I am pretty sure this is where I want to live for the next year or so. It’s not been easy coming to this decision. I haven’t lived in one place for longer than 1.5 years since 2008. I have moved house 10 times in the 7years I was in the UK. And now I’ve been traveling for the last 18months. It’s almost as if I have forgotten how to put down roots anywhere. The feeling of knowing (or assuming) I’ll have to move again soon makes me wary of committing to live anywhere for too long (too long being longer than a couple of months). Or perhaps I’m just spoilt for choice and I want to keep my options open. But after all that uncertainty I’m finally beginning to be sure that I’ll stay out this year in Melbourne.

Melbourne is not a city I would call beautiful, especially after having traveled around Europe quite a bit. But something I wasn’t aware of was that people come to Melbourne for food and culture and these are the top 2 reasons I undertake any travel! From what I’ve seen so far, Melbourne is like a smaller version of London, with a much better pace of life, with better weather, a beach close by, countless cafes and restaurants, a big street food and coffee culture, and such friendly people. I couldn’t have chosen a better city to live in! Fingers crossed that I find a good job so I can stick to my decision of living here!