Why traveling is good for your health

08Oct 2010, 10.20am

Yesterday we took the bus that from Pokhara goes to Ambassa, near Bardia National Park. Even though we had booked our seats, I decided to travel on top of the bus, because it was too hot inside and I was getting nervous with all the people pushing us. It was my first time alone. Amazing. One of those times when you are truly happy and at peace. I was happy, I felt FREE as never before. Serene and carefree. I thought I could have died in that moment, it didn’t matter because I was happy. It was the same thought I had in Tibet or during my first dive, in Thailand.

I was listening to my music and singing loud to the wind, the only one who could hear me. “Ninna Nanna” by Modena City Ramblers, the travelers soundtrack (in Italian). “Amico” (friend) by Renato Zero, and I thought of my best friend, Paola. And Yankelee nel Ghetto, Negramaro, Morricone. I thought at the people at home. My parents, waiting for my return; my brother, who was worried for me (???), my cousins, my friends.

Probably most people think that I’m wasting money and time, that I should settle, find a job and everything else (the “getting ma…ed” that I can’t even say out loud). But traveling gives me a satisfaction that I don’t find anywhere else. And this is what I want to do now. And I think that people should do what they feel like, if it doesn’t hurt others. So here I am.

It’s interesting how fate arranges different lives for each one of us. I am here, on the road, I rarely sleep on the same bed for 2 nights, I haven’t eaten pasta and drank an espresso in 2 months, I will celebrate my birthday alone, but I’m terribly happy. I meet a lot of interesting people, other travelers with thousand of stories to tell, locals with their beautiful smiles. And I see new places. Rice fields, loads of temples, tigers, Koreans singing in Italian in the moonlight…

One hour later some kids got on the top with me, interrupting my thoughts. When there are some police check-points locals have to get down, they can’t stay up here, only tourists can. This is weird. If it’s considered dangerous, why are tourists allowed?

I thought I would sit inside for the night, but it was so cool and there were so many people (at about 10pm we were about 20 people up there) that I decided to stay till the end. It was nice (even though my butt is still hurting), if we exclude the strong wind when the driver decided to push on the gas when going down. A guy let us use his army blanket (I was now with Tanja, a Finnish girl we met on the Annapurna that came to Bardia with Hilde and me).

At one point we stopped to let a truck coming from the other side pass, and our wheel started to make a very strong whistle. It took us about one hour to change it. So at the end, instead of 4am we arrived at 7. Not too bad.

It was all good, until I found out I lost my purse during the night. I can even remember when it was. We stopped somewhere and we all went down to have a cup of tea; climbing back onto the top it must have fallen off my pocket. There wasn’t much inside, something like 5 euro in coins, my students card of the University of Bologna (that I should have returned 6 years ago), a card with 3 euro credit to take the public bus in Dubai, a deposit card of an English account with about 300 pounds, two fake corals that I bought in Lhasa. I don’t know if anyone was able to use the debit card (maybe online). I wasn’t able to block it because I don’t know which number I should call and I don’t have an internet connection here.

After 24 stressfull hours I decided that in the worst case scenario I would have helped someone that needed those 300 pounds more than I do. I can’t help it, I’m too generous! (this is a joke, for those who don’t know me) Anyway, it’s a bit weird because I have so many lucky charms from China, Tibet and Nepal! I don’t know how that could happen. Nevermind. Maybe it’s because I had bought a new wallet a few days earlier in Pokhara, and I couldn’t make up my mind and change it… Fate decided for me, one more time.

Next stop: Bardia National Park.