It was exactly one year ago on March 4th, 2012 when our friend Doug dropped us to the Newark Airport early in the morning. It is one of those moments I will never forget. We had been busy wrapping work, packing our apartment, renting the place and stuffing everything we would own for 5 months in our backpacks. For weeks, it hadn’t hit us that we were leaving our jobs, our home, our friends, and our lives behind. We had been talking for almost one year about travelling around the world. The idea seemed silly. We joked and laughed about it. It was something that would never ever happen. Who would leave their good jobs, their home, to live out of a backpack for months? We weren’t ready to do the planning that went into something monumental like this.
No surprises. We were lost yet again. This time on a trail in Italy. It all started as it usually starts. We both mutually decide to climb to the highest point in the town in the hopes of getting the best views while burning calories from the food intake from the night before. If only we could stop stuffing our faces or be less guilty about stuffing our faces, we could actually spend our time enjoying the town and not being lost in the wilderness.
[Image Credit: http://melbournelawyer.co] We met two interesting characters on the high speed train from Spiez, Switzerland to Milan, Italy. They were crammed into the same four person table that Shru and I were. Both were initially talking to each other in Italian, so we figured they didn’t know English. A few minutes went by before Shru asked the older guy, probably in his 50s, if he was stopping in Milan. He replied in near-perfect English that he had been in Zurich and was going on with his mother to their hometown in southern Italy near Sicily. The younger guy we’d find out later was 18 and was travelling from Basel, Switzerland to a small town on the Eastern coast of Italy. Both of their journeys would take over 10 hours by train.
If someone could just pay me to be a full-time hiker and wander around in the mountains, the deep valleys and the lush forests all day, I would be in heaven, literally. I wonder if I would ever get bored or tired of a job like that. Will I wake up in the morning and say, “Oh damn, I have to go to work again and climb these annoying mountains and look at this beautiful scenery yet again” and “My life is so hard. I wish I had a desk job.”
I knew a lot of Indian people visited Switzerland, thanks to Bollywood. What I didn’t realize was the scale of it all. When we first arrived in Zurich, we didn’t see a lot of my people. But, as soon as we stepped outside the Interlaken train station, we saw a sign for Indian Dinner Cruise on Lake Brienz. It was the only sign for a cruise on that lake. It amazed me ‘cos I didn’t realize how many Indian people have started travelling abroad specifically to places such as Switzerland which are really expensive even by American standards! The Switzerland government gets it and totally capitalizes on the situation. Hell yeah, I would too! So, when I found out that there is an Indian restaurant called Bollywood at the top of the Jungfrau peak (also called Top of Europe. BTW, it is not the highest mountain in Europe), I wasn’t surprised.