Roni

There is only life

Age: 22
Born: Helsinki, Finland
Lives Now: Helsinki, Finland

Reading time:
~14 minutes


February 2016
India, Karnataka

If we start from my childhood.. it would take a long time to ramble everything. But I can say, in a nutshell, that I had a very happy childhood and that there were no family troubles or anything like that. For that I am very grateful. That I have a very good relationship with my parents and they are still together and so on. I grew up well together with my brother, we had a nice time together in our childhood. He’s my only brother, my little brother, he’s about 1,5 years younger than me. So.. yeah.. What would I say… A really cool childhood, I can’t say much more. All of my memories are good memories actually. Then I started to near the age to go to school, things started to change a little. I grew out of my shell… But yeah, I started school and pre-school first of course. Hmm.. it was a nice time as well, but I started to have some trouble with school stuff. A sense of freedom was lost.. step by step of course, but still…
I had a nice time in primary school. What is it, 6 years in primary school, in hindsight the time went past really quickly. From childhood till this day, it’s been a quick ride.
Then it started to be more of a rollercoaster, going to secondary school, things started to change. The world began to harden me more and more. I started to get more sense in my head, or I started to lose it more, I don’t know which one it now actually is, to which end it tips over more haha… Of course the brain develops and you learn new things all the time, but you experience all kinds of things in your youthful enthusiasm. Sometimes you do stupid stuff.. but I really never did any irreversible misadventures. So in the end a pretty chill time since the switch to primary school. Even though it was pretty ADHD activity sometimes in school, but I guess thats with everyone more or less. But nothing to complain about this time, many pleasant memories.. and I learned a lot from these things.

Then I started to get more and more problems when suddenly, out of the blue, I became depressed, around the age of 15. It actually happened in a rather short time, before this there was this sort of.. how would I say… a carefree feeling of everything. No deep thoughts yet about things rolling around in my mind. Mainly just focusing on playing and hanging around with my friends, going to school and then the day has gone by already.
But then around the age of 15, like in a couple of weeks I got the realisation that.. that something has happened. Everything is not like it used to be.. now something is wrong, something isn’t alright. I couldn’t pinpoint this feeling to something specific, like what is this, what is causing this. I had no problems in my life. At least nothing that I consciously knew about. I just got this dissatisfaction of life from somewhere. I started to think more and more about the meaning of life and these kinds of things. This went on for about a year and I think I never really talked about it to anyone.. so a year had passed and at some point I realised that I am depressed, even though I hadn’t gone to a doctor for a diagnose, but that’s how it felt and that’s how I categorised it as. Like I just suddenly started to realise that I’m getting really depressed. This came from something, I don’t know from what. I don’t know how to get rid of this. That was mainly my question, how to get rid of it.
So.. a year passed before I talked about it to anyone. I think I told my mom first. She was surprised: “What? You have shown no signs of this on the outside.” I have always been a very positive and happy guy, so not everyone could see this. I didn’t really show it outside of myself. It was just inside, this feeling. To my mom.. to my parents it came as a surprise. I don’t know how long we thought what to do about this. Then about a year, or year and half later that I started feeling this I went to a psychiatrist. I went there more or less for the next two years. Maybe totally 10 times I went to talk for an hour or two. I really can’t remember much about these conversations anymore as it’s been quite a while.. 6 or 7 years ago. So no vivid memories, a lot of talking I remember. Some in depth conversations about some problems. I thought that it might be mostly because I wasn’t inspired too much to do anything. But I really don’t know.. the psychiatrist didn’t help that much. A few times I even tried some medication they gave me, but only for a short duration and I think the meds only made it worse and didn’t help at all, so I stopped them. So now and then I went to the psychiatrist during a 2 year window and I decided to stop going there as it wasn’t helping. I had to do something else. After this I don’t really know how I focused on the problem. I mean sometimes it was worse, a darker period and sometimes I was enjoying life, almost as fully as before the more chronic depression period started. So two or three years passed with this..

Then this spiritual stuff started to find it’s way to me from around every corner. I started to grow an interest on it and.. maybe around 18.. between 18 and 19 years old it really started an explosive growth, my own spiritual journey. At the same time I started to watch Madventures and a lot of other stuff.. and I followed all kinds of travel shows as well, I watched a lot of documentaries and I just started to gather more information about the world. Actually, I started to follow these at the same time as I started to gain an interest on the spiritual stuff.. so, I started to grow an interest in traveling. Then we get to the point that I’m here in India a few years later, hah..

Before India I haven’t traveled that much. The first time I went traveling was with my parents, like further away, not to the neighbouring counties of Finland, was when I was 9 or 10. We went to the Canary Islands. So that was my first touch to traveling.. to a horrible package holiday resort. Of course back then it was nice, you get to a warm place, even if it was just a week. But it was in the middle of the winter.. you get away from the dark and cold Finland. So it was damn nice. We also went to Cyprus and Mallorca when I was around the same age. So these were the first touches to traveling.

2012
With my previous girlfriend, I went for two and a half weeks traveling around Europe. Not interrailing, but a small breakaway. It was my first independent travel, even though my girlfriend was with me.. This was in the summer of 2012. First we were in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam for a week. From there we took a bus to France, to Paris. We spent there 3 or 4 days and then from there we took a night train to Nice, just to take it easy on the beach. We were at Nice for about two and a half weeks in total.. or about two weeks. Then we came back to Finland..
It was a small first touch to traveling. Even though, for example, now I have been in India for a significantly longer time than what my first trip was in its total duration, I learned a lot more about myself on that first trip. About 6 months before the trip in Europe, I had begun exploring cannabis and I experimented with psychedelics a few times, and in Amsterdam I explored psychedelics even more. It was only a two week travel, but I.. I got a lot of insights. And.. during those two weeks I grew a lot, perhaps even more than ever before in my whole life, at least for now. Even though I have now been in India for 4 months, the two week travel taught me way more than this trip now. It was a very intense travel.

2013
And then a few a years ago, in the end of 2013, I went to the Philippines with my good friend. It was my first trip of a longer duration and I also travelled alone for a while. It made me more independent and capable of traveling alone.. to almost anywhere in the world.
In the Philippines we didn’t visit that many places. We spent most our time at Palawan Island, and it has been said to be the worlds most beautiful island, there’s supposed to be the best beaches. It really was just incredible, a tropical paradise.

2015 – 2016
This trip to India is now my 3rd independent travel.. and I chose India because.. I’m not really sure. I think I’ve always, even since as a child, been fascinated about India, but never thought about it too much. Actually when we went to the Philippines, we were supposed to go to India first, but we thought that it might be too intense as a first country to visit together and.. we were in a pretty tight schedule as we only had one and a half months of time. So we came to the conclusion that we’re not going to go to India for such a short duration, that India would require a much longer time to travel.
And 2 to 3 years ago, just as I started to gain an interest on the spiritual topic, when you browse the internet on this topic you come across India now and then, it kind of jumps out, as it is kind of the cradle of spiritual tradition. And as my spiritual.. journey… my spiritual growth started to accelerate, the whole concept of India started to get more concrete.. the culture, the religion, the whole core concept. I don’t know how to define it, but it started to interest me. Since then I’ve had some sort of yearning for India, that someday I have to go there and in a way I belong there. If I’ve ever had previous lives, then I have an intuitive feeling that for sure I’ve lived in India at some point. I.. I don’t know, this is an inexplicable yearning. Then this started to form into a unified path and I decided to come here as the time and place.. everything just happened to be in place and order.

I arrived in Delhi and spent there just a few days and from there I went to Rishikesh. I had an initial plan that I’ll go straight away to see Varanasi and Agra, to see the Taj Mahal, but I got good tips from other travellers that Rishikesh is close to Delhi, that I should go there first. As you first come here all the chaos is pouring out of your ears, pouring out from everywhere, your ass included. So you want to go somewhere to calm down. And now in hindsight Rishikesh was really the place to be after the chaos of Delhi. It was my first waypoint.
I was in Rishikesh one and a half weeks, but now it feels that it was a much longer time than what it was in reality. It felt straight away really homely. Beautiful mountains, even though they were nothing compared to the high points of the Himalayas, but still a very nice view at the foothills of the Himalayas. And after a long time spent in Finland, the tropic was really overwhelming, even though we were this far up in India. I really liked this a lot. And all this spirituality.. all this peacefulness. I don’t know.. The presence of silence, it really affected a lot, it was a good start for my trip. There I met this German guy, I came along with him really well. He had travelled in India before, so I got really good tips from him.
And then I continued my travel with him, we went onwards to Varanasi. So it was the next waypoint, and we spent there 5 days. It reminded me a lot of the chaos of India as it is quite densely populated. A lot of narrow streets, a lot of different odours, shit smells, cows coming towards you at streets and such. So it was a really in-your-face atmosphere over there. But I liked my stay over there. And in the night in Varanasi, there was some sort of festival, I can’t remember the name but it related in a way that people waited for the rise of the sun, a sort of sun salutation festival. Incredible amounts of people on the streets. We left our room around 5 am and hopped on a boat to go sail on the Ganges, we spent there about an hour and a half. Shitloads of people everywhere. It was really a breathtaking experience. It was a really good coincidence that we happened to be there as this happened.
Then we went on to Pushkar where was this.. camel fair as we arrived there. And.. even though it was ending, it was officially on for only a few more days, there was still a big hullabaloo going on. There weren’t that many camels as there might have been on the peak of the festival, which is plus/minus 10 000, but still there were a lot of them. Shitloads of people though.. There I bought a motorbike and started going around with it. I thought about it for a few days and my German friend gave me good tips on it as well, because he already had a bike, it was waiting for him in storage in Pushkar, he went there to get it after a few years wait. Well, I found a bike, I got the money for it and I bought it. I had thought about it before I went to India, but I never really thought that it would actually happen. In the end I bought the bike and… then we went on to Bundi.
There we parted our ways and I continued all alone riding my bike across India back to Pushkar. From there I went on to the west to Jodhpur and from there on to Jaisalmer. This trip was about two weeks. And from there I came back south a bit via Udaipur. I think from Udaipur I rode about 9 hours to Indore. A big city, pretty chaotic. I spent there 1 night, just to rest for the night, and continued my way early in the morning to Ajanta and the next day to Ellora. In these two places I went to see the magnificent cave temples that they have to offer. Just incredible experiences, amazing attractions. I can’t really describe it to do it justice, you just have to see it for yourself.
And from there I spent a few days riding to Goa. The last day I drove I spent 14 hours on the bike. I left at 8 am and arrived at 10 pm. So the last few weeks before Goa I covered a lot of kilometres. I drove a lot every day, but it actually was thus far the best experience. To drive alone across the countryside and secluded little villages, and to know that within a few hundred kilometres there are no other tourists or if there are they’re probably also en route to somewhere. I didn’t see almost anyone on the secluded small roads. There was quite a lot to see and there I got to experience the most authentic and real India. When I stopped with my motorbike on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, might have driven 3 or 4 hours and you want a chai, so you stop and go get a chai and people look at you like you’re a ghost. Like what the fuck, who is this? In the small places you get some of the best Indian foods as well, although you really can’t compare it all. So far my favourite meal has become Kadai Paneer. I’ve eaten it so much everywhere, so delicious.
So I was in Goa for 6 weeks. I’m not a big consumer of alcohol, but there I drank a little more. I think it’s easy to get stuck there to use intoxicants and such. At a point I started thinking that my traveling budget was nearing depletion and I wanted to play it safe so I sold my bike there, as there the market for buying and selling bikes is at its best. After I put up the poster about my bike, it took about three weeks to get the bike sold and of course at a significantly lower price than what I bought it with. So the bike was the main reason why I got a bit stuck there and I got quite sick there as well. I got the shits like about three times. I was planning to stay two or three weeks, but in the end spent six weeks. I had a really good feeling when I got to move on. Finally! Yes! I can leave this place. Let’s get the fuck out of here haha.
Then I went to Gokarna, which is not too far away. From Goa I had to take a few local busses, first to get to the train station and then with the train about 1,5 hours trip to the south of Goa, to Margao and there we waited 7 hours for the train to Gokarna. In the end when we arrived to Gokarna, we had spent about 12 hours traveling, even though it isn’t far away, as the transportation isn’t always the fastest in India. I think I was in Gokarna for about two weeks. Nice beaches and a nice place, I liked the villages there beside the beach. Even though there are a lot of tourists, there is still more locals, so not too touristy, and it’s a holy city for the Hindi so there was a certain kind of peaceful vibe going on. Not too many people in the villages, but still quite an authentic India. The beaches are a whole different thing, occupied by tourists, but if you compare to Goa, then not too many people. All in all, I really enjoyed my time there.
From there I came here to Hampi and I’ve been here now 9 days. And from here I’m planning to go to Mysore. There I will most likely spend just a few days, I’ve heard a lot of good about the place. Planning to buy a lot of incense there, it is quite known for it. An incense crafters city. There’s a lot of yoga, even though I don’t do much yoga I was thinking that I could try some beginners class there. I’ve wanted to do yoga for a while now, but let’s see how far my interest takes me.
From there I’m planning to go to Kerala, back to the beaches. To spend some nice beach life for some time again.

I still have a shy two months left on my visa. So… I don’t know to which end my time will suffice for, so I haven’t planned too far ahead. I had an idea that it would be nice to go into Nepal once my visa is running low here, but I’ll have to see how much money I have then.. and how much time I have.. So after Kerala I’ll go to Tamil Nadu and check out a few places, from there we’ll see what happens. All plans are open and it all depends on the size of my money pouch.

What I can say about India… in totality… phew.. I like it hell of a lot. I will come back again, definitely.. Even though things are much harder here, when you think about.. well.. everything. But theres a certain type of glamor in it as well, sometimes you have to take your comfort-zone to new spheres, to see what you are able to cope and endure. But yeah in its totality.. yeah, I love India. And as people say, you either hate or love India, and I think most people that come here are in the latter group. Still those people that love India at times hate it. It’s a love-hate relationship, but 90% love. At times in the train toilet when someone has taken a shit on the floor you might be a little pissed off hahaha.

Traveling has thus far been one of the most rewarding experience, although I still haven’t been doing it that much. I could say that, it’s worth.. it’s totally worth it. Sure, you don’t have to be on the road all of the time, there’s a certain charm in the homeland as well. But totally, if you have never made a trip independently or with a friend, you should definitely do it at some point. To experience if it is your thing or not. Even if you start with a month long trip and then return home. Or if you want to you can always extend your stay. But yeah.. I definitely encourage everyone to try out traveling.

 

HAPPINESS

I think.. If you want to be happy in life, it’s not about the emotion, the happiness that much. It’s more of understanding that life is.. a whole range of emotions and feelings and.. people naturally like to get attached to the good feelings.. So when you do that it’s like, you know: “Ahh I want to stick to the good feeling!” When you’re feeling low, when you’re feeling depressed and whatever, you know, when you’re feeling like a mess, it’s like: “Ohh, I don’t want this.” Or you can accept that part of you, and go with that. It’s like, you know.. it kind of comes… I wouldn’t say neutral, but.. you come to this sense that you kind of accept everything as it is. More or less. And when you have the positive feelings, the good feelings, you really appreciate them. If you’re feeling bliss or whatever, it’s amazing to have, but just don’t get freaking attached to it. This is not the must thing to do, I’m not saying like you know, that you put a switch on and you accept everything like that. But it’s a kind of a journey, of course. And you can never learn enough. But the basic thing that helps here is that… the more you can see that nothing is permanent. Everything is temporary. It helps a lot. So everything just flows into your consciousness and eventually it goes away and something else takes it’s place. And then in the end I would say, there’s no separate you living life, there is only life. There’s no subject and object.

 

PASSION

I think I haven’t found my true passion yet. It’s just more about being myself and.. yeah.. I’m trying to embody the best version of me. More and more all the time… Like a lot of people have a lot of activities, like they play music and such, but I haven’t found anything like that.. at least not yet. I just like flow with things and go from one day to the next and see what it brings.
I would say traveling, but.. I’ve been doing it all the time, so I don’t know if I could include that. But if I can say, then yeah, traveling. It’s kind of a hobby, in a sense.

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