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Departures

departuresDepartures.  The television show that I am using as one of my many mediums for inspiration for my backpacking trip next year.  Essentially what is is two friends, Scott and Justin who travel all over the world for one whole year.

This show is absolutely amazing.  First off, it’s filmed in high quality HD.  The production of this show is stellar.  The music, the picture quality, the editing is all probably some of the best on Canadian television right now.  But more importantly than that, the concept of the show is superb.  It’s not just a show about two people who go to obscure and beautiful places.  Departures really captures the essence of their friendship in the context of travel.  These two friends, while being around each other almost 24/7, get to share some life changing experiences together.  Scott and Justin were best friends before they embarked on this year long experience. But by virtue of them experiencing these different countries together, their friendship has formed a new bond that very few people in this world ever get to experience.  And you get to view that in the show.

The best part about the show is that it has been able to capture the intrinsic value of their travels.  You literally see Justin and Scott appreciate this world and come to these amazing realisations about where they are at that particular point in time.  Literally, their eyes and their minds open and expand right before your eyes.  That is probably the best part of the show in my opinion.

On their one year long journey they travelled to Jordan, India, Ascension Island, Japan, Cook Islands, New Zeland, Thailand, Cambodia, and rediscovered their very own Canada from ocean to ocean to ocean.  The travel bug has bit these two friends pretty hard because season two of this show is set to air on January 25, 2010 where they will have travelled to Morroco, Lybia, Brazil, Cuba, Mongolia, Iceland, Zambia, Madagascar, Chile and Antarctica.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Every time I watch this show it gives me drive and motivation to make this trip a reality.  I realize that I too can experince with my friends what these two are experiencing on this television show.

The website for the show is here and their youtube channel is here.

My heart calls out for Southeast Asia.  All I need is a bit of patience and discipline.

Heal The World

Heal The WorldThe one Michael Jackson song that especially stands out for me.

When I was a kid, there was this community event happening in a hall downtown.  I can`t remember why but one of the Aunties wanted a whole bunch of us to sing a song together in front of everyone.  So every weekend for I forget how many weekends, we went to her house and rehearsed this song.  These rehearsals I still remember to this day.  All my friends, ones I still talk to, ones I used to talk to and ones I wonder about all used to come and sing.  We used to have so much fun during these rehearsals that it became something that will forever be embedded in my mind.

We presented and sung the song and everyone loved it.  I can’t remember if we were good or not.  All I remember is it lifted the spirits of everyone who was in the audience and set the tone and mood for the rest of the night.

Just a few weeks ago I remember I was in an HMV during one of my out of town trips and I came across this greatest hits album of Michael Jackson.  I looked at it and for some odd reason, I just had to have it.  For some reason I was drawn to it and knew that I had to buy it.  Later that night, as my friends and I were driving home, we put the CD on and begun to listen.  This urge to buy the CD was so great that I didn’t even check the back to see what songs there were.  And while I was driving, this song, Heal The World, came into my head.  I asked my friend if the album had the song and sure enough it did.

As the song played, all these memories flooded my mind of the rehearsals that one summer and how joyful a time it was.  The song itself is so beautifully written that it warms the heart when one listens to it.  I have never felt happiness to that degree  in such a while as I did that midnight driving home on the highway while that song played.

Heal The World by Michael Jackson will forever have a place in my heart as being that one inspirational song that literally shaped and defined that one summer when I was once a child.  If this song was not written, that particular summer would have just been another one lost in memory.

May Allah grant you Jannat.

An Intoxicating Idea…

indonesia This is the last week of school.  Classes will be over next week.  And after exams, literally all my friends are leaving.  Most are going to Europe, some are going to the Mideast for backpacking trips.  I am the only one that is going to spend the rest of the summer here at home.  I could have gone but because of my financial situation at the moment, travelling is totally out of the question.

This became a real depressing thought for me.  I really feel like I need to get away for a while.  But then, this crazy idea came to mind and I have been intoxicated with it for the last two days straight.

I have made up my mind that exactly one year from now, I am going to embark on a backpacking trip for 32 days across six countries in Southeast Asia.   I don’t know how I am going to do it, but some way, some how I will do it.  The picture shown above is going to be my escape.

A friend of mine a couple of nights ago sat me down and went over his entire trip that he has planned on for the Middle East.  Like I said above, my biggest factor is cost.  I was actually shocked at how cheap it is to travel to some of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the entire world.  One can literally spend $20 dollars a day and be fully fed, relaxed in a decent place to sleep and experience this world that we live in…for $20 dollars a day.

So one year from now, I plan on going to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and The Philippines.  These locations contain among the most breath taking places in the entire world and it is quickly dawning on me that these places are not at all out of my reach.  All I need is a bit of strong dedication, will power and patience.  I am increasingly beginning to believe that this world is meant to be scene.  I want to see it, desperately.  And given the fact that I may be married in a couple of years from now with a job (Inshallah), it may not be possible to undertake such a trip at that point in my life.

baliThe morning I came to this realisation, I immediately sat down and began to hash out a rough plan as to how I can make this Southeast Asia trip come to fruition.  After doing some rough calculations I figured that if I can somehow save $4000 dollars, I can make this new dream a reality.  I broke it down even further.  $4000 dollars over one year roughly translates into $333 dollars per month that I am going to have to put aside for 12 months.  I broke it down even further.  If I can put aside $11 dollars everyday for 365 days, I can literally be on the other side of the planet in one year.  Not bad…

The numbers seem small, and indeed they are.  But I am going to have to cut down on a lot of my spending from hereon in.  Ever since that day, thinking has already begun to change.  That Tim Horton’s large steep tea that I have on more than one occasion per day, can literally be my three meals for one day in Cambodia.  I am starting to realize that cutting down on these small things will literally make the difference between going and not going.

I wish I had come to this realisation a but later on because all my time is being spent on just the mere thought of actually being in the locations these pictures have been taken at.  Not good considering I have a presentation due in two days which I haven’t begun on doing.  Not good either because my exams are next week.

But I can’t help but be intoxicated with this idea, this very real notion that I could be backpacking in a far off land watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, watching the colour of the water change with every degree the sun moves where it finally dips below the edge of the Earth.  I am literally getting a rush of excitement in my stomach as I type this.

Please God…Please let it be.

Please let me be this very person with his feet in the water watching your sun set over your ocean…

vietnam

Valentines Wishes for Special People

February 14, 2009 Leave a comment

So given that its Valentines Day today and seeing as how I don’t have a girlfriend and haven’t had one like ever, I thought I would dedicate this post to a group of my university friends.

I have known this group of people for quite a while but its not until during the whole Gaza conflict that we started to actually talk.  And now, as the semester goes along, I find myself hanging out with this group of people more and more.

I am the type of person that gets blown away from nice people.  If a person is genuinely nice to me, it literally makes my week.  I get so happy thinking about how nice this person was and I always wish them the best.  Since Ive met this group of people that’s exactly how I think and feel every time we get together.

Something as small as a hello wave down the hall between classes, a smile as we pass by, a little message on my facebook wall or something as big as coming to me for advice, asking me for my opinion, inviting me to go out with them, it all literally melts my heart.  Why? Simply because they are so genuinely nice.  Nice in ever essence of the word.

I can probably praise these bunch of people forever.  But the point here is that this group of people are truly very special.  It’s almost as if they are all blessed in their own respect.  And I am truly blessed for having known these people because it is very rare that people come across such a heart warming group of talented and intelligent individuals.

I consider myself very lucky to have met these people and I pray that all the happiness in the world comes to them.  I pray all their dreams and wishes come true and I pray that I am able to partake in their happiness.

Amen.

Happy Valentines Day guys!

Reading Week

February 12, 2009 1 comment

Its about that time of year.  A week off school to do whatever your heart desires.  Reading Week, also known as Spring Break in the US, is less than a week away!

I don’t really know the history of Reading Week.  Rumour has it that universities were forced to give students some time off because they found that too many of them were committing suicide due to all the stress they were experiencing.  Who knows of this is true or not.  Although if it was, it certainly is very interesting.

What do I have planned for this time off?  Absolutely nothing.

I had made plans to visit a friend in another city.  Unfortunately my mother ended up in the hospital last week (an ordeal that I shall delve into at a later time) and she got home today.  So most likely, I will have to get up early and be at work most of the day so my dad can help take care of her (we run a family business).

So I don’t have any major plans.  I do however intend to catch up on some reading, watching a lot of television and movies.  Oh, and I will also have to study for a midterm that will fall the week after.  Damn you profs for forcing us to write midterms after Reading Week!!!

Typically tradition calls on students to book flights to Cancun where they party hard.  In fact there have been many booths set up around campus where travel agencies advertise their spring break specials.  If any of you are able to do that, I suggest you do it.  As a fellow traveller said to Ashoke on the train in The Namesake, “…pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.”

For those that will be staying at home like myself, I wish you very tranquil time off.  I hope you make the most of every blessed second of this prescious time off.

Fun Semester

November 20, 2008 Leave a comment

This has probably been one of the most fun semesters I have had since first year.  Not only am I doing well in my classes, I am managing to get my work done and I have a fully engaged social life.  My extracurricular activities are going well.  Ive met some new people and I am starting to try new things as well.  This is despite all the problems that I am still dealing with at the moment. 

I feel this sense of ease.  I am not stressed out or anything either.  Its not that bad kind of eerie lack of stress either…like I know I should be stressed but Im not.  Its actually the good kind. 

This is going to end up being one of those semesters that I will remember for a very long time.  I can just picture myself ten, twenty years from now sitting in a chair, sipping on some chai looking back at this time and just smiling.  Rarely are many people able to do that.

I hope this continues into next semester.

The First Few Days of Fall

September 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Well its that time of year again.  The leaves are beginning to change colour and fall off their branches.  The temperature is starting to crawl down to the single digits and the sky is frequently overcast with clouds.  Its autumn.  And this is perhaps one of the most ambiguous periods in the fall semester. 

Its ambigious for one reason really…midterms.  Midterms usually begin sometime between the first week of October to the third week in October in some cases.  Theoretically as students, we should always be studying for our classes and reading our textbooks…theoretically.  In reality however, its much more complicated than that.  Its one of those times were it still kind of feels like that school has just begun (even though its the third week of classes already).  So its kind of early to study for midterms.  And if you have a paper that is due, its normally not due until late November or early December.  So what is a student to do?

My suggestion is to hang out with friends.  Right now is prime time to conduct as much socializing as possible.  Why?  Because every ones schedule is so light.  People can afford to waste time and procrastinate, even miss a class here and there.  As long as you keep up with your readings and stuff (which in reality is not all that hard) socialize away! Do it now because once midterms hit, everyone is going to be a stranger and nobody is going to have time to hang out and chill…unless they have a sever case of procrastination.  If that is the case well then…I have no advice for you.

So waste as much time as you can now because you can comfortably afford to do so.  Go out with friends, stay out late and be merry because as soon as midterms hit, surely you are going to regret not getting it out of your system.