Highlighted by Hazel Karau

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Barely two months into 2016, and I already know this is going to be the sort of year you look back on when you find yourself wondering when it all changed. In these two months, I have quit a stable job and have managed to stifle my control freak inner self that wouldn’t have DREAMED of going forth without a plan. Nothing matters when you decide you don’t care. In these two months, I have said goodbyes I have been dreading for years. I used to have my heart twist and stomach plummet at the mere thought of flinging myself so far away from things that made me so happy. Feel so safe. “Are you really happy, or merely comfortable?” Goodbyes are never easy, none of us know how to deal with void. Our bodies and minds clam up at the thought of empty spaces, and thus begins a desperate surge to fill it up with anything we can lay our hands on. Wait it out. Space is beautiful and the possibilities are endless. I must have been lucky I got to leave on a trip the day I said goodbye to a workplace of 2.6 years. To people, a routine, to an identity, to a self, to stability and to comfort. I’m also lucky I decided to say yes. I was going with people I barely knew and while there were a hundred reasons to say no, I decided to go with the flow. Nothing matters when you decide you don’t care. Hampi, Karnataka, India. What can I even say about the place? Let me try with a metaphor. Imagine knowing a certain someone all your life. Having seen them do their routine everyday tasks and activities to the point that you think you know them for all they are, when suddenly, one day, you see them dance. You’ve never seen them dance before, you’ve never seen them with flowers in their hair, white gossamer gown engulfing them, falling, flowing, dancing as they move with surreal grace and abandon- one with the rhythm. Something stirs within you as it dawns upon you- the magnitude of your ignorance. You never see her the same way again. I have been visiting Karnataka for as long as I remember. I will never look at her the same way again. Hampi is a paradox. An etch in time past and symbolic of what will hopefully be. Lush rice paddy fields, rebelliously green in the searing heat. Boulders. So many boulders defying humanly comprehensible laws of physics. Ruins that speak of a time long gone, a time of glory and surplus. Clear lakes and streams, strewn about, bringing to life the picture in my head of what uninhabited planets must look like. It’s like nothing you’ve seen before, it’s like nothing you’ll ever see.