By Moad Bukhash (@MoadBukhash)
Technology has always been a keen interest of mine; from an early age I had a passion for gadgets. Something about the convenience they offered and the thrilling new platforms out there always kept me coming back. However, I recently had an experience that allowed me to discover a new view on life. An experience that made me value what I have around me but still appreciate other ways of living.
Over the summer, I visited Kashmir, a region famous for its incredible landscapes but infamous for its political unrest. I wanted to discover an alternate way of travel, something different than the cities our travel plans usually point to. Where better than a potentially untouched piece of heaven as the location of choice for my first ever adventurous expedition?
What I saw, I truly believe, few people from the modern world have seen. In endless valleys, massive mountains, and flowers in all colors of the spectrum – what I witnessed was in all simplicity of the term, a thing of beauty. There I was, in the middle of nature at its best with nearly no connection to the outside world. I had no Internet on my iPhone to check the news or play a game of Angry Birds when I needed to pass some time by. No BlackBerry Messenger to speak to my friends or family; not even the ability to send an SMS. I had no distractions and all I could do was observe my surroundings.
The people of Kashmir have shown me that there is another way of life, a perhaps simpler life that some of us might forget at times, a way of life that, despite its struggles, offers an alternate way to carry on in a calmer way. It is the simplicity that struck me most. While we have the ability to live our lives in much more ease, we are still to a large extent always on the go. We cannot deny that we all, at a one level or another, have our attention captured by one type of technology or another. What I learned is that sometimes it is okay to look up, slow down, and appreciate the things that surround us without having to move on to other activities.
We walked around the forest pulling our horses through the dirt when we came up to two kids that could not be a day past ten years. They seemed interested in our horses so we told them they can hold the reins and pull the horses for a bit. The joy that I saw on their faces, you could have sworn they had just won the lottery. I could not remember the last time that I was that excited about something so simple; sometimes the abundance of technology makes us hard to please. Another instance was coming up to a small coffee hut while trekking. We sat in a small stone hut and saw a hundred and fifteen years old man cook us breakfast. The man had owned the hut for over fifty years doing just that. The ability to be content with life while doing so with all the health to live so long was a thing of simplicity that we might feel distant from at times.
I can list a hundred small lessons that I learned along the way during our trip, but none more important than the one that matters most. What I bring back with me is the ability to allow myself to sometimes pause, simply look around and appreciate the things that are around me, the things that make me smile, and those that I cherish the most. I hope that what I have learned can help you do the same, and you do not need to travel half way across the world to learn that. Just pop in you iPod, wear some comfortable clothes, and admire what is around you.
Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start – Art of Living 101 – Community Talk – Food for Thought
Just Another Undergrad – Society of Tomorrow – The First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye – To the Point – Too Blunt for Words – Words, Observations, and Ramblings