My arrival in Ukraine was once again a strange one. As expected the bus got in stupidly early – leaving me to wander the looming bus station under night’s last hour of darkness. It was eerily quiet and the only other people present were those from my own bus. None of them seemed remotely Western. Russian was the lingua franca here and I was, once again, out of my depth, misguided and mute as I searched the different levels for some clue as to how I might get into town.
In the upstairs waiting room I found a man passed out face down. He was still kneeling and his forehead rested on the bench where it must have fallen during this silent prayer for salvation. The empty vodka bottle clasped in his hand confirmed that his plea had gone unheard and I went back downstairs.
I’ve been away from Holland for just over three months now, and life on the road doesn’t lend itself well to regular updates, hence the gapping chasm since my last post. Pretty useless I know, but hey, what would Jesus do? He wouldn’t even know how to use a computer, probably.
I still have nearly two months to go so expect plenty of yarns to come. Next stop is the magical sub-continent of India, which segues nicely into a little explanation on the origins of my current moniker..
The word ‘wanyasi’ is derived from the Sanskrit Saṃnyāsa, pronounced ‘sanyasi’ in the Dravidian languages. Literally translated ‘sanyasi’ means “renunciation” or “abandonment” and is a life stage in Hinduism where the individual forgoes all material possessions and dedicates their life to spiritual pursuits.
Perhaps it’s that phantom Catholic guilt, dragging me over the coals for such careless spending, or some internalised Freudian wet blanket telling me I shouldn’t enjoy myself this much. But over the last few weeks I have had a suspicion, well founded I might add, that I am being incredibly indulgent. Indulgent in choosing to come on an exchange to the far side of the world, indulgent for the travel I am fitting around (read, over) a relaxed uni schedule, indulgent for indulging in thoughts of an eternity of being this free from obligation.
So I want to build on the theme of an earlier post, and try to unpack in greater detail the logic behind taking time off.
It is easy to feel trapped in a particular schedule, with historical expectations shaping our lives. Is it perhaps time to reconsider these expectations?