Roots. What a peculiar thing that can affect us so much when we least expect them to. I thought I had worked through a lot of my inner struggles with roots and identity by this age but I was so wrong. Why do I keep coming back to this country, why can’t I let it go? My father left India almost 50 years ago and I as an adult keep coming back as if something is pulling me here. Is there a stronger energy at play here that wants me coming back? What is the purpose of me feeling this way?
There are two days left of my trip and the emotions are already building up, that I am going back and leaving this behind. Once again, just like any other year, I am travelling back to Sweden. My home. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for my life in Sweden and that’s all I have ever known to be my home. But I have never felt that I fully belong there, there’s just that big chunk of both my heart and soul never able to belong to Sweden and it is always left behind in India. I come back to try to find my pieces every year to try to feel whole. I have also started to accept that it might be difficult for anything to ever fill that void of never belonging anywhere. The trick is to find ways to cope with this empty feeling.
When I land in Sweden and travel back to my apartment on the smooth empty highways, it’s always a bittersweet feeling. I feel emotional over the fact that I have left something behind but at the same time I am embracing what is so familiar to me. The life in Sweden. What gets to me each time, is that I notice that my clothes smell like India and the scent of Sweden is so different. The air is much lighter. There are no noises from traffic, no unnecessary honking going on. One would think that it’s something you’d never miss about India, but it’s exactly these things that make India come alive. It’s never sleeping and you learn to be mindful and unbothered by the scents, the noise, the crowd and everything that happens at once. Once you get mindful and one with it all, it creates this feeling of presence and bliss that we have all heard people mesmerised with India talk about. The hippies.
Even right now when I am typing this, I am sitting in my bedroom in our shared flat and the windows are closed. But you can hear everything from the streets four floors down in the middle of the city centre of Colaba, Mumbai. During a few wee hours in the night it goes quiet before the city wakes up to the organised chaos. I am not someone who easily get attached to places, I like to keep my memories of people and places normally and that is what I bring with me everywhere I go. But there has always been something with Mumbai that has pulled me in. I believe it’s the contrast between the rest of India that I’ve seen (which is not much compared to how much is left to see) and the India that exists in Mumbai. There’s a vibe in this town that is hard to match elsewhere. Perhaps I am a romantic Pisces that only likes to focus on these pink cloudy thoughts whenever I describe this town, but I am positive that I am not the only one who thinks this way. Obviously it’s not the jammed traffic, the high air pollution and crowded areas that make you love this city. It’s what language it speaks to you when you listen carefully with your ears and your heart. What is the soul of this place? Does it connect with you? Why?
When I look up at the sky in the evening darkness I can still see the moon and the stars, despite the amount of air pollution contaminating the air. The breezy air flowing through my hair as I walk down the beach is captivating my senses. I don’t want to turn back. I want to just stay in this moment, where I can just be, me. Utterly grateful for the life I live and the people I have in my life who means the world to me. When you’re one moment away from losing your place on this earth you become very aware of what drives you in life and who you want to keep close. The near-death experiences can really remind you what is in front of you and important and what you need to let go of. What is no longer serving you. Who do you want to hug extra tightly? If today was my last day, would I be happy with the life I am leading? Have I told you how much you mean to me?
To be continued…
Peace and love,
PS. I write small pieces of writing when the inspiration strikes me throughout this trip to Mumbai, India. Follow this every day to see a new post, there is always something on my mind to let out in to the world.
My roots have long been malnourished and fragile, protected against outer influence. I have found my way back to watering them and slowly but surely they are growing stronger and establishing ground in places I never could have imagined. The journey to getting here has been long and lonely. When the tree is starting to blossom, not many would know the effort and pain it took to grow the tree so fertile so that flowers can bloom. The result can be intimidating just like inner growth. I didn’t realise what I have been missing in my life; a sense of belonging. I have always stood out and been the rebel for so long, that it becomes your identity. It becomes what you expect because there is no room for just being you. When you find your way back to your roots, you’ll never look back again. I wish I could have told this to my confused and suicidal teenage self. Things wouldn’t have had to be this hard.
To be continued…
Peace and love,
If there are any places that could seduce you with their vibe and attractiveness, it would be Mumbai. I am in love with this town, more than ever before. I feel like a hummingbird flying freely around in this mad town; the place where everyone is equally longing for this escapist feeling. It’s hard to describe it to anyone who isn’t feeling this either. You will either love it or dislike it here. The smell, the noises, the rush, the heat and the amount of people everywhere. The pathway along Marine Drive is crazy in the evenings and the vibe is so hard to find elsewhere. Sitting by the water and seeing the skyline is magical. I don’t know why it is, but I feel like it is a place like home. The people who know me well knows how hard it is to feel at home somewhere, it’s rare.
To be continued…
Peace and Love,
I came across this term a few months back, perhaps 6 months ago and I’ve spent some time processing it in the back of my head ever since. TCK or CCK. Third culture kid or cross culture kid.
Third culture kids (TCK) are people raised in a culture other than their parents’ or the culture of the country named on their passport (where they are legally considered native) for a significant part of their early development years. They are often exposed to a greater variety of cultural influences. The term can refer to both adults and children, as the term “kid” points more to an individual’s formative or developmental years.
Due to the multi cultural upbringing of these people they grow up feeling in between cultures and always longing for some global surrounding where they can feel at home. That’s the theme for me at least; you never or rarely feel at home because of this endless rootlessness and cultural instability. You might feel some issues with bonding with people that are in the “home” culture due to this mixture of cultures that you’ve grown up with.
The classic scenario are the people who have had parents that due to their job or similar situations needed to move to different countries very often throughout their childhood. This leads to the mixed cultural feeling but also a sense of openness towards people of all kinds of backgrounds, because that’s what you have grown up with and gotten used to. Another classic outcome of this type of upbringing is that you always feel more at home when you’re on your way to somewhere else. Perhaps travelling would be a huge interest or hobby.
There was one description of why this phenomenon occurs for some children and why they cannot let it go when they’re adults. It’s a void in the heart that is hard to fill. The child might not get a proper chance to say goodbye to one culture and/or country and move on to live in another, you won’t know which one to adapt to and you continue living in confusion.
When reading about this and hearing different TED talks about this topic something finally clicked for me. I felt understood for the first time in ages. Understood for my rootlessness and why I don’t necessarily feel at home anywhere unless I’m travelling or headed somewhere with a more international environment. Some may call it to escape your everyday life, but for me I just can’t imagine being in one place for long. It’s as if I have an inner voice telling me to get up and move, get new perspectives and vibes from new places and dimensions. This doesn’t necessarily mean a physical place. I can feel better by just spending a long while daydreaming about being somewhere else and building stories in my head. I am a Pisces after all.
What’s your experience with being a TCK or CCK? Do you have any similar experiences?
Peace and love,
Cleanse my soul
Breathe it in
The essence of life
Immerse me in this love
This flow of energy
That travels through my veins
From red to white
I’m lit up from within
One light bulb after another
Close my eyes to see
You stare into my soul
Through these dimensions
With walls so thick
Where no one has ever been before
You look into my eye
My sixth sense of perception
Tell me it’s alright
Walk with me
Holding my hand
To the other side
Where we would be free
In another world
In another life.
I listened to this song before I went to India (Aaya Na Tu), and when I was in the car on a roadtrip between two cities it was playing on the radio. There’s usually one or two songs that I associate with a trip, and this is one of them. The second one is Baarish which was playing in the cab the last night in Delhi before leaving India. The music video from that film is a little cringe, I wouldn’t bother watching that film.
Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.
– Anthony Bourdain
I can’t seem to help it, this underlying urge to always leave and be on the road to somewhere else. I love the feeling of not belonging to one place, I like belonging to the world. Open. Free. Endless possibilities. I believe it has to do with my two cultures, Swedish and Indian. I love them both, almost equally. Almost. I weigh them back and forth, compare and contrast, which one do I like the most. For the moment.
Being a TCK (third culture kid) or more like a CCK (cross-cultural kid) in my particular case, one will always have to deal with these emotions of not belonging to a certain degree. Rootlessness. Mixed cultural belonging. Struggle to fit in. All of these things are all based in a TCKs/CCKs childhood of being brought up in a mixed cultural environment, where the guidelines of how to deal with it has been missing. Especially during the 90s/00s in Sweden. Growing up in Sweden, in an area where there were no immigrants, has its impact in the long term.
The travelling aspect of my life doesn’t only have to do with physical travelling from one place to another, I am almost always somewhere in a bubble. Typical Pisces behaviour, for those that know astrology. It’s a hard struggle to always remind myself to come back to reality, but when dreaming becomes part of your everyday life to survive, it’s hard to resist. If I knew how to astral travel, I’d be addicted to it. Sounds like such an amazing ability to be able to visit both places and people in all kinds of spaces.
Someone was describing how a TCK walks through life, as if we stand constantly at the airport gate, anxious, waiting for our flight somewhere, walking back and forth until we board our flight. That’s when we calm down and relax, in the window seat of the plane, viewing the endless skies and clouds overlooking everything. That feeling makes me truly feel alive. Never understood why, until I read about being a TCK. Check out my other post on what it is about and my experience up until now, here.
Peace and love,
I’m a bird. A free spirit bird.
A nomadic traveller.
With a restless soul.
I want to fly across the sky
Watch the sun rise from the clouds
Across the country
View the world from afar
The further I fly
The better it feels
To let go,
Thoughts emerge into one
Connected with our,
– Kimmi Madeline ?
Drinks and pizza at Neighborhood, Copenhagen.
This amazing dessert with sorbet and mascarpone was delicious and out of this world. Also at Neighborhood.
Waffle sandwich with hummus and avocado. At Social, Copenhagen.
Quesadillas at Cafe Flottenheimer.