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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Citizen of the world

Seemed like a nice day; the hostel received a unit of 9 Indian tourists and suddenly we had a shortage of beds. But several strugglers scored a last minute bus south, which restored equilibrium - and the manager Vidanth's privacy in one of the common rooms, doubling up as his bedroom at night, where he otherwise shifts all the leftover guys for whom there aren't enough beds.

it's a party in the kitchen!

Raybo team on the left - Vidanth in the front

With the view of leaving Leh's civilized environment tomorrow, I handed over my laundry. It's all anti-bacterial merino, made to survive a war and I'm putting it through its paces. Washing stuff in hand only works for so long, and every now and then I let my clothes get ripped up a little in local washing machines. At least until the socks stop standing vigil for views left in the dust and the t-shirts stop bleeding enough dirt to blind a man.

progressive India

Part of the reason I only do laundry so scarcely is the fact that I travel with a single pair of pants. And when these go to wash, along with all my underwear ... I can either wear my pyjama pants, which are cut as cyclist' shorts, without the exterior design, or my Goretex layer, which should go over trousers.

ticket office

And so the rounds have started; 30 minute walk to the bus stop for tomorrow's ticket, then to pick up few kilos of energy bars, shower gel and electrolytes - all a man needs to make it up and down a mountain with grace.

The mistake was to meet with the Wild Siddhart after - things are never straightforward or quick if a local gets involved. But he connected me with a friend, who knew a friend... who may have had a volunteering position in one of the villages available. Which'd be great, so I tried to make it work and been told to wait.

Fat Gus - can you tell the reference?!

Went to get my RAP (travel in Ladakh paper) in the meanwhile - another hour of trodding around.

Chased down the other Siddhart, who wanted to know about yesterday's climb after. We caught up with each other, after dancing in between places for twenty minutes, in the same cafe where we sat with Siddhart the first time.

goose chase Indian style

the wide lens does weird things to people 😂

More waiting for Siddharts, and for the lady to call. Nothing.

Dinner with Wild Siddhart and his friends, who came to visit him. Now he has to spend a week showing them around. Terrible affliction.

Finished eating by ten; gave up on the volunteer lady calling. It's one thing I'll never get used to (well that and the honking and the spitting and the 'your phone is my phone' mentality and probably few more things) in India. Endless idling, waiting for something or someone.

chasing dinner supplies

(and a little something)

And the title? Lies in the purpose. Most come to Ladakh for adventure, seeing it as a getaway, a temporary location to then store away in their memory as they return to their daily lives. For me, it's kind of like visiting my uncle in Spain; it's a home, albeit with people who speak different language and whose childhood has been much different to mine. But it's a home. Anywhere I go, is a home, and the people there are my neighbours.

Can you see how that changes the equations?


Provided I leave for the mountains tomorrow, you're gonna have a good few days to think about your answer - let me know in comments and I'll see you on the other side of a range of 20K ft peaks!

(No connection whatsoever in the outer areas...)

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