Letter from a Solo Traveller in India: Perfection is not a Requirement for Happiness

Dear Friend,

It’s been a while since I last wrote to you. I have sat down many times at my desk with a sincere intent to do it, but somehow my paper stayed empty.

I am currently in India. The heat and the loud honks of the market below make it impossible for me to sleep. Poverty has found in this country a place to rule and people are struggling to make it till the end of the day. Useless to say that it was a culture shock and on my very first day I had the impression that the black plague had hit houses, animals, streets but spared the heart of the people. Londoners have looked more miserable to me lately.

People smile and help each other. Not even death looks as terrifying anymore: tombs are the most beautiful attractions and they are built as a promise of eternal love.

My dear friend, I hear your pain: your instinct is unplacable and your anger is unexplainable. However, we do what we do because in the end we all seek happiness.

“You’re happy, I’m happy” you hear often merchants and tuc-tuc drivers saying this when negotiating price services or goods. Isn’t happiness a negotiation after all? Believe me when I say I know what it is like to feel mostly alone in a relationship. Then you finally find the courage within to end things by telling that you are only giving yourself another chance to be happy and do not want to set for anything less. All or nothing.

Then why do we feel so crap? Maybe because we are not able to identify what it is that we really want, we say to ourselves that we recognise our worth, but sometimes that comes with such high price that we won’t allow anyone to make a mistake.

Only yesterday in the desert a 17 years old boy told me that perfection is not a requirement for love. He called himself “The Camel driver”, he has no house, no parents and has to leave his hometown and the people he loved to make money and learn the language of the desert. “I like camels,” He smiled. “They are great listeners”. He is waiting for his sisters to finish school so he can attend English classes, that way he can speak to the desert while listening to the tourists’ stories and adventures. English is his passport to the world.

“You’re happy, I’m happy,” he said once more in the hope to get some extra tips. After carefully looking at his worn face and skinny body I handed him an apple and asked, “Are you really happy?”

He said yes. No hesitation. He felt lucky in many ways.

You may think that these people are happy because they don’t know any better, but do we?  We keep chasing new experiences because we feel troubled by constant dissatisfaction. We engage in disruptive dialogues with ourselves creating a storyline in our minds supported by unrealistic expectations, we ourselves would not be able to fulfil.

Do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting settling in the wrong situations, but don’t focus all your energies on getting away from it; reflect and learn upon it. It’s a bit like polishing a mirror through which we look at ourselves: if we can’t see ourselves clearly, we won’t be able to see others for what they really are. We tend to project ideas on how a person or even a relationship should be and the romantic expectations we throw out there are enough to push us over the edge.

So do go and set yourself free, travel alone from time to time and you may also come across a young camel driver who will teach you not to look any further than yourself because understanding yourself and people is already a free pass to the world. Perfection is not a requirement for love nor happiness.

With Love,




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