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My name is Kinga, a zodiacal sheep – cheerful, energetic, communicative, creative and, contrary to my sheepish nature, independent. I love contradictions.
I am a teacher, traveller, author, amateur photographer and nature lover. As a dreamer and a realist – with my backpack and on a shoe string budget – I choose my own paths. They might be narrow and slippery, and yet, they are mine, proving that what once was merely a dream can really happen…
From Poland to China I got hitch-hiking. Traversing Siberia, I reached The Far East because where the horizon ends, adventure begins, opening the door to the natural world and encounters with native people whose ordinary lives – happiness and sorrows – I passionately capture through the lens of my camera and describe on the pages of my books.
It has been ten years now that I have been living, working and traveling around Asia, exploring its boulevards and backstreets, oceans and deserts. Soaking up the unknown splendor of sights, smells and sounds that this all-encompassing continent has to offer.
I love extremities, and my bipolar personality and flexibility help me lose myself amidst the chaos of the Asian world. The bustle of a metropolitan jungle, the mirage of pastel colors that add a sparkle to the tired walls of an Indian behemoth awaken my senses as much as the buzzing silence of the tropical rainforest of the Andaman Islands. On this fabulous archipelago – the pearl of India – one would certainly take a deep breath, drowning one’s fatigue in the emerald waves of the ocean. And what can you encounter under its glistening surface? Not only coral reefs, but also… crocodiles. Exactly! The carousel of unpredictable events and incredible emotions that my Spartan voyage has repeatedly treated me to, will always remain the most valuable reward that adventure can ever bring.
Fascinated by everyday life, I take the mish-mash of an Asian bazaar as an antidote to the sterile – almost bare – world of western civilization in which, like in McDonald’s, the predictability of order takes away the thrill. Instead, the Asian hot pot of varieties, on several occasions, has added some spice not only to my palate – in fact, spending your time among the squat-lovers can be a truly audiovisual feast. For me, a pile of rice with yellow dal – an iconic dish served in a dusty Indian dhaba – is as exciting as a fancy dinner by the beach on the Korean island of Jeju. At sunset, the sea specialties melted deliciously in my mouth, but nothing could replace the familiar feeling of being surrounded by Indians cooped up at one table. Indians and… flies. With them, you will certainly end up sharing not only your table, but also your meal, as in the motherland of the sacred cow, nothing is entirely yours.
Conclusion? No matter how amazing the beauty of a country – its nature or monuments – would be, interacting with the locals will always remain in the sphere of doubly-thrilling travel “hazards.”
The sun on a Himalayan mountain pass, or the rain amongst the rice paddies of Vietnam. Walking in vagabond boots along the green taiga trail of Siberia, or taking a ride through the vastness of the Kazakh steppes. Raw walls of Muslim mosques, or explosions of hypnotizing colors inside Buddhist temples. Big smiles on the lips of Southeast Asians, or stony faces of Uighurs. Black yaks on Tibetan highlands, or fawn zebus in Cambodian provinces. The Kama Sutra versus asceticism – the Indian holy man’s daily staple. By rail, boat, or hitchhiking…
Fortunately, the choice is mine because my world is full of colors whose saturation depends on the artist’s fantasy.
And what is your favorite color? Pick a brush and paint your world in the colors of your choosing.
Lost Youth Sticky air hangs over the city like an iron curtain. Immersed in their daily juggle amidst the world of bedlam and racket, in a silent rush, passers-by push through packed backstreets shrouded in clouds of exhaust gases that buses, cars and tuk-tuks mercilessly breathe. Lungs are short of breath, mouths are full of dust, and nostrils instantly absorb all-encompassing aromas, notes of incense and intrusive stench. The heat was sweltering, the sun scorching. Dressed in funny Ali Baba pants and a little top, she approached me doing somersaults and back flips, landing either on her hands or feet. So impressive. So disarming. The girl held out her open hand and called: Chocolate! Pen! Rupee! Nearby, on the ground, sat a small boy who entertained passers-by playing the flute and tambourine. In front of him, he had put his little, worn-out beanie to collect the alms. Not far from the siblings, leaned up against a filthy wall sprayed with flashy graffiti, sat their young mother. Her face expressed hopelessness. Her eyes were pale and empty, just like the boy's hat. People were passing by, and yet – nobody cared. And she did not notice anyone as if she had got used to the state of numbness that fate had made for her. Dirty, tired, forgotten. Unable to provide. Unable to feel. India – a rich country of poor people in which magic and bluntness intertwine. A motherland of abandoned mothers. A land of those living lifeless lives.
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