I was off to a great start – Kala uncle being my neighbour , suggested we go together and I was looking forward to finally meeting everyone as my communication with all had been restricted to Skype over the past few months.
Also: I packed my Dabba(s)!
Isn’t it wonderful how the minute you are surrounded by some great people, good things follow ? I’m thanking my stars because I get to work with such great people everyday!
Whats amazing about working for a start up that’s run by incredible human beings who do everything to push their employees is the room they create for the growth of every individual. When you start working with them, you realize how far passion and hard work can take you.
Venkat sir, who currently resides in the US, believed in me and hired me based on a Skype call. Thanks to him, I rang in the new year (2016) with a job in hand! I had the chance of meeting him quite recently myself, and it’s an honor to work with someone who is the mind behind our application and so extremely down – to – earth.
A lot of us have the chance to witness a significant impact of a person in our lives, and they make you realize what your true potential is even when you are not aware of it yourself. Manmohan sir has come to be this person in my life. Its amazing how throughout his busy day, he always manages to find time to talk to me, listen to my chattering, and makes sure I leave the room only when I have learnt something new (its subtle, but impactful). A special thanks to him for believing in me and pushing me to do better each day!
An important message I want to convey from the above is ‘go out there and find this person.’ A lot of us move away from our homes to build something; to create an identity for ourselves. This journey can often be overwhelming and challenging, hence making it crucial to find people who can influence your life positively. Constantly seek for a mentor – someone who you can confide in and someone whose happiness comes from seeing you grow, someone who encourages and supports you, and most importantly guides you when you stumble.
The weeks that followed were equivalent to my ride on Formula Rossa. The days were going by too fast, and I wasn’t sure my pace of doing things were at par. But its essential to stop, breath and appreciate yourself once in a while. You are doing the best you can and you are only getting better at it.
Each day, I was making room for new learnings. Hyderabad was giving me so much to look forward to, I had a job I loved, I was a host on Airbnb, Artista was picking up its roots again. I even did a little something for my Munchkin’s first birthday! I cooked my own food, attended a wedding in Bangalore in the midst of it all, and really started to “Live in the Moment”
I wish I could recollect every moment that led me to fall in love with a particular dish. Luckily enough though, I know where the fondness for my top two favorite dishes originated.
Pav Bhajji– In Pune there is a restaurant called Shiv Sagar which is a five minute walk from where we used to live. Celebration meant going to Shiv Sagar and relishing on their world class Pav Bhajji; this was during a much simpler time before westernization took over and our spending power was minimal. Last year, before moving to Abu Dhabi, I made a trip to Pune to eat Pav Bhajji from Shiv Sagar (its safe to say this might have been my only agenda) and even over a decade later, it still tasted the same. Over the years I have realized that no matter who makes the Pav Bhajji, it will never be the same as the one from there. This goes beyond the fact that they make it the best. Our entire family has created memories in that place. We have gone there as a family of 3 or a group of 20, and every single time we have ordered the Pav Bhajji! No 5 – star hotel can replace the feeling of dining at Shiv Sagar and drowning your taste buds in this delicacy.
Rachna: “Mohan Chittappa, inam evolo nerum? (how much more time?)” – anyone who has traveled with me, knows this is my most FAQ.
Mohan Chittappa: “Don’t worry, I have a surprise for you on the way, you will enjoy it”*
*Of course I do not remember exactly how the conversation went, but it is to give you a better idea of what was about to unfold.
This was when I was traveling with my uncle from Kodaikanal to Coimbatore in an ambassador (the reason I was becoming Hangry) I read somewhere once that ‘be with the person who gives you the same feeling you get when your food arrives in the restaurant.’ But that day, satisfaction took over me the minute we got out of the car and rushed inside what was ‘Salaiyora unavagam’ (roadside eating). It was actually a tiny hall packed with people enjoying their food (first indicator of it being a great place)
As my uncle and I settled down, we were approached by an elderly who would have easily been in his eighties. I think till date I haven’t seen anyone who is more active, enthusiastic and fast in serving people (second indicator) and I wish today more than anything that I had been thoughtful enough to take his picture. Anyway, since I never lived in Tamil Nadu, I obviously lacked some of the qualities that Tamilians possess – mainly – the slang for some dishes. So my uncle ordered “Paper Roast” for the both of us! I was so excited, I thought some exotic dish was going to turn up, and I was so overwhelmed that I was finally going to make my tummy happy that I did not even bother asking my uncle what it meant. To my disappointment, our food arrived and it was DOSA! Why Dosa? Couldn’t we have Wada? Or Puri ? We were on a holiday for God’s Sake!
I think I felt pretty betrayed, and that probably lasted for a whole of 5 seconds, because as soon as I took the first bite, I think I felt my mouth do a few somersaults in excitement of the flavors that had just entered. And that is the exact moment that I fell in love with Dosas. (I always liked them, but thats when I really started Loving them, so THANK YOU MOHAN CHITTAPPA!) But there was one more crucial moment that I was to leave with. Our bill after 3 dosas and one coffee was Rs.18. THAT.IS.IT.
Great food – check, Lighting Speed – Check , Light on the Pocket – Check
Inspired? – Check! Check! Check!
I think my body might actually be 70% DOSA. And the fact that Rujuta Diwekar insists you eat Dosa, made me a very, very Happy person. So a major part of my diet consists of eating dosa.
How is it best served?
With Milgai Podi, Coconut Chutney and Patti(grandma) and Amma(mom) ka Pyaar (love)!
So Dosa, where did you come from?
Even though Dosa is indigenous to South India, its exact origin is unknown. But according to food historia K.T. Achaya, dosa or dosai was already in use in ancient Tamil Nadu around the 1st century AD.
Making a Dosa –
Dosa batter is prepared with a mixture of rice and black grams (udad) that is soaked in water and allowed to ferment overnight. The proportion of rice to lentils is generally 4:1 or 5:1. Water is added to get the desired thickness. (I could just ask my grandmom, but I googled this)
Some of the best dosa recipes to try are Neer Dosa, Pesearattu , Ragi wheat Dosa, Onion Rava dosa, Mysore Masala Dosa or my Grandma’s Dosa! . The best part about dosa is that it can be eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner and is a great source of carbohydrates yet low in calories!
The Magic Batter
If you are a fan of dosa, you would have tasted the different types, right from paper thin roast to the fluffy oothappam. But did you know that it all comes down to handling the batter? On the first day its usually bland, but when you store it for one more night it attains the properties needed to make a wafer thin dosa, on the third day you will notice it is best for making oothapam! So as the days go by, the dosa can take different forms. However, the pan – rather the “tawa or kalu (stone)” that is used to spread the batter and make the dosa is an essential tool in making the most delicious dosa! And you can truly do justice to your dosa only when you dip it in chutney and sambaar!
Alright, so to everyone who is worried about consuming those extra carbohydrates, Dosa should be your go to meal. And in case I haven’t mentioned earlier – eat what your Nani (grandmom) eats. Just remember to break your meal into portions, enjoy every bite and stop worrying about how many calories you are consuming – focus on the nutrients!
I also want to take the opportunity to talk about the importance of “Feeling Good“.
There is no set standard of how one is supposed to look. Every single one of us is beautiful in our own way and the key is to respect and listen to your body. Your body deserves immense love, so don’t deprive it by constantly being angry with what you see in the mirror. Take the time to tell yourself “I love you, and I am proud of who you are”. Do not get caught up in “I need to get that summer body”, No you do not! What you do need to do is feed yourself good wholesome food and start feeling the glow from within which in no time will start reflecting on your face. And you will see that you are carrying the most wonderful aura no matter where you go. (I do stumble too, I often forget these things, but the key is to remind yourself of how important you are; and if not – you can always come back here and I will tell you that you are and will always be incredible, just like a Dosa!)
P.S. I did want to pen down my diet chart here but I got too carried away by Dosas!
Until next time my lovelies!
*If you wish to purchase dosa mix made of Millets, you can order it here.
The first time I heard this word was in 2006, when my father used it while traveling from Delhi to Uttrakhand. Our car had broken down in the middle of nowhere and with a few phone calls to someone in a completely different city, we were able to arrange another car.
Jugaad (Hack) has crept into all our lives, and in India especially, we indulge in Jugaad on a daily basis (from fixing clothes with safety pins to carrying fuel in water bottles), Juggad is a talent that you are born with if you are Indian.
Which is exactly why it is always good to be back in India! Its the people. No matter where you go, you always have someone to look out for you.
The minute I stepped on the desi land, I was reminded of the hospitality that comes with returning to your country (I know, I know, I wasn’t even gone that long!)
Every decision has a driving force, and one of mine was Mr.Kala Satyanarayana (I will refer to him as uncle from here on). I must have done something right in my past to deserve him as my mentor. He is the most patient, kind and passionate person I have met. He has dedicated his life to helping others grow; he has such a significant impact on anyone who works with him, and all you really want to do is make him proud. I am one of those lucky people who gets to be on the receiving end of his ideals and work ethics and learn something new each day for which I am beyond grateful.
The first time I met them was in 2006 when we had moved into the same apartments. Sushmitha and I have been thick as thieves since. But little did I know that someday I would be working with her dad. My very first day back in India started with uncle and aunty, because being the extremely benevolent people that they are, they had come to pick me up at the airport, got me to my home sweet home, followed by a feast that aunty had prepared for me! (You can see why my parents were so confident to send me back)
The next day was Independence day, so I had enough time to settle in, unpack and get ready before starting work (which obviously had to be used for catching up with my friends instead)
She came home the very same day! 😀
And just as expected my friends were checking up on me, and ensuring that there was no such thing as “lonely” when living alone.
I am not sure what amount of gratitude will be enough for this next one, but I am going to try to do justice to it.
If F.R.I.E.N.D.S did a version with families, we would fit right into it. This incredible family had moved in about a month before we left for Abu Dhabi, so we hardly got the chance to spend time together; but I think within a week we had made up for it. Preethi, Mohit, Ajji and Mitakshi(my Munchkin) live right across from me.
Preethi is the reason I know what its like to have a sister. She is such a beautiful and positive soul that you can’t even go a day without seeing her! (To this also add: Amazing chef and baker; Goodbye Diet Plans!) Every morning at 8 am Preethi would be at the doorstep with breakfast – because she can never come to terms with why someone would take all the effort to cook only for oneself! She is my confidant, my partner in crime and my fellow TV show binge watcher, but above all I am so blessed that I have someone who goes out of their way to look out for me, always!
Mohit and Ajji instantly welcomed me into the family. I have honestly attended more of their family events than my own. Ajji would check up on me every couple of hours and she continues to do it even now. The icing on the cake is our little ball of sunshine: Munchkin. I can go on for days about her, but to sum it up – she truly, in every way possible lights up all of our lives.
And just like that within seconds all of them completely made me forget that I was going to be staying alone.
It was time for a big reality check though: Was I going to be able to prepare all of my 6-8 meals everyday and work out and make it on time for work? Well, I sure as hell was about to find out!
This post is dedicated to every single person who has played a role in my journey so far, I thank you for changing my life just by being such a precious part of it. A special thanks to my parents who spend every minute of their day believing in me and doing everything in their capacity to make my dreams come true.
“But each time I seemed to be climbing into a roller coaster and finding myself coming through the downhill run with that sort of dazed feeling that we all know.”
My friend Cynthia and I had a number of pacts over the course of two years that we were roommates; our bucket list was so big that the only way to complete it would be living together again or at least in the same city.
Little did we know, that my move to Abu Dhabi would happen within such a short span after our graduation. Having been born and brought up there, she always had immense love for the city and a ton of things she wanted to explore with me; but one particular topped it all for both of us: FERRARI WORLD!
How excited we get when we are making our bucket list! And who wouldn’t want to know whats inside this? (Also, wish I could say I took this picture but, Thank you Google!)
Now before I get into the details of how Ferrari World is what I consider the ultimate Paradise, let me talk a little more about bucket lists and its importance, especially before my “Big Move”.
My mom and I had moved to Abu Dhabi a month before summer started. Our sightseeing was limited to malls and Corniche. We had a beautiful beach just outside our house, and the thought that “We have more than enough time, we can visit places once summer is over” prevented us from doing all the touristy stuff.
So when it was time for me to move, there were two things I wanted to do (and my leg would allow me to) and that was go on the fastest roller coaster in the world and experience the view from the top of Burj Khalifa(it would be a shame if I didn’t do these!)
This is where I want to stress about Bucket Lists. MAKE THEM! And do everything that is in your capacity to fulfill them! Why? Because this life is meant to be lived, this life was given to you to create memories so you will have a lifetime of fond stories to look back on and even brag about! And as clichéd as it all sounds, I don’t think there is anything more truer and relatable than that. And the more you visualize, the more that list starts to unfold (more on this later).
So finally I became a tourist in UAE. We went to Dubai to stay for a weekend so I could do whatever it is that I wanted, (and to all who have been there, my list was altered according to the needs of my leg, so no matter how appealing Palm Jumeriah and Atlantis sounded, I had to keep my expectations real, also 48 degrees centigrade 😛 )
If you like me, constantly seek magic in everything, well The Dubai Fountain show is just for you! I absolutely loved the view from the 124th floor and the fastest elevator to get to it; however, experiencing the water dancing against the Burj Khalifa and its ability to light up your life within seconds is a true marvel to watch. I feel it goes beyond a spectacle to admire from a distance, it really touches you. It takes every bit of your concentration to switch between the dancing fountain and the laser show on the Burj Khalifa because you do not want to miss a single thing. It shone Bright, Bright like a Diamond, in all its glory, and I took my time to let it all sink in, to do justice to what I had witnessed, it was overwhelming. And as much as I am a believer of nature and all of God’s gifts, kudos to this man made wonder!
That day, I felt complete. Like everything is this world was just right.
We spent the next day with close family friends who showed us their version of Dubai and I could feel traces of sorrow taking over me.
“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”
– Azar Nafisi
I don’t think there is a more fitting quote to describe what I was feeling that day. It was time to say goodbye to Dubai, which meant bidding farewell to UAE was around the corner. As excited as I was to be moving back to India to focus on my career, I had fallen in love with Abu Dhabi. I wanted to cherish every second, I wanted to preserve it all in a box, so that I can live off it for a lifetime. Because no matter how many opportunities I get to go back, it will never be the same.
Finally, after all that planning, Cynthia and I found ourselves at Ferrari World, ogling at every single inch of “extraordinary.” We had been transported into the parallel universe that we often talked about when we had to be studying instead.
Ferrari World was everything we thought it would be, and much much more. Imagine if all you expect is a cookie but instead get a room full of every single dessert from across the world (I am trying my best to not make you feel like I am exaggerating).
We also met this amazing human – Shiva who was in charge of Formula Rossa that day, he is so full of life and pulls pranks on you to see if you can handle the 239km/hr!
We do wish we had better planning though, because we did not get to ride the “Flying Aces” (I did make up for it a few months later). I suggest you get in as early as possible in the morning so that you have sufficient time to cover all the rides (for Go Carting, make an advance booking!)
To anyone who is planning a trip to UAE, please do make sure Ferrari World is on your list (which I am sure it is), and besides trying out all the incredible rides, I would highly recommend the “RED Show” that takes place at the park. Trust me, it will make your time there all the more worthwhile.
I had one more week left in Abu Dhabi, and all I wanted to do was sit in my balcony and enjoy the view, so I could replay it in my head for the rest of my life (besides flooding my phone with its pictures).
In my early teens, I used to watch these shows on the channel Travel and Living, solely because I was so fascinated by the fact that people were getting paid to travel and taste different cuisines, meet new people and check off everything on their bucket list.
“If traveling were free, you would never see me again.”
Not only were these trips completely paid for , but this is what the hosts made a living out of (Who doesn’t want that?!).
But clearly, when time came, my choice of career was very different and right now I am caught wishing someone would magically stumble upon my talent of being a tour guide (self-claimed, of course) and offer me my own show!
However, coming back to reality, (alternatively choosing to spend my father’s money) I decided to make a trip to UK to visit my cousin, sister-in-law and my nephew instead of joining my parents to India in the month of May.
I know what you are thinking – she is constantly complaining about her leg pain, and now all of a sudden she wants to travel. But I guess a part of me knew that traveling (and cute guys with thick British accents) would be a great medicine. And I promise you – the tickets were very cheap!
So in between the above photographs, was my ride on Qatar Airways, and I am one of those people who gets excited at the idea of trying out new airlines. What I loved about it was the fact that they saw an opportunity in the way the safety instructions are conveyed to the passengers, which is otherwise ignored by all of us, no matter how much effort the air hostess puts in or how good she looks. But the Airline plays a video which takes place on the soccer field with real players and penalty cards! (Way to grab people’s attention!)
Isn’t it exciting how one minute you are in the scorching heat of UAE and 9 hours later you are in the pleasant (not so gloomy yet) weather of UK. It was like going from an oven to a refrigerator.
My cousin Vijay had come to pick me up and getting from the airport to Croydon (South London) was a journey in itself, changing all those trains however gave me a teaser of the beautiful country.
The next two weeks were absolutely delightful! Vidya, Vijay and Vedant accompanied me for the majority part of my vacation showing me some of the most interesting and unique places in Londonand there were few places that I explored on my own. The latter was where the learning part came in. It is so important to be able to enjoy your own company. I recently read somewhere that ‘The Cure for too much TO DO is Solitude and Silence.‘ This process of self exploring was made easier by my sister-in law who gave me the inch by inch directions along with tube lines and buses that I would have to take.
So the first stop I made alone was traveling within Croydon itself. I went shopping, well window shopping because Dhirams to Pounds was no more comforting than Rupees to Pounds. But I did buy a butterfly shaped Gingerbread for Vedant, because it was going to be my first time picking him up from his Nursery, and I got a heads up that he likes to be received with treats. As soon as I entered, Vedant came running towards me, announcing that his aunt has come to his class (felt like I got to have my filmy moment!) We had a great ride back home, because I was in company of someone who could talk more than me!
And get this, it was also the day that Vedant learned about the life cycle of the butterfly at play school! (The universe was definitely with me!)
The following day, my destination was Wimbledon! There was a tram from Croydon to Wimbledon, making my journey extremely easy, until I got to Wimbledon and couldn’t find the bus stop I needed to board the bus from(there were like 20!) And of course, of all days the weather had chosen that particular day to betray me. It was extremely cold (please do keep in mind I was coming from UAE) and it had started to drizzle, my shoes were giving me a shoe bite, and to top it all, I literally paced 20 times from the Tram Station to what I thought could possibly be my bus stop. I called Vidya up, and I failed miserably at explaining the crossroads I was stuck in. And this was all after seeking help from an elderly woman and google maps. I know, so much for wanting to be a tour guide! Finally, I saw a guard (who I swear should be in Hollywood) who took less than 10 seconds to guide me and Phew! I was on my way!
The funniest Guide when can ever ask for!
I was welcomed by the sweetest and most humorous guard – who asked me if I wanted a picture taken! (Hell yes I did). Now, let me stress on this a little more, in an era of selfies and DSLR’s, no matter how exciting it is, when you get to Wimbledon you need to take a picture of yourself against the Centre Court. Its a Prerequisite to show that you really did visit the place. The task is a little tricky when everyone has come in a group and are busy clicking pictures of their family and friends and you realize that so much solitude isn’t worth it after all!
The next few days I tried to get some office work done, I met a couple of friends from school who were living there, and spent a lot of time with family. My cousin is a senior chef in London, so my fitness goals and Rujuta Divekar’s voice went for a toss whenever I wanted to try something new (DO NOT, I repeat do not ever do that). The mind has a great way of playing tricks on you if you let it, so I convinced myself that the cold was making me hungrier and all the walking was balancing it. This is true to an extent, but what I was trying to achieve was a lifestyle change and not something temporary.
I just want to take a moment to talk about Sky Gardens, the view from the top is Mind Blowing and it should definitely be on your list of things to do if you are ever in London (It is free, but requires a reservation)
Famously known as the Walkie Talkie Building
View From the Top of Sky Garden
My very last day in London was the highlight. I found Benjamin, I saw the Tower Bridge open and the cherry on top was dining at Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen, thanks to my darling sister-in law.
Look! Look! Its open!
So why am I mixing my travel diary and fitness journey?
No matter where you are, and how hard it gets, try your best to stick to your goals. Yes there will be temptations, there will be distractions, but it ultimately comes down to what you want out of it and how far you are willing to go to make it happen.
It is a lifestyle change! You deserve to treat yourself, you are allowed to have that delicious new dessert, just remember to earn it.
Fall in love with taking care of yourself!
Throughout the trip everyone was constantly worried that I might encounter a lot of pain. However, it came as a surprise to all because it was very limited, I was able to walk everywhere and do everything I wanted to (not sky diving or Bungee Jumping though). The only question was will it be the same once I was back in Abu Dhabi, and if not, what was causing it.
P.S. If you are ever traveling alone, offer to take pictures of others so that you can have yours taken.
The minute I landed in Abu Dhabi, I was hit with a rush of positivity. (The other city that gives me this feeling is Hyderabad). And I think when a new place gives you that feeling – you are already halfway to building something great!
There was also the advantage of living in an apartment like this(left) with a view like that (right)
My dad had moved in December and to complete all the formalities for mom and me to move took 2 months. But during this time, my dad had sent so many pictures of the house and the view that envy and excitement could not differentiate from one other. I knew I was going to be there soon, but I was becoming rather impatient. And when I finally got to Mangrove place – it was worth the wait. No amount of pictures can do justice to the view that you get, including the vibrance of the whole atmosphere. Mangrove Place has the most kind and hard working staff who are so welcoming that you will instantly fall in love with the place. Also, the apartment gives you the feeling of living in a hotel rather than a house (in a good way).
A few years ago, my father had introduced me to Alastair Humphreys’ book ‘Ten Lessons from the Road‘ Alastair set an outrageous goal for himself – he traveled 46,000 miles round the world (wait for it) On his CYCLE! He spent four years and achieved what was described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as “the first great adventure of the new millennium”.
It was time I set an outrageous goal for myself. I still had tremendous amount of pain in both my legs, but it had to be done. What was my goal? What was my motivation?
I need to be able to dance again.
The pain should vanish from my legs forever
But how does one go about this? How does one lose weight when they cannot do jumping jacks or burpees or run on a treadmill. Where does one begin?
It was time for some homework. My instant thought was to take up the GM diet.
One week and I can shed 3-4 kilos just like that (So easy!). And then 2 months later I can do it again and lose some more weight and I would have achieved at least half of my goal.
But your body is smarter than you. It has ways of reacting to new habits that will completely throw you off track. I was 3 days into my GM diet and I could not stop throwing up all those fruits and mashed potatoes that I had consumed(sorry about that nasty visual).
So I wasted an entire month in being anxious about losing weight, how to go about it and the fear that with the condition of my leg I could never do it. But with little more research comes great discoveries. I started looking for cardio exercises that would be easy on my legs. And I cursed myself for not having done it earlier because it was like finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I found multiple videos for the same and the top results were by fitness trainer – Jessica Smith. What I absolutely loved was how she conveys everything with so much passion and motivation. She makes working out – FUN! So I began to do seated cardio and seated strength.
This meant, I had the workout in place. But if I worked out for 60 mins and went and ate some yummy donut from Waitrose across my apartment – the entire purpose would be lost, right?
The Second Miracle:
I don’t know what it was that took over me, but I decided that I needed to get the book
Now I am someone who absolutely enjoys Indian food over anything else. So when I was previously reading about eating salads and kale and what not, I used to think I rather not eat at all. And it was like Rujuta knows exactly whats in your heart. She tells you to eat what your Nani(grandmom) ate. I couldn’t have been more relieved.
I got to eat my poha, dosa, roti sabzi and everything I love! Even though I am a Tam Bhram, my parents spent a majority of their life in Maharashtra, which is why I got to enjoy the best of both worlds.
They tasted as good as they look(probably because mom – made)
Rujuta’s biggest rule is that you eat small portions but more frequently and as soon as you wake up eat something – this is my favorite part because for someone who always had breakfast and no coffee/tea, this rule was already implemented. And so I started eating 7-8 small meals everyday.
For more about the book, I urge you all to buy it, trust me it will transform your life! (Spend the 100 rupees here instead of that pizza you have been craving for ).
Remember how I mentioned earlier that at a later point in time, Ayurveda would make sense to me? That’s another thing I love about Rujuta’s book, it really goes into the roots of what was followed by our ancestors and teaches you to adopt Ayurveda as a lifestyle and not a last resort. No more was I carried away by the whatsapp messages on this fruit is bad or that vegetable can cause a disease. I had only one source for all my needs: Rujuta!
And the Ayurveda project I was working on, was something I believed in and a way of living that the entire world deserves to know about.
What was the hardest part of my journey?
The hardest part is just before you start……. or is it?