I’m sitting at the airport three hours before my first flight. My eye has swollen so badly that I can barely see and has turned all shades of black and green. I’ve got three stitches on my right temple. People look at me with pity, probably thinking that I’ve got a violent boyfriend or I’d got into a bar fight. My back is sore from the backpack (some serious downsizing will be needed next time – seems like my packing skills are not as good as I thought and I’ve brought way too much stuff with me) and from hours spent on the bus. But I’m still smiling. I needed this. I needed to be on the road again. I needed to taste freedom again - nowhere to rush, no plan, no attachments. Once you get the travel bug, it’s impossible to get rid of it. It will always be inside you, you can put it to sleep, but one day it will awaken. And you won’t be able to resist the temptation to leave everything behind and let the universe take you for a ride. The road will often get winding and rough. Sweat, messy hair, dirty nails and unshaved legs will become your day-to-day reality. The word ‘glamorous’ will be a distant memory. A "good hair day" will be a day when you rub some dry shampoo into your scalp. Clean sheets in a cheap hostel and a cold shower will be a dream come true. But it won’t matter. There will be far more important things. There will be a sunrise over the Himalayas, a moment so magical, that your heart will be overflown with gratitude and pure bliss. There will be a night when you dance salsa barefoot until 4 am. There will be all night long conversations with people met on the way that will leave you inspired and full of new ideas. There’ll be moments when your heart skips a beat, when your breath is taken away, when you don’t need words to communicate. There will be warm smiles of strangers passed on the streets, excited faces of kids, curious looks of young adults. You’ll become completely engrossed in the present moment, losing all preconceptions about yourself and who you’re supposed to or expected to be. You’ll learn things no book can teach you. And as soon as you’re back, you’ll want to do it all over again. Because "Travel is more than seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."