Sometimes life takes you to places where you never expected to go. Last week, work took me to Sofia. I wish I could say that the experience enriched me, as travelling usually does. But all I got to see of Sofia was the view of the mountains from the office and a view of the office from my hotel window.
Other than that my impression was limited to the short drive from and to the airport: a city ringed by mountains, with ugly, run-down apartment blocks badly in need of a coat of paint interspersed between Art-deco buildings that have seen better days. Graffiti is common, as are the roses that spill their blooms into the roundabouts and centre-strips in which they are planted. And trees – lots and lots and lots of trees.
Never in all my life have I had so little to say about a city I visited. But perhaps it was meant to be that way. Travelling solo can be lonely but I never fail to pack a trusted companion. For this trip it was Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”. Perhaps it was fitting that on a trip loaded with work I chose a book about chasing your personal dream. Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that on both of my flights back home the plane had to break through dark storm clouds into the sun. Perhaps, as the book suggests, omens are all around us – we just have to know how to read them. Perhaps life teaches us lessons even when we are several thousand feet above the ground.
“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria – May 2014