My Tasmania story is all about self-realization and progression. I was born in one of the world’s most populated countries and lived in a highly competitive metropolitan city all my life. If the hustle had taught me anything, it is survival. I thought it is my biggest apparatus when I first decided to move to a far off country and chose an island like Tasmania. But the place defied my perception, shaking me to my core.
It did not take a long time to understand all my survival instincts are contradicting my personality. Tasmania has taught me to live, and I identify myself with the place for more than one reason.
Initially, I hated having much leisure. So, I thought of exploring the place a bit and have begun traveling. My first learning was co-existence. You don’t see a bird every day in the concrete jungles; forget about the animals. Naturally, shooing away the birds or animals that cross our path became an instinct. I have abandoned these internalized traits almost immediately after moving to Tasmania.
We co-exist with other species. All you have to do is, go in your path and respect their privacy, and they mind their business. With one-fifth of Tasmania’s landmass listed as a World Heritage Area, the state expects you to understand certain things.
Like David Attenborough, the famous natural historian, explained in one of his documentaries, “The Natural world is the most significant source of learning, excitement, visual beauty, and intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”
I was dead scared of the isolated environments and pitch-dark roads because I am used to having large crowds anywhere and everywhere. My mind was conditioned to think that empty areas meant a possible danger.
After a couple of anxious drives around Tassie, I became nonchalant because the number didn’t matter when anyone coming to my proximity was warm enough to greet and ready to offer to help. I felt embraced by the locals and nature.
It reminded me of a Sanskrit Verse – ‘Athidi Devo Bhava,’ that became a huge part of my country’s code of conduct. It means the guest is equivalent to god, prescribing a dynamic relationship between the host and the guest. Though the concept was originally found in religious scriptures, it goes beyond the belief system.
The saying mainly encourages reverence and acceptance of one another. Unknowingly, Tasmania also echoes the same. People here are accustomed to hosting tourists from different parts of the world and hence became highly welcoming.
Some of these experiences provoked a thought in me to relate my rich cultural heritage and its teachings to the surroundings in order to attain a powerful living motivation. I became closer to my culture and ethnicity than I could ever have come living in my city, chasing big dreams.
I saw an opportunity to utilize my diversity to make a difference by combining my foreign learnings to enhance the local lifestyle.
When covid-19 hit, Tasmanians sacrificed a lot to protect their neighbours, making this one of the world’s safest places. The disastrous year has disturbed small businesses and hurt the livelihood of many, including me. When I lost my job because of the pandemic, I kept myself together and decided to volunteer.
I contributed technically and creatively to a Tasmanian art bar that taps into local artists’ talents and encourages them with regular art prizes. Though the state was hurting itself with the border closures, it did what it had to do, and we obeyed the restrictions whether it made sense to us or not. I displayed the same resilience, and today, I continue to volunteer even after finding a job because I found joy in interacting with the art community.
When I look back at my year in Tasmania, I can proudly say I used the downtime for inner-engineering. The slow-paced lifestyle in Tasmania could come as a blessing in disguise for people like me, who never paused to introspect. All it takes is a thought, and I think we as a diverse group have great potential to utilize what Tasmania has to offer and multiply it with the good part of our past.
Let’s continue to learn, inspire, and encourage one another on this island of difference and live a meaningful life.