This Week’s Travel Inspiration: Shantaram

Each week, I’ll be recommending a movie, t.v. show, book, or song, to help you feel inspired to travel!

This week’s travel inspiration is brought to you by the novel, Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts.  This novel is a mesmerizing tale of an escaped Australian convict, Lin, with a false passport as he flees to Bombay.  As he explores the exotic city with his guide and friend, Prabaker, he encounters beggars, exiles, gangsters, prostitutes, holy men, soldiers, actors, Indians, and foreign travelers.  Lin explores the human experience and heart of India while finding out more about his own life and existence.  The story is more than just an inspiration to travel to the exotic and loving land that is India, but inspiration for freedom, exploration, possibilities and love in every day life.

The book is poetically written, but I have attached five of my favorite quotes below to help illustrate this treasure.

On India:

“Mumbai is the sweet, sweaty smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and it’s the sour, stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love.  It’s the smell of Gods, demons, empires, and civilizations in resurrection and decay.  It’s the blue skin-smell of the sea, no matter where you are in the island city, and the blood metal smell of machines.  It smells of the stir ad sleep and the waste of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats.  It smells of heartbreak, and the struggle to live, and of the crucial failures and love the produces courage.  It smells of ten thousand restaurants, five thousand temples, shrine, churches, and mosques, and of hundred bazaars devoted exclusively to perfume, spices, incense, and freshly cut flowers.  The smell, above all things-is that what welcomes me and tells me that I have come home.”

On freedom:

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.  I realized, somehow, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled bloody helplessness,  I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them.  It doesn’t sound like much, I know.  But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility.  And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.”

On exploration and possibilities:

“There are no mistakes.  Only new paths to explore.”

“Every human heart beat is a universe of possibilities.”

On love:

“At first, when we truly love someone, our greatest fear is that the loved one will stop loving us.  What we should fear and dread, of course, is that we won’t stop loving them even after they’re dead and gone.”

Have you read Shantaram?  What did you think?  Did it inspire you to visit India?

Let me know, down below!



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