This summer I spent a long time in the Caucasus. First volunteering in Georgia, then exploring Nagorno-Karabagh, before camping in the mountains of Armenia and finally relaxing in Yerevan. All together I spent nearly two months away from home, two months where I became a different me.

The contrast between my life at “home” in London and my life in the villages and towns of Georgia is unbelievable. At home I live in a financial centre, where time is money, where everyone rushes around in this craze for money in the hope it will give one the freedom to enjoy one’s life. In London I too rush around, how can you not? When everything around you moves so fast; the train, the car, the paperwork. Tasteless fruit. I wake up to the sounds of ambulances, trucks and thousands of people on their way to Central London on a grey, probably rainy day to go and earn some money to give one the freedom to buy a luxury we have been convinced is fashionable.

In Georgia I woke up to the annoying sound of Adam’s Iphone alarm at about 8am. Yet I woke up to the view of peaceful green mountains, mountains which remind me that we might be here for 80 years or so chasing our ambitions, but that many generations of people have lived out their lives under this mountain, which looks the same today as it did to the farmer a 100 years ago. How slow life seems to move when sitting by Lake Parvana, whose tide casually comes in and out, with the mountains, like a painting, in the background. How soothing the noise of the water is, how refreshing the breeze of air is. How great life is when even as an outsider I found myself welcomed into a community, a community different to anything in London.

A community of people who are hospitable. This community isn’t one of hostility, hatred and fear. In the village every human is respected, they are not seen as a number, a quantity, a dollar sign. I was not just another ant in a big world, I felt significant in Georgia, Karabagh and Armenia. Humans are seen for what they are the great being that is good at heart, not greedy or scheming.

Sometimes I daydream, of the wind running through the grass, the children running around street corners just being children, not engrossed in a world of technology and greed. Sometimes I daydream of that life where I genuinely gave enjoyment and improved people’s lives, the life where I could go for a walk two minutes either direction and find nature not fenced into parks. Sometimes I daydream of that life where I felt confident in myself, the life where the atmosphere made me feel like I could take on any challenge, climb any rock and move any mountain.

And then I wake up. Sirens, fights, advertising, trains. Tasteless fruit.

It’s great to live in a place with so much culture and exposure as London, where I can go to a basketball court nearby or go to a shop at any time in the 24 hour day.

But what I would give to return to that measure of peace and that community of genuine human relationships, that few ever find in their lives. Or to return to my friends who I came to love so dearly that live across oceans from me.

And then I wake up, this is all just re-adjustment isn’t it? I will be back to “me” soon. Won’t I?

— Vahe Boghosian

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