Begin at the End

Krishna Patel
4 min readFeb 18, 2023


A defining path to everything worth having.

April 2, 2022 Above the clouds — touchdown United Arab Emirates

I’ve been here dozens of times. Late nights and early mornings in the same airport, in sun and snow and the omnipresent rain.

I still haven’t forgotten the unrepeatable feeling of stepping off the plane and starting anew in a foreign country. The absolute boundless freedom of reality in a place where nobody knew my name. Where everything I would experience, good or bad, would come to me through my own accord. That moment alone was nearly worth the journey. To be young and standing solitarily, staring into solace without blinking. The seductive lure of potential.

Travel gives that back to you. The beauty of a new ambiance that will never be more striking than the first time you see it. Moving somewhere new shakes the dust off the world, strips away the peeling layers to get the glory underneath. Your filters disintegrate.

My new home shone below me. Crowned towers erupting from the desert-striped plain, marched in jagged ranks straight into the sea. Locals covered head to toe amidst the blazing sun. Surrounded by the brightest minds, progressive economy, and vibrant lifestyle.

This is home. Somehow.

But it wasn’t the plan, until it was. Even the greatest sailors don’t always get to choose where they wash up. Some emotions are invisible, intangible.

Aren’t you scared?

I get asked that sometimes. Not usually. Usually, we tend to glorify the special. When you tell people you are emigrating to somewhere desirable like Dubai, they are unrelentingly positive.

The few who do ask how I deal with the very reasonable fear of packing a few suitcases and starting all over again. But what should I be afraid of? Isolation? A feeling of disconnectedness from the people around me? Those feelings are old friends.

What truly scares me is the world no longer talking to me. Or more correctly, me forgetting how to hear it. To not immerse myself in things beyond my own. To not notice how the wind carries the warm fragrance of distant lands to me here.

In all reality, you get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The bad days were testing, never one identical to the other. Quite the daunting experience. Often the simplest of tasks became the biggest burdens, overcoming limitations that were invisible at home. Tears signaled the duality of the separation and the acceptance of the new chapter in life. Clinging to the silver linings, reminding myself the best is yet to come.

In a more cerebral context, if you consciously learn to regard the problems in your life as openings for you to adopt a greater understanding and then develop a better way of living, you will step out of the labyrinth of suffering and learn what it means to thrive.

You experience their reality.

The Bedouin heritage, polychronic culture, and Islamic traditions. Starting to look at home in a whole new light. Finding that the wisdom you knew covers just a small fraction of the vastness of human experience.

You learn not just language and customs, funny quirks and traditions, but also a deeply different approach to human relations. A new set of priorites. You discover pleasures, delights, beauty and emotions that are locked deep inside of you.

You’ll notice this the most when conversing with the locals. No matter where they come from and where they’ve been, there is a recognition in each other’s eyes. Respecting each others ability to see the present with more perspective, on more wavelengths, and with more resolution. An act closest to my heart.

From the cultural asymmetry to the richness of discovery, I was enriched by each experience, more nuanced and insightful from the days before.

It comforts

Strangers grow into friends you never thought you would find. The doorman becomes your first hello and last goodbye. A visit to a cafe becomes the starting point of endless memories to follow. A fitness class becomes a weekly ritual to look forward to. A mandir becomes your whole world.

Really, it was this community that kept me going. One’s that quickly turned into family. So many new sisters, mothers, fathers, and grandparents. People do not realize the rippling effect of their own goodness, and I didn’t realize how therapeutic a good laugh could be. I landed in a supportive hub, and although it took me a little while to realize and feel it, I have been grateful for it everyday since.

Truly, It’s a beautiful amalgam, a unique alloy of two different cultures.

Aside from the hurdles, you must zoom out and see it in its unrelenting beauty. To view it from a distance, all parts as one, to admire it in its unified imperfections.

It impacts you and who you are in so many different ways. It’s impossible to go through an experience like this without becoming a little more self-aware. I wouldn’t say I’ve inherently changed, but the journey, and the challenges I’ve faced along the way, have brought out the best in me.

In moments of self realization and discovery however, you’ll notice that time suddenly stands still. When you’re feeling a big shift in your personality, ambitions, the way you absorb pain — the world moves at the exact same place, while you seem to wait still in a moment of your own. I feel, more than people who can pace through life with us, we seek people who know when to hold still.

One thing I learned is that moving to a new country is a lot like love. Trying to build something where nothing existed before. It’s hanging on and letting go, it’s immersive and a means for exploration. But most importantly, like any giant leap of faith, it’s learning to trust without reassurance.

We never know, when we step off these planes, where our stories will lead us. And as dangerous as the world undoubtedly is, the greatest risk is not in trying something new, but in refusing to move at all.