Today, when I called my credit card companies to tell them I was leaving my normal cowtown land, a great small world moment happened. The operator at X Bank asked me where I was headed, when I said India, he told me how lucky I was, how it would change my life and that especially going to Varanasi was an experience that I would never forget. He never said where he was but I knew.
We all go so fast in this life. Call Center operators can become anonymous people so much of the time – blank voices on the phone outsourced to lands far away (unless they make a point of telling you they are in the USA and this is alarming in another way… I don’t need someone here to help me or think they’d be any better at it… so there).
I told him I felt really lucky to be able to come see his country and I had waited a long time to go. Without saying more, He said India was more than worth the wait and don’t be afraid of how crowded and chaotic it was, to try to see beyond the crowds, the heat to really see the beauty because it was one of the most beautiful places in all the world. I told him thank you and promised I would, and I promise, friends, I will.
Countdown to India: days, mere days.
There’s a time before a new journey when I always get to maximum velocity; a perfect storm hits of everything at the same time. A window into my mind (so sorry, it’s not as bad in there as it initially appears), I have this moment when I think because I am getting on a plane that every single loose end in my life needs to be tied, every bill paid, every file updated at work, every relationship in good stead because, well, because I never come back the same person and I want whatever I am leaving behind to be all tidy.
Travel changes me fundamentally as I am sure it does you too (or goodness I hope it does – that’s the point of jet lag, to earn the change). It’s one of the major reasons I go at all, perhaps THE reason. Something has got to drive us to put our lives on hold, go into debit, buy electronic devices we probably don’t need. Sure, I know I do all of that and more because I can only be a cow for so long, I crave what new sights, new lands, new food brings my soul. However, in the dangerous most honest moment, what I really crave is perspective and the distance from the familiar that will give me the chance to see my path for my path and all the places where I have fallen down, gotten off track, where I am exactly where I should be and where the path is headed alarmingly up hill and looks rocky and horrible. Maybe I have to live in the tornado before I go because I know how much work I’ll have to do when I get back? I don’t know…. I just know it’s always the same and what should be clear to all of you, especially those who know me well in real life, the pre trip breakdown has started, right on schedule. Beware of your inbox. I cannot be held responsible this week for, well, anything and someone hide my credit cards because I do not need a compass that can communicate with my phone… no one does.
Countdown to India: one weekish
Seven years ago tonight, I was sitting around a fire in the middle of the Sahara listening to music, under a bowl full of stars, so far away from everything.
Getting on that plane seems so close now and have to start really mentally preparing myself for the other side. Today, I realized I don’t even have the correct adaptor plug and that I didn’t know adaptors come in alphabet letters? Amateur.
For all my years of traveling, sometimes I just feel rusty about it all. The wrong bag, the wrong shoes, the wrong pants, the wrong book to read – but then, I am at the airport, the plane roars down the runway, I remember how you stand in line sometimes and sometimes how you just have to push like hell or be knocked over, remember that coffee that tastes like mud still has caffeine in it and please, for all that is holy, let me have remembered most of all not to drink the water (even though I always do & clearly have lived to tell about it – thank you modern medicine). It all comes back.
I am ready. Let’s do this.
Countdown to India: thirteen days
“Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.” – Ray Bradbury
Countdown to India: 22 days (it’s 9 pm here so maybe that’s really 21 and bit)
As I sort through all the wires, converters, lenses today, preparing for my next journey – here are some pictures of Buenos Aires. Alas, my camera was on the fritz… so just a few to share.
Countdown to India: 29 days
“In India, I was living in a little hut, about six feet by seven feet. It had a canvas flap instead of a door. I was sitting on my bed meditating, and a cat wandered in and plopped down on my lap. I took the cat and tossed it out the door. Ten seconds later it was back on my lap. We got into a sort of dance, this cat and I…I tossed it out because I was trying to meditate, to get enlightened. But the cat kept returning. I was getting more and more irritated, more and more annoyed with the persistence of the cat. Finally, after about a half-hour of this coming in and tossing out, I had to surrender. There was nothing else to do. There was no way to block off the door. I sat there, the cat came back in, and it got on my lap. But I did not do anything. I just let go. Thirty seconds later the cat got up and walked out. So, you see, our teachers come in many forms.” ~ Joseph Goldstein
India: Countdown starts now, 30 days to Delhi