Travel is a funny thing. It is so personal and every traveler approaches a trip with their own style and set of expectations. Most of us maintain some form of a travel wish list with lots of new places and things we want to see in our lifetime but other people are content with a simple travel tradition, going to the same place, at the same time of year, year-after-year. Occasionally I’ve run into individuals who have no travel dreams or thoughts at all. It’s shocking to think about, isn’t it? In fact I have an aunt who saw the ocean for the very first time when she was 75 years old and her daughter (my cousin) told me her mom’s response when she saw the Atlantic Ocean and heard a wave for the very first time was, “okay, I’ve seen it so I’m ready to go home.” My aunt loves the farmland of the Midwest.
For me being able to see the Taj Mahal in my lifetime was near the top of my travel bucket list and oddly as I prepared for my trip and mentioned to friends just how excited I was about going to India, conversations would always leave me a bit worried. Here are just a few nutshell versions of some of the comments and thoughts shared with me by some of my closest friends.
“I don’t really want to go there. But you go right ahead.”
“Aren’t you scared? Don’t they have terrible problems with violent crimes against women? Did you see in the news where….?”
“Oh you are going to get so sick! Don’t eat or drink anything. Bring your own packaged food.”
So these are the comments worth sharing. More often than not, many people would simply add a non-feeling “that’s nice,” and quickly change the subject. So many people I know will talk about Paris until the cows come home but Delhi….not so much.
I have to admit that the odd exchanges frequently left me questioning what I knew in my heart to be true. I wanted to go to India. It also left me thinking about how many times the negativity or small-minded remarks of others might have impacted my decision-making about other matters.
To counter the negativity I spent a lot of time watching and re-watching Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and focusing on a comment from Evelyn: “[N]othing can prepare the uninitiated for this riot of noise and color.” And who in the world doesn’t want to add some color to their life? Not just color but a riot of color!
I took nearly 2000 photos from my trip. It seemed that everything I saw while was a picture. Color, motion, beauty, history, architecture, style, people, poverty, traditions, health, religion, beauty, art, relaxation, education – India was everything and more. I’m still trying to put into words the amazing experience. The food was unbelievable, the time spent reflecting and meditating was inspiring and I found a newly formed love and respect for a country and the people of India – eat, pray, love. The visit was was incredible. And you can be sure there will be more posts and stories about people, places and things in India but meanwhile, let me share the colors.