Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The First Rule of Travel

I had no expectations of India. But I did have an agenda, and most importantly, forgot the first rule of travel.
From the moment I landed I was counting the days until I would depart -- or so I thought. My arrival here was always centered around work; to draft an outline for a project I'd conceived, and present it to a tech team here.

My initial thought was that after a month of relaying my thoughts to them, answering questions, we could finalize a blueprint and I could depart on a three-month travel while they were coding; Thailand was on my short-list.

During that first month I devoured the newspaper each day, as if trying to inhale the mentality and heartbeat of the country; to know India before I left for destinations unknown. It was daunting, really, they have 28 states with a billion people; over 88 native languages; 200 dialects, and over 3 million Gods and Goddesses.

It was quite overwhelming. And the mixing of its ancient traditions in a modernized city of constant expansion, well, made for an intoxicating elixir, but didn't overly intrigue upon my arrival.

The first day I arrived at my hotel I thought "I don't know that I will like this at all." It seemed down-trotted to me; dusty and dirty. In a way like an old wild-west town.

Three months later I wake up each day and go through the marketplace in my neighborhood to get the paper, and find myself energized and inspired by it.

And then I remembered that to know a place you have to live there and absorb it organically; it can't be rushed or glossed over. You have to interact with the merchants, do regular local things, as simple as finding a laundry service and such.

My project development? I'm still doing that, but I've also secured an apartment, furnished it and plan to stay a while, perhaps a year or longer. Thailand will be there when I eventually get around to visiting. Right now, I'm in India, and will experience that until fate changes my course and leads me to the next destination.

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