They’ve been long. They’ve been hard. They’ve been strenuous. Somehow, after all my ranting, complaining, bitterness and introverted anti socialness I finally understand what everyone meant when they said, “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”.
It was a true test of patience and acceptance of an over all go-with-the-flow attitude. Even the most open-hearted-natural-flowing-flower-child would have felt themselves tense up inside with a negative type of anticipation, with the countless hours of waiting and blind sided style of travel. However, like I said, I finally understand what everyone meant.
There where days when I thought I knew what was going on, when I thought that I was going to ride donkeys in the Himalaya’s. I was packed for the arctic, I had a winter coat, thermal’s and heat patches all ready to go in my pack. Heck, all the winter clothes took up the whole backpack. How naive I must have been.
Lesson #1: Life Does Not Always Go the Way We Plan
We never saw the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, and there were days where we weren’t even heading towards that direction, we were going to go to Kashmir in Northern India. It was frustrating having all these winter clothes, and still being in the smouldering heat of India.
Lesson #2: Life is Full of the Unexpected
Unexpected came in many different shapes and forms. It wasn’t like a slip up in the paper work, a typo in the small print. This was a purposely parked bus beside a sewer for 6 hours, so we could learn to appreciate all smells in their various forms. It was the decision to instead of drive to our final destination during the day and sleep at night, we spent a whole day from 5 am untill 9 pm at a bus stop. Not your regular bus stop, even though not all are welcoming, this was a cement floor off the side of the road, where we slept, ate and got harassed by crittery-crawlys and a staring audience of Indian men and children, who constantly tried to talk to you or beg you for money.
The unexpected came in a sleeping bag on a rooftop with no light pollution for miles and a sky full of shooting stars. It came in the form of fresh mango’s, so ripe that the orange juice poured out with every bite. It came in the form of listening to the echoing sound of the wind as it blew through the forest bushes, sounding like tidal waves in the distance.
Lesson #3: All Things, Good or Bad Equally Turn Out to Be Positive
My back ache comes from not sleeping on a bed in over two weeks. This pain comes from the multiple experiences of sleeping on floors, busses, trains or wooden planks. Each night a new adventure, a new story, a million smiles.
My stomach ache and headache come from the sweltering heat as I stood before the Taj Mahal, a site so beautiful that all you can do is endure the sweat rolling down your spine because you don’t want to look away. (This is another story on its own).
My overall lack of hygiene comes from not being able to shower everyday, just last week I had hit the 8 day mark because every hostel we ended up at, or not ended up at did not have running water. It comes from the sand storms, the large gusts of winds you only see in movies, and I had sat down for dinner in one of those. Now my bodies natural oils have made my hair and skin more smooth and soft than ever.
My frustration and disappointment where only a result of my greediness to know everything and more. I wanted to know where we were going, how we were getting there, what we were going to eat, when we were going to sleep. Instead of just realizing, that in the end everything turns out the way you want it too. Maybe not today, but tomorrow it will happen.
So looking back at those rough days, I realize how beneficial they truly were. Now I can say I fully understand what going-with-the-flow means… and trust me, it’s a big battle before you can finally just let all your morals go.
UPDATES ON WHEREDIDSHEGONOW
After a long bus trip retreat which I can only begin to tell you about later on, along with photographic evidence has led me onto my own independent backpacking. We left Allahabad on the earliest train and are currently travelling to Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, and back to Delhi where my travel companion Kara Ricciardi will fly back to New York, and I will continue on to my 2 week mini tour of Europe with a friend, Christine Novak.