Travels to India

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For most of my life I’ve been interested in visiting India. It always seemed so different from anything I grew up with from countryside to weather to culture to food. A few years ago I even started to learn to speak Hindi. (I talk about that project here)

As a traveller – as a human, in fact, I’m someone who constantly craves new things. There’s an opportunity to learn, and there’s the exhilaration of not knowing what is going to happen next even in the most mundane of tasks. This is often a recipe for embarrassment or discomfort, but is also an opportunity for tremendous discovery.

Finally, a couple of decades after I first thought of visiting India, I was able to go in October of 2016. I spent four weeks there and had the time of my life. In our home city of Toronto, there’s a lot of stimulus – visual, audible (sirens, traffic, streetcars, humans), the smell of plants, restaurants, sometimes a factory – but after some time living here your mind learns how to filter most of it out, only feeling the need to pay close attention to what stands out as unusual. We lived in a house next to a busy street filled with buses, cars, and other traffic. After a very shot time we got used to it. But when the sound of distant music carried in to our window one September afternoon, I got curious enough to follow it. I walked almost a mile, following my ears. I eventually found my way to an Ethiopian New Year’s celebration.  This stood out so it got my attention.

But I’m not experienced in living in India. Every single stimulus that comes in through any sense is new and my brain feels obligated to process it. Nothing can be tuned out. Even the simple sound of a chowkidar whacking his stick on the street outside as he did his rounds would wake me from the soundest of sleeps. But even as I found myself overstimulated to the point where I had to make a point of spending time in my room every day with headphones on to decompress, I was thrilled to be there.

I loved my trip so much that when I went back in February of 2018, I brought my 19 year old son with me. In 2019 I’ll be bringing my partner, Sage, there.

I’ve written a lot about my visits and will likely write more. You can see the entries here:

2016 Trip – Destinations: Delhi, Bangalore, Varanasi, Jaipur, Mumbai

2018 Trip – Destinations: Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Ratnagiri