Most people are surprised when they find out India was the first country I ever traveled to; especially when they further find out I was only 20 years old, and I went on my own. But from as early as I can remember, I simply felt compelled to go. Dominique Lapierre, in his book “The City of Joy” created visions in my head of the depths of poverty, suffering, heartache that was experienced every single day, and I deeply wanted to understand it. Why them and not me?
I had little choice in going to India; it was simply something I had to do. It was never something I expected to enjoy; it was something I wanted to endure. An initiation of sorts, into a life I knew I wanted to live but also one which really scared me. I knew that if I could travel through India for a month on my own, there were few other places that could overwhelm me. And I made it, all the way through, without any traumas. But only just.
I know I was hoping to find something in that incredibly vast country. I had hoped in some way it would connect me more deeply to my soul, that one month alone in a country so bizarre to me would force me to figure some things out. But in fact, it did the opposite. It confused me further and detached me more. It stripped back layers I thought I’d already removed, and when I got on the plane to leave, I felt completely raw.
What I found in my state of rawness, was an anxious, insecure and anguished individual. And although I didn’t know it at the time, that was exactly what I needed to realize about myself. India revealed my truth to me, which was exactly what I was seeking; I was only hoping it would look a little prettier.