Despite myself, even after two years of planning, saving and organizing, the gravity of the epic year long adventure we have set out on has only just now sunk in for me. I’d have to say I’m one grateful girl!
The last year of my life has been a whirlwind. In hindsight I am amazed I was able to work as much as I did while assembling and completing my first documentary (just barely in time) as well as simplifying and organizing our lives down to a storage unit and my parents forwarding address. By the time Wes and I had both finished our last days of employment, moved our feline prince, Goldar The Magnificent, in with his guardian the lovely Laura and hosted two screenings of my documentary both in Vancouver and in Cranbrook, it was officially time to go.
I’ve been away on some pretty in depth backpack adventures before. Traveling nearly 30 countries in my early twenties I learned a lot about myself and the world, about culture and beliefs and this travel has been one of the largest things that has shaped my life and the person I strive to be. The big difference with this trip is I feel like I’m no longer looking for life’s answers from a dusty bus ride into an unknown place. This time I am simply off for a year of awesome experiences with my favorite person in the world to learn and see and do and to really just live and savor each moment.
I was told many times that India was not for the faint of heart and that I would either love it or hate it. I’d honestly have to say that both are true and that I love it and hate it multiple times each day. The crush of humanity here is like nothing I have ever experienced. There are over a billion people in India, and though I knew this before coming that number seemed so abstract, like winning a zillion dollar lottery. I don’t think I ever truly considered what it would be to co-exist with a billion people.
Our travels thus far have taken us to some of the loudest and stinkiest cities I have ever been to. I think my nostrils are permanently stained from the stench of human waste and my nerves have never been so on guard from being hustled and ripped off. For the most part, however, the cities have only served as gateways to some of the oldest, most sacred and peaceful places I’ve had the pleasure to visit.
So far my favorite Indian destination has been the holy city of Varanasi. It is hard to explain the energy of a place like Varanasi, it has a pulse all of it’s own. The vibrant colors and mystical chanting serve as a background to this place of unwavering devotion. As a westerner, without a defined faith of my own, I am in awe of the power that the mighty Ganga has over the thousands and thousands of pilgrims that visit this Holy river each day to be blessed and purified by it’s waters and to send their beloved relatives out of this world and onto their next incarnation. Even with this beautiful atmosphere it is so alarming the amount of pollution that is dumped into these sacred waters as a means of offering, countless effigies of Hindu deities are dumped into the river regularly in celebration. I’m saddened that the connection doesn’t seem to be made between human action and their levels of pollution, not only here but all over the sub continent, and the effect this ultimately has on us all.
I feel so very lucky to be able to visit these places of national pride, to have the opportunity to bare witness to these rituals so far beyond my grasp and though we visit as outsiders we are welcomed as pilgrims.
It is at these times I realize how large and yet how small this world of ours really is.
To the great collective of us all