When I went to India everyone told me I’d go on a spiritual journey, that I’d somehow find myself and get a new-found appreciation for or rejection of my pampered wanna-be-boho life, that I’d find a new path blah blah blah… When you spend half your life as a nomad, everyone you meet seems to think you’re on a journey to find something. Your mum thinks you’ve gone out to discover a new religion, join a cult then somehow end up in the Bangkok Hilton because you fell in with the wrong crowd (or even worse, met a hot guy with dreads playing his guitar on the beach…).
But there were a few things I learned on that journey around India all those years ago (little has changed since, despite getting a mortgage and having two babies~):
- I’m not on the road to find something. I just enjoy change. Change is like an old merino wool sweater you bought from Glassons a few years ago that fits great under everything – really comfortable and unlikely to be given up for some time.
- India is not the place you go backpacking for weeks on end and still expect that your clothes to be snug at the end of that time…
- India is where you learn the extreme limits of your comfort zone (mine are intense heat, swarms of bugs in overnight trains, dirty streets when one’s uniform includes flip flops and losing six kilos over as many days while staying in the cheapest hostel on earth~)
- I’m just not a spiritual person. I’m not out there to find a new path of life or find the meaning of it but do appreciate people’s beliefs for what they are – those beliefs are what makes the world the incredible place it is – I only wish I had that depth about me to believe in something the way most of the world does in their different ways.
I went to India expecting it to profoundly change me like everyone said it would, but it didn’t. For me, India was what it was: there was dirt and extreme poverty, stray monkeys and dogs almost everywhere one looked but in those same moments were bright colours, big smiles, the most beautiful fabrics imaginable, spice bazaars, friendly faces and amazing sounds. While I don’t find all of that acceptable, especially the poverty part, little of that hit me on a deeper level like people said it would. When my friend was yogying in our ashram, I was taking antibiotics for one of the nasty bugs I’d picked up (see lost weight further up the post) and trying/failing desperately to get my appetite and strength back by going back to bed after the yoga instructor laughed when I could barely do Downward Dog. It taught me that I’m excruciatingly inflexible in muscle, but perhaps kind of flexible in what I find myself able to accept in regards to the world around me.
My travel personality hasn’t changed much over the years since Incredible India. I’m an extreme planner in both my travels and daily life (love the spreadsheets!), I like to know roughly what I’ll be eating dinner tonight and exactly where I’ll be staying for the next few months whether on the road or on the bus to work. But I also adore the new. I’m an appalling map reader (husband and I nearly broke up after I’d let him go round a Mexican roundabout eight times before he pointed out that I had the map upside down) and will be until the end of time, but I’m ok with getting lost on the road – someone will eventually point you in the right direction and you might discover something cool in the process. My travel personality is A-OK with going in the wrong direction on a train when I’m travelling but in my daily life I’m never more than a minute late to meet anyone without a profound apology.
My travel personality is so much more laid back than my day-job personality which I think comes across as pedantic, time obsessed and if I can be frank here, a bit catty…
My travel personality comes across as having a deep sense of curiosity which leads me to try new dishes everywhere I go. Take me to a Malaysian night market or a seaside Italian restaurant and I’m yours forever. I’m also really annoying as I like to be the boss and talk way too much – if you don’t believe it then ask especially anyone who has had to travel with me for more than a day or two – again, it’s remarkable that Mr Man and I are still married.
So my travel personality? Probably just downright scatty, a bit like Miss Piggy with an incurable case of wanderlust. Thoroughly enjoys a good train ride and would rather stay in a bed & breakfast than a five-star hotel so one can talk the ear off the owner and hear their life story whether they want to give it or not. Completely and utterly lacks depth but loves the world.
This post was part of Kelly, Emma, Rebecca and Catherine’s travel link-up. Do feel free to participate by joining the link-up on one of their pages – they’re a really great group of bloggers new and old!