Thoughts after one month in India

It’s been almost one month since I started on this Indian journey. What was supposed to be a 4 month initiation into a 2 year long trip. Well in life, things rarely go according to plan. We try, as well as we can, to come up with some sort of agenda to follow to achieve our goals. But shit happens, you realise stuff, and yada yada.

Before I embarked on this trip, I remember feeling a huge wave of mixed emotions – they were mostly reluctance to get out of my comfort zone, excitement that I’ll be living my dream, fear of the unknown for my future, as well as the usual pre-trip trepidation for India. I brushed aside that little voice in my head that screamed, WTF ARE YOU DOING?! And attributed that to going against my fears instead of being paralysed by them. Maybe I should have listened to that little voice. Right now, as I’m sitting in my host’s comfy AC house in Goa, these are the thoughts I’ve gathered:

– There can be too much of a good thing. I was slowly becoming jaded of traveling, and it happened so quickly, within 3 weeks. This scared me, as I didn’t want to lose my passion for something which I thought I could do for life. Every next temple/ mountain/ fort/ beach was becoming just another sight which looks like one that I’ve seen before. Normally, I was really chatty with strangers when traveling, but I was slowly growing the shell that I had put on when I was at work. Never thought this would happen. In fact, I was starting to look forward to days of just chilling and doing nothing on my phone.

– I need a clear sense of direction in life. After about 3 weeks or so, I was really getting bothered that I was wasting my time, accomplishing nothing during this trip. I considered short 3 month courses on yoga or Ayurvedic massages, but knew that such short term goals wouldn’t cut it. I was moving further and further from achieving what I wanted in life – to be extremely successful at something I’m passionate about. Til now, I don’t know what it is, but I’ve to work towards them. Opportunities don’t lie around waiting for us to discover them, we have to actively seek them out. I thought that I would stumble upon life changing stuff upon this trip, but deep down I guess I was lying to myself. It was just a convenient escape from the life I despised so much. Problems won’t go away just coz you’ve changed your environment, they will always exist in your mind til you deal with them.

– I am too influenced by people around me. I guess part of the reason I did this trip was coz the people I met recently, especially those whose company I really enjoyed alot, were on their long round-the-world trips that they raved about. I loved traveling, wanted to experience what they did, and really needed a change in life. But I really need to learn to think for myself. Even going back home now, I need to stop doing what I think I should be doing, but do what is best for me. Sometimes, it gets hard to understand what I really want because I’ve lost that ability to think independently, but I should stop being lazy. Clearly, I’m not meant to be a wanderer.

– India is a difficult country, both in terms of logistics and the thoughts it evokes. Yes, it’s cleaner, safer and much more civil than I had expected. The public transport is extensive and cheap, I haven’t had to buy bottled water and have not fallen sick at all from hygiene issues, and people so far have been friendly and relatively harmless. In fact, I feel safer here than in most European cities. But other things get to you, especially when you’re a foreigner from a first world country. The incessant and seemingly unnecessary honking. The dust and grime. The crazily competitive nature of the people. The maddening shoving and traffic. The bus drivers who give that ambiguous head wiggle and drive off before you’re even sure you’re on the right bus. The intense heat, with nowhere to escape it. All these have made me realise how good life in Singapore is. I am a first world brat and I admit it. But I don’t want to travel when I’m feeling like this lest I subconsciously convey this to others, which I’m sure I’m doing right now. But yes, I miss my gym alot. I miss eating fresh salads as and when I want to, without having to worry about the cleanliness. I miss my soft comfy bed and having AC everywhere. These are the creature comforts I’ve grown up with, and it’s hard to give it all away. I shouldn’t feel obliged to, and I really do appreciate them so much now. India has made me crave routine and stability and some sort of sanity. I can’t tell actually if its India or this idea of a long trip, but it doesn’t matter I guess.

So yes, I’ll be going back home, tail between my legs, just one month into this trip. It’s better to admit that I was wrong in guessing what I wanted, than to continue on just for the sake of my ego. I wouldn’t be doing all the beautiful places I am about to visit justice, with the mindset I’ve having right now. I want to see them when I am eager to, and I guess the world will always be there for me to discover.


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