It’s time to dust off my trusty passport, pack up my bags, grab plenty of reading material because in less than two weeks from today, I’ll be on my way to Rishikesh in Northern India.
I have really mixed emotions about it all…the long journey to get there, the being there and the being away from here … travel is never easy, but none-the-less, it’s always exiting!
I officially launched my Skinny Traveler series in 2013 (after decades of travel) for a little adventure in Bali and added chapters in 2014 for the Jerusalem Marathon and 2015 with a 10 day trip to some remote islands in the Philippines.
I totally missed 2016, with the exception of a mini trip to Mexico and I’ll be dammed if I miss another year of international travel. I’m sneaking this trip in the final weeks of 2017.
WHERE: The “getting there” adventure
I have a globe. Like an old fashioned, round, decorative globe. Before I book any flight I like to see how far away it really is. Digital maps and milage totals don’t really do it for me…you know what does?
Realizing if you drilled a pencil through this globe I’d end up in Northern India. It’s about as far away as you can physically get. And from what I expect, culturally as well.
Here’s the itinerary to get from San Diego to Rishikesh (and back):
- I leave Tuesday night on a train to get up to LAX.
- We leave at midnight LAX ==> PVG, which is Shanghai.
- After about an 8 hour layover, PVG ==> DEL, which is Dehli.
- We’ll get in pretty late, so we have an overnight there near the airport and an afternoon flight DEL==> DED, which is Dehradun.
- Then it looks like about 20K in maybe a taxi? to get to Rishikesh, which they call the “yoga capital of the world.”
- We have 6 nights there, then we rewind the entire journey and end up back in San Diego Saturday afternoon.
So, I’m gone for 11 nights and have only 8 nights in a hotel. Getting there, I leave Tuesday night and will roll into my Rishikesh hotel Friday night. Yes, there is a 13.5 hour advanced time change, but oh-my-gawd that’s a lot of travel…
WHY: Would I go so far away?
One thing that is pretty cool about my life in San Diego is that I really like it. I love my friends, my family, my cats, my condo, my gym, my “job,” the city, the sunshine.
All of it. I’ll probably live here the rest of my life and I have nothing to run away from. In fact, I’ll miss it all terribly while I’m gone. But I am called to travel far-far-away for a few reasons….
I’ve been practicing yoga casually for nearly 20 years now (dang, being over 40 is a trip!). It has brought a lot of wonderful things to my life. It kept me injury free during my years of running 30+ miles per week.
It calms me down when I’m running high and has always comforted me when I felt lonely. It’s also brought a lot of wonderful people into my life (see below on who I’m going with.) For me, yoga has been a physical sport and a calming community.
But I think I’m missing a lot.
I haven’t found a spiritual connection nor can I really quiet my mind during peaceful meditation. While I don’t have any interest in gaining certification credentials, I would like to see if my personal practice can gain more depth…
Beyond my yoga practice, there is a culture I want to experience. I’d be sad if my time on this earth ended tomorrow and I didn’t get to see, feel and experience the other side of this planet, if even only for a few days.
From what I’ve heard, India is a trip. It’s out of order, dirty and crazy. There may not be toilets, there may be bugs and I might get sick. I’ve also heard it’s full of kind people who are full of joy. I’ve been told you have to “let go of what you know and expect” to travel well in India.
And that’s what I’m most excited about and truly why I booked this trip.
I’ve never been one to be incredibly attached to “things” but I’ve found myself to be very attached to expected outcomes and experiences. While my comfortable life in San Diego makes me super happy, it’s also left me pretty rigid with my moods and get tossed out of line pretty quick when something happens I’m not expecting (just ask the girls who work in the kitchen with me!).
I’m ready to let go of what I “think” is going to happen and just roll with it for a few days…
When I opened the Clean & Colorful Kitchen early this year, it was with the goal of creating a system that made sustainable health eating … easy. In short, I just wanted to help more people eat more vegetables. I truly believe that if more people just ate more veggies, the world would be a better place. For that reason, we’ve always cooked veggie heavy and only used animal protein responsibly.
Since we’ve been servicing San Diego, we’re slowly but surly collecting more and more vegetarian and vegan clients and our menu is gradually being more and more plant based to meet their needs. So get this: not only is Risikesh the yoga capital of the world, it’s also a community that lives naturally vegetarian (and alcohol free)!
Say what? How can a community exist with out rib-eyes and red wine?
Obviously, I’m not much of a meat eater myself, but I do love my wine and I can’t wait to see what a community looks like without our traditional vices! I hope to bring some of that insight back with me to continue to improve what we are working in the Clean & Colorful Kitchen.
WHO: Is whacky enough to come along?
It was originally one of my yoga instructors who presented the idea. He had visited last year and his eyes light up when he talks about his journey. It’s actually his photos of India that I’ve included in this post. When he mentioned how cheap the flight was (LAX==>DEL was less than $500) I decided that now was the time to go.
Before I could book my flight, I had to run it all by my faithful father, one of the smartest and well traveled men in the world. He said “Yes, yes you should go. In fact, you should hang up the phone right now and book that flight before it changes.” So I did. Several days later he told me he wanted to come too. So he is!
Ha! So me and my yoga instructor of 8 years and my 70+ year old father are making this journey together. We have travel visas in hand, plane tickets, and hotels booked (which are $11/night). I’m excited to travel with my dad and comforted that my yoga instructor has already traveled there and should serve as a great guide!
What advice might you have for me?
Have you been to India? I welcome any and all advice as I gear up for this adventure!