Preparing for the Trip
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Much to do to prepare for my time in India. I set up this travel blog while talking with my dear (worried) mom on the phone. The following is particularly for those of you who I have not talked with yet about this trip. I will be traveling with Scott Lynch (21 years old) who I have known for over 6 years as he dated my dear Jessica (little sister through Big Brothers/Big Sisters). We are close like family and both are students of Yoga...Kriya Yoga which has it's roots in India. Scott's Guru has an Ashram & learning Institute in Allahbad and will be our host for part of the trip.
I have always had an interest in India as well as other parts of the world. And when I first learned of this amazing Kumbha Mela (spiritual festival) that convenes at the Ganges in Allahabad, I knew that it was something I'd be interested in checking out one day. Well, that day has come. The opportunity has presented itself for me to see India, experience the tail end of the Mela (lots of information on this online if you're interested), and benefit from staying at an Ashram for a retreat lifestyle for awhile.
Leaving Cleveland on February 8 and returning to Cleveland on April 3 is the plan. If for any reason I wish to come home early I can, for a charge of $125 to change my ticket of course.
I have done quite a bit of research and feel like I know India better than natives in some cases! Likely not true. I do feel very prepared but also expect the culture shock and am looking forward to the new experiences whatever they may be. I expect to see and experience very divergent things...wealth/poverty, high-mindedness/ignorance, strength/weakness, refreshed by the culture/dismayed by the culture. In a way...no different than here right?
Flying into Delhi, we will be meeting up with friends of friends at the airport who live in Delhi. We will take the express train to Allahabad where we will stay for a few days while taking a 5 minute walk to explore the Mela. On Feb 15 we will travel with a group from the Ashram, by bus I believe...and no, not like a Greyhound, more like a modest schoolbus or minivan..to Bengal, Puri and Calcutta. Each of these places has a historical spiritual significance as do so very many places in India. I have many layers of interest and excitement over visiting these places. Just Mother Theresa's legacy alone is very stimulating and moving to me.
The Dali Lama will be speaking for the public in India while we are there but I don't know that we'll be able to arrange to see him for this. He'll be in Himachal Pradesh (sp?) which is further north where we won't be until the end of the trip.
We'll return to the Ashram in Allahabad around March 15 and then likely spend some time there before heading back towards Delhi for siteseeing, and Agra where the Taj Mahal is. I would like to visit many places including the Himalayas and am still working on the itinerary for this tail end of the trip. I am willing and comfortable staying in the finest hotels or their monasteries or YMCA's, so whatever makes the most sense for an economical trip which allows us to do as much as we can is what we will do.
As for me, once I got through the big concerns regarding immunizations, expenditures, safety, and mentally adjusting to the lack of amenities and sanitation!....I could start to really get excited about it all, and I am. When I think of the length of my life, two months is really nothing. In this case, I hope that these two months will really be something...trying not to have too many expectations, but it's hard to not expect that this time will have a meaningful effect on my life. I've always been a fan of personal growth : )
Please don't hesitate to email me with any comments or news or information you have for me. Though I will be entrenched in my experiences in India, I will use this blog or email when it makes sense, to reconnect with all the people who are so very important to me and if you're reading this, you can be sure that you are one of those people.
Thank you to each of you for being a part of my life. Certainly it is in part your influence that has made me ready to embark on this journey. And for those of you who have directly supported me in preparing for it, God Bless.
Thanks for reading.....talk to you soon. Hope you're having your best day, today.
Namaste, (the divine in me, acknowledges the divine in you)
Love and Laughter Always,