Maybe it was the talk last night on the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m leaping into the unknown in multiple areas of my life these days.
I was twenty-seven with a mini-disc recorder, my camera and a backpack. I had friends in Delhi but wasn’t sure they’d gotten my email about when I’d be arriving. I had no itinerary. No particular destination in mind. My idea had been to go to India for two months and see what happened.
I remember looking out the window of the plane as we approached the city. Shacks and tents and railroad tracks came closer and closer into view as we descended. The realization that our landing was inevitable ran through my body with pulsing electricity. I would have to disembark. The chances were slim my friends would be at the airport. I would have to make my way through customs, fumble through a money exchange and find a ride. There was no turning back. We were touching down.
To my amazement and surprise, my friends were there to greet me, guiding me to an auto rickshaw and taking me to a place to sleep for the night. It was wonderful to travel with them for a few days as we made our way out of Delhi and into the foothills of the Himalayas. Our paths diverged in the hill station of Mussoorie, and I traveled on alone to Rishikesh and eventually into Nepal.
These days, I face fears that don’t require a passport. No foreign languages or exotic scents. But it’s unknown territory all the same.
Looking back at these photographs I’m reminded of the courage (with a bit of blissful ignorance) that carried me along an epic adventure. Through cobra snakes and midnight car rides with strangers, illnesses and pit toilets, there was always some sort of safety net. Some miracle of circumstance that guided me and provided exactly what was needed in each moment.
We’re all travelers of sorts, and sometimes we book trips to new lands. When we look outside the window of our plane and see the ground getting closer, we know we’ve reached a destination. The only way out is through that exit door. We don’t know what will be discovered in foreign territory. But it is invigorating to step outside our City of Familiar and take a walk amidst the new.
Here’s to the adventure…