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LIVING COLORFULLY

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Monday
Oct262015

SAYING YES TO INDIA

I went to India at a crossroads in my life. A new career move, a birthday coming up, all somehow made me more introspective, analyzing where I have been and where I wanted to be going. I had planned the trip at the beginning of the year, at a time of some uncertainty, and the timing somehow worked out perfectly. I had left one job, went to Spain with my family, got a new job with a very understanding boss, and was still left wondering "what next?". I signed up for a block printing workshop in Jaipur, packed my super heavy, medicine cabinet filled suitcase and was off.

Going to India was a definite shock to the system. I had been warned and cautioned, "You will LOVE it or HATE it." Even my (normally very relaxed) Indian doctor spent a long time cautioning against malaria ridden mosquitoes, dangerous men and unfiltered water. 

Now that I'm back, I am still processing everything I saw and all the adventures I went through. It's not Spain (more on that after the India journey, as I want to share what's vivid in my mind). It was both invigorating and slightly terrifying. I can't say I loved every moment, as it was overwhelming, hectic, dirty and super hot. I developed a constant hacking cough from the polluted air and suffered from splitting headaches due to iced coffee withdrawal. I feel like I had run an intense, grueling mental and physical marathon, but I survived.

Nevertheless, I LOVED the experience as it shook up my comfortable Los Angeles self. We usually dined in somewhat fancy restaurants and stayed in relatively luxurious hotels. We had a private driver and attentive tour guides. Even then, I came to appreciate having hot water, or even having water. Having constant electricity and eating fresh salads without worrying about food borne parasites. Driving down the road without playing constant chicken with crazed motorists and fearless cows. I would definitely do it again, but bring more sanitizer, extra bug repellant and enough cough drops. 

In the next month I will share some of the moments that defined the experience. The colorful people and the places - from grand monuments to intimate moments - that we stumbled upon. It was all so inspiring and so different. We learned about bearded 7 foot cobras and stealing lucky Ganeshe statues to find true love. We learned to say yes to every proposed adventure (except the slurping Opium one) and it was very freeing to trust others and literally not know where the road would take us. Yes, to sunrise flower markets and flaming motorcycle temples. Yes, to tuktuks, elephants, and camels named Michael Jackson. Yes, to traveling hundreds of kilometers through Rajasthan's questionable roads with a girl I had just met. 

I hope you join me for the bright, wild ride. 

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