I'm A Wanderer

This is our adventure, trying to find ourselves in the chaos and complexity of life and the world we live in.

Jaipur, the pink city

ImageWe arrived in Jaipur after a long sweaty trip through the country on an old ricketty bus. As usual, taxi drivers hassled us as soon as we got off the bus. I said “Let’s find a hotel when we get there”, but when we arrived, I stopped to question what made me think that was a good idea in India. We eventually found a good hotel with hot water and internet for around $7. A little on the expensive side (yes, really), but we wanted some luxury after dealing with our Kolkata hotel. 

Our taxi driver was actually a lovely, honest man and offered us a great price for a tour of the city in his taxi the next day. We were still with the Chilean girls, so we split the price and orgainised all the places we wanted to visit. 

ImageThe next day, off we went. We stopped to get some of Jaipur’s best lassi – a drink made from yoghurt. Absolutely delicious, I never tasted better lassi in my entire time in India. First stop was Jantar Mantar, the astronomical observatory. Really inetresting, however, we didn’t get a guided tour so it was a little hard to figure out what each instrument did, even with the descriptions.

ImageThe photo above is the site’s massive sun dile.

Next stop was the Hawa Mahal – we didn’t actually go inside, we just walked around the street and looked at everything. The streets were filled with auto-rickshaws, cars, taxis, animals, food, flowers, dyes, you name it.. It was all there. 

ImageNext, we went to see the monkey gorge. However, after walking to the top of the massive hill, we realised that it was an incredibly long walk down into the gorge and we wouldn’t have time to see Amber Fort, so we took some photos, fed the many monkeys and moved on.

ImageImageAmber Fort was last on our places to see, and on the way there and back, we saw the floating palace from the car. The Fort was incredible, really big and a little confusing. We walked around inside for about an hour, looking at the incredible art and views around the place. It had such an awesome feel to it, like we were being whipped back in time to when there was kings and knights. The sun was beginning to set over the Fort, and we were completely exhausted – but the night ended on a completely different note to what I originally expected. 

ImageWe had the opportunity to see a real guru on our way back to the hotel. I was first in, and felt an very intense vibe in the room. The man held my hand and told me things no one else knew about my life. About things I had even forgotten about. Before I left for India, I had been looking at campuses to study a degree in Naturopathy when I get home. He completely changed my life, telling me I was born to be a healer and that I could go very far spiritually. I’ve never been more sure of something in my life.

 

The Taj Mahal

It’s one of those things you just have to see.
Ever since I can remember, the Taj Mahal has had a WOW factor for me (in pictures), and when I’ve asked people about it, no one has ever said they regretted seeing it – then comes the day we finally get to see it…

I can’t describe it’s beauty, it was just breath-taking. Arriving at Agra Fort train station at 5am after opening my third class train window and watching India wake up just as the sun was coming up was one thing I’ll never forget. To ruin the intense excitement, when we got to the taxi and found out we couldn’t take our bags with us (we were moving on after breakfast on a semi-tight schedule), we had to sort out what we were going to do with them. So, after driving to a hotel where we could put our bags as long as we had breakfast there and stopping along the way when the taxi driver pointed out the Taj in the distance, the pink sky enveloping its greatness; everything worked out pretty well, we were restless with anticipation.

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The walk was nice in the crisp, dawn air, we saw some wild monkeys for the first time, and were flabbergasted when we saw the signs over the 2 separate windows – a whopping 750 Rupees (around $14) entrance fee for foreigners in comparison a mere 20 for Indians, which we honestly didn’t care about, but had a chuckle about the discrimination… It was all soon forgotten when we could see its white walls through the walkway of a large temple in front.

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I won’t go on with aesthetics; I will leave it up to you, to experience it for yourself. No words can describe my experience there, it will never be forgotten.

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These boys sold us flower candles to put in the Ganges.

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Making one 6 meter piece of silk.

Varanasi

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Organizing a train to our next destination wasn’t so difficult, as we realized that most Indians speak excellent English, and are great business men, with the ambition to be respected as professionals.
A ten hour train ride later, after many games of gin and bamboozling sights from our window, we arrive in the ancient city of Varanasi, the ‘home’ of The Lord Shiva, and also home to many winding, colourful and cobbled streets full of animals, children playing cricket, and orange robed babas.

We arrived at night, and the taxi ride through this city was even more shocking than our first! I feel like a little culture shock bombarded my relaxed disposition, and I felt a little overwhelmed by the loud taxi driver, the hotel owner who had no consideration for privacy or personal space, and the many other men ogling my western everything. But, a well needed rest and a delicious Indian breakfast set us up for a day of exploring the many Ghats (a flight of steps leading down to the river).

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A lovely man from the hotel took us everywhere, from the hotel to the main Ghat where we saw men bathing in the dirty (but very holy) Ganga river, then along to the next ghat where they burned bodies next to the river – not in coffins, just wrapped in a white sheet – as a special ceremony for the fasted route to the liberation of the soul. Thousands of people per year either come to die in Varanasi, or to be burned once they pass on. We weren’t allowed to take photos here, but it was an experience in itself I will never forget.

Next was a walk through the textile area, where we saw people making silk – which takes up to 30 days to make one piece by hand – and I bought a beautiful cotton silk scarf for a fraction of the price that it would have been back in the west.
After dinner, we all jumped into a boat and watched the fire ceremony in front of the main Ghat.
I like to be chauffeured around, but I prefer to explore on my own, and that’s what we did the next day, dining on delightful Indian cuisine and exploring the dusty streets.

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Varanasi was beautiful, and an experience not to miss out on, although my kind of place is one where you can open your mouth without fear of ingesting some sort of airborne disease, and one that has a more relaxed energy.

Expectations

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(The glassless window.)

Whatever your expectation of a place would be, halve it, then halve that. This is what your third world country travels expectation meter should be like. It’s not going to be much like your normal experience back home, and it’s best to just take it with some humor on the side, so that the terrible moments that make you wish you were home aren’t so bad after all. Our first stop was the old capital of the country – Kolkata.

It all starts with our first taxi ride through the bustling city, and coming from silent Bangkok (silent compared to this) where they speed like crazy but they almost never use their horns to a place where they use their horns almost out of habit, even if there is no one there to alert of their presence – this place was extremely intense from word go. Even though this was almost the taxi ride from hell (due to near misses we experienced in the double digits), I had a HUGE grin on my face the entire time! Here I am, bouncing around on a springy seat in an ancient yellow automobile driven by a mumbling Indian man chewing tobacco, through dusty streets filled with cars, people and animals of all sorts, and I felt so relaxed, so delighted to be here – while Tristan constantly turned back to me from the front seat with an anxious expression, unable to comprehend how we were still alive.

As soon as we entered Indian airspace, I felt tranquil, (that’s saying a lot because I am not very good in the air, thousands of meters away from land) like I was stepping into a pool of warm honey. So later on when I was walking through the busy market place full of counterfeit goods and delicious street food, I didn’t mind that my feet were getting covered in the black, stagnant water on the streets, I didn’t even mind that people were hassling us for handshakes and photos that I’m putting down to our porcelain skin, and I really didn’t mind that I was jostled by cows as I strolled along.

To test this theory further, I didn’t even mind that when we arrived in our hotel room that we had booked for our first night, the glass was missing from our bedroom window, the bathroom was 2 flights downstairs and the hotel had run out of towels, so we had to dry ourselves with our dirty clothes. Talk about expectations! It was an experience to be had though, and I feel like it has lowered my standards a lot, but in a way that makes me appreciate what I have more than being ungrateful and materialistic. I feel like when I do go home, I won’t need the best of the best of everything, and I will save spending my money on those things for experiences like these, even if they make me want to go home sometimes. These are the things that make me grow as a person and make me empathetic of different cultures and situations all over the world, so that I’m no longer sheltered under my first world life.

I almost feel as though I’ve come home, but not my ‘physical’ home where everything is clean and technologically advanced, like the home my soul has been waiting for me to come back to, to continue my search within.

A New Turn

I am going to have to cut Thailand short, as I have been extremely lazy with my updates. I will be filling you in on the rest of Thailand when I have finished updating everything else that has been happening recently!

So, with a life changing month of yoga, came an entire change in my lifestyle. I began dreaming of going to India and learning from the masters about bending and stretching my body in a way that manipulates energy from the earth and the universe in order to purify my mind, body and spirit for a better quality of life, and maybe even true realization of my higher self and my connection with god and every other sentient being.

I feel as though Thailand was an amazing life experience for me, but to be 100% truly honest with myself, even though I made many friends and learned a lot of lessons about myself, life and others.. I didn’t feel a great connection with the country, and I’ve only just realized this now that I’ve actually packed up my bags and left for India, a place I never originally wanted to visit, that this is definitely a place full of vibrant and uplifting energy, a place I feel a true connection with. I know that it may have been different for me living in Thailand as opposed to just visiting as a tourist, and my opinion is biased, because I experienced something completely different to what I originally expected.

Now that I’ve planted my feet on Indian soil, my entire being has been struck with an intense transformational vibration, my consciousness has begun rising, and my heart is opening more and more as every day passes. This place, India, it has such a sacred energy that would change anyone whether they let it or not. This is a real place, with real people, real colours, real energy. It feels so pure even though I walk down the street and am hassled by people just trying to earn a buck. There is no suppressed anger or resentment, just understanding. Just love and friendship.

Who am I going to be when I move along, on to my next destination? I already feel so wise, is it even possible to expand my knowledge into something more?

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