Everything has it's season and right now, I'm travel worn. I kind of just want to sit bundled up in one place and not move. Is that bad? We are almost four months into our 13-month long journey, but travel in India is hard. Seriously.
Maybe I'm feeling the pain because I haven't eaten a proper meal in days—too many consecutive questionable food situations and subsequent stomach discomfort. I love Indian food, but I still wish every time I ate wasn't a gamble of win, lose or get sick.
Travel weariness aside, the glorious Blue City of Jodhpur in the northern state of Rajasthan has quickly become one of my favorite cities in India. Known for its bustling markets filled with antiques, colorful fabrics, and textured woodwork, my photographer's eye is overwhelmed. This city is extraordinary.
I am conflicted—as per usual in India—simultaneously taken by all the beautiful things, and stressed out by the over-stimulating chaos. You have to always be on alert when walking through the streets in any Indian city. When going out, take a deep breathe and gather force to muck through all the cow poo and garbage, avoid speedy motorbikes, and avert eager shopkeepers selling their wares. You'll be honked at, yelled at, waved at, and if you're lucky, you won't submerge your feet in a nasty puddle, especially after rain. All this craziness must be absorbed, and if you think you'll be able to find a nice bit of quiet space or alone time, it won't be here.
In all this madness, the streets of Jodhpur are certifiably alive. The buildings are painted vibrant blues, the women wear brilliant red, orange, yellow saris. Men and women sit crouched or cross-legged inside teeny tiny food stalls while children run about. Here, more than anywhere else, people greet us by saying "Namaste."
It is in Jodhpur that I hear the call to prayer for the first time. At dusk, the call echoes from various mosques throughout the Blue City. This hum combined with the constant cacophony of rickshaw horns fills my ears. What a strange and distant land this is. As it happens on journeys like these, I’m once again filled with an overwhelming sense of wonder.
Last night I finally caught up with my family back home via Skype. As I was telling my mom of all the things we've seen and done in the last week alone—the magical colors of Jodhpur, the Buddhas of Ellora and Ajanta, the scary plane flight—she asked me if I thought it would be hard to return home after such an adventure. There is so much I've seen and done already, and we're not even halfway through the year. Won't home be boring? What will I do next? How will I manage to acclimate?
I admit that throughout this journey, I've had similar worries myself. But I think life is seasonal; there are certain times for certain things.
There is time for school and work, time to start a family, time to end a relationship. And there is time to discover, to explore new cultures and places, and to learn about new perspectives. There is time to wonder, to reignite creativity, to be reminded how small we are in the grand scheme of things, and to reflect upon how lucky we are to even be here in the first place.
I don't know how it will work out when this journey ends. But as with everything, one must carry on and trust in the season that follows.