Some things are more complicated

The Taj Mahal

Undoubtedly the most interesting thing I ever did was go to India, but I really don’t want to write about it.

It was interesting because of the country itself. India is famously, unavoidably, indisputably varied and exciting. It is a challenging country that is also rewarding. Thousands of people visit every year because of it’s justly deserved reputation. The heat, the smells, the dust, the people – even thinking out it now I get exceptionally nostalgic and filled with wanderlust. India is a country that stays with you, in all of it’s rich and diverse glory

It was also interesting because of how I went. It was only the second time I’d been travelling by myself – the first time was the Netherlands the year before. It was also the longest I’d ever been in a foreign country – 40 days in total. It sounds like not much, but it was over a month and felt like ages. I was 20 at the time (in fact, I turned 21 while in India) and I learnt things both in India and when I came back that really stay with me.

Overall, the trip is – should be – perfect travel blog fodder. Fantastic country, emotional development… the pictures alone deserve many, many blog posts.

And yet.

My trip to India was not (by any stretch) all fun and games. I had a really difficult time and I nearly left several times. I went with this charity called AIESEC and, to be brief, it was not what I expected. I think the blame lies with both me and my hosts, in that we were both lacking in open-mindedness and commitment to our work. I find this embarrassing and troubling, since I still struggle to even think about it without sounding like a petulant child.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made a few inroads. I’ve written about meditation camp, my time in the Himalayas, the books I read there and my birthday celebrations. But there is so much missing. I want to tell you all about the visiting Amritsar and seeing the boarder ceremony between Pakistan and India that they conduct every Sunday. I want to explain the best way of taking on Agra and the Taj Mahal, such as where to buy tickets and what route to take to Agra Fort. I want to tell you about this crazy little clothes shop in Jaipur where they will make you literally anything, for less that £5.

But my memories of all these beautiful and incredible things are wrapped up in such bitterness and maybe even hatred. It isn’t only about AIESEC – I found the attitudes very challenging. I struggled intensely with some of the more controlling aspects of society, and still find it very hard to be objective about some of the opinions and behaviours that became common to me over those 40 days.

So I won’t write about India, not yet. I’m not ready, and I couldn’t do it justice. But one day I will, hopefully, and I hope you’re still here to support me when I do.

Sunset over Chandigarh

Until next time xx

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