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My Journey to India.....

Updated: May 15, 2020

Many  who have visited India, come back either  loving  it, hating  it or experiencing a culture shock. I think it is safe to say that most, if not all, come  back home as  a  different person. Although, I was not shocked, it changed me forever!

Diwali-The Festival of Lights, like our XMAS

Perhaps,  it was driving along Ontario and  Prefontaine  Street  in  Montreal  many times witnessing drugs taking over human life and prostituting themselves for survival, that prepared me to experience the cremating of bodies in one of the holiest cities in the world, Varanasi, India.

The Ghat where they Cremate bodies all day long.

Perhaps,  it  might have been  cycling  through  Puglia  and Sicily alone that  gave me  the  courage to be positive and deal with the fear of  encountering  stray dogs;  a  fear I have  had all my life, prepared me to  pleasurably travel  around  India, where  animals, such as  cows, elephants, dogs and cats  are roaming the streets freely.

Did you know cows are scared in India? It provides them life sustaining milk. The cow is seen as a maternal figure, a care taker of her people. The cow is a symbol of the divine bounty of earth.

Perhaps, it has been  the  time  I  lived  in Mexico  where mothers and grandmothers  would send their children  to sell  Chiclet’s as a means to make money for them?  The "Chiclet  girls", as they were often referred to, had their eyes filled with sadness and hate as a result of what they were forced to do.    On the other hand, it could  have been me witnessing ten people living in 300 square feet  home and  sleeping on the floor which  prepared me for a country of so many children begging for money or food

These children lived a small village, they were not beggars, as you can see they are wearing jewelry, they were more comfortable than most in India. In India, I only took pictures of the beauty.

Perhaps, it could have been witnessing  an endless amount of people sleeping  on sidewalks  in Rio de Janeiro, or  seeing the  favelas from afar (a slum or shanty town located within or on the outskirts of the country's large cities) that prepared me to see people living in endless tents on the boulevards of Delhi or the SLUMS OF MUMBAI (today I still feel numbness in me) Perhaps, it was the fear instilled by friends from Brazil, family members and media to be careful in Brazil  which prepared me to feel safe in India.

Sign of my fear backpack in the front!

Perhaps, it  was the time when I  was  Beijing,  where the  Chinese  people  ride their  bicycle  on the wrong side of the bike path  expecting me  to move  out of their way!   Maybe it was the huge population and the congested traffic  that prepared me for the  pollution  in  India which caused me to have the worse sinus infection ever.

I found a street with not a soul, what a miracle.

Perhaps, it was when I was in  Thailand,  witnessing  massage girls running after  western  tourists  insisting on giving  them  massages, as well as seeing prostitution in full display.   Perhaps,  being in the wrong place at the wrong time on a  gay  beach in Thailand,  where  underage “Lady Boys” (one who adopts a feminine appearance) were prostituted to western  men made me wiser in dealing  with  the  differences of India's culture!

My boyfriend Sam!

Perhaps, walking through the smelly “Souks” or Bazaars in Egypt crowded with people shouting and pushing me to buy whatever they were selling, or being in a taxi and a man deciding to come along trying to sell me a ride on his camel around the pyramids at Giza, which made my rickshaw ride in Old Delhi through crowds and congested with “Tuk Tuk” tolerable.

#mustexperience Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi!

"Souks" in Egypt

Perhaps, it might have been while walking around in Luxor and these "monkeys" (this is what I named them as they would appear out of nowhere) would harass me to get me to hire them for a carriage ride, which prepared me for Indian men constantly approaching me and insisting on selling me “pashminas” when it wasn’t.

I did a carriage ride? YOU see, I don't even remember lol

Perhaps it was when I was in the bakery and no one was serving me, just to realize there is a women section and a men section and I happened to be on the wrong side. This truly helped me deal with the fascinating and complicated country like India. Furthermore, though initially uneasy, growing to understand why Egyptians would take pictures of my friend and I, namely because they saw us as being different from themselves, prepared me to love taking pictures of Indians in their colorful “Saris” and saw no problem with them (many of whom come from small villages and have never seen Westerners). taking photos of me.

Love the colors

This is a one million dollar picture of a Sadhu (monk), which cost me only 1$.

Perhaps, it was my three hour drive to the desert realizing I had no Tour Guide and suddenly picking him up in a small village. It wasn't pleasant to meet this guide I believe he didn't want to be there, I think it's safe to say, I didn't want to spend the evening under the stars "in the middle of the desert," with him. I asked to be returned to Cairo.

As you can tell I am not happy person!

This moment of OM was in the holiest city, Varanasi overlooking the Ganges where Hindus scatter their ashes changed me forever. I had chills all over my body, all the challenges I went through to be a tour leader of 22 YOGIS. It took all of my travels and experience as a travel consultant to make this happen.

However, it is not unreasonable to think that all of these countries, and more that I visited, helped me to deal with Unforgettable Memories of India which changed me forever!


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