There’s no EASING into India…

      India has an agenda of its own. Most experience a love/hate relationship and I have found that the more you embrace the chaos (it will push EVERY one of your buttons) the more miracles you will experience. It’s like an initiation, forcing you out of your comfort zone, stretching you in every way humanly possible and REWARDING those who don’t run…

 

            In the fall of 2010, I did something absolutely insane. I bought a ticket to India where I decided I would backpack for the first time EVER…SOLO! Why? Well, I had this window of time that I call “an opportunity” and it was my choice whether I would take advantage of it or not. I was in between seasonal jobs in the mountains and all of my coworkers were planning their “off-season” backpacking adventure, something that was completely foreign to me. Hearing the excitement of my coworkers discussing their adventures to Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines sparked my curiosity about this whole “backpacking” thing. Traveling like that was nothing I envisioned being able to do, let alone, alone. I always admired people that had the COURAGE to just “do it.” I’ve only heard of people backpacking through Europe with a group of friends after high school or college.

              One of my coworkers was telling me that he was going to some exotic island alone for the off-season. “Its hard to meet the right people to travel with that happen to have the same time off and that have a similar mindset so I just do it alone and meet people along the way.” He asked me, “Is there a place that has always interested you?” I remember responding immediately, India! He said, “What’s stopping you Yesmeen? Buy your flight and the rest will be history. You can do it!” It’s amazing what can happen when someone believes in you. The two biggest excuses are usually time and money related. I had the time (6 weeks/unpaid) and the money part, well I had enough for the flight and if I could move out of my month-to-month apartment situation and get my stuff in storage than I could totally make it work! Folks, money can always be made but time, it is precious and I promised myself I wouldn’t wait for that “one day.” Life is too short and I was determined to make this happen!!

*Below*  Denver International Airport>>>Mumbai, October 2010.

#panicattackthenightbefore #whatamidoing #icandoit

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             That trip shook me to my core and made me question everything I’ve ever believed about myself, what I was capable of and my views of the world etc. It changed me. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the trials and wanted to give up especially when I arrived in Mumbai at 1am without any luggage (they left my bags in Amsterdam). It was hell for a few days but you know what, I survived. 

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It challenged me in every way possible and I experienced some of the most intense days of my life but you know what, I did it! The more I embraced the experiences and tried to learn from them, the more I would experience the beauty of what the country had to offer, placing me at the right place at the right time to experience some of the most magical days. Needless to say, the power and impact this country had on me is something I will NEVER forget, as it is a BIG part of who I am today.

      Now, my heart has guided me back, to volunteer. I am looking forward to giving back in this country that has given me so much. I didn’t think I would feel this emotional. I am literally completing this circle that began by simply following my heart, facing my fears and diving into the unknown…

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Love,

Yesmeen