It’s the night before I head to India and I am waiting patiently for dinner in our Sri Lankan homestay’s lounge room. I have been working hard to shift my mindset and headspace for what I have heard and read is an extreme culture shock of noise, colour, stares, smells and PEOPLE. Lots and lots of people.
At the start of the trip (especially in Java and Sri Lanka) I found myself immediately angered by the stares, the creepy smirks of foreign men and the inequality seen on a daily basis. However what I am slowly learning is that to truly immerse myself in both India and this experience I must:
• Train my mind to accept my reality for what it is, not loath it or work against it (no matter how crazy it may be)
• Stay grounded with positivity & silver linings
• Embrace different cultures and ways of living life (even if that means sweating it out in overly conservative clothing)
• Reminding myself that I didn’t come to the other side of the world to be in my comfort zone.
And put simply…basing my experiences off the philosophy “When in Rome!” Or, well… India!? 😉
My thought process to come to this conclusion:
Even though poverty, inequality and disrespect of basic human rights is in no way in accordance with my moral standards, by constantly becoming angered or worked up about it, the only effect I will be having is on my own mind and and experiences.
Being resentful and angry will not stop the stares, scams or creeps. But through acceptance and tolerance of the way the world is in this present moment, and more specifically Indian Culture, I will soak up India for the beautiful country that it is.
Now this doesn’t mean I will not allow myself to be angered, saddened or even completely blown away on my trip to India. But what it does mean is that I will be able to separate myself from my emotions and let them come and go freely, without that constant voice in my head telling me that what I am seeing or experiencing is against my personal moral standards.
I think for this trip, it is important for myself, to let go of my judgment and save it for when I am home, actually in a position to put those thoughts into positive action as opposed to emotion-fuelled feelings that will fog my experience.
After receiving all the wide-eyed responses when mentioning my travels to India and reading every “Do’s and Dont’s” blog under the sun, I think I can truthfully say, I am ready.
I am ready to experience a world completely opposite to my own.
I am ready to meet incredible human beings from all walks of life.
I am ready to be completely shocked, challenged and inspired by the sheer diversity and rich culture in a country full of sights that I would have never imagined before boarding my plane tomorrow.
I guess all I can say now is,
Show me the best you’ve got India.
Bring it fucking on.