“Traveling is more fun–hell, life is more fun–if you can treat it as a series of impulses.”
Bill Bryson, “Neither Here nor There”
I graduated from Maryland in May 2008 confused about what I wanted for my future. Where did I want to live? What did I want to do? Did I want to stay in journalism? Who did I want to grow up to be? Two years, 17 countries, thousands of cupcakes, one motorcycle burn and countless bowls of bibimbap later, I am finally ready to start answering those questions. I’m ready to settle down in one place. Well, almost ready.
You’ve probably figured it out from my tweets/Facebook statuses, but for those of you who don’t already know, a few weeks ago, I booked a flight to India. I leave May 6 and arrive in Bangalore on May 8 after a 13-hour layover in Dubai. I’ll spend two weeks volunteering in an orphanage on the outskirts of Bangalore before heading west to meet Mimsie in Goa. We’ll work our way north to Delhi before parting ways the first week of June. My last week will either be spent in Varanasi or in the jungles of northern India. My flight will get me back to JFK on June 14.
Why India? I like the food.
No, I’m serious. There is nothing in the world that makes me happier than a piping hot curry. I’d say that the delicious cuisine accounted for about 75 percent of my decision to go. The very idea of India blows my mind–so many cultures, languages, religions and people–and to know that I’m about to experience six weeks of it makes my heart pound.
A few weeks ago, a court clerk in my office called me a gypsy. While not entirely true (and trust me, I took a class in college called “Gypsy Culture”), I get it. It makes sense. I’m terrified by the thought of commitment–whether to people, places or even just an idea. I’ve never been one to stay in the same place very long. When the going got tough, I ran the other way. And I ran far.
But now my metaphorical legs are tired. I love the thrill of a new trip, the scent of a new country, the taste of a new food. There is absolutely nothing that matches the the excitement I feel as I walk down a street for the first time. I will always have that urge to see and learn and taste and hear and touch, but the reality is that this isn’t a reality. The past two years have been wonderful and exciting, but they haven’t been a reflection of what real life is. Real life, for me, is about planting roots, growing with the people around me and weaving a life for myself that doesn’t involve throwing on a rucksack every few months. It has taken me two years, but once I return from India, I will finally be ready.
I’ve started to look at apartments in Washington and expect to be a permanent resident/regular patron of Kramerbooks by the end of June. I’m also hot on the job-hunt (hint hint, employed friends).
I hope you’ll continue to follow my adventures, through Dubai, India and then in Washington. Any and all wise thoughts, pieces of advice or comforting words are always welcome.