The trip home was a lot harder than the trip to India.
For one, you have the enthusiasm and adrenaline pumping on the way there – an adventure ahead! Can’t wait! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!!
On the way home, especially from an inspiring and transformative trip, emotions swirl. Exhaustion of very full days in an foreign country sets in. The waiting at the airport seems more arduous (though I must say, the airport hotel in Delhi was a welcome oasis during my nine-hour layover!!).
I traveled home essentially from 1 pm Saturday in India (which was 2:30 am Saturday Detroit time), through three plane flights and 12 hours of layovers to arrive back in my hometown at 2:30 yesterday. I was so happy to see my husband and kids, but beyond tired.
Driving into the airport, men are lined up by the fence, parked cars and motor bikes, to watch planes come in and go out. I fly Spice Jet to Delhi, the women in full glitzy salwar kameez and high heels.
In the executive lounge – which costs 99 rupees ($1.62), including wifi – I meet the woman who books presenters at the International Yoga Festival, a woman who organizes the Dubai Yoga Fest, and an Australian family who stayed at the ashram and know Govind (the owner of our boutique hotel).
We take a bus from the glass terminal to the plane on the runway. I see the splendid green Himalayan foothills beyond the concrete block enclosures of the airport. Security guards stand at points around the runway, with rifles. Just as in Israel, I feel safe having them there. Serene. Peaceful. Full of overwhelming emotion for all that I experienced here. My eyes threaten to fill – the breeze is cool, the sun bright.
I boarded the plane and sat beside an overweight 32-year-old from Indiana who travels the world selling lasers. A kind soul, going through a divorce, on the road more than he is home. He comes to India frequently, but he’s never seen the India I saw.
In Delhi, I find the shuttle between domestic and international terminals and sit near a Canadian woman living in Bali who started a beautiful magazine. She helps me find the Eaton Smart Hotel and offers me a copy of the magazine.
After dinner, a massage, a few hours of sleep and a lovely shower, I check my bags at 1 a.m. and wait in long lines for my 3:30 am departure to Amsterdam.
Going there is always more exciting than leaving. Except, when you have a transformative trip, the key is to take all that you learned and loved home with you.
So when I woke at 4 a.m. today, a little jet-lagged, I was happy to meditate and do 45 minutes of yoga in my lovely house. I’ve been playing mantra music the whole time. I thoroughly enjoyed my cup of coffee, its familiar taste, in my familiar kitchen. I am so excited for the kids to wake and start a new day together.
The key to transformation is to be open to the experience and let it seep inside so you can keep it with you after you leave.
The whole point of travel is to expand our horizons and realize that everywhere in the world is incredible and special and familiar.
I had the distinct feeling last week in Rishikesh that while I was in a very foreign place, it was imminently familiar. Trees there, trees here. People living, breathing, loving there, the same here.
The Sikhs believe that we are all one, that diversity is an illusion. A friend in India explained it to me like this: take away the surface qualities, the clothing you’re wearing, the sound of your voice. At the cellular level, we are all atoms, exactly the same. Me, you, my ex, the man I sat next to on the plane, the security guard on the runway in Dehradun.
We are all the same.
Living, breathing, loving.
If I can take that away from this incredible journey, I believe it will make all the difference.