The last thing I wanted to do was to start travel blogging.
I find blogs not exactly my style. I can write them, mostly if other people ask me to, but when it comes to my own website and creative projects, blogging can sometimes feel like pulling teeth. Maybe it’s because I’m driven by emotion. Give me blood-dripping feeling and my fingers fly. Listacles, how-to’s, and having a straightforwardly clear “message” for “the reader” to “leave with” stab like a knife to my soul. I, personally, don’t understand what I’m writing most of the time. And I believe in the hands-off approach with people in general; let them interpret how they will. Writing, after all, is a communication stream of infinite facets. At any point in time, we’re bound to understand differently, based on where we are in that exact moment.
So a little over a week ago, I landed in India where the days seem to spawn weeks. Something I never used to think about before, like getting safe drinking water, becomes a day-long affair here (in my alternate universe, where each day consists of seven), and I oscillate between taking classes, venturing out into the sun to run an errand here or there, and holing up in my apartment, either cooking or spending far too much time on the Internet researching things like whether or not I can fly direct from India to Hawaii, and far not enough time writing.
I arrived to the airport in Delhi and immediately regretted my decision to come here. As I had been for weeks prior. Hardly anyone I spoke to would listen to my qualms. Even my therapist brushed aside my hesitations, saying (as did most) that I was in for the “trip of a lifetime” and she “was slightly jealous”. It’s interesting how we all seem to want to be where we are not.
So I spent the night in the Delhi airport, before leaving first thing in the morning for Bangalore. I had no printed ticket for my third and final flight; in America, this is something they give you at the ticket counter when you check in. Not so in India. To get to the ticket counter, I had to pass through several lines, each of which required a printed ticket. I stumbled through the lines before I was blocked several times. I was beginning to have flight anxiety. Asking anyone who resembled someone-who-might-know-something where I could get a printed ticket, I was directed in multiple angles, all with a vague wave of hand and a head nod, a language I have yet to speak. I walked outside and was hit with a smog so intense my lungs closed, and then I fell into my default, of course, which is to cry.
I finally made it up several rounds of stairs, to a desk behind a glass wall, where I hoped that my ticket could be printed. On complete autopilot, as I had repeated the same question many times, I told the man sitting behind the desk that I needed a copy of my ticket, and here was my flight information. I handed him the tickets to my first two flights as well as my phone, on which I’d managed to find some kind of outline of an airline travel itinerary, while asking him, “Am I in the right place?”
The man looked at me, no doubt noticing my clear disarray. He began checking things on his computer, spending what felt like hours glancing between my phone and his screen, before finally giving me a meaningful look and saying, “You are in the right place.”
He printed something out and pointed to another line I would need to stand in to get my actual ticket.
As he handed me my old tickets he said, “Nice quote.” At first I didn’t know what he meant, thinking I’d heard “Nice coat,” so I said “Oh, thank you.” I think he could tell I was confused because he clarified, “Nice quote,” gesturing toward my ticket this time.
Sitting on my first flight to Canada, I had scribbled a lyric from a song I’d been listening to that spoke to me, thinking the ticket stub to be garbage only to realize later, with a tinge of embarrassment, that I would have to hand it to no less than six or seven other people in various travel lines, to get onto flights and with inquiries and such. No one else had commented on it.
The quote reads: “Cause with you always feels like home.”
Lately, finding a home has been a priority. I feel caught between places. I’ve tried living in different areas and nowhere feels like quite a fit, and I know the next place I go needs to feel like more of a fit than the last because of how hard this last year was for me and how deep of a depression I fell into. I need to find a home; I need roots. I’m filled with meaning but I’m rootless and so it’s been difficult for me to direct that meaning in a sustainable way that doesn’t deplete me of energy. The next place I land needs to be for myself and not for anyone else and it needs to be a place in which I can thrive. These are all big pressure-points building and when it comes down to it, painful feelings to experience.
I hope no one else has to feel the way that I feel, lately.
Coming to India is another in-between stop along the way to finding a home, so really it’s just another leap of faith.
My first week here has been filled with doubts, even wondering if I could leave early, but then realizing, yet again, that I don’t know where I would go if I did. So I’m committing to myself to stay for the three months I signed up for and taking things one day at a time which is really all any of us can do in any given moment.
And with this faith-leap, I have to remind myself, constantly, “You are in the right place.”
It always looks prettier from the outside-in and it always seems more magical in retrospect.
And just because I’m looking for a home, I’m well aware that I most likely won’t find it. At least not the kind of home or in the ways in which I’m looking for it. It’s always the things we don’t seek that fall into our laps unexpectedly and magically and oh-so-perfectly.
Maybe I’m not meant to find a long-term home, just yet. Maybe I need to wander a bit longer.
Maybe I didn’t come to India for any of the reasons I anticipated. I had been starting to heal in San Francisco, and my last week there I had a non-toxic place to stay, and I began to love the city once again. I had a healing support system there, and I had taken great measures to remove what wasn’t working for me.
I came to India with zero expectations but some inklings of what I might-need-to-watch-out-for and what maybe-might-happen-here and I can tell already that the above is probably not going to actually happen, at least not in the ways that I thought they might. Maybe I came for other reasons rather, which will most likely not be revealed to me until years later, if ever.
While here I’ve already found some healing avenues similar yet different from those I had in SF, so I’m exploring these as we speak. I want to think that I can cure myself of depression once and for all, but maybe instead this latest bout of depression is a necessary step along my twisted path. Fighting against my own mind takes up way too much of my energy so I may as well make friends with it. Even when my mind tells me scary things like that I have no place here and I don’t belong. Friends can be scary sometimes. Especially those closest to us. And there is no closer friend than myself.
I don’t have answers, only questions, many of which I’m tired of asking, so I think right now I’ll continue to repeat the mantra “You’re in the right place,” even (especially) when it feels like I’m not.