When it Started
My first “real” travel was back in 2005 for a couple of months. It was in “Mama India” !! I started it with a couple of friends from University. In reality we just wanted to get away, and we’ve booked tickets for India without really knowing what to expect. Early June, we landed in Mumbai at night while it was pissing a heavy monsoon rain. We arrived in the center which looked alike abandoned. The next morning, we had a stroll around the center and faced a massive cultural shock. Cows shitting in the streets, street kids begging for money and fighting between them for the left over of a Coca Cola bottle, harassing street sellers, stinky odors, cranky electrical cables tangled per thousands right above our heads. We hopped on a taxi with a Silk driver that had a point to show off the misery of its people. I still remember clearly this day, It was brutal. Suddenly everything looked big, and the weeks ahead in India seemed would last forever. It was hard on all of us. I hated it. I kind of thought, fuck, I must go back home straight away..
Then we all decided we needed to get out of Mumbai as soon as possible. On the same night we took a bus towards Udaipur, in the Sate of Rajasthan. At noon the next day, the night bus dropped us in the middle of nowhere. We had a couple of hours wait before the next bus to Udaipur. We were in a small city in the middle of the desert. Everything was aride and rough. I left my friends to the bus stop and went for a walk on my own with my white face and my big backpack. I still remember clearly this moment. I started to walk in a narrow street where were mixed small basic one floor houses and kind of upgraded slums. I was surrounded by dozens of Indians, mainly men. I was not feeling that confident. At this moment I remembered a book I had read few months before, « The Celestine Prophecy ». One part of this book is about how to control and spread your energy level into a positive form, and what it creates around you. I thought very deeply about it at this moment, and decided to have a very open body language and to smile !! And it worked !! I think I hadn’t done more that 200 meters before I started to be surrounded by smiles. People were curious but super friendly and I was soon invited to share a meal with a group of men that were having lunch. They simply smiled at me and shared their food with me. I was mesmerized. I didn’t speak more than few words of English, I was a stranger who looked to have an very easy life compare to them but they didn’t give a fuck. They’ve seen that I was alone and kind of lost. They greeted me with open arms and generosity. It lasted for a moment. It was also the first time I would eat with my hands (beside of pizza of course) seeing that it wasn’t any cutleries. I was imitating what they were doing. I thanks them warmly for the meal, but somehow they did manage to look happier than me to have share their lunch with me. Few houses later two other men stopped me for a traditional Chaï tea. Once again they open their arms to me and treated me with the best Chaï tea I’ve ever had at this point in my life. It was all simple. We couldn’t really exchange words due to my English level, but smiles and body languages were sufficient to understand each other and have a good time.
This couple of hours were a turning point in my travel, and in my life. First I was falling in love of India and I knew this place was for me and that “nothing” could happen to me there. I also understood that travelling would be important in my life, and that spread positive energy was worth pursuing as a social guide line. I came back from this stroll with stars in my eyes and a very light heart.
All the rest of my journey during this first trip in India would be in the same soul. Super generous people and positive vibrations. It was also incredibly easy to communicate and understand each other with few words.
Still having goose bumps diving back in those memories.