Feeling homesick and ready for change
I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Although I am having wonderful travel adventures and making friends in India, all I keep thinking these days is, “I want to go home.” For the first time in all these years of travelling to India for months at a time, I feel homesick and ready for change. And it happened suddenly
On my first night in Goa, when I couldn’t sleep because of fear and hunger, I suddenly realized: I’m done. I’m homesick, I’m tired of trying to make a living as a travel writer and blogger, I’m tired of travelling with limited funds, I’m tired of the struggle, of TRYING so hard for so little in return, and I want to go back to Canada. Just like that. I don’t know if it was the house I was staying in, or the planetary alignment, or maybe just the timing. But that night in Goa everything changed.
It happened one night
I arrived in Goa on December 14, alone, to stay at a friend’s house, expecting a carefree beach vacation. But the house was situated in a lonely, messy construction site; and I didn’t have mobile phone service there. (Heard later that Airtel service in Goa is not good.) As the sun went down, I felt more and more stranded and alone. Construction workers were camped outside the door, around a fire, and I was too afraid to go out for dinner, and walk up the dark lane littered with garbage and scavenged by wild pigs and stray dogs. So I went hungry.
As the night wore on, my fears and hunger increased, and my imagination got the best of me. I think most travellers will admit to having bad days / nights on the road … and this night was one of my worst. But I “breathed into it,” and allowed my feelings to surface. I allowed myself to feel lonely and homeless and despondent over trying to make a living as a travel writer and blogger.
Luckily my internet connection worked, and I spent half the night chatting with a friend on Facebook who had followed her dream and moved to Africa. And while chatting with her, something happened. I became clear.
Suddenly. After four or five years of doggedly and determinedly pursuing this career, and working single-mindedly to build up my portfolio, my blog and my name (see my blog The Seven Year Itch) … I realized I was finished. Maybe not finished entirely … but definitely at the end of this particular road. Finished with trying so hard for so little return. Breaking up with struggle, as one of my Facebook friends said recently.
Salaam Bombay, Namaste Delhi, Goodbye India
I don’t feel bitter, I have no regrets. I have pursued my dreams unfettered and without reservation. How many people can say that? How many people can lay claim to completely and absolutely “going for it.”
I travelled from one end of India to the other, had countless adventures and magic moments; met countless people and made many friends. I threw myself into honing my skills as a writer and blogger, and I made a name for myself as one of the leading independent India travel bloggers. I have won awards and received virtually thousands of positive comments from readers.
And most of all, I kept at it until I felt satisfied. And I do. I feel satisfied with the level of skill I have achieved, and the experiences I have had, and the name I have made for myself.
To quote my friend Vinayakan, I am really happy to have not followed a “script” in life and love the way the story has unfolded. I do think the secret to happiness is to love your destiny; to be grateful for what you have, and not bitter about what you don’t have. I have a home waiting for me in Canada … and on this trip I realized, there’s no place like home.
So, with that awareness, I am ready to go home, and start a new chapter. As I said at the end of my last blog, I am interested in bringing more balance into my life. Spending more time with friends and family. Exercising more. Reinvigorating my yoga practise and strengthening my root chakra (the one associated with home, money and survival). Making more money. Finding a satisfying job that I can sink my teeth into. Enjoying life without the pressures of personal achievement and the discontent and restlessness of a long-term travel lifestyle.
If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I shouldn’t look any farther than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, then I never really lost it to begin with.” Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
Of course I will continue to write and blog, and pursue any opportunities that come along. I love writing and I will never give it up; and I am still enthusiastic about the idea of transformative travel. But change is good. And if there is one thing I have learned from 20 years of yoga and seven years of travel in India: it’s always best to go with the flow.
So, salaam Bombay, namaste Delhi, goodbye India. I have lots of material from this three-month trip and I will be blogging about it for many months. But from the comfort of my cosy apartment in Toronto.
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