The lack of connectivity is starting to get to me. I am becoming more and more sceptical of these “Free Wifi” signs that I see outside hotels, because the connection that we have here is very slow. It is almost worse than having nothing at all, because you are tempted to use it and then are frustrated by the fact that you can’t do what you need to do. Part of the problem is that I was hoping to update this blog every single day and now writing more and more posts in retrospect, and then having to schedule them for the future, is quite demotivating.
I am so used to writing them down in a book, as I don’t ever carry my laptop with me, and so I never usually feel the need to press publish. This time it is different. I am making mental notes of everything as we move forward and trying to capture them as best as I can from mind to keyboard. Now Mum knows that I am writing the online journal, she is reminding me to write things down and telling me I need to remember this and that. She’s right of course, but I am trusting my brain to remember only the things that I want to matter when I look at these in a few years.
The accounts of my old visits to India still sit in camera reels and old diaries. I haven’t read back over them yet, more out of laziness than anything else – but a part of me wants the rawness of the first trip to stay with me. I was a frightened little boy deciding to take this mammoth country on my own – it seems impossible now that I even conceived I could do that. It wasn’t a heat of the moment decision, and everything was planned out, but it was still a huge challenge.
I never used to be good at things like that. My brother was always the one that took these leaps of faith – by the time I had set off to India, he had already conquered half the world on his own and much of it in a much more spontaneous and braver fashion than myself. He was and is a traveller in the true sense of the world, and some of it is starting to rub off on me.
I don’t mean it in a negative or cliché way. He chose not to travel with a backpack, whereas I found it extremely useful. We both volunteered first and then choosed to stay on – for me, I just needed an excuse to get out here and see this place on my own first. And then it just continued. Once I realised that I could survive on my own, the wanderlust decided to make a home in my head. And for the last few years, it has been amazing to find my place somewhere that never really meant anything to me before I became an adult.
However, the real truth is, it is nice to be looked after for once. I don’t really remember what it is like not to stress out about where my passport is, whether I have enough money to eat for the next few days and making sure that I have all of my valuables with me at all times. I don’t have to worry about bunk beds or budget meals or bugs. Everything is catered for and someone else is doing all of the worrying. I know it sounds selfish, but whilst exhilarating at the time, this sole responsibility is extremely tiring and it does burn you out.
The one thing I don’t take for granted on this trip is making decisions as a group and not having to worry about getting mugged. Don’t get me wrong, I have always made good friends when out on my own, but it is always a thought in the back of your head. You can never totally trust anyone when you are travelling – you have to be smart. However, being here with my family, and having that level of trust, means that I can have some real thinking time and not have to worry about anything at all.
When my mum said that this was going to be my 21st birthday present, I thought it was wildly expensive and over the top. However, I can see that true relaxation and peace is priceless. Whether or not the wifi is working, I think this is the first time that I have actually heard myself think in years. And connectivity, as well as all of the work that I need to do, is not going to get in the way of that.