It is inevitable that on all great trips, big or small, extended or not, one begins to feel a little fatigue from the actual process of travelling. Our story and our travelling so far have been a sweet success – we have so many memories. The web postings tell a very accurate tale of our travels but not completely. It would be naïve of me to think that our trip of a lifetime was not going to have some bumps in the road.
I had begun to feel this travel fatigue upon our arrival in India, and this weariness was exacerbated by the sheer volume of people and the complexity of their lives that confronted us daily. I began to pine for familiar things and routine. I missed having a “home” to come to every night after seeing so many homeless people. I grew lethargic and disinterested in seeing one of the most complex and invigorating countries in the world. I can’t say that my western eyes were shocked at what I saw; I had readied myself somewhat for the hardship and the incomprehensibility around me. The time we spent in Indonesia and Thailand before this had given us some inkling of what to expect in India, and yet I could feel this travel depression beginning to creep into my pores.
I began having longer naps in the afternoon. I slept later in the morning. I became bored and critical with the seemingly canned commentary our guides were tossing us. I began to glance over the fascinating beauty of the wide-eyed children in their dirty clothes and the brown, windswept mountains that supported the Maharajah's palaces. The cattle, goats, pigs, camels, water buffalo, sloth bears, monkeys and elephants could continue to live in the streets – I didn't care. I even started to become outwardly angry at the many hawkers and street vendors innocently plying their trades, pestering me to buy things that I neither wanted nor had any use for. And John. Poor John. He was always on the receiving end of most of my weariness.
After the requisite wallowing, I began to understand that this was all part of the process of travelling. I tried not to view this fatigue in a negative way. I began to understand and accept a particular physical reaction to my surroundings. Heat, sweat, heat, heat and of course dehydration all play an integral part in the well-being of any travelling adventurer.
As I focus on accepting the reality of the situation and place it in a human and almost a certain context, I start to see the beautiful kohl-lined eyes of that Rajasthani baby girl staring at my as I pass her in the Agra marketplace. I am just as foreign and exotic to her as she is to me.
And hopefully as beautiful.
Travel well, my friends