"So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to be forgotten, nothing overlooked." -Mark Twain
If you want the ultimate adventure in travel to try your mind and test your spirit, then try India! I often speak of wanting to get outside of my BUBBLE or my COMFORT ZONE. Travel is the best way I have found to do this. If any of you feel your bubble crushing in on you, INDIA WILL BUST IT WIDE OPEN.
Leave your western ideas and comforts behind, and India will introduce you to chaos, crowds, and culture. A culture rich in history, gods, architecture, art, food, and grime! You can take my word for it, don’t even take your American antibiotics, because they don’t work in India.
One of my favorite memories from my trip to India occurred in a most unlikely place. On a dusty road in Jodhpur, Rajasthan there is a shop whose whereabouts came to us by way of another tourist.
When you first walk in it looks like a very old, run down antique shop with grimy knickknacks on glass shelves. The air is oppressive with heat and dirt. To the side there are a set of stairs leading to the basement, which at once becomes about ten times as large as the entrance.
This basement is filled from floor to ceiling with textiles in every shape, color, and fabric you can imagine. It’s hot, musty, disheveled and there are literally piles of textiles six feet high in any given direction.... silks, pashminas, cotton, wool, embroidered, loomed... you name it.
This scene is a far cry from the perfectly lined racks of American shopping centers. Think more like the largest textile garage sale in history! I was so overwhelmed and enticed at the same time. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. How on earth was I ever going to see all the amazing textiles in this place? In short, there was no way humanly possible. So I began to dig... and dig... and dig, only to find one textile more beautiful and intricate than the one before. Amidst all the digging, I thought to myself ‘this is the best shopping experience ever!’. Forget Nordstroms. Why had I never experienced this overwhelming rush of excitement when shopping before?
Several hours, some very serious haggling, a coke, and a trip outside to breathe again, I ended up with several vibrant Indian textiles to cram into my already overloaded extra duffle bag. And now when I look down at my jade green hand-made table cloth it reminds me of a far off, hot and dusty shop in what seems like another world. The moral of the story is don't be afraid to be overwhelmed and don't be afraid of a little dirt!
PS. Always pack an extra duffle bag when traveling international!
Keywords: India, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Shelley Coar, Shelley Coar Travel Photographer, Travel Photographer, adventure, international travel, travel
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