bengaluru & goa, india: reflection

The moment when Ali ran into the apartment and into my arms was a dream. Truly a dream come true and unbelievably surreal. I could not believe we were in India?! For 10 years, we have dreamed of doing an international trip together. We have watched and supported each other on our various trips but have never gone together. This moment! This "it is actually happening moment!!!" WOW!! So grateful and so happy she is here. ---> exhibit Ali!!!

Theme for this reflection: people. I've mentioned it before but time and time again this keeps coming up and makes all of the difference. When I look back over the past few months, at this point, over 20 cities, I am so thankful for the sights and views I have seen and experienced, however, what sticks out the most is the memories with people I have created. One day we had lunch with Dipti's mom, dad, grandpa, aunt, Rachana, Ali and I. I remember looking around the table and having a super existential "how am I here" moment and feeling so appreciative to 1. be meeting people from all over the world on my travels and 2. having friends to come and create experiences with me during this time.

It was SO much fun to meet Rachana and Dipti and spend time with them. I was surrounded by such amazing people making an unbelievable difference in the world. Ali, an environmental engineer, working on water conservation. Rachana, an inspiring doctor in the medical field. DIpti works for Amnesty International on women's rights and other issues within India. Dipti's mom started a school for children with autism 20 years ago when the topic was taboo and there were not a lot of resources. I am in awe of each of them and love their zest for people & our planet!!

 Dipti, Rachana, me, Ali

Dipti, Rachana, me, Ali

In Bengaluru and in Goa, Ali, Dipti, Rachana and I had the best time sightseeing, eating amazing Indian food, beaching, swimming, etc. It was so fun to be traveling with a group of friends! Throughout our few days, we also met so many great new people too. In Bengaluru, a couple of Dipti and Rachana's friends also in India. In Goa, some of Dipti's coworkers and our new friend Yumi also staying in our hotel from Tokyo! (more to come but I ended up seeing her the other night in Tokyo for dinner!) I love meeting friends in many countries while traveling- such a small world- such beauty. At our South Goa hotel, we had dinner and breakfast with Yumi, our hotel owner Charlotte and an Australian couple, Jo and Brendan. Our conversations were incredibly deep, real and thought-provoking, covering topics from religion to politics to human rights to generational differences to technology and everything in between. I felt so interested, engaged, uplifted and inspired! The true beauty of life... people from all different backgrounds, sharing and discussing their differing opinions and experiences through story to shed light, understanding and perspective. 

I am forever grateful for Ali's trip, Rachana and Dipti's hospitality and company and for all of the amazing people we met along the way! <3

Bengaluru/Goa tidbits:

- I got upgraded on my second flight from Cape Town to Bengaluru! I got to put my seat all the way back, have a glass of champagne and eat the most delicious indian food (my favorite genre) to start off 2 weeks of deliciousness. The little things!

- The traffic/driving here is WILD! Unlike anything I've ever experienced. Getting in my uber and watching as lanes were non-existent started the trip off strong! :O

- India is an explosion of the senses! You are seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling so much at once.There is so much to take in, it's incredible!

- Being in a home! I definitely miss my family a lot so being with other families gives me a taste of that :) Nothing like crowding around a tub of mango ice cream each with a spoon in hand :)

- Day 1 we saw a temple, had some great local food and went some bar hopping in the rain: Arbor (started by a Michigan alum) and Sly Granny (cool rooftop cocktails). Always fun to see the scene in a new city. It starts and ends too early her-relatively! I love getting a taste of how different places do things and am so interested in how these norms and cultures evolve.

- Seeing the sights! Rachana, Ali and I went to some temples, Parliament and botanical gardens on Sunday. We even saw an Indian wedding, which was absolutely gorgeous! The architecture and design here is so truly beautiful.

- The highs and the lows. Perfect imperfections as Ali and I like to call them! When we got to our hostel in Goa, it was buggy and small and the doors did not have locks on them. We decided to change to a hotel for a more pleasant experience. After a long day, we made it and celebrated it with a great dinner. These aspects of travel are often not the ones seen but they're the ones that make you stronger and make you appreciate all of the peaks and valleys that travel and life has to offer.

- The difference between North and South Goa was so interesting. North felt much more Atlantic City/New Orleans casino party vibe and South was more residential and calming. I'm so happy we saw both. It was so fun to be somewhere tropical, swim in the warm water of the beach, eat dinner with our feet in the sand. Truly a holiday at its finest!! Also, the Portuguese influence and history was beautiful and very interesting. I love learning so much every day.

- PANEER! Probably my favorite food ever. I had SO much. Paneer paneer, more paneer. Cheese naan. What a dream place for vegetarians!!

Lauren WittigComment