Rishikesh began to feel a bit more like home this week. I developed a routine by practicing Ashtanga every morning with my teacher and frequenting my favorite spot, the 60s Cafe, to enjoy the atmosphere of the Ganges,see my friends that worked there, and find myself in a 2 hour existential conversation *unknowingly* with a beautiful female swami. [File that under #onlyinRishikesh!]
(Rishi and Keith- two of the fabulous owners of the cafe.)
One evening at 60s, I had the happy coincidence of meeting my lovely new friend, Sagar, from Pune.
Although we had a shared love of 60s Cafe, we made sure not to neglect exploring new cafes in other areas of town that not only offered mile-high mintnanas
but made lofty promises on their menus as well.
Everyday there was something new and beautiful to discover together. Like roads leading to secluded beaches on the Ganges,
people seeking balance,
and monkeys on a raft.
We even found Apple's solution to emergency contraception.
(I tried but I wasn't able to download this pill onto my iPad...just kidding, mom).
One of the biggest highlights this week was experiencing the Holi Festival. Holi is a water festival held during the Dol Purnima [full moon] to celebrate the beginning of Spring. People from every walk of life danced in the streets and bombarded each other with water, paint and colored powders.
Even the cows were fair target.
After the festival, I began to plan for my coming weeks in India, but I received the repeated lesson that the Universe wasn't about to comply.
You see, I've learned that it's silly to think I have any control over my future. And it's even sillier to think that I can plan ahead with that [false] sense of control. Because things just happen. Life takes innumerable twists and turns in which I cannot begin to prepare myself.
As exciting and liberating as it's been to realize that things are going to happen regardless of my "perfect planning," it's been equally stressful to not know where I'd go or what I'd do. And it was even more mind-boggling to wake up one day and realize...oh shit, how did I end up in India?!?!
But along the way, I've counted far more blessings than I ever could have hoped or imagined. I've developed incredible and intense friendships. I pushed myself to face the things that frightened and challenged me. And for the first time in my life, I felt just as comfortable with my own company as I do with the company of others.
So where have these lessons led me to now? Well, it's something that I desired, but nothing I could have planned for...
In less than one week I will be moving to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to work at a luxury resort as their group fitness instructor!! [Or at least, that's what I think will happen if the Universe allows it!]
I won't be finishing my year of travel in one fell swoop. I am going to finish it in two installments after working for a while and earning a bit more savings. [Or at least that's what I think will happen if the Universe allows it!]
It's true that I didn't get to trek deep into the Himalayas nor did I make it to surf and meditate in Bali, but as my Rishikesh Angel Anna says, I'm just taking a viaje from my travels.
I am elated with the experiences I had. In fact, I cannot think of a more perfect way to have spent the last 6 months of my life. I'll do my best not to fall off the blog-wagon as I accumulate many more exciting, beautiful and transformative memories in the months to come. [Or at least that's what I think will happen if the Universe allows it!]
My not-so-lil backpack is packed once again and I feel butterflies in my stomach as I stand on yet another proverbial precipice...
But I've learned to trust the value in butterflies.