This time last year I announced to the Tribe that after 2015, we'd be taking a break from the India Nomadnessx trip. Indefinitely, yet in my mind I was thinking a year, maybe two. I can't stay away from India that long. I've personally been four out of the last five years. I said this in a very different space.
Frankly, I was in a relationship this time last year, and the plan was to get pregnant in 2015...after this year's India trip. Well, after my doxycycline from the India trip wore off, rather. Between antibiotics and anti-malaria pills, for years the sheer logistics of the trip sent my body through a whirlwind. Year after year. There was no way I'd be able to be pregnant, nor breastfeeding, and pull off an India Nomadness trip. Not how we get down. So we'd wait.
Fast forward even a month after our Nomadness trip in 2014, and I had to make a dramatic and swift exit from my relationship, and all plans of being a mother in 2015 were slowly slipping from my grasp. Disappointed at first, I've grown ok with the course life has taken. Growing calmer in knowing that my ideal relationship, husband, and child(ren) are manifesting steadily on their way to me. But, this is where I was in life, this time last year.
Now... this past week. This is where I am in life, this year.
Normally, I allow about half the number of people on this trip. Fifteen tops. This year, we glided towards thirty, and I let it happen, seeing as I knew we'd be taking a hiatus from India after this trip. I'm glad I did. Look at this photo. Internalize this photo.
I've been to India many times, and under specific circumstances. Last year was a powerful trip, as it was all women. The bonding was immeasurable. The 2013 trip to India, was the first with the Tribe, and it will always be known as the first. I remember writing two years ago about how an India trip was a personal benchmark for me. I felt like it was the trip I was dreaming of taking Nomadness on, once I trusted the group (and myself) enough. The baby started to walk after India 2013. I can surely say without India...there would have not been the likes of Samoa Nomadnessx 2014, and other trips in the planning. India is a place of discomfort. Even the most seasoned of travelers boast not wanting to do India alone. I totally get it. It is not for the faint of heart, weak of stomachs, nor non-empathetic beings walking around.
India guts you!
In the most beautiful and dramatic of ways....it's truly difficult to describe what happens in the streets of Jaipur, sands of Pushkar, or along the walls of Agra's Taj Mahal. All I know is it's life changing and affirming. You HAVE to experience it.
Every year I cry.
Like clockwork. It never fails. This year, Amanda caught me.
The way Nomadness hits the Jaipur streets for Holi is truly something out of a new age, Indian version of the movie 'Warriors'. A cross between that and an old Ruff Ryders music video, with colored paint powder instead of booty shorts, cropped tops, and biker jackets. We run Jaipur. Usually the only 'tourists' of color, we are riding on the back of motorbikes, fitting five to a tuk tuk, legs hanging out the back, six deep in jeeps, screaming 'HAPPY HOLI!' at unearthly decibels while weaving in and out of traffic. Traffic which, on a regular day has no boundaries or rules, and on Holi is a circus on wheels. There's only one rule to driving in India: SURVIVE! That's it. Feet out the back, it was watching my people...my tribe... in this element of sensory overload, radiating in magnetic colors, and smiling more in a day than they probably had all month, that I began to silently cry. Amanda saw it, and the flood gates opened for her as well. We hugged and released.
Joy...joy to the point of tears, is a happiness I only wish is granted to every person at some point in their life.
I can say that I know at least one day, every year, that it is granted to me...and that is Holi.
I try to stay on the humbler side of things, but fuck it! No one does Holi like Nomadness does Holi. This is fact. We get into the belly of Jaipur. This year, after running into issues with guards outside the 'tourist party' that the local government puts on, we bounced. They wouldn't let our Indian drivers/family in, even hitting one of them with a stick (which ignited a beast in me, yelling to everyone 'we out!'), and we left. No parts of that shit. First off, if we wanted to be around the tourists that just showed up for Holi, we could do that any day of the week. Secondly, fuck your party and not letting our local family in. I've been through those walls, and it's merely 'ok' where Bhati's house is always where the magic happens. Again, reestablishing the theme of family. I think one of the reasons why the India trip resonates with people so much is because it's the trip that we have that I feel mostly signifies what Nomadness' mission is......family.
Prior to going through it, many compared it to jouvert. Then after, these same people switched it up and said 'no'....Holi is indeed different. Mainly because it is family oriented. This is us.
Family takes on a whole other meaning for me in regards to India. These people are my extended family. I have many scattered around the world, but India has seen me more frequently than most. I've seen Bhati and his brothers grow older. I've watched the staff at Umaid Mahal grow older, hire new people, etc...
Most impactful to me are the children. I've watched these kids grow into teenagers. From sweet young boys to menacing teenagers...and if it doesn't put the life cycle in perspective for me than I don't know what else would. One of the stories I loved sharing with this year's group is in this photo and video mash up:
This......is what travel means to me. This is who I am and why I do what I do. How lucky am I, to have created a job for myself where I can curate this gift for others?! How lucky am I to have been gifted this responsibility, in this lifetime, to create the vessel for bridging thousands of people from around the world, who never would have known one another if it wasn't for Nomadness? How lucky....I am. Thank you to every bit of energy in the Universe that came together to make this my destiny in this lifetime. I appreciate you.
Love to India and Nomadness! Family by choice. #nomadness #familybychoice #wheresanne #reallifeevie