Life is good. You’ve got a solid job, a nice little place to live, and plenty of friends and family around you to enjoy your free time. You even get away at least twice a year to some really beautiful and interesting places.
But, something isn’t quite right. At the back of your mind you know that you should be feeling all of this just a little bit more. You don’t like to admit it, but there are times when you have the sensation that all you’re doing is going through the motions. You chose life, and are pretty much winning at it, but….
What I’m describing above is exactly the kind of life that I was living a few years back. There was no outwardly reason for me to turn my back on the set-up that I had. I didn’t go to India expecting a six week trip to change all that much. It was supposed to be a short intermission between my leaving Barcelona and heading to the bright lights of London to seek my fame and fortune. I never made it to London. And those six weeks turned into six months. India changed my life, and I’ve seen first hand how much of a profound effect it has also had on so many others.
Here are 5 very unfairly curtailed reasons as to how it could do the same for you:
1. The Culture Shock
Until you get there, you can never fully appreciate what that first initial shock of being in India is like. Even in the most modern, upwardly mobile cities, this is just a different world. And it’s from this jumping off point that you are forced to very quickly reconcile yourself to the fact that we’re a long way from Kansas now, Toto! This chaotic sensory wake up call is something that you must first manage and then learn to embrace as you see for yourself just how much intestinal fortitude you really have.
2. The People
In India, you will meet some of the most welcoming, hospitable, upbeat people you have ever encountered. They love to talk with you about where you come from and oftentimes they will happily provide you with a plethora of information about their particular town and city and all of the best things to see and do there. Locals are also usually very proud of their local religious festivals and are a great source for you to get a better grasp of what is going on and why.
It is not just the local people either. When you visit India, you will immediately come across legions of other foreigners just like you, all trying to find their way within this madness. Foreigners stick together and there is always somebody on hand to help you out if you need help or advice.
3. The Food
Indian cuisine is about a lot more than just curry. It is a land full of fruits and vegetables that you may never have even seen before and a cooking culture that is unique to every state that you visit and ingrained in the very fabric of each village, town, and city that you’ll stay. And, no, it’s not all really spicy. Of course it can be, if you dare to try, but usually the food served to foreigners is purposely left quite mild so as to not scare us off.
4. Religion and Spirituality
Religion plays a role in society here that pervades every aspect of life, but not in a way that is ever forced on you or made to feel oppressive. You must absolutely respect the fact that you are a guest and conduct yourself accordingly, but the life lessons that you can learn from a distance are absolutely fascinating.
The stories of Shiva, Kali, Hanuman, and Krishna are exciting, beautiful narratives that define the very essence of life in India, but it is perhaps the underlying sense of spirit beneath all of the often garish representations of the idols that the outsider can most easily connect with.
Yoga and meditation go hand in hand with most people’s daily routines here, making it the perfect place for you to step back from all of the chaos and look to reconnect with your own true Self.
5. The Whole Territory
India possesses beautiful beaches, probably the most spectacular mountain range in the world, vast deserts, incredible architecture, ancient, almost perfectly preserved, holy temples, elephants and tigers, the Taj Mahal, the River Ganga, Bollywood, and cities that will give you sensory overrides like no others in the world. With India being blessed with so much variety it means that you never need sit still if you aren’t completely feeling your current location.
Just jump on a plane or catch a train to the next destination. India is bound to have exactly what it is that you were looking for. It’s just up to you to find it.