Well, it’s time once more for another journey homeward, a trip that if it goes as scheduled, will see us traverse a 36 hour day.
Literally — the flight leaves at about 6am from Bangalore, connects through London, and ends at San Francisco. On the clock, it’ll be around 4pm when we hit the ground, but actual flight time is 24 hours. (Of course, we reverse this on the way back east, leaving on one day, arriving three later, with a sun-loss of that same half-day.)
We love India…but we also miss our other home, back in the States. It was about this same time last year that we went back for about a month; this year, we’re going to stay 7 weeks. And instead of sticking almost entirely to one place, we’ll be wandering a bit more. A little time in Sunnyvale with some friends, then off to Albuquerque to visit family and other friends, then back to our favorite medium-term lodging place, Fern River Resort in Felton, CA. Then back to Sunnyvale, and finally back once more to India to continue our extended education in spirituality, meditation, and Indian culture (both ancient and modern).
Had anyone suggested three years ago (Oct ’05), that I would spend the bulk of my time between then and now in India, studying at an ashram, I’d have said they were nuts. Sure, I’d always wanted to travel, see the world, experience new things — but for most of my adult life, stuff always got in the way. When I had time, I had no money. When I had money, I had no time. I’ll also admit to a certain timidness, worried that I wouldn’t know how to handle myself in strange new places.
So far, we’ve done all right though. Made a few mistakes; made more than enough friends to outweigh the lapses. For instance, the hotel staff at the Ballal Residency Hotel where we’re staying right now (in transit) calls us “family”, and not only ask after our health and well-being, they really take care.
Still, when you’re away from what you know, your home culture, for long enough, you begin to crave things. I want to be able to drive myself places (no way could I handle a car here — they drive like crazy people). To go walking deep in forests, alone. To eat familiar foods (for instance, I have a huge craving for a cheese omlette, maybe with tomatoes and/or mushrooms…Rocky’s Diner, here I come).
Today, we’ve been taking it relatively easy. Taking care of a few loose ends, such as getting luggage tags & straps. On a lark, we also bought a dozen premium donuts to bring back for the Ballal hotel reception staff, just to say thanks. (They’ve already helped us out in so many ways, the most recent of which being to get prints-outs of our BA boarding passes.)
This time tomorrow, we’ll be somewhere in the vicinity of London, approaching it, I think. A half an experienced day after that, we’ll be touching down in America. Even though we were last there in November of last year, it’s still going to feel strange, I’m sure.