In my life there has been a very long lists of "I would never's" when it comes to things brave or adventurous or rebellious. I'm not saying that this should be qualified as any of the three but it's definitely been near the top of my list. Let's just say that there are 100+ other places that would top my list of places to visit and most of them don't even involve taken yet more malaria pills. And yet...
I am travelling to India (Kolkata) in Nov. I’ll be there Nov 9-17 with an organization called OneLifeUp.org. It’s crazy how it all came about, somewhat loosely through my blog/twitter feed but it feels like this it's an opportunity for learning for me. I am excited about this organization based on the feedback I got to my crazy questions as I evaluated going. I love their model of care - empowering local people to care for those around them living in the slums of Kolkata. It felt familiar when I read it...much like the model of care that I love so much about Hands at Work.
I was only reluctant to go because I’m afraid. I'm afraid of India. Mostly because I hate crowds, bad smells, curry and bad toilet situations more than anything and India seems to encapsulate all of these beautifully. I also had no funding to go as I had already worked my travel budget for the year and India wasn’t in the plan. But, I always tell people to not let fear or finances get in the way so I have to put my own advice into practice. Oh, how I HATE when that happens.
I sent out a letter to some friends, looking for back up to back out. In the days that followed, the same messages came back. "Go, you chicken, go." At least, that's how I read them. One friend said that she sensed that God was telling her to buy my ticket, which is unreal because it's no small change to fly overseas. So, no excuse there.
So, with no good reason other than fear, I signed up. As soon as I hit "send" I broke out in a cold sweat. I drove home, threw up three times out the door of my Escape en route (my apologies to those of you who live and work on Clarence Ave.) and went to bed with what I think can safely be called a fear induced migraine. So, I just laid about all the fears I had to God and the one that kept standing out to me the most, which really had nothing to do with India-was the fact that I would be travelling through several airports with connections and I was unfamiliar with any of the airports. I was worried about missing connections and therefore missing meeting up with the team of people I would be travelling with. It was weird because really they were mostly US airports and should not have been as big of an obstacle as they had become. So, for some reason, that "small" thing was just stuck in my mind and kept my stomach churning.
On the day that I went to pay for the trip, the travel agent found a cheaper ticket (to the tune of $500 cheaper) that has me travelling alone and meeting up with the team in Mumbai. Now, instead of travelling through new-to-me airports, I fly to Toronto and then on to Heathrow, then on to Mumbai to meet the team. I have spent more time in those two airports and Johannesburg airport than any others…so that was my small (huge) confirmation that maybe God takes care of the details in such a manner because I’m so short sighted in my fears.
So, that’s it. I’m going to India. Bring on the traveller’s diarrhoea and intestinal issues, I’m in.