Tara, architect, designer, art historian, chef, world traveler, and dear friend invited us to visit her in India. She and I met at culinary school in Paris and instantly became kindred spirits. Neither of us consider ourselves religious, but we find our spirituality in the passion and appreciation we have for travel, food, tigers (more on tigers later), and all things beautiful.
My husband and I decided India would be the perfect destination to celebrate his 40th birthday. It's an important moment to remember in someone's life, and India's history, food, colors, adventures, and magic seemed to offer the memorable experience we were looking for. We were right.
|Delhi beyond the balcony|
|Weaver at Ramthambore women's cooperative|
A few days before leaving, my husband was having a conversation with two women about our upcoming trip. One of them said, "have a great time and bring me something nice!" and the other responded, "what would he bring back? There's nothing there to bring."
Instead of allowing this point of view to pollute my dreams of India, I felt sorry for this woman and instead envisioned myself in textile markets buying block print and cut-work treasures to bring back to Panama.
The entries to come will tell you about the trip. I'll finish this first entry by explaining that our experience was magical. Mostly because India's colorful chaos is intoxicating in positive and negative ways, but our trip was particularly special because of our hostess. A lovely, strong, and brilliant Indian woman who has the sophistication that comes with seeing the magic that the world has to offer.
Mark Twain once said that "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many people need it solely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
I am thankful that I do not suffer from vegetating in my corner of the earth, and I know when I need my travel fix. I needed an escape from Panama's concrete jungle, our routine, and prejudice (mine and everyone else's). This adventure confirmed my belief that escape is what feeds my intellect and my spirituality.