Manikarnika ghat








Some days it is strange to think my world looked like this a few weeks ago.

I haven’t stopped for more than a few seconds since I got home, but yesterday at dinner, I finally sat down and looked through a couple of India photos. These stood out to me.

These were taken on a a typical grey, monsoon day down by the burning ghat (Manikarnika ghat) in Varanasi. I stayed at a place near the ghat and went nearly everyday. Even when I was trying to avoid the ghat, I was always drawn back there.

Varanasi in the rain was a strange this time around. Dirtier, weirder and even more magical and alluring than ever.

I’m so glad I went back. I’m glad that I got stuck there and had time to rest and recover fully before doing India this way. . .

[Photos: Manikarnika ghat, Varanasi//Grace Farson]

The water is final



When it rains during monsoon season, nothing is safe. Nothing.

The water is final. And the water wins.

Today, we had many plans to go to various schools and work longer in the fields, but thanks to the incredible rains, we ended up reading, writing, listening to music, and watching this movie. Helen and I eventually wandered outside and walked to the river. We found it entirely flooded and full of new life.

On the walk back through town I bought a set of bindis and a brightly colored umbrella, *just so I can fit in a little better here. . .

Life here in Letang couldn’t really get any better. Each day there are big ups and downs, but I find that the ups always win.

The past few days have been full of more than just rain. Like yesterday, I stole a bike and a motorbike and explored the town. We worked more on the park and it finally looks different//like we are making real, measurable progress. AND most of all, I feel at home here.

I have vivid dreams of staying here. Living here. And not moving for years.

It is fun to picture life here beyond just a summer.

For now, here’s to:

slow internet//all the bandhas//losing my phone//making memories//life chats//shooting stars//making new friends//and falling back in love with Nepal (*each and every day).

[Photos: Life through the rains//Grace Farson]

Notes from a sick bed


Woke up this morning feeling ill. Really, ill.

It started yesterday with the same symptoms I experienced last time. . . *the last time when I wound up in the hospital.

Thankfully, it’s nothing serious, yet and I’m still able to manage life here.

I forget the kind of sick that exists here. Kathmandu, no matter how much I love you back, you always win. I will always be defeated by you and your power over me.

That said, nothing, honestly nothing can or will change the way I feel about this place. Nothing at all. Ever.

Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling mildly better and had two fantastic meals with some of the most encouraging, supportive, and inspiring people I’ve ever met. It is so comforting coming back and having a community here and especially a community, or even communities like these.

“As a traveler, I always had vivid dreams in strange countries – something about those clammy rooms, those lumpy beds, that sour air, the nameless nighttime noise.” – Paul Theroux, My Other Life

So here’s to health! To many more crazy, vivid dreams! And for exploring this city with Immy (*who just arrived today)!

[Photo: Murky monsoon days//Grace Farson]

On getting lost







I get lost a lot when I go new places.

I never have a map or any sense of where I need to be, but in a way, it’s the best way to travel (*that is, it is the best way to travel when you have the time).

When I went to Rishikesh, I packed only my small day-pack, a book, a journal, a change of clothes, and my camera. It allowed me so much freedom. Freedom to wander. I had nowhere to be, no idea what was what, and I loved it.

When the bus dropped me off on the outskirts of town, I ended up walking several kilometers to the northernmost point at Laxman Jhula. During my long walk, I wound up getting pretty lost, and in the process, met some amazingly friendly, funny people.

Traveling like this without plans or a place to be is easy for me. . . I know that the rest of this summer will involve a good deal more planning and it’ll be a good challenge for me.

In Kathmandu today, making plans and finding new connections. I officially have a telephone number here and have a lot of appointments and dinner//coffee dates in the next few days.

Enjoying the moments I feel all alone, but equally enjoying feeling that I have a family and close friends in this bright city.

“Trying to remember, I have learned, is like trying to clutch a handful of fog. Trying to forget, like trying to hold back the monsoon.” – Patricia McCormick

The monsoon came early this year and it is constantly full of surprises. It’s refreshing and welcomed. The rains are necessary, urgent, and often brief. They quickly become a part of daily life and routine here. When it rains, streets empty, puddles form, and all you can hear is rain hitting all types of strange, hard surfaces.

[Photos: Getting lost near the great Ganges. Rishikesh//Grace Farson]