Farewell sweet 2014

A year of love and heartbreak. A year of pain and suffering. A year of embracing the unkown.

Thanks for the memories 2014.

I’m so thankful a new year is finally here.

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Travel notes –> the in-between places

IMG_9969 IMG_9973 IMG_9968 IMG_9971I often find when I travel between two places, I’m more distracted by all the in-between places I’m passing through than my final destination. I’m often not too upset when something goes wrong in my original travel plan because I know that in the end, either an adventure will come of it or I will get the chance to discover a new place.

For example, the other night while I was traveling –> Bangkok –> Chumphon station –> bus –> ferry –> Koh Tao, I wanted to stay in Chumphon longer, wanted to stop at every train station and see what that town was like, etc.

I guess, I’m just easily distracted, but I feel this way most everywhere I go.

Traveling by train in Thailand is such a pleasant experience. Up to this point, most of my train experiences have been in Europe or India (*the two extremes of train travel), and so far, I think I choose Thailand. My India train experiences have certainly prepared me for a good deal in life and even though I have oddly grown to love traveling by train in India, I’ve found  in Thailand, I can relax, breathe deeply, and sleep for more than an hour without being interrupted!

Back to it. . .

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Train booked.

Traveling by train will be nice. No more buses again (*at least for a while).

Leaving the city of death (aka lovely Varanasi//Banares) the day after tomorrow and heading back to Mumbai.

Plans change, but its all a part of the journey.

“I wanted to go on sitting there, not talking, not listening to the others, keeping the moment precious for all time, because we were peaceful all of us, we were content and drowsy even as the bee who droned above our heads. In a little while it would be different, there would come tomorrow, and the next day and another year. And we would be changed perhaps, never sitting quite like this again. Some of us would go away, or suffer, or die, the future stretched away in front of us, unknown, unseen, not perhaps what we wanted, not what we planned. This moment was safe though, this could not be touched. Here we sat together, Maxim and I, hand-in-hand, and the past and the future mattered not at all. This was secure, this funny little fragment of time he would never remember, never think about again…For them it was just after lunch, quarter-past-three on a haphazard afternoon, like any hour, like any day. They did not want to hold it close, imprisoned and secure, as I did. They were not afraid.” – Daphne du Maurier

[Photo: Delhi’s trains//Grace Farson]

Yellow Light

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Here in Varanasi, safe and sound.

And, never have I valued safe and sound more.

The past few days have been a blur. Honestly, it is difficult even coming to terms with all that has happened!

It’s been something like this ->

Packing bags // Moving // two boarder crossings // buses, cycle rickshaws, more buses, auto rickshaws// Trying to sleep // bus crash and only remembering yellow light // three ambulance rides// two hospitals // collapsing//dressing wounds//arriving in Varanasi//relaxing, resting, and recovering.

All that said, we’re okay. All of us. Stitches, whiplash, bruises and all.

These days I’m thankful for okay.

Thankful for prayer and for the power of adrenaline, and healthcare all around the world.

It is by far the strangest welcome back to India I’ve ever had. Day one// trip number four to India, and then all of this. . .

From here on out, I’m traveling by train in this vast country.

[Photo: Varanasi at sunset//Grace Farson]

The India I used to know

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Made it to Delhi at long last!

I got to Greg’s place this afternoon after a long, long journey. It took over 24 hours on a non-A/C train to get from Mumbai to Delhi.

Unlike this, the journey reminded me of the India that I used to know. The India I both love and hate.

I can honestly say, regardless of the number of trains I’ve taken like this in India, I always forget how hard it can be. I always forget that being a woman in India is hard. I always forget what hot really is. . .

It’s 115 degrees (F) in Delhi today.

. . . And I haven’t stopped sweating since I left Mumbai.

I woke up this morning and realized I only had five more hours to go. I was covered in new bruises, new smells, but I quickly realized there was still a lot of good. I had friends to look after me and share their breakfast with and help me down from my high bunk. . .

And once I arrived, nothing compared to the great sense of victory that washed over me. I walked into Greg’s apartment and didn’t know what to do with myself. I went to the shower and stood there, stunned.

The good that comes from train travel is that there is time. Lots of time. Time, to think, breathe and meditate.

For me, I thought of and questioned my life decisions a good deal, I thought about chaffing, I thought about what the word resilient means, and I thanked God for music and the occasional breeze that came through the window. . .

Now, it is time to celebrate the good. The victories both big and small and for being here, safe and comfortable even in extreme heat.

*Note: Still feeling incredibly dehydrated, so hope some of this makes sense. Too tired and hot to even bother reading over this again.

[Photos: Paschmin Express from Mumbai to Delhi//Grace Farson]