People say life is about the journey, not the destination. With over 60 hours of the past 6 weeks being spent on a bus travelling between cities, we’ve learnt how to make the most of the time resting and reflecting on the exciting things we’ve seen and experienced.
With destinations like the Taj Mahal, the Ganges River, Amer Fort and various palaces, it was easy to dismiss the time in between as filler days which were going to be forgettable. However, from the moment we got on the bus at Chennai Airport to head to Pondicherry, I quickly realised how the hours spent staring out the window could show and teach me so much about India. We saw sugarcane fields, brick factories, skyrises and slums. We even got lucky with two elephant sightings as we navigated the 27 hairpin bends in the Dhimbam Ghats. While the papaya trees and coconut groves disappeared as we travelled North, the horizon began to fill with mountains and city skylines and we were introduced to India’s traffic and multilane highways. Indias diversity was always surrounding us, giving us glimpses into everyday life around India.
While our senses were tingling when we were wandering outside, these long journeys provided time to reflect on the amazing experiences we’d had. With India rushing by and occasionally Nick’s commentary and wisdom over the speakers, we were able to take a moment from the vibrant intensity of the programme and unpack our thoughts and feelings from the highs as well as the more challenging moments. They also provided time to reconnect with loved ones through video call and try an assortment of Indian snacks. A gentle reminder that 7 hours bus rides (and life in general) is alot easier when you’re surrounded by love and food.
Like with life, we travelled at varying speeds and caught glimpses of India from a variety of viewpoints. Sometimes it was slow and we were able to appreciate each of the sights around us, whilst other times we were only able to see the blurs of peoples faces and the diversity in the landscape. We were able to experience a wide range of transportation during our trip. This included the comforts of our coach, local taxis and the metro. We even took boats across the River Ganga and over Lake Pichola to Jagmandir, a palace built on an island.
Along with the sights we’ve seen, this journey has very much been about the people. We’ve met an abundance of inspirational people including artists, students, NGO’s, business leaders, and the list goes on. My 20 fellow kiwis were the best bunch to discover India with, and I’ll miss the passion and wisdom from the IndoGenius team. This trip was a precious reminder of the strength of love and diversity in our local and global communities, and how those who surround us can help us grow. These 6 weeks have been an experience I’ll forever cherish and be reflecting on.