So, why? Not why am I here. Maybe I'll maybe address that later. But why do I blog? The primary reason is to share my experiences with friends and family. I am very fortunate to be doing this, and it only seems right to share it with others, to the extent that's possible. Besides, it means more than you can imagine to know that I have company on this adventure! I do miss you, and every time I get a comment or email from one of you, it makes me smile to know that you are with me. I also am very grateful for the new friends I am making through the blog. Another benefit is, of course, that I have a record of my experiences to look back on.
Watching the sunrise over the Bay of Bengal in Pondicherry. Reflecting on my good fortune.
The other important motivation for this blog is to encourage people to have the courage to live life to the fullest, whatever that means for you! I am a 67 year old woman who is on her own, visiting India for the first time. If I can do something this crazy, if I can embark on such an unlikely adventure, if I can continue to learn and grow by taking on life's challenges, then what might you be able to do?
I know that as I've aged, it has been tempting to think that I need to stay home, not to take risks, to be safe, to believe that the most interesting part of my life is over. I think it is especially easy for women who are older and alone to think that we can't do much. I used to think of all the reasons I couldn't do something, and I always found plenty of them. Now I look at opportunities that come my way as gifts, and I believe one should graciously accept the gifts that are presented to her.
I'm not trying to convince everyone to plan a trip to India, although I'm finding it to be a very rich experience. What I do want to encourage you to do is to, "take risks, and be safe!" as my friend Patick advised me. It won't cure all your ills, that's for sure. You will still be fearful, but you will learn that you can be courageous and do it anyway! If you are lonely, you will still be lonely, but you will learn that life can be full and meaningful even on your own. Whatever it is that you decide to do, once done, will increase your confidence in your ability to live life fully.
So take risks, but please remember to be safe too. One of the reasons I'm able to enjoy my time here is that I'm aware of the very real dangers that exist, and I'm taking appropriate actions to mitigate the risks. So when I read that a woman was raped on a train leaving Chennai, I looked for transportation other than trains to take me where I want to go. Pay attention. Don't let your fear immobilize you, but do listen to your intuition.
Okay, enough of that. The other thing I want to express is my gratitude to you for coming along with me! As I said earlier, I miss my friends back home! I get lonely, even though I'm surrounded by a loving family. I would say I get homesick, but in fact this IS my home now, and I'll probably be homesick when I leave here! Anyway, your company is very much appreciated. It's good to have you along, and I hope you'll stay with me for the rest of this adventure.
And most of all thanks to all the people who are making it possible for me to do this. Ravi, Sheela, Shruti, Shraddha, Pravin, Indrani, Vignesh, Kannan, to name a few of my support crew here in India. And thanks too to the folks back home who are collecting my mail, paying my bills and taking care of my car. It takes a village to send an old woman on an adventure to India!
Here are some miscellaneous pictures for you. Next blogs will be New Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal!
I often take pictures from the car, trying to capture candid street scenes. This time I was in an auto rickshaw, and I got caught!