3 Weeks In India; My Biggest Life Lessons Learned…

Since before we left for India, everyone’s first question in regards to our coming trip was, “Why India?” Every time, never failing. No one could understand why we wouldn’t rather go to some place in Europe or a resort vacation in a place like the Bahamas. Something “easy”.

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Why India?

I guess you could say, in a way, as cliche as it sounds I was hoping to “find myself.” I was hoping for an experience. I knew it wasn’t going to be glamorous, it wasn’t going to be relaxing, it wasn’t going to be rejuvenating.

Basically I was looking for a slap in the face.

Selfishly, I was looking for appreciation for the life I was living. The life I know I sometimes are not grateful enough for. The life that I sometimes feel, as beautiful, and amazing, and blessed as it is, doesn’t always feel like enough.

I am self aware enough to know that, I have everything I want and need. But the inadequacy that i’ve been feeling about MY life, not my life with my husband and son, but my life and identity as Adriana, had been getting out of control.

Here I am in the career I worked hard to be in, a great marriage and son, and still I was fixated on not being “enough”. Not doing, “enough”.

I am 23 years old and haven’t gone to college”

“Do I even need to go to college…?”

“Am I making enough money?”

“Am I being ambitious enough?”

“I haven’t taken a shot at my real dreams yet. Will I ever?”

“Am I spending enough time with Isaac?”

“Am I teaching him everything he needs to learn.”

“I haven’t made dinner in almost 2 weeks, Tom deserves real food…”

“I haven’t folded the laundry in more than 3 weeks, I am a horrible wife.”

“What will I do with my career if we make a career out of the Military. Who will I be then?”

I have been drowning in what has been weighing on my soul and crushing my mind. I have been having an identity crisis and I needed a break from real life.

Plus, I’ve always wanted to go….

There’s your short answer. lol

Everyones thinking, “geez Adriana, you could have just said that. So dramatic…”. lol

India Was Not Everything I Thought It Would Be…

Now, I would be lying if I said India ended up only being beautiful, exhilarating, enlightening, loud and fun. In fact, it wasn’t always fun.

20 days, 8 flights, & 2 unforeseen road trips later I can say it was also challenging, exhausting, frustrating, and at times tested my love for travel. There were even a few frustrating tears shed over our time in India. Mainly out of frustration over the countless scams, flight cancellations, and delayed trains.

Man next to our rickshaw in Jodhpur, India

So a little advice when coming to India.

Take all of your expectation, and throw them out the window. Take all of your western logic and sensibilities and forget that shit, because you are on their time and their rules.

To be in India is to relinquish control and to master, “go with the flow.”

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Related: 15 Tips You NEED To Know Before Visiting The Taj Mahal 

When Is Enough, Enough?

I am not oblivious to being poor. I would say on paper, I grew up what I guess some would consider “poor”. Definitely below middle class most of the time. But my mom always made certain we had what we needed and any chance she got she made sure we had more. So I know how to be grateful for the niceties in life.

However. I have never seen poverty on the level that I saw in India.

Enlightenment from traveling to India
Homeless man napping. Where are you sleeping tonight?

I saw hundreds of homeless men and women sleeping on the concrete, in the dirt, and on the stairs on my walks to my AC’d hotel room every night.

I saw men that looked like walking skeletons stroll past me.

I saw hundreds of tent cities with women, men and children in them.

I watched the locals take bathes, wash clothes, and fill their water bottles in the Ganges.

(The Ganges River is where they dump the ashes of the hundreds of bodies they burn on a daily basis as well as sink the dead bodies of children and pregnant women…)

Man bathing in the Ganges river. Happy as a clam.

I saw a man. Neck deep in sewage to unclog a drain pipe in the street. (don’t ever complain about your job again…)

I saw countless men women and children, shoeless, walking in the streets in said sewage…It was just. Normal.

In America, people get pissed off if you are pushing your kid in a Wal-Mart buggy without socks or shoes. People would lose their damn minds to see a child walking anywhere without SHOES…

I saw thousands of dogs that looked like they wouldn’t make it through the night.

I saw many, lethargic, sick puppies sleeping on piles of garbage and cow shit with flies all over them..

One of the healthier puppies I saw in Old Delhi.

Be. Grateful.

And although this all can be hard to see and read, it is their REALITY.

Here we all are, living and breathing, and working ourselves to death for MORE. More money, more cars, more house, more shoes, more clothes, more tv, more vacations, more, more, more, more, more.

It’s OK to want better things in life, it’s OK to want nice things, but as long as you are grateful for what you already have.

And I think, most of the time people aren’t coming from that point of gratefulness. I feel like no-one knows how to recognize when enough is enough anymore. We always want more.

In fact, the “more, more, more” mentality is glorified.

Out of all of this poverty you know what I continued to see?

Smiling faces.

These kids walked down this rubble path daily to go to school.

The kids did’t care that they weren’t wearing shoes. They could still run and play.

No-one cared that they had to hand wash every piece of clothing. They sang while they did it.

Lessons to learn from traveling to India
Lady in Kerala, India hand washing clothes in the river.

I saw the homeless men, sitting together and laughing and talking.

In all of what I considered to be unfortunate and sad, they had found peace and joy. And that, is to be admired.

So find peace and joy in what your life is right now. Whatever that may be. It is ok to strive to be better and improve your life. But do it out of gratefulness.

And please, ask yourself today. When is enough enough for you? Or you’ll be chasing something you will never be satisfied with for the rest of your life.

Our Problems…99% Of The Time Aren’t Real Problems

Have you ever read, “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F***“?

Well, if you haven’t,  you should. 

Let me just say, when it comes to the people of India, I feel like they ALL have read this book and mastered it because they give NO f***s in the most important way.

life lessons to learn from traveling to India
Simple Pleasures…

They give no f***s in the way that they don’t let everything that we consider to be sad and unfortunate effect them and define them.

Our daily struggles are feeble compared to theirs and it is proof that even for myself, someone who is good at prioritizing my “problems”, gives waaaayyyyyy too many f***s sometimes.

The “problems” we THINK we have, are problems they WISH they had.

Your phone broke? At least you have and can afford a phone.

Your house is too small? At least you have a home, ac, running water, a place to call “home”.

You got a flat on the way to work? At least you have a car and a job to get to.

It’s not about who’s problems are bigger or worse. It’s about giving too much energy and life to “issues” that aren’t even real issues and letting them ruin a chunk of your LIFE.

We all need to learn to recognize what is a real problem worth giving a f**** about because whether you know it or not our lives are EASY. If you haven’t been to the rest of the world I am telling you we have it EASY.

What I learned from traveling to India
Old Delhi

We don’t hand wash every item of clothing, we don’t walk miles to school, we don’t live off of less than a dollar a day.

This guy right below, has been homeless for years, and he could sit and complain to everyone that walks by and beg for money, but instead, he lays on this rock. Everyday he chooses, in all of what we would consider to be sad, to lay on this rock, close his eyes, and smile. All day.

That’s how many f***s he doesn’t give.

Enlightenment from traveling to India

Recognize your situation for what it is. Work toward fixing it, yes. But do it with a f***ing smile.

The World Owes You Nothing

Being in some of these parts of India reminded me that this word doesn’t owe any of us anything.

Their day to day is finding their next meal and making enough money to feed and house their families and hopefully give their children an education…

A daily fishing trip for these guys in Kerala, India

We all spend our lives trying to find our “purpose” or what “fulfills” us, and that alone is a luxury.

That is the world we live in…that is what this country and other 1st world countries allow and provide. Luxuries.

Make The Most Of Your Opportunities

I must say not every single place is extremely poor in India.

Not everyone is poor in India.

But regardelss of that, they still don’t have the same opportunities that we have here and yet, they’re still extremely resourceful and ambitious.

Man rowing our boat in Varanasi.

It is a reminder to stop making excuses for your short comings because in a country like ours, they are not valid.

If you can’t make it where you want to go it’s because you didn’t put forth the effort. Because it’s all here right in front of us.

I will never forget what I have taken from my time in India.

I went to India, looking for a break from reality and instead I found it.

I found that people tend to be happier with less

This guy was singing and washing dishes in the Ganges River in Varanasi, India

I found that it’s not about not caring, it’s about choosing what’s most important to care about.

I found that I was born into a place that provides me luxuries that not everyone has.

I found that happiness and joy can be found in the lowest of situations. And if you can’t manage to pull that out of every situation you are f***ed.

India…My biggest life lessons learned.

Forever changed…

Finally, I have found gratefulness and excitement for my life in amounts I have never know. 

Smoke filled air in Varanasi

Thank you India. Now stop scamming your tourists. lol

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