A second before summer vacation, a lot of the families I escort can already smell the flight date getting nearer. And the closer the moment comes for them, I feel a sort of confusion, a need to hold on to something, a minute before they lose control and head into the unknown.
So for their sake, and for any others that feel the need, here are the two most important tips I can give:
1. you already made a basic plan (after in depth research or maybe in less depth), bought flight tickets, consulted with a traveler’s clinic. Everything is more less arranged? Great.
Now let go. Leave the travel guides be. Leave the facebook groups, leave the blogs (even mine).
From now on, let the road set the way. Sit quietly, breath deep. Live already knowing that each one will get his/her own journey. It doesn’t matter if it rained on you on the way to Dharamsala or if it was boiling hot. If you have a hotel in New-Delhi or not. Those things are no longer in your control. All that’s left is to look on the road, the view, on what your journey will bring you.
That the decision that whatever comes your way- you’ll deal with. That you’re open and ready for adventures, of every kind and color. To meetings with others, with yourselves, with your family members. Accept that the way won’t necessarily be what you imagined it would be, or (and especially) what you planned. Changes and surprises will come. They’re part of the journey.
2. the hot springs in Vashisht are a huge gift. A little piece of heaven I’m grateful for everyday I’m here. We enjoy them and learn a lot from the experience of going to them.
Things that would’ve been very hard to teach my daughters any other way. And that I probably couldn’t teach them any other way, if it wasn’t for our stay here.
But not everyone sees it that way. In fact, most tourists that come here to see the hot springs don’t spend time on them, and definitely don’t dare to actually swim in the pools.
They see that place in an entirely different way. They see grey cement, dirt, bare brick walls.
And they run away.
And I want to thell them- wait a moment. Stop. Take those western glasses off for a minute. And look. Lean. Without prejudice, without criticism, without judging. Leave the west outside. Come try. Open a door to experiences, to curiosity, to love for something completely different, and not necessarily better or worse.
Open yourselves. Completely. Don’t close down because that’d be a shame. To visit a different place, a new place, totally different from anything you know and manage to really experience it on a deep level- that’s amazing. A whole world suddenly opened. A million flakes of inspiration, a million new points and each one of them can lead to a different and spectacular way. And it’s a shame to miss that.
Oh… all the things I learned in the last five years. From everyone. The tourists. The travelers. The views. The locals. There’s so much wisdom in them, a different wisdom, odd and fascinating. Yes, they think very differently from us. They see things differently. But that’s what’s so interesting!
I see tourists that made an effort and saved money for a very long time, invested a lot of money and and went really far. And all that for what?
Leave the books, the researches on the internet. Leave them. Go see the world with clean eyes. Sit with the locals, talk with them, ask them where they think you should go. Where is the best local food. And how exactly do you eat it. How to get from this village to the other one. Join that journey you took yourself into.
Come take of your clothes, slowly slowly dip your legs in the hot water, until you get used to them, look around you, see the women, the youths, the old ladies. How everyone here, free with their bodies, washing each other, dipping naturally in the pool, chit-chatting, laughing.
Come, get in, like it’s your first day alive.
watch this video– the girls talk about their experience at the hot springs in vashisht.