“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare PaveseWhy did we go on such a long journey? Why did we go to Varanasi, the heart of India, for nine brutally confrontational days? Why did we put ourselves in a situation where we were not allowed to escape the cages of our ego? Sometimes the only way through to change is to put ourselves into the fire pit. Those who chose to come along perhaps had no idea what was in store for them, none of us really ever do. Life’s journey, our personal choices to join in or not, our abilities to take a close look at ourselves are all a given and not always taken.
Travel is much more than simply seeing new things, it is the desire to change our usual and comfortable perspectives of life. It is a desire to grow in spirit. These journeys all have a gift that we may not even be aware of until long after it’s over.
Tibetan Refuge Camp in Darjeeling contained the most beautiful spirits. Many had been there since their escape. It was a home for families, abandoned children and those who had grown old.
We brought polaroids and took photo’s of local families and children in West Bengal as well as at a school in Varanasi. West Bengal was our place of refuge and calm as we adjusted to each other and India. Children from the Lotus Foundation School in Varanasi run by Jill Kaufman…https://www.facebook.com/Lotus-Foundation-706811259437180
And then came Varanasi. I call it the fire pit and the heart of India. It was intended to also be a place where we would delve into our work which I thought meant our creative photography work but instead it became our own personal work of survival. Seems there was some kind of political campaigning going on which created enormous congestion, taking us 90 minutes sometimes to go 4 km eliminating our time to create and to rest. There was no resting place here. One of my favorite places was on the other side of the Ganga. A landscape like no other I’d seen.
Our trip ended with calm and recovery in Jodphur for the International World Spirit Festival and some blurry rickshaw rides at night through town.
And now home, allowing the experiences to seep into our souls, transforming who we are.
“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith