I started off the summer turning 21 on a plane to Haiti and after spending just one week with the children at Proje Espwa fell in love with them and promised myself I would return someday soon. After three days at home I set off on my next adventure to New Orleans where I helped rebuild houses with two of my best friends. Next I packed up my walking shoes and mickey ears and headed south for a graduation vacation with my sister and her friends about to embark on their next adventures in college. A week later I found myself trekking the Himalayas in Nepal carrying everything I owned on my back and struggling to keep pace with my breathing. The next weeks flew by as my family visited the nation’s capital, spotted a bear while camping in New Hampshire, dressed up for Boston Comic Con and spent a few evenings in the city that never sleeps.
After a summer packed full of new destinations and fresh perspectives, I stand now staring down the runway of my next adventure: studying abroad in India.
I know it will be different than anything I’ve ever experienced before and, as always, my months of preparation will prove fruitless when faced with the sounds and colors of this new place. I truly don’t know what to expect because the responses I get when I tell people I’ll be living in India for 3 and a half months are incredible varied. Here are some of my favorites:
- Oh! India! That’s so exciting! You’ll have to visit my family while your there!
- Oh…India? Why there? I would’ve picked England or Ireland, you’re braver than me.
- India…hmm. I’ve never really wanted to go there. I swear every time my friends come back from a trip they tell me they’ve seen another dead body on the side of the street.
- India, huh? With your digestive system? Good luck!
- India will be great! Just don’t be too offended when people stare at you.
After my two weeks in Nepal, I’m fairly certain the staring one will prove true, but I’m less certain about the others. All I can say with certainty is that it will be different and I’m planning to keep an open mind and an optimistic heart.
For the next three and a half months, my blog will be filled with my experiences abroad. I’ll share the good, the bad, and the ugly and try to keep up my 4 posts per week format like I have this summer. If you want to follow along, you can like The Penniless Traveler on facebook, follow me on Twitter or follow this blog via email (you can find links to all on the right side).
I’ll be checking the comments as frequently as I have internet so feel free to leave me words of wisdom or ideas of places to go or things to do. For today, I’ll leave you with two of my favorite quotes, the first from Gandhi and the second from Rumi.
Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
– I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
– I shall fear only God.
– I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
– I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
– I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.
There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?