Mom and I leave the apartment and I say goodbye to my Griffy Magoo for the last time until who knows when… What is this one-way ticket nonsense I have signed up for?  What was I thinking?  OMG, I don’t know if I can be without my boy!  For almost 10 years, he has been my rock…  my constant through all the storms, from sun shower to Cat 5 hurricane.  We are like cookies and milk, Griffy and I…  Peas and carrots, Forrest Gump and Ginny – except for when Forrest and Ginny have sex… Ok, ok ewwww that’s just wrong!  LOL… Geez was I an emotional wreck over that Griffy goodbye!  Who knew you could be so in love with a four-legged furry creature, with low tide breath, that cannot even have a conversation with you!  I kiss his little Rastafarian like head and tell him I’ll be right back – 5 minutes!

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We make our way to the MARTA station to take the train out to the airport, with only a few, somewhat minor meltdowns (moms, not mine!), and we say our goodbyes at the security check…  Geez, I am maxed out on emotion, I have got to get on that plane and get the hell out of here!!

I cram myself, and all my, must have, in flight travel stuff, into my squished up, coach class seat, and we push back from the jetway on the first of 3 flights to North India.  As we make our way across the Atlantic towards Amsterdam, I finally start to get my head back in the right frame of mind about this trip and I settle into the thought of the future that’s ahead of me… The esoteric nomad, just wandering the globe for a while in search of answers to unknown questions and great stories I’ll someday tell my grand children.  Yes, this is good…  Much better now…

All three flights (2, 9 Hr. flights, and 1, 1 Hr.) were fairly painless, with the exception of the flight from Amsterdam to New Delhi, where I neglected to choose a seat prior to check in, so I was put in the center seat (What, whaaaaat??? Epic fail on my part!).  I kept replaying the old Dial soap commercial in my head, “Don’t you wish everyone used Dial?” Why, yes, yes I do wish everyone used Dial… LOL Thank goodness the nice flight attendant found me an aisle seat so I was able to move early in the flight… Whew!

I watched 3 movies on my two long flights… The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, A Beautiful Mind, and Twelve Years a Slave, in case you were wondering…  All excellent movies, I might add.  I do love movies, and was grateful for the in-flight entertainment, but I mostly watched them knowing it would probably be the last time I would have access to TV for quite some time.  Most of you know I’m not a huge TV fan anyway, so this is not a big deal for me, but for most Americans, life without a TV is just unthinkable!

I suppose my immediate future in India will consist of yoga, meditation, writing, drawing and crocheting…  Does it get any better than that??  (Yes, I did travel half way around the world with 12 skeins of my own yarn – Thank you Candace Cameron Brock.  By the way, I am only 36 despite the cliché that only old women crochet!)

Going through security at the New Delhi airport was interesting…  Because I had arrived internationally, I had to leave the terminal, collect my checked luggage and then go back through security for a domestic flight…  I stood in line amongst mostly Indian men, the only American woman in site.  Needless to say, I felt lots of eyes on me…  Not in any malicious or sexual way, more of curiosity, I believe.

I am trying to be mindful of my thoughts in these situations, and find the balance between, confident yet cautious single white female traveling alone, and skeptical with a side of paranoia, freaked out by new and strange situations.  So far, so good – I think…  There was a nice Indian woman working security who was very friendly… She felt me up, making sure I didn’t have any weapons hidden in my bra, and I was on my way.

The flight to Dehradun was interesting – A small commuter jet full of people heading from the city to the less populated north.  I was sure to get a window seat for this flight so I could see India from above.  As usual, you couldn’t really make out anything in detail, but seeing the massive snow covered Himalayan Mountains, in the far off distance was truly a sight to be seen…  Wow – really amazing!!  Hopefully I will get to see them up close if I make it to Nepal…

I collected my oversized, overstuffed Jansport trekking bag and left the safety of the airport to find my hired driver…  Please, please be there Mr. Indian driver, please please be there.  I make my way through the doors and scan the large crowd of drivers waiting with their signs…  Finally, I see my sign, Eran Donnely… Yep, that’s me…  Oh, thank God there’s my little Indian fellow… Whew…

The drive to Rishikesh is short, maybe 30 minutes…  I’m sure you’ve heard or seen in movies, but Indian driving is not for the faint of heart…  There are people walking – there are bikes, scooters, motorcycles, cars and busses – Hey, that’s pretty much like Key West… But there are also animal drawn courier carts and random cows, pigs and dogs roaming the streets…   All in total chaos with seemingly few, if any, regulations and no traffic lights.  There probably should be a whole post on driving in India – more on that later…

I make it to the ashram around noon local time… That’s 2:30 am for you east coast U.S. people… What’s up with that ½ hour time zone thing?  Hmmm will check that out… I make my way to the office to check in and then over to the dining hall for some lunch.  Then I drop my bags in my room, pull out my cocoon travel sheet -throw it on the hard bed and I sleep… and sleep… and sleep

Here are a few picture from the ashram – Yoga Niketan

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View from my ashram – The Gangas River

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The way to my new place

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View from my room

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Monkey checkin me out

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