“So why India?”
This is the question everybody asks when I tell them I am going to India. Perplexed by it’s common reoccurrence I have written this blog post in order to answer it to the fullest of my ability. It is not an easy question if I were answer it honestly, and I first need to establish that India is simply the destination, the true question is “Why travel?”.
I have given up the option to travel many times in the past. With each change in my life, I looked at the opportunity, with a glint in my eyes, and then eventually pushed the thoughts from mind for the sake of my circumstances at that time.
Choosing to travel was easy. India, or anywhere else in the world, can offer you the opportunity to broaden your horizons. The most challenging part of travel of any kind is the commitment to that choice, and the changes that you force upon yourself when you have decided to go.
Why haven’t I already begun my transcontinental quest? Sadly, complacency so often wins over adventure. The reality is that there is simplicity and comfort in consistency. In order to travel you have to uproot yourself from your life and everything that you know in order to explore something new. To break away from the habitual is to accept that you will not be in control, and that you may never again fit into the world that you leave behind.
A part of my procrastination is derived from my medical need to find the balance between control and adventure. Not only is travel an emotional leap of faith, but also a considerable medical risk.
After my initial release from hospital, I was so desperate to demonstrate my capability I would’ve jumped off a bridge just to prove I could do it. I would say that, in retrospect, it was fate that must have kept me from traveling during this time. Insurance companies scoffed at my application, I was perpetually in and out of the hospital, and my attitude towards my health was proof enough that I wasn’t ready for such a choice.
I released these balloons after being finally let out of the hospital. Symbolically they got caught in a tree overhead.
Since then I have a new found awareness and respect for my situation, and serendipitously, the opportunity to travel the world. For the first time since 2011, I have found medical stability in my life, and I am putting all of that on the line to see the world that I feared I would never see when I was diagnosed. My heart problems were always my excuse not to travel, but it took my renewed health for me to realize that it was an underlying mental struggle that kept me from leaving.
The race to success starts as soon as we are asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and doesn’t end until you have the house and the car. Even though I love acting, I had an idealization of my success that clouded my perception of my own wants and needs.
I graduated high school and went directly into 3 years of University studying my craft. Each year that I spent investing myself into this complex industry the more I felt the weight of my professional commitment. I had put so much effort into this world, and it’s hierarchy and routines were all I knew outside of my small town upbringing. I held on to it’s promise of fame and fortune, baited by the prospect of success and respect amongst my peers.
Despite the stress and anxiety this world caused me, I ignored dozens of opportunities to travel simply to be at the beck and call of my career. This trip is a stand of independence, a choice for my self rather than my career and the culture that defines an individual’s “success.”
Why do I want to go to India? Why the hell not!? I am a young and healthy person (moderately) with an opportunity of a lifetime in front of me. I am in the process of shaping my life, exploring my options, not building a fortress of security in which to grow old and die in.
It was to hard to decide to travel, and it’s going to be harder to actually do it, but I could never live my life without ever seeing the world.
“To live fully, one must be free, but to be free one must give up security. Therefore, to live one must be ready to die.” – Tom Robbins
Thanks for Listening.