Tag Archives: india

That un-explainable thing that happens to you when you travel

Playing “carrom” with the firefighters at Nariman Point station in Mumbai, India

There’s something that happens to you when you travel which I can’t quite explain. Most of the places I’ve visited I try to stick my nose into, with the inevitable consequence that I leave a part of myself there. In return I try take with me a new friend, an experience, a few words of the local language, or a lesson I’ve learned.

But that part of me that stays behind means a piece of me is missing. And after a while if you keep leaving pieces of yourself behind, you end up being scattered all over the place. And you know, what you’ve taken with you changes you too, changes who you are as a person.

And when you go back to wherever ‘home’ was before you left, it’s not really ‘home’ anymore, because it feels different and you’re not sure you fit in and maybe some of the people you knew don’t really get what happened to you while you were away because they weren’t there or they don’t relate to what you have to say or are thinking about.

Thats what travel does to you. It changes you and your place in the world. And that’s the mind fuck. When you realize you don’t quite fit in at home, and you’re not quite a fit with anywhere else, then you wonder where to go and what to do. Like a permanent state of culture shock. And as much as traveling is a joy and a privilege, understanding how your identity is transforming and what it means for your life can turn your world upside down, and its not always a pile of giggles. But at the end of the day I wouldn’t give it up for anything

One of my mentors

My friend and mentor Marino Francispillai. We last saw each other in India in March 2009. I was spinning my wheels and not sure what to do with my life and career. We visited a poor community where he interviewed a local leader about issues affecting their social progress and economic development. Inspired by his work and the advice he gave me, I decided to follow in his footsteps and study public health. So grateful for the lessons he has taught me and his profoundly positive influence on my life over the years. A remarkable human being.