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The next step…

March 10, 2007

In some ways, my trip begins tomorrow. So far, I’ve had the company of my brother, who showed me around London and shared with me the initial surprises that are India. He flew out of Bangalore today for home and tomorrow I leave for Delhi. All by my little self.

We’ve had a great time here in the ‘deep south’. Thursday we hired a car and went to Srirangapatna and Mysore, gazing at crenulated palaces of Tipu Sultan and the Wodeyar. Yesterday we drove farther south to Kodagu and ended up staying in a working coffee plantation. High up the mountain, in a rainforest with no rain, in a guesthouse called Honey Valley, we hiked amid the ‘exotic’ sounds of jungle birds and insects we couldn’t see, on the lookout for elephants we didn’t find. Hot and humid, with cool evening breezes and fragrant coffee beans fermenting on the patio, we gorged ourselves on delicious treats made by the attentive folks working there. An interesting combo of working farm and guesthouse. It was such a welcome respite of quiet and calm and clean.

Then a brutal drive back to Bangalore, dodging creatures great and small, in our tiny TATA, a two cylinder car made here in India. This evening I got to visit the family of a good friend and coworker. It was very sweet to complete the loop and meet my friend’s mom and the rest of her clan. We packed my brother off to the airport a short bit ago for his 3:30am flight to SF via Mumbai and London. It’s been truly wonderful sharing this experience with him and I am so happy that we were able to make this trip together.

It’s also been a complete blast to reconnect with our old friend Amit who has been such an amazing host. It’s been quite a luxury to be introduced to India by someone so knowledgeable and who can speak Kannada, the predominant language of the state of Karnataka.

So, tomorrow morning, I leave the comfort of my friend, his luxurious home with plenty of hot water, high speed Internet access, boundless information and resources at my fingertips, and head off to Delhi to fend for myself. I admit I’m rather anxious about this step. I have another ten days in India before leaving for Nepal. India presents many challenges and I have been told that those challenges are much more pronounced in the north than in the more hospitable south. And while traveling alone allows for the most intense experience (in my experience), traveling in India is unlike travel in anyplace I’ve ever been. Just as many things you encounter here make perfect sense, many things are completely inside-out from what you would expect. There is no predicting what you will find here and there’s often no way to make sense of it once you find it. And, that’s part of the reason I came.

I doubt I’ll be able to post as often or as easily. I’m not sure what the rest of the trip will bring, and I guess that’s a big reason I’m going.

Thanks to everyone for all the love and support you’ve offered. I’m truly humbled by it. Although I’m going alone, I feel the warmth of those I’m taking with me in my heart.

Peace, y’all.


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  1. Hey, Jeff. You are in my prayers. I just found your blog (thanks to Mary J.) and I’m so glad she sent it. Love your descriptions of your journey so far. Blessings and love, Christine

  2. Jennifer permalink

    Michele, your comment about Jeff and his interpretation was so spot-on. Jeff, you have so beautifully articulated what it means to connect with life, people, experiences. The essence of love and life. I’m thinking a big, kick-ass party in needed when you return to san fran and your home on this amazing planet. I would definitely come from Austin for that!! Much love!! Jen

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