5 Weeks

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”

~Cheryl Strayed, Wild

On the way to India, I remember scrolling through a seemingly endless catalog of movies available during my flight. As soon as I landed on “Wild”, I was drawn in completely and immediately hit the play button. That was one of the best decisions I made before stepping foot in India and really helped me keep a clear perspective throughout the past 5 weeks.

I began this blog with a quote by Emily Dickinson primarily because it had been one of the inscriptions that Strayed wrote in a log book before beginning her trek across the Pacific Crest Trail (in the movie at least).

“If your nerve, deny you –

go above your nerve.”

~Emily Dickinson

I later realized that the quote succinctly captured my own emotions prior to my trip. Though I knew I would have the company of my father and relatives for a few weeks before being on my own, I was nervous about how I was going to perceived, especially since this was not a pure vacation – I was there to work.

My “nerve” – pent up anxiety and cautious optimism – was enough to keep my mind pacing back and forth on whether I had made the right decision. It’s not to say that I was not excited – I was, but I knew there would be a lot to adjust to from the culture to the weather. However, I knew in the end that opportunities like this don’t happen all the time, and to truly appreciate the experience, the people, the traditions, and the country I needed to be brave and overcome those fears. I needed to tell myself that I would be okay, that I would make it through those 5 weeks. And I did.

In the end, I learned, or rather reinforced my belief, that I am able to “survive” on my own without the help of others. 5 weeks later and I know I’ve come out as a stronger and more confident person. I not only proved to myself that I am capable and independent, but also proved to others of the same and that I am a force to be reckoned with. Though I wish I could’ve spent more time to travel to the different states of India, my experience surpassed my expectations. 5 weeks gone by in the blink of an eye, and I am thankful every day for having taken the plunge.