Let’s Talk About India

Before I go into where in the world I am now, I want to be sure to give India it’s due time in the spotlight. More accurately, it’s people. Because they deserve to praised.

Not surprisingly, we were treated like queens the entire time we were there. We never carried our bags, opened doors, or even poured our own drinks. The room service memorized our favorite snacks and would bring them unannounced (and free of charge). They took notice to when we were leaving our room for the afternoon, so they could clean and organize our room at that time instead of knocking on our door.

img_1288Eventually they caught on that we were eager to learn and experience their culture at which time we clearly became the friendly American women in room 210. We had a table that was designated as “our” table whenever we were seated. The same waiter sought us out so that he could talk us into trying a new dish (again, at no additional charge). He tried to learn how to pronounce our names. And tried to teach us a word or two as well.

Eventually they caught on that we were eager to learn and experience their culture at which time we clearly became the friendly American women in room 210. We had a table that was designated as “our” table whenever we were seated. The same waiter sought us out so that he could talk us into trying a new dish (again, at no additional charge). He tried to learn how to pronounce our names. And tried to teach us a word or two as well.

As for outside the hotel, there was no shortage of friendly advice on where to go. One taxi driver, after playfully teasing that we must like to shop, stopped at the coolest temple mall, not charging for the time he waited for us to have a look around. Inside that mall, we got ourselves a free singing bowl treatment. That man seemed amazed that we had decided to explore India on our own. The jury is still out if we should have been concerned at his reaction.

Now, the food. For purposes of full disclosure, I struggle with spicy food. So 90% of the food I tasted was fabulous, but just too spicy for me. So, I found the things that lacked in heat and stuck to them. The dosa was one of those foods. It was amazing and not something I would have tried if it wasn’t for the previously mentioned waiter. He didn’t tell me that he was going to bring me one, instead, just put it in front me of me:

“But I didn’t order that.”

“No, no. But you try”

Well alright then. Good thing too because it turned out to be my favorite dish. It’s basically a giant crepe stuffed with potatoes and curry. The coffee was also spectacular. If I could have a carrier pigeon deliver me Indian coffee daily, I may just give up my right arm for payment. That gem was found at a shopping center, and was bought for us as we found ourselves in a flurry of pashminas, singing bowls, crystals, and jewelry. That was the same adventure that busted open my very weak bartering skills. Shopping in India is not for the shy or weak hearted.

Traditional dosa, although this one is missing the yummy filling
Traditional dosa, although this one is missing the yummy filling

But it really isn’t the food or the textiles that I’ll be keeping in my heart from India: it’s the generosity and the warmth of the people. They are just so happy. They have far less, materialistically, than what I’m accustomed to and live in a city that is the very definition of developing. Yet, they appeared to be happy just to be living the day. In the case of the hotel employees, they took immense pride in doing their job well, whatever that job may be. The joy that beamed from them when we were open to hearing and trying what they deemed as a favorite part of their culture was beyond heartwarming. But also has a sad implication as to what their normal experience with foreigners is. So while many people will tell Americans to be thankful for what they have because they are far richer than they realize (which is true), I challenge you to disconnect from all your “things” and find time to seek out some joy in just living in the day: it makes the seemingly poor fabulously wealthy.

But it really isn’t the food or the textiles that I’ll be keeping in my heart from India: it’s the generosity and the warmth of the people. They are just so happy. They have far less, materialistically, than what I’m accustomed to and live in a city that is the very definition of developing. Yet, they appeared to be happy just to be living the day. In the case of the hotel employees, they took immense pride in doing their job well, whatever that job may be. The joy that beamed from them when we were open to hearing and trying what they deemed as a favorite part of their culture was beyond heartwarming. But also has a sad implication as to what their normal experience with foreigners is. So while many people will tell Americans to be thankful for what they have because they are far richer than they realize (which is true), I challenge you to disconnect from all your “things” and find time to seek out some joy in just living in the day: it makes the seemingly poor fabulously wealthy.

And finally, a note on the energy of Chennai: it radiates a certain kind of healing. The kind that engulfs you completely, challenges you to broaden your views of the world, and puts your own conditioned limitations on the chopping block. All while putting you in a space that makes you feel like you can dive into those shadowy bits and be supported. I had some of the most challenging parts of myself exposed during the week that we were there, and honestly, things that only that particular situation could fish out of me. Head over HERE to read my India confessional.

While I was guided to India to have these kinds of breakthroughs, because that was the best place for me to be to learn about various parts of myself, I think the important thing here is to know that you have to put yourself into new situations to grow. Sticking to what you know, and likely have become very good at, is perfectly fine if you want nothing more than what you have now (which is also okay! IF that is what your heart’s desire is).

But if you want to make changes, you have to give yourself new experiences so you can heal and move past whatever it is that is anchoring you in your current situation. If you don’t know what it is that you want to do next, but you know you want to move into something more positive, all you have to do is do. As you put yourself into new situations, you will find your heart’s desire (and likely what isn’t your heart’s desire as well).


A note for those of you who plan to go to India and stay in the popular American hotels: They reserve the right to charge a luxury tax per transaction. This means that every time you’re charged for a night’s stay, the luxury tax will also be charged. This isn’t something that is disclosed. Keep that in mind when looking at prices. Our hotel room went from $75/night to $108/night.

With that being said, the Rain Tree hotel was amazing. It is well worth the money and it’s in a fantastic part of the city. Very green, friendly people, and lots to see.


While my travel partner and I were talking about where we felt compelled to go next, we remembered a conversation that we had on the plane to Germany (catch up on what happened at the German airport HERE). I had dismissed it entirely at the time, but it was begging for attention.

We knew our connection at the German airport was going to be tricky, since we did not have enough time to comfortably make it to the next gate. When we were waiting to get off the plane, I turned to her and said that I had seen what looked like us staying in Europe for an extended time, visiting different cities. I wondered out loud if that meant we were going to miss our connecting flight. When we didn’t miss it, I dismissed what I had seen as something that perhaps was potentially going to happen at some point in the distant future. I even joked that my spiritual connection must waiver with international travel.

A week later we were on a plane to Spain.

In a couple of days, I’ll be taking you through the very dynamic streets of Barcelona: from the very rich, the diverse, and the gothic. Later, you’ll be hearing all about the spiritual haven inside the Sagrada Familia and the experiences I had while I lost all sense of time for three hours.

Check in soon to get a taste of Barcelona

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The First Confessional

You heard last time about the initial happenings of the trip. I want to dig into the meat of it. Because it definitely did not go as expected, but did happen exactly as it needed to.

Conjure up an Indian hotel, set in the middle of an exceptionally run down part of the city. My travel buddy and I just got back from an interesting encounter at a nearby mall and are decompressing, preparing to arrive at the University the next day. It was a fairly mellow evening.

The night, however, was a sleepless one. Both of us were plagued by an uneasy feeling in our gut. Although, neither of us shared with the other the experience or that we were both awake most of the night. I get up early, and feel sick to my stomach. It’s debilitating. Something is off. Something is wrong.

I expected nerves, but not dread. I couldn’t even conjure up conversational words. The only thing I could say was that I couldn’t go. I couldn’t go to the University feeling, in my bones, that it wasn’t part of my purpose. I didn’t know why, or what the reactions of people back home were going to be, but I knew that I couldn’t go through with a plan that made me feel that way.

I saw my travel partner struggle with her own inner battles, but she had shared with me at that point that she had been awake with the same dread and had gotten out of bed with that same debilitating feeling that could only make her question attending the University.

Together, we made the decision not to go.

It was an instant feeling of freedom. And instant recognition that this was a decision that we made from our hearts, from a place of authenticity.

We found a new hotel to stay at, and were treated like queens for a week as we experienced the generosity of our host country, experienced the food, and got a taste of Indian culture (more on this next week).

In making new plans, we had planned on leaving India the following week, giving us a little under two weeks to stay and explore. An image of 7 days had passed in my mind’s eye (that mystical eye that you can’t see in between your eyebrows, but will show you all sorts of truths if you let it) during this planning, but I didn’t put much weight into it. Both of us had gotten a cold from the plane, so a little R&R and causal exploration for 10+ days didn’t sound like a bad plan to me in the least. So, we went ahead and rebooked the flights.

On day 6, we found out that the hotel we were staying at couldn’t accommodate our revised plan. We had two options: leave the next day for a different hotel or leave the next day for our next destination. At this point, I was well aware of the connection to the 7 days I had seen just a couple days prior. I say, okay Universe, if we’re supposed to leave tomorrow, you better make sure we can get a flight, with no extra charges. If there’s any charge, I’m not doing it. I’m not ready to leave yet.

I made the phone call to the airline. There was a plane leaving the next day (day 7), no fare change, no change fee. Needless to say, we were on that plane. The same sensation of freedom and recognition filling us up.


I promised at the start of this trip and this blog that I would share all my experiences with you, so you can take the nuggets of insight and plant them into your life. So, here’s the rundown.

This is what I know for sure (so far):

Relationships are everything. And it starts with yourself. I had a full on meltdown (complete with ugly cry and whining) when we made the decision to move on from India. But not because I was disappointed with the decision. In fact, I knew in my heart that it was time to move on. I was terrified of the criticism that I thought I was going to get from those closest to me. I wanted to stick to the original plan for the pure purpose of showing that I would. Never mind that I had already transformed my life back home, travelled for 24 hours, and was sitting in the hotel ready to go. It didn’t occur to me until a few hours later that the only thing I had (and wanted) to live up to was my own heart. The part of me that always knows exactly what I need and want.

And the judgmental commentary did come. But what I’ve come to discover was that the people who genuinely cared for me supported me because they believed in me. They didn’t try to dictate what my next move was or tell me what I was doing was right or wrong. They simply told me to follow my heart unconditionally. And speaking of the importance of relationships, those are the people that I will go to the ends of the earth for. The gratitude I have for them being anchors during that time is something that words cannot adequately explain. Those are the kinds of relationships that should always be nurtured and kept close to the heart, as they are rare and the most valuable gift you will ever receive.

Your inner, burning passion needs to be let loose on the world. Any other course of action is doing the worst kind of disservice to yourself. When you realize what drives you, what makes you excited about waking up and living your life in the morning, you’ll realize that there’s no other way to live. The sense of freedom that you’re filled with when you make decisions based on your own heart’s desires is something that never gets old. You deserve to be happy and you deserve to have all your deepest desires provided to you. And, contrary to popular belief, there is only one thing you have to do: let your passion take the wheel. Make the decision to follow only your own inner compass.

I’ve been caught up, more so in the last couple months, with making sure I keep up with what everyone expects of me in addition to what I expect of myself. If the two were at odds with each other, everyone else’s expectations would win over my own. The funk that it left me in was really challenging. I lost all ambition for the things I wanted and tended to “hermit” inside myself. I fell into the most introverted characteristics of myself to such an extreme that it was really self-protection at its worst. I lost my love for life and lost the connection to the passion I feel for doing energetic/spiritual work.

So, although the plot twists in India were emotional, it brought me back to making decisions from my heart. It brought back that feeling of waking up and knowing that I am the author of my life, and I can make of it whatever I want. I can choose to let expectations that aren’t my own steer the course of my days or I can choose to live my truth and let my passions blaze the trail.

Authenticity feels really good! Turns out, I really like my authentic self. I make decisions that I don’t regret, and my life always improves when I’m operating from my heart. And as soon as you have that inner peace with yourself, external opinions carry no weight.

Living in the moment is everything it’s cracked up to be. There’s been a lot of attention on this in the recent past. I always thought of it as hippie love nonsense and totally unpractical. But, it really is the red carpet to happiness in all parts of your life. It also would have saved me a whole lot of stress if I had taken this trip moment by moment (or even day by day), instead of reverting to my control freak tendencies and needing every part of this trip planned out. Which brings me to my last point…

The Universe (or God, Divine), is always, always working with you. I was angry, for a lengthy hot minute, that I was being led outside of India. I had devoted much of my time and planning to being in India, at the Oneness University, for the month of October. And then you’re telling me, after I travelled for 24 hours and ran through airports, that it’s in my best interest to stay only for a week then move on to elsewhere?! Are you kidding me?! What a bunch of bullies. That would require money! Stress! Disappointing others! I was so upset at this point that I was ready to throw in the towel. I wanted nothing to do with spiritual guidance and certainly nothing more to do with the trip.

I’ll tell you what though. The only stress I had was the stress I created myself. The practical portion of rearranging the trip was so seamless that, after I calmed down, I realized there was no real reason to be upset. I still got to experience India and I’m being called to move on to other exciting parts of the world. I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and now I was being given the opportunity to do so. So, what, exactly did I have to be upset about? And, this part is important, why would I ever think that divine guidance was working against me? I was getting a deep desire handed to me on a silver platter.

It really came back to meeting the expectations of those back home. To which I refer you back to every other point made on this list.


In light of bursting at the seams with gratitude for the people in my life, I want to take a moment to thank the individuals who supported me through the India experience:

 

First and foremost, Brandi, for making this trip with me and sticking through all its twists and turns. There is no one else I’d rather be experiencing this with. I wake up every day grateful to be in this with you.

 

Travis, the love of my life, for always helping me find my center and be true to myself. And for making it out of Florida alive. I’m really happy about that too.

 

My father, for encouraging me to always follow my own inner compass and having just the right thing to say.

 

Deb, for reminding me that the Angels are always supporting me and looking out for me.

 

And Katie, for being that person in my life I can send pictures of Wayne Dyer’s doppelgänger.

 


 

I want to hear about how you experience these truth nuggets in your life! Spread your passion and you never know who it will inspire!

India! And the Curious Case of Airport Running

I started this blog for a very simple reason: for you. I wanted to share my experiences from around the world so you could get the same jewels of insight I get, without ever having to leave home.

Little did I know, my first trip overseas was going to take an entirely different path. And one that is already challenging my preconceived ideas.

This trip started months ago, in May. I had planned on going to India, to the Oneness University, for seven months. I quit my job, purged 90% of my belongings, and shaved my head. Only, I got to the airport and wasn’t allowed to get on the plane. I wrote about that little endeavor here.

After a second failed attempt to get myself overseas, I paused to take inventory of my life. What was I missing? I’m a believer in everything happens for a reason, and this was clearly happening for a reason.

After some time, and a whole lot of soul digging, I went to my favorite tarot reader for some guidance. Here’s what she told me:

  1. You’re going to India. In October. (Bread crumb #1)
  2. You need to step up to the plate. Stop letting everyone push their opinions on you because they want your reality to fit theirs. You’re here to blaze some trail. Get to it.

Little did I know that during the reading, my fabulous friend Brandi had texted me that she had found some ridiculously cheap plane tickets to India. Depart date? October 4th. Bread crumb #2.

But I had worried about the money. I hadn’t been working and, although a steal, it was still a lot of money.

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Actual picture that I received from a number I didn’t recognize. Excellent time to receive some buffalo medicine!

Later that evening, I received a picture via text from an unrecognized number. It was of a Native American coin, featuring a portrait and buffalo. What’s the spiritual meaning behind a buffalo? Assurance of abundance. In my case, I took this as a reassurance that the particular purchase in question was a wise one. And all good things come in 3s and I had received bread crumb #3.

I was all in baby.

Fast forward a handful of months, to three days ago. Brandi and I arrived at the Milwaukee airport, only to find out our flight to Chicago had been delayed by 20 minutes. Not a big deal we said, we’ll just have to hustle to our connecting flight.

What they really meant to say was that 20 minutes meant an hour and a half. We quite literally watched the airline attendant close the door to our flight as we were running up to the gate. We missed our flight. I debated whether or not this was yet another sign that my trip was destine for failure, but I knew I was too angry to see the situation clearly. So, I asked for a sign: Universe, you better make it a freaking good one, because I’m at my wits end.

A minute or so later, I get a text from my dad: “So far all the things going on today is typical airline nonsense[…]don’t push anything, go with the flow and I think it will all work out. You’re good.”

Splendid! Thank you Universe and thank you father (I’m fairly certain he doesn’t know how perfect the timing of his text was. He will now! Thanks dad!).

We hop onto the next flight out to Germany, which seemed to allot enough time to spare to catch our original connection to India. Which also meant that my checked bag wouldn’t get lost along the way.

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Not a bad gig. Feet up while watching Batman v Superman during the flight from Chicago to Germany.

Aside from a couple of crabby Germans who had a grudge against reclining chairs, the flight was uneventful. We had also been unknowingly upgraded to better seats. Perk!

Eight hours and a handful of minutes later, we are running through Germany’s airport. And when I say running, I mean we were sweaty, hot messes with 25 minutes to get to the shuttle to take us to a different terminal, get through security, and get our paperwork rechecked. And, Brandi’s carry on was particularly ominous to the security lady, since she “thought” she saw something and wouldn’t stop searching Brandi’s bag until she found it. Needless to say, there was nothing to be found and she sent us on our merry way.

We make our connection, we’re happy with our seating arrangement on the plane, and aside from a minor case of time dragging, it was borderline enjoyable.

Then the real fun began: seeing India for myself.

I had been told from a variety of people a selection of scary stories about India and Chennai.

 

#1 Chennai’s airport may scare you a little. You’re going to arrive late at night and you’re going to be dropped off in the basement.

TRUTH: While it’s true that Chennai’s international flights arrive around midnight, the airport was far from scary. It’s clean, well lit, and there is armed military casually walking around to keep you safe. I felt oddly welcoming actually. It also didn’t appear to be a basement by any means. After getting off the plane, they handed us a small slip of paper, asking for passport and destination details to make customs easier. And customs was a seamless process. Stand in line, get your stamp, move on. Doesn’t get much easier than that. It was quick too, taking all of 15 minutes.

 

#2 You’re going to be startled by the crowd of people you’re going to have to walk through to find your driver.

TRUTH: While “walking through” is a bit of a stretch, you do exit the airport onto a sort of cement red carpet kind of feel. People waiting for arrivals are not allowed entry into the airport, so they stand behind barricades. However, this means we had a very clear path to walk while looking for our driver. No crowds to walk through, and certainly no discomfort.

 

#3 The taxi ride is terrifying. Wear a blindfold.

TRUTH: This is probably the biggest thing I disagree with. It’s amazing to me how well their driving system works. I can understand how much of a shock it may be to an American to witness the controlled chaos. However, it doesn’t take much observation to realize what’s happening. Indians honk to keep other drivers aware of their position and where they intend to go. And it works. You don’t see a lot of screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-58-44-amturn signals used and every ounce of road space is taken up and used. But it works! And once you realize that you aren’t in danger, and everyone driving understandings the traffic code of conduct, it’s a lot of fun to witness. It’s also refreshing to see very little road rage. Certainly nothing that measures up to the road rage you see in rush hour traffic in the U.S.

 

#4 India is unsafe, dirty, and should be avoided by women

TRUTH: This one is complex. The unavoidable truth is that it’s clearly not in your best interest to be out and about at night as a foreigner. Especially as a foreign woman. However, it would be wildly unfair to say that India as a whole is unsafe. We have not felt worried about our safety during the day at any point in time. In fact, many Indian men have gone out of their way to give us tips and escort us to various locations, expecting nothing in return. The generosity and wholesome nature of the Indian people is astounding.

Another unavoidable truth: India is a developing country. Which means that everything is showing its age, there are many homeless, and yes, it’s dirty by American standards. However, and this is important, the materialistic state of India is vastly overshadowed by its liveliness. There is so much color, joy, friendless, and faith that you can’t help but feel like you’re in an entirely new, exotic world. Especially as an American, I’m continuously taken off guard by how friendly people are and how eager they are to share the hidden gems of their city. Also worth noting, hotel staff treats you like kings and queens. And you may be thinking that they do it because they know American’s have money. I assure you, every staff person I’ve tipped thus far has been nothing but humble and gracious.

 

#5 They are going to stare at you. A lot.

This one makes me giggle. I’ll go on the record saying there has been absolutely no uncomfortable staring. If I happen to make eye connect with a passerby, the reaction has always been a bright smile, Indian head nod, and hello. In my book, that’s just about the farthest thing from creepy stares that you can get.

With that being said, we have made an effort to keep our ankles and shoulders covered, as normal Indian etiquette calls for. This may be play into the lack of staring as well.


That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more India shenanigans and to hear where we’re headed next. In typical Bobbi fashion, the plan has been changed as new insights come in. I mean it when I say that my entire trip has changed and new countries have been added to the roster.

Sending you many, many exotic blessings and love from India!


Curious about things you’ve heard about India? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do some digging on your behalf.