Asia Travel: Taking the Plunge in Calcutta by

Journal Notes

To a 20 year old me, India was a mysterious, mystical place. Spirituality swirled through the air like clouds of Nag Champa incense, meditation was for breakfast and life’s revelations were found in the bottom of a cup of tea. So when I graduated from university at 21, I took off almost immediately to this spiritual homeland.

After 2 days of travel, I touched down in the West Bengal capital of Kolkata. As the automated airport doors slid open, an intense fog of heat and total sensory overload tattooed my brain forever. While taxis hollered at me across the way and street children ran up to me shouting, grabbing, pulling and begging, my heart leapt into my throat I had miscalculated India. Oops.

After a hectic ride into the city with no guidebook, no contacts and no frame of reference (I was returning back to my spiritual home, remember? I needed no assistance!), I slithered into a hotel room and thought about never stepping outside again. Beyond that room was a maelstrom of every single thing in life I had never experienced, and there was no one to tell me it was going to be all right. I slept in fear of entirely unreasonable things, and hoped I would wake up back home. I did not.

Two weeks later, I was sipping chai tea in clay cups, eating dodgy street food, volunteering my time and getting to know the 'street kids' and 'beggars' who had previously scared me shitless. It was baptism by fire, my first Asia travel experience. I threw myself into life’s deep end knowing that if I could make it there, then I could make it anywhere. I ended up living in Kolkata for nearly 6 months, traveled solo all over India and Nepal, and go back every chance I can. I’m 27 years old now and have lived in Asia ever since.

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Alan Alan

Great story! Another example proving that... Life really starts once you Step Out of your Comfort Zone!