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Friday, May 28, 2010

Tourist shock.. 2

How strange is it, for me to feel so different, when being around other travellers? As I sat at the table, I heard a voice inside my head asking: what are you doing, sitting here with people? By trying to avoid Indian sleazy men, I was now attracting English and Irish tourists. But I was also wanting to avoid them! I woke up the next morning, and it felt like “the morning after the night before”. I felt I was going against things that I had started to value.

So what is it I want? Do I want tourists around me or Indians? Or do I want neither? When travelling alone, company can be very welcome because you can get too much inside your own head. This fact doesn’t make me a loser, it doesn’t make me a failure, it just means I’m only human. Hanging out with tourists doesn’t mean I have to befriend them if I don’t want to. But I can simply appreciate and hold that company for as long as I wish. That’s the beauty of travelling alone; having the freedom to leave the dinner table, the guesthouse or even the resort, as soon as the urge comes. Then when I realize it’s not the company I’ve been used to over the past months, I don’t have to stress out about the temptation of what that company presents me with: alcohol and partying.

I know what’s happening: for so many months I’ve been around mainly Indian people. Day-in day-out, they were the only people I’d have face to face contact with. This is what I wanted and it’s what I was getting, even though at times it’s been difficult, frustrating and has made me also feel at a loss and even isolated. The company I’ve been used to, hasn’t been smoking, drinking or cursing. They may sound like saints, but of course that’s not true. They can be just as rude, ignorant and unmannerly as anybody else, and many times even more so than the “standard western person”, but for religious reasons alcohol and cursing would be almost unknown to many.

Wednesday night I felt like I was being taken away from India and I was losing sight of all that I had learnt and began to appreciate more in life. With Byron and Patsy, yes they are also English, but it was totally different. I had a connection with them. I appreciated the conversations we had and I didn’t feel judged for not drinking alcohol. Yesterday and today I actually started longing to be with all the native friends I’ve made, since first arriving in India. I needed to get that connection back.

I’ve realized I see India as something other than the latest Lanzarote or Crete, which is what others may choose to see it as. I see it as a place where I can learn to value other things in life, rather than boozing and partying. It’s a short period in my life where I can live a different lifestyle and where I learn different things. I felt I was undoing all I had done and that’s why I may have overreacted when I was suddenly faced with holding company I haven’t held for quite some time. It doesn’t mean I’ll never party again or never enjoy some drinks. Just at this moment in time, it’s not something I can appreciate or value. It’s not what I came to India or Varkala for. And that’s fine for me to realize! There’s no shame in in doing what I want and not getting distracted and being “misled”. I came here to do as I please and that’s exactly what I did. And it led me to have the most memorable walk along the beach!!

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