So, in just a couple of hours a cab will be picking me up to take me to the airport to catch a flight to Hyderabad. You don’t? Neither did I until the Indian government offered to host my organization’s governing body’s biennial meeting at this place. It turns out Hyderabad is an enormous city, population close to 10 million, toward the south of the country that nobody has ever heard of because it is one of the most non-descript, polluted cities in the world and is, apparently, such an homage to desperation and poverty that Calcutta is where the 5 wealthy Hyderabadians (sp?) swan off to summer in typhoid-free luxury during the monsoon season.
Nevertheless, I will be making Hyderabad my home, as I work, until 20 October. After that, I will be setting off by myself to Nepal for a week – then back into India where, starting in Delhi, I will meander down the west coast of the country with my final destination being Cochin (almost at the southern tip). I fly back to Montreal from Cochin 9 November.
Why am I writing this? It is just to let readers of Requiem, if any, know that for the next 2 months my weekly submissions will comprise something of a travel journal. However, I do not intend for it to be a banal ‘travel log’ setting out what I do each day (which would probably bore me as much to write as it would be for you to read). Rather, I will write out observations and experiences, good and bad, that I find interesting. No matter what happens over there, one thing I feel pretty sure of is that it will, at least, be interesting.
People have been asking me today: how do you feel? I can only describe it as a perfect blend of excitement and anxiety. Excitement at the prospect of adventure in a faraway land. As a boy, I always daydreamed of being as far away from the place where I was and surrounded by everything exotic – including danger. It is different when you are grown and have had your creature comforts well and truly hardwired. The anxiety, of course, is also due to the lengthy separation from friends, family and all that is comfortably familiar – “homesickness” for lack of a better word. There is also the work pressure over the first month which is taxing and draining. Still, when I have traveled before, although I have experienced severe culture shock, along with the accompanying crushing jetlag, I have quickly acclimatized. Not only that, I usually get the boomerang ‘reverse culture shock’ upon returning “home”.
I guess the blend of excitement and anxiety when traveling is about going into the “unknown” while knowing there are going to be unexpected surprises both good and bad.
I will be reporting on both from the other side of the world…