When you name your daughter after the Kali Gandaki River in Nepal, you pretty much have to take a rafting trip down that river if you find yourself in that country. Even if it means spending more than your daily budget and using all your Christmas money from family to make it happen.
“When I say, run, run forward,” said my guide.
“Ok,” I said.
“When I say, come back, walk backward.”
“When I say, go, sit back in the seat and lift your legs.”
I ran forward, walked back, ran forward again, then leaned back into the seat, lifted my legs and suddenly I was flying.
The traveler friendly main street in Pokhara, Nepal was like a breath of fresh air after 2 ½ months in India. Ok, maybe that is a bad analogy since the air in the town was terribly polluted, but we were very happy to be in a place with a wide variety of restaurants and shops catering to the needs and wants of travelers.
Long term travel is not the same thing as a vacation. Vacation is taking a break from real life for a few weeks. When you are on the road for months or years, travel is your real life. And just like real life, travel has stressful times and bad days. One of our worse travel experiences was the 36 hours it took us to get from Agra, India to Lumbini, Nepal.
It was early, very early. The gates opened at dawn. We stood in lines by gender. Rand in one line and the girls and I in the other. Soon we would see one of the most famous buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal.
In the center of the small town square stood a mound of wood ready to be lit for a bonfire. We milled about with the crowd encircling the woodpile, waiting to see what would happen next.
I sat alone in the dark yoga studio, waiting for the class to begin. I had arrived early, but was now wondering if other students would be joining the class. I had been in India for 2 months and had still not experienced the stretching, strengthening, breathing exercise in its country of birth.
Rishikesh, India is known as the Yoga Capital of the World. You would think that we would have immediately felt the zen of the place when we arrived, but you would be wrong. Our first day in the small mountain town was one of the most stressful of the whole trip.
Jaipur was the last, and our least favorite, city we visited in Rajasthan.