I have left a two week buffer at the end of my scheduled fellowship to travel. This has proven to be a tad difficult to properly plan for. In hindsight I should have planned a trip on my own, and invited others to join if they felt so inclined. Instead I focused more on finding a fun group of people who would want to travel in India, and then just figured I’d go with the flow. It seemed like the right strategy. India is seriously a fabulous country for travel – full of natural beauty, history and culture – that I really wasn’t too picky about where I went.
Initially it was easy (too easy) to find people to travel with. Many of the people that I’ve befriended in India are entrepreneurs or headed to business school (or both) thus there is some flexibility in schedules and a desire to travel. The initial plan was to do a two week trek in the Himalayan foothills in Uttarkhand starting with a drive from Rishikesh to Joshimath. The area is known for its stunning beauty (especially the Valley of Flowers which is especially striking during monsoon) and temples (these treks are frequented by many Hindu pilgrims). In a twist of fate, that exact region has been tragically affected by the monsoon rains and subsequent landslides. Below is a powerful photo (taken from a Reuters article) of the famous Lord Shiva statue in Rishikesh submerged in the flood waters:
The casualty count, three weeks after the occurrence, is hovering around 15,000 and thousands more were stranded and moved to safer areas. Relief planning is still underway – sidenote: a good friend of mine will be helping with the relief and rebuilding effort in August once the rains subside (it turns out that a number of folks in the bschool/entrepreneur scene are working in social impact/development and are incredibly inspirational).
At this point however, our travel plans and group had fallen apart. Everyone has competing priorities, a different schedule, and we’ve all just met each other so no one is terribly accountable to one another. Ultimately I’ve opted to continue traveling in the Himalayan foothills, with my current roommate Katie, but in Nepal instead of India. Booked my tickets yesterday so it’s a real thing. Yay! Kathmandu Kitchen was my second favorite restaurant in Davis so this must be the right decision. I’m actually really excited about the way things ended up working out.
The past two weeks have otherwise been a bit of a whirlwind. Last week was actually my last week of work so I’ve had to cope with saying good-bye to a lot of people that I’m going to miss (I’m not great at this). I’ve also been checking a few last minute things off of my Mumbai to-do list; namely Jahangir Art Gallery and Cafe Madras (honestly Cafe Madras is on another level of deliciousness – BEST South Indian food in Mumbai). I’ll be turning in my laptop today (thus commences part 2 of my tech cleanse), and visiting with some family before heading to Nepal this weekend.
The adventure begins JULY 7th…