Monday, 7 September 2009

Preparations and Final Countdown

The planning of a trip like ours to India was fairly simple and straightforward. Since I’ve always known that I would return and that there was far too much to see and do in India all in one go I picked the most inspiring landscape as a starting point and simply went from there. It doesn’t take a genius to work it out – for me, the most inspiring and monumental place of natural beauty on the surface of the planet is of course the Himalayas – so that is where our journey will begin.
But before we get there, there are things to think about, items to be purchased, vaccines to be administered and travel arrangements to be made, not to mention visas to obtain. Ahh, the organizer must come out to play. Over the last few years as an art auctioneer I had to learn to not only talk about and sell art but to organize and run a business, to manage a team of staff and generally take care of things. It’s one thing to see the bigger picture, but someone also has to take care of the details and while this is not necessarily a source of joy for me, it is most definitely my forte. I have a talent for remembering ‘the little things’, the ‘bits and pieces’ and so it was my job to get this trip up and running, on her feet, so to speak.
As soon as the wedding and honeymoon were done with and ‘out of the way’ my attention could be turned to the nuts and bolts of our ‘dream trip of a lifetime’. The ‘to do’ list was composed and the research began. Visas, flights, health requirements, travel insurance, shopping lists, gear checks, practice packs. Google became my best friend while I not only took care of the practical matters but also honed in on the wish list of stops and etched out an itinerary that fueled my imagination. As my ideas took shape I reminded myself that this is India and since anything can happen I would need to keep an open mind and be ready for anything.
Well now it’s all been done. With only 2 days remaining before our ‘SpiceJet’ flight takes to the sky and carries us to Delhi where we will have only 2 hours and 45 minutes to make our way to the connecting flight for Srinagar I am already reflecting on the process that brought us here and looking ahead to what lies before us. A combination of thrill, anticipation and fear of the unknown buzz over me and I try to remember all the things I may have forgotten.
And as I look at my backpack, filled with the few items I have selected for my travels I don’t understand for the life of me, why there is still so much space. Did I finally, after all these years of backpacking realize that its best not to take too much or am I forgetting something crucial. Oh well, I can always buy what I forget to take! As long as I can find an ATM somewhere in incredible India, which does seem questionable at some of our intended early destinations (according to Google!).
It is my intention to keep a record of this great trip for some purpose or other – so if you care to come along with me and take this journey from your desk in your own imagination, then be my guest. I offer you my thoughts and dreams, my experiences and visions as I attempt to do them at least some justice through my description and perhaps I will, through my words, plant those little alien forces in the depths of your own soul to whisper softly to you and one day beckon you to India.

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