By Blake Berry
When I look out at the Saryu River and think about everything we have done together, the idea that this is my first experience out of the country is mind-blowing. India is different in unique ways you can’t imagine if you haven’t seen it for yourself. But it’s also a place where I feel comfortable.
June 3rd, my leading day, ended up being very long (in a good way) despite the fact we didn’t do as much as other days. The day began by leaving the hotel early at around 6:45 AM. We stopped for breakfast soon after, and it was delicious. (Although the food is great, that doesn’t mean I’m not craving a nice burger or taco…). The drive continued and soon we were driving down the curviest roads known to man.
Needless to say, those with motion sickness started feeling slightly sick. We ended up stopping about 7-9 times on the ride. At first, it was annoying to slow our drive and disrupt our progress but with every stop, I found more beauty in the land, people, and culture. The drive was beautiful no matter where you looked. If you looked left, there were people smiling and laughing and talking in their little shops on the side of the road. If you looked right, there were enormous mountains with a lake in the middle of them.
Uttarakhand is so peaceful and enjoyable that I, a small kid from a small town, would live here 24/7 if I could. Not only because of the landscapes and environment, but also the people are insanely welcoming to the point where we can do our normal everyday things in a beautiful new setting without feeling awkward. I think the idea of living here 24/7 is possible not only because of the welcoming nature of the people but also the natural and simple way of living that they have. I feel that this way of living truly and quickly rids the feeling of stress we carry around in the US.
As we’ve explored in our few days here so far, I’ve noticed the locals here aren’t worried about money, houses, and their physical property in the same way that we are. They’re more concerned with happiness, family’s and giving. This comforting feeling that the locals give to not only me but the entire group truly making it exciting and easy to stay here. When I say comfortable, I’m not talking having a relaxing vacation sitting on the beach but more being motivated enough to learn everything possible about the unique and different country. It’s a comfort of confidence.
The feeling that this place gives us allows the group to want to do more; more learning, more exploring, and more fun. The activities and experiences of India are allowing us to grow and participate in ways I could not have imagined before coming.