And it is not a subtle transition back into the lifestyle. It is a blunt and very immediate switch into a fast paced, chaotic environment of constant smells, sounds, movement, and energy. There are 1.4 billion people in this country. Oh, and you feel it. Every second of everyday.
We traveled for twelve hours from Colombo to Goa today. And it's funny how when you get to a place - your mind can NEVER, I mean never - produce the reality of what that place is going to be. Whether it be in a good or a bad way - exceeding or or falling short of your expectations. I've said this before, and I'll say it again... it is impossible for your mind to generate the reality of a foreign place. I love that about traveling. I love when I'm pleasantly surprised. And one thing I've grown to learn through traveling, is that I am developing a nearly constant reaction of pleasant surprise.
When you finally begin to shed all the expectation you've created in your mind, you allow for what the beautiful and unmanifested reality can become. And that unmanifested reality is pretty much... always better than what your mind has created in your head. In all things, expectations and goals are a good thing.
They keep you focused, they keep you structured. But letting go of expectation allows you to be more appreciative of the experience that is being specifically designed and manifested into physical form - just - for - YOU.
A lot of people get so caught up in what their minds think a scenario, destination, or relationship should be - they overlook everything that it is. It's called being blind. Unconscious. And unappreciative. We're all guilty of it 🤚.
After leaving India the first time - I left with such a deeper level of appreciation for what we are doing. I mean - PROFOUNDLY deeper. I remember a conversation during one of our volunteer meetings, where a fellow volunteer and new friend, Chaitali, was having a really difficult time the first few weeks. She said everyone kept talking about how amazing Manav Sadhna was, and how overwhelmed with love and gratitude they were. She said that she just couldn't get there. That she knew she should feel that way but she just didn't. She expected this feeling to come immediately from being there, but she couldn't uncover it. I compared this to when we first started traveling. I told her that when Zach and I first started our trip I had a mental block. I was not enjoying myself. Everyone we met was so excited and overflowing with this fascination for the moment we were in and all I kept thinking was "this moment isn't good enough." I was comparing everyone else's feelings to my own. In turn masking all of the excitement surrounding me. It wasn't until I realized that I had too many expectations in my mind - that I started truly feeling the value for what we were doing. It wasn't until I let go of all the expectations and went into each new country, each new city, each new hostel, each new experience BLINDLY - that I finally uncovered this excitement and fulfillment. One of the biggest causes of unhappiness is comparison. Comparing yourself to others. Your journey to others. Your emotions to others.
When we got to Goa, it was not what I expected. I'm unsure of exactly what my expectations were - but this was not it. But I was perfectly okay with that. I was actually a bit relieved by it. And a whole lot more fascinated by it. Goa is an Indian hippy destination where psychedelics and Russian dreadlocks roam the beach. A place with so many foreign energies, I could not have put this together in my mind without seeing it. The Arabian sun beats down on the red beach sands and the smell of marijuana flocks every corner. But it has character. It has a very distinct vibe. And though it isn't a destination I'll ever be back to - I enjoyed seeing its personality in every little street bazaar and beach bar.