It is 9 in the morning March 27th! AND I AM IN THE UNITED STATES!!! I time traveled yet again, but this time it was saturated with plane delays and not so nice China Southern representatives.
We left Saturday morning for the Delhi airport. The first flight was a four-hour connection to Guangzhou, China. Then a plane to Los Angeles and my final stop in Atlanta!
We were running about thirty minutes late from Delhi and we had to go through a mini-check with Chinese customs. We were going to have to haul through the airport to make the connection. Fourteen hours later, we left Guangzhou for Los Angeles! That’s right 1-4, 14 hours of delays in a cold airport. We slept there, were served bean soup and crackers, and made friends with other passengers. I am not trying to sugarcoat it, but it was miserable.
The level of frustration left me crying to my mom on FaceTime. We had limited wifi, no contact to a landline phone, and no communication from the airlines has driven me to make the ultimatum that I will NEVER fly with China Southern airlines again!
Although my trip ended on a bad trip home, I am thankful to Ana from American Airlines who kindly placed me on the standby list for my return flight home. It is now 10:34, still Sunday. I am sitting in the cushiony seat to ATLANTA! I can not let two traveling days of insanity diminish my phenomenal pilgrimage to India.
A pilgrimage is defined as a spiritual or religious journey from great distances to see a place or person that is important to a person’s beliefs. I do not qualify myself as religious, but more spiritual. And I don’t often voice my beliefs in such a public forum, but I do believe in destiny…a pre-determined path where forks in the road extend to different ends. Where people and places are set in your path to experience and embrace. Sometimes they stay a great deal of time and others are temporary, but they are woven into your life to gain perspective, laugh, love, and enrich life. My travel companions, the staff of the different hotels, our driver, and passengers on the various planes were all apart of my India journey.
My pilgrimage was a total distance of 18,986 miles. The flying was physically demanding on my derrière, as I mentioned in my earlier post. I am not sure what my expectations were heading into my pilgrimage. Many friends voiced concern that I would not return from the mythical India. Possibly running away like in the movie Eat, Pray, Love. As glorious as that would be, remember people I am a teacher! We don’t make enough money to run away from reality for forever. I could only expense 7 days of escape!
Now I have been home for two full days and I am not sure I have had any great insights or revelations. The moments of quiet in India, the awe of beautiful architecture, and the kindness when there was a language barrier are all moments that changed my perception of the world.
I don’t know what is next for me. In the face of poverty, there was happiness and love in India. I am fortunate to have a home, a car that transports me safety, and a means to make money, but I am not certain it is enough.
Here are the things I love whole-heartedly: my family, my dog, and my friends. Traveling has exposed that the things I once found important are dwindling to fringe. The unsettled limbo stage of life is currently unanswered. But my next journey to Europe with my mom as I explore the roots and homeland of the Erickson family will hopefully lead me to answer “what is next for me?”