First Impressions of India

A hazy Kochi view

A hazy Kochi view

Thirty hours of rigorous travel and claustrophobic flights could not prepare me for an equally strenuous culture adjustment; however, that is the appeal of being a Western foreigner today — the luxury of being able to experience contrastingly different ways of life should not be squandered, rather embraced positively — here is a chance to engage in a learning experience unparalleled by classrooms in a university.

It is always amusing to me that even before arriving in a particular foreign destination, airlines attempt to mediate “culture adjustment” by serving airplane-food versions of that culture’s culinary specialty; I actually regret not taking a picture of said “food,” but I am sure it is not hard to imagine the quality.

Being of an open mind, I surely won’t take this as a sign of what’s to come, and one must have an open mind when it comes to food in India. As a man who values his protein, and someone who adores a premium filet or good-old American hamburger, ironically I can say for sure that I have no problems exploring the varieties of vegetarian dishes offered in India. Adjustments in this department, which are minor and what I am still exploring, are the levels of spiciness one can endure. Having an open palette and the willingness to experiment makes this journey in India very appealing for me. To put it bluntly, I love food.

Beyond this initial introduction of Indian food, the beginning of my journey has for the most part been my crash-course exposure to urban Indian living via the city of Kochin in the state of Kerala. Here I was housed at Crist and Amie Inman’s flat for adjustment purposes before our trek to Raxa Collective’s Cardamom County property and the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The view from the apartment is vast and actually quite deceiving, because even though lush vegetation protrudes from all angles, with coconut trees abundant; underneath the canopy dwell Keralites in constant motion. It seems akin to a symbiotic relationship between jungle and man, a vast organism with arteries comprised of concrete roads and flowing rivers.

I had little time to absorb the true essence of the city before we departed for Cardamom County, however, I am sure more opportunities to explore will present themselves.

Being an avid enthusiast of a potpourri of interests (surfing, ecology, wildlife [herpetology and entomology included!], sustainability, conservation, fitness, philosophy, music, and much more), I am stoked (as us surfer’s would exclaim) to have the opportunity to be in a place where all these interests can come together.  It is my hope to be able to employ my skillset in such a way that I benefit not only the interests of Cardamom County, but myself as well.

Ideally…  this will be a therapeutic experience on a personal level; as I graduate from being a full-time student for the last twenty two years of my life to finally having to make a decision about what the next step is, it is a hard pill to swallow not having the safety net of school in the future.

I am confident that my time in India and my contributions to Raxa Collective will help me find myself.

5 thoughts on “First Impressions of India

  1. Lovely musings – Thank you for sharing your insights and descriptions of India. I am looking forward to more adventures, discoveries, and stories from you.

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