Day 47

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My parents joke that I was born with circles on my feet, a Hindi expression meaning that I’d travel a lot. I started traveling by train around India when I was a few weeks old, (which sounds hilariously pretentious, now that I’ve written it down) and I moved from India to America at 1 month! My parents decided to settle down in California while their entire families lived on the East Coast. At a very young age, we started embarking on cross country roadtrips for the summer months. Mum and dad would pack us, car seats, suitcases, toys and food in a car and literally drive from place to place, calling up old friends, friends of friends and brand new Indian people to meet up and host preaching programs with along the way. I’m biased, but to my little self, it was the most fun I had ever had and my brother and I got to see America as a complex country fairly quickly – state lines, food options and changing climates shoving differences in our face. In retrospect, it was also a Herculean effort on my parents’ part to do this 4 times, across the U.S., round trip, each with kids under age 10 with an extremely limited budget (a factor we honestly never knew about until we grew up). We would spend hours singing, chanting verses, snacking, talking, fighting, throwing tantrums, listening to tapes on loop, watching the country fly by our windows – colors, signs and terrain changing as we drove. Dad did the bulk of the driving while mum cared for our every need; we looked forward to these trips because we were occasionally allowed junk – gas station ice cream or nachos. In addition to these trips, we would head off to India for a few months every other year, immersing ourselves in pilgrimages, visiting villages, inevitably falling sick but returning with renewed Hindi skills. It did not come as a surprise that one of my first interests in college was the study abroad program. Or that as soon as I could afford to travel, I set off as quickly as I could. I’ve spoken about the joys of solo travel in previous posts but I would like to thank my parents, my luck and the circles on feet today, for imbuing me with this privilege of wanderlust.

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