About four months ago, I was given the opportunity to go to India, with my employer sponsoring my voyage. I was a bit shocked. All of my life I have wanted to travel, especially to India. When offered, it seemed too good to be true—but I accepted, naturally.
Now here I am, with only two weeks until I leave for India to pursue my dreams of traveling, and following my even greater calling of helping others. How do I feel? Nervous, but excited. Living in India is going to be strange, but it absolutely feels like the right thing to do.
As the time to travel draws nearer, I find that I am either rushing to get everything done or stunned because I have so much to do, I don’t know where to begin. A lot of my preparation is mental. I have never been outside of my country before. I find myself imagining different scenarios. What’s it going to be like, taking a plane across an ocean and to an entirely different continent? How much should I pack? What’s it going to be like, meeting my pen pal for the first time, once I arrive? I’ve also been trying to find the best volunteer opportunity for myself, when in India. I’ve always dreamed of teaching English to children, but I will know what speaks to me most when I arrive.
Currently, I study India’s culture on a weekly basis. I have a pretty good idea of what to expect during my time in India. Getting there is the most intimidating part. And while English is widely spoken and understood in most parts of India, I’ve also been studying basic Hindi.
Traveling has never been about just seeing the sights for me. It’s about the language, culture and whether or not I can leave an impression and make a difference. If all goes well, I’ll return home having volunteered at least once, parting India with everlasting friendships, unforgettable memories and a will to return as soon as possible.