Dare to Dream of India

Do you dream of India?

In that dream what do you see?

Is it the waving palm trees announcing your arrival to Mumbai?

mumbai palms

The pink palaces of Jodhpur?

fort raas

View of the fort from a room at the Hotel Raas

The golden sands of Jaisalmer?camel boys

Those gorgeous sari colours that get caught in the breeze?

ladies temple

Ladies outside an Udaipur temple

Or does India bring other things to mind: Dirty streets. Begging Children. Delhi Belly. Slumdogs.

Before we got here we were braced for more of the latter than the former. My knowledge of this country wasn’t as a journalist or a researcher or a traveler it was as a consumer– of movies and television.

I knew all about the Bollywood Glam and the IT outsourcing and the Slums of Mumbai. I knew of Gandhi and poverty and that Ayurveda had its roots here. And that’s about it.

I’m not proud of that fact, but it’s the truth and I share it with you because I know that many of you know only that much too. That the fear of what might be waiting here has stopped you from visiting and that, my friends, would be a shame.

Because in seven days I’ve already learned so much about this place.

Shephards at work

Village shephards

I have Liberty Travel  to thank for that. He and the team at Liberty  took my desire to understand this country seriously and set out an itinerary that will have me criss-cross it over the next six weeks exposing me to its history and beauty.

Learning with Mr. Singh

Exploring elephant carriages with our guide in Jodhpur

I have only been in Rajasthan so far but already I’ve fallen in love with the ways of the Maharajahs and those who fought against Britain’s colonization. I’ve tasted teas I’ll need to take home and salivated over the decor of locally run hotels. I’ve seen 5-star luxe in completely Indian owned and operated hotels that would match and surpass many of the properties I’ve visited in other so called first-world countries.

arvind teacher

Learning from Arvind our guide in Udaipur

I’ve seen immaculately kept homes in the middle of the dessert. I’ve watched people work harder than they should for less than they deserve.  I’ve been offered chai tea from people who can’t afford to do so.

Chatting with villagersI’ve met people who I knew within hours would be friends for years to come, developed an entirely new understanding of hospitality and continuously nurtured a dangerous craving for Laal Maas and Naan.

And I’ve done it with my children in tow.

weavers

Sharing a moment with famous Drury rug weavers in a village outside Jodhpur who literally gave up their turbans for the boys

Watching, learning and immersing themselves in what is just another day in their lives; never once thinking that there is anything odd or different about a man who drapes cloth around his head or  a woman who offers them a bindi when they enter.

bindi welcome

Bindi Welcome to Hotel Raas in Jodhpur

For my boys this time in India is simply more adventure  in a year of adventures. And if it means that when they are on the cusp of 40 and asked what they think of when they think of India and they can only remember how welcome they felt here and how beautifully they’ve been treated, then this visit has already been a success.

family temple

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{ 12 comments… add one }

Anonymous January 30, 2012, 8:15 AM

I’ll admit it. India was not high on my list of places to see. You just moved it into the Top 3. :) Love reading your blog.

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Heather January 30, 2012, 8:18 AM

Mission Accomplished! :) So worth it Candace. Unbelievable

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Tammy @Inrdream February 3, 2012, 1:34 PM

Toy are loving R dream to share the world with r children! I am enjoying following u on this journey. Thank u for taking me there with each post u publish! @Inrdream

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Jen Maier, urbanmoms January 30, 2012, 8:44 AM

Wow. I have heard many “warnings” about traveling in India but I will admit that it always intrigued me. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more. What a great gift your boys are receiving!

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Heather February 3, 2012, 8:45 AM

They are enjoying India and I am too. I can’t speak for the whole country yet but what I’ve seen has been amazing. 

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Anji January 30, 2012, 10:13 AM

So inspiring reading your blog post. When you land into India and live it, all those stereotypes dissappear, because each one lives their own story. Its a land of extremes but in spite of it all, it’s a country that is alive and bustling with life and energy on the verge of bursting to glow to the world! 

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Heather February 3, 2012, 8:44 AM

Thanks Anji. It has been enlightening to say the least.Looking forward to all that is to come. 

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Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments January 30, 2012, 12:33 PM

Amazing.  What you are giving your boys and what they in turn will be able to give to those they meet and share stories with (back here in the so called 1st world country) is truly amazing.  One day, I hope to give my children these same experiences, insights and understanding. 

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Heather February 3, 2012, 8:46 AM

That’s what I’m hoping for Maija — that they’ll use this experience to affect the people they encounter for years to come

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CynthiaCrumb February 2, 2012, 10:59 PM

I love this.  I love what you’re doing and that we can all experience it vicariously through you!  Looking forward to more updates from the incredible journey.  India looks absolutely fascinating.

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Heather February 3, 2012, 8:45 AM

Thanks so much! I’ve never been more sure of anything. This was the right thing to do and the right time to do it. 

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Tara Gaston February 12, 2012, 2:09 AM

Wow, love reading about your experiences in India!  I saw Viji last night and she was saying how I needed to read your blog. I am bookmarking it now so I can keep up on your travels. So neat that your kids are able to experience a year abroad with you and  your husband. What an unbelievable experience for all of you. Memories to last a lifetime!

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