Finding my traveller's rhythm

It was a hot March afternoon in Jaipur, India and I had just finished visiting yet another fort in the city. With architectural elements of the buildings satisfactorily cataloged in my SD card, I winded my way down the steep hill back to the city center on foot, passing up the many auto-rickshaw drivers who stopped to ask if I needed a ride. No, I was very content to go this path on my own; basking in that comfortable glow of one who feels very much at home.

It was about 5pm by the time I approached the urban area and the sun was beginning to set. I had made it to the very edge of the city wall, painted salmon pink, which gave Jaipur its famous nickname as the Pink City. Then it started to rain. Heavily. 

I ran for cover at a nearby bakery along with a small crowd of Indian men caught off-guard by the downpour. After several days of sunshine, this was the first time I found myself in rainy weather. It was a small pre-cursor to the monsoon season which would start in a couple more months.

So I stood there and waited and the shop owner offered me a small chai. Then the sun set in earnest and all of a sudden, the orange-gold of the sunset bounced off the pink city wall and exploded into innumerable rays of light which in turn reflected off the shining teardrops of rain. I watched as men closed up their shops, pulling tarps over their vegetable stands and herding cows indoors. And everything was bathed in that amazing orange-gold-pink.

For a moment, I felt I stood there alone. In solitude, witnessing what might end up being the most beautiful site I will ever see in my life. And I felt content to just stand there forever. It's funny the kinds of thoughts one will conjure when they are thought in the absence of company.

Ofcourse, the rain eventually lifted and the crowd dispersed. I continued on stomping through mud.

This was my traveller's rhythm in India. Actually, it's the same rhythm I carried through all of Asia and most of Europe. And by rhythm, I refer to that steady drumbeat inside your head which dictates the mode in which you travel. It determines your pace, mood, and interactions. And if it's a good earnest beat, it will open your eyes to the hidden beauty of the environment around you.

I wanted to share this story about India because...well, first because as I've said many times, I loved India and I love to talk about it. But also because I'm wrapping up a month-long trip in Peru and have been reflecting on all the ways it has been so different from the previous places I've been to. It's hard to find the right words for it but I just felt I had never gotten into my proper rhythm here. I was applying the same logistical techniques from before to a part of the world which simply didn't have the same identity and the end result left me feeling a bit hollow. And I wondered. Just wondered.

That's not to say I'm having a horrible time. If I entered a new city and found myself disappointed in the sites it had to offer - which happened a lot unfortunately - it was easy to find people to go drinking with instead. I had a fun time killing my liver and meeting some of the most interesting people from all over the world - Peru, South America, and beyond.

Tomorrow, I catch a bus into Bolivia. In one more week, I'll meet my boyfriend in Uyuni, Bolivia and the whole rhythm of this trip will alter drastically when a solo female turns into a couple. Neither member of which can properly speak Spanish, mind you, but that's a separate issue.

I'm counting down the days until I can see him again. And maybe his arrival will bring with it the energy I need for travelling the rest of South America.

Ciao, Peru.

Horserider on Taquile Island in Lake Titicaca
(My last stop in Peru)

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