It’s now been a month since we left the U.S. I can’t decide if it’s felt long or short. On the one hand, it feels like forever since we were on a safari in Uganda. But on the other hand, I couldn’t say that it’s felt like a month has gone by. So many things have happened, and yet so much is yet to come.
It’s interesting to compare all the places we’ve been so far. We’ve really gone from one extreme to the next, and you can feel the change almost instantly. From the chaos of Africa to the hybrid culture of Istanbul to the hearty kindness of Poland to the brusqueness of Moscow to the pandemonium of Delhi’s streets to the serene nature of Nepal – there’s always something different around the corner. And everything changes – the culture, the climate, the food, the clothing, the language, the degree of personal space that’s acceptable, etc. The length of days has gone from 12 hours even in Uganda (from 7am-7pm, like clockwork everyday) to almost 17 hours in Moscow (sunrise at 4:30am, sunset after 11pm). The temperatures have ranged from 50 degrees on a rainy day in Poland to 107 degrees when we arrived in Delhi at 1am. The time difference has varied from 7 hours ahead to 11 hours and 45 minutes ahead (yes, 45 minutes). The cost of things have ranged from $2.00 for a very large Nile Special (beer) in Uganda to $45 for breakfast in Moscow to an $8 cab ride for a 30-minute ride in Kathmandu. And the comparisons could go on and on.
Only through doing a round the world trip like we’re doing can one really experience these drastic changes. When someone takes a vacation to one country for a few weeks and then returns home, it’s not the same. They are only experiencing one foreign environment for a short time before returning to the comfort zone of their own culture. Sure they can make comparisons between their home and where they traveled, but it doesn’t provide a comprehensive view of the diversity of life. This trip has really made me wonder at the ability of the planet to support all these different lifestyles and cultures, and for so many people. Experiencing all of these different environments has provided me with a new appreciation for the vastness of humankind and the diversity that exists on this earth.
Now, post my philosophical musings, a current update: We arrived in India, and after that Nepal, yesterday, and I’m excited to say that this is my first time in Asia! A new continent, a new milestone. We are on our way to visit Maggie Doyne in Surkhet, who over the past five years has built an orphanage and, most recently, a school for the abandoned children of Nepal. We’ll be staying with her and the kids for a week, and we’re really looking forward to it. Stay tuned for accounts of our visit!