To date my blog posts have been about the road once traveled but I’m regularly asked how I prepare for a trip. How do I decide where I’m going? What do I read beforehand? How do I pack when I travel solo and inexpensively? I’m going to India for at least a month in February followed by at least another month someplace else TBD. It seems a good time to periodically post about my preparations for the trip.
India has never been on my bucket list. It seems too massive geographically and culturally to really wrap one’s travel head around on a visit of any length. But I have two longtime friends who, in 2008, started and continue to support a private humanitarian project in India called The India Group and they convinced me to fund the school tuition of Amandeep, a six year old boy in the project.
Paul and Richard are consummate travelers who’ve hosted me at their condo in NYC and their riad in Morocco. They’re also compassionate and interesting and I love that they embrace Mother Teresa’s theory of change – that its better to make a humanitarian difference by doing a small thing well then to be overwhelmed by the scale of the world’s problems and do nothing. In fact, as I write this, Paul is in India traveling 14 hours by train to accompany a young girl who desperately needs reconstructive surgery and her parents to the nearest decent hospital for the first surgery visit. Nearly two decades ago, the two of them began a school in a tourist area on the Caribbean coast of Mexico when they realized the maintenance and cleaning employees at their condo brought their children with them to work because there was no school. Their project there has successfully provided a K-12 education for many children and funded and graduated some of them from college.
In short, there are many reasons I decided to go to non-bucket list India. Paul and Richard take a very small group of their supporters to India in February to visit the families supported by the project and help make decisions about next steps. I’ll get to meet and spend time with Amandeep and his family, talk to the teachers at his school and help make decisions about his education. See him in the photo? Second row from the top, second from the left? The trip involves some sight-seeing with the group led by Paul and Richard whose friendship and travel tastes I treasure. And the final week will be spent working at one of Mother Teresa’s facilities – a hospital or orphanage. At a time when it feels the world is paralyzed by fear of terrorism and the unknown of the superpowers engaging in politics, it feels right to wage my own small resistance to fear and hopelessness by doing what I can to make a tiny difference.”Doing small things with great love since 2008. The India Group“