Having sufficient time now to fully reflect on our “Gate One” tour of India from 3/19-3/29, the primary focus of several, upcoming blogs will focus on providing a complete picture of this incomparable experience. I can truly say as an introduction that this journey of New Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra could be best described best as a rigorous trip rather than a relaxing vacation given the short amount of time allotted there. Nonetheless, our tour guide challenged us to see “first time India” up close and authentic amidst the bewildering presence of extreme cultural unfamiliarity.
When I taught Gifted Education in Miami, I regularly encouraged my very curious students to “critically examine” new ideas and practical applications about “Social Studies, using several “point of views” The same applies to me in my own travels it seems. Returning to my heavy use of Edward DeBono’s “Thinking Hat” approach to learning mastery in such classes, I feel that I have found a perfect paradigm to reflect deeply about our recent India experience.
What are the most important learnings I have experienced about India to recommended for the curious traveler?
1. Explore the essence of Hindu/Buddhist philosophy in rural areas of India to experience the unique sense of inner serenity.
2. Exhibit kindness toward animals from the perspective of a poverty-stricken, Indian family.
3. Dare to eat spicy food that you have no idea when and how your stomach will react to it.
4. Trust a “Tuk-Tuk”Driver to convey you to non-touristy shops and cafes “off the beaten track.”
5. Rise at sunrise and hear the eerie calls of the Islamic muezzin to daily prayer.
6. Realize your global responsibility to find workable solutions to urban overpopulation, air/ground pollution and “out of control” garbage presence.
As my wife and I conclude the first month of our 2017 Spring travel itinerary, we will now slow down from our day-to- day schedule of traversing vast distances to enjoy a one-month stay in stunningly beautiful Morro Bay, California. I look forward to providing you with a most descriptive written, picture of India accompanied by a multitude of related photographs. Namaste.