I went to India the second week of January for work. My colleague, a videographer, and I, a writer, were there to cover a water desalination device developed at our university and its impact on the lives of villagers in rural India, where electricity and money and clean water are all hard to come by.
It doesn’t sound scary, I know, but I have to admit I was a little nervous. For one, I would be away from my daughter for almost two weeks.
Two, I was going to a developing country, a first for me. I’ve traveled to well developed countries like England, Iceland, Italy, and France, but never anything like this. I really had no idea what I should be prepared to see or feel. All I knew was that apparently I was going to stand out, I should bring my own toilet paper, I’d probably get ill, and I owned zero appropriate clothing.
Three, I was going on a work trip, so, while I was traveling with a co-worker and wouldn’t technically be on my own, in a way I was going alone — another first for me.
Four, we weren’t going as tourists, meandering around big cities to see the sights and shop and eat our hearts out – we were going to mostly small, poor villages that lack basic amenities like 24-hour electricity and clean water. Did I mention how long the flights were? Oh, and I would be practicing a type of extended in-the-field journalism that I had never done before, getting nice and cozy with subjects and environments that were quite different from anything I’ve ever known.
Talk about moving outside your comfort zone. I didn’t know if I’d get there and burst with joy from experiencing so many new things all at once, or start crying and maybe vomit from the shock and horror of it all. It really was a toss-up.
Nevertheless, I was excited. (More …)