I’ve sort of been to India. Only sort-of.
My trip began with a rocky start. I had a connecting flight to Chicago that kept getting more and more delayed. When I finally arrived in Chicago, I realized I had missed my flight to India. After airline workers directed me to about five different places, they gave me a new route. First, I spent 9 hours chilling in the Chicago airport. Then, I took an unexpected trip home. Again, sort-of.
They re-routed me through London. You’re probably aware that I lived in England for half a year (if you were not aware, then—shameless plug—you should scroll to some of my previous posts). I hadn’t returned to England since I moved back to The States, and although I missed it, I didn’t realize I needed to be back for a moment.
I strolled into Heathrow Airport and became flooded with memories. I immediately went to an airport pub to get fish and chips, and then I visited a sweet shop to get a Bakewell tart. I struck up a few conversations with other travelers just because I missed their accents. I walked around convenience stores and pharmacies that are regional to the UK. Just that little walk down memory lane—albeit just three hours long—made my soul happy.
And then, I hopped on a long flight to Hyderabad, India, where I arrived just after daylight. It was a small airport. The unofficial taxi drivers flocked to me; I was alone and American. Despite my exhaustion, I pushed past them to an airport taxi and rode an hour to my hotel.
The thing about hotels in my line of work—I stay in some swaggy ones. Several of these cities do not have middle-of-the-line hotels. It’s either crystal chandeliers and plush robes or dirty walls and tetanus. So my work provides the posh ones.
I arrived in my room and took a thirty-minute shower under the waterfall shower head. I always feel gross after being on long flights.
Despite my original plan to get to the hotel the night before work was to begin, my delays and re-route put me there the day-of. So I stuck my face in cold water, downed two cups of coffee, grabbed some room service, and went to work.
I met with an agent and tried my best to not look like I was about to fall asleep in my chair. Then, I went to an exhibition hall, set up, and worked a five-hour student recruitment fair.
One of the representatives from another school commented, “You’re so smiley and full of energy!”
“It’s completely artificial at this point,” I responded.
I skipped dinner and went to bed. But I didn’t sleep long. I got up, got ready, rode to the airport, and headed to my next city to do the same thing. And then again. And again for a week. The finale city was different because, instead of a flight, it required an eight-hour bus ride. I had so little sleep throughout the week, and barely ate as well because I just didn’t have the time. The only time I wavered from an airport, hotel, or mode of transportation was when I took a fifteen minute walk outside one of my hotels before a fair.
So in a way, I still haven’t got a full Indian experience despite being there a week. But that’s OK—all the more reason to go back. I also had to remind myself that all my travel recruitment is not as non-stop as that trip. Most work trips have a little room for down time and exploration along with the hard work.
After I arrived home, I noticed I brought back an extra souvenir: Delhi Belly. If you’re not familiar with that, don’t Google it. It’s basically just a super upset stomach that lasts a few days thanks to lots of curry food that may or may not always be the most sanitary. It was horrid… but I lost five pounds!
To conclude this random glimpse of India, it was no resort vacation to say the least; however, it was enlightening. I talked to so many students while working there, several of whom were very interested in my university. With each conversation I had, I became more confident in what I was saying—more excited to be in the line of work I’m in. And just as some university representatives helped me find my way several years ago, I hope I have done the same for a few Indian students.
Now on to the next place. Trust me. It’s quite the journey.