In 2011 I flew halfway around the world one way (Georgia westward to Thailand) and then back the other way (Georgia eastward to India). I traversed the globe! This may be a dream to some but to me it's the revelation of a vision that I nurtured for a decade. During my trip to India I kept a journal so I will be sharing snippets from my entries on Facebook and my Blog. Keep in mind that my ideas and language may shift as well as the tense. I was writing whenever I could find time on planes, in cars, in bed, etc.
Next year is a milestone. It marks the year that I have defined my profession as a Photojournalist longer than any other path in my life. Longer than as an Electrical Engineer, a Real Estate Acquisition advisor, a Marketing Rep, or a Small Business Development Consultant. I am a living testimony that following the sheer will of God for one’s life produces unimaginable results.
Packing for my return to India I am reminded of the nostalgia I felt packing to leave from Corporate America. I was departing my old career to embark on a new journey through photography and the feeling was simultaneously exhilarating and frightening. Once arriving at my former office building I recall driving into the parking deck and then carefully scanning my badge. I had done this for five years, however, when I entered the building on that morning I felt as if I was floating (not walking) past other employees to my office. At last, I arrived in the dimly lit cubicle to collect my belongings. One by one I placed each item into a box as I reflected on the past. This chapter was over and I invited the future of my new life to unfold right before my eyes.
So it is six years later as I pack for a month long trip to India that I am in another state of flux. Two weeks ago Brandi and I ran a marathon in New York and then four days ago we moved into a new home. I’m crazy I know! We’re still a little sore.
I just transferred from Delta to Emirates. I like this airline. Last night I went online to select my food preferences - seafood the entire way. In Houston I met the groom, Samir. He's much taller than I had imagined. I met his wife, Amruta, for dinner back in October while I was doing a corporate shoot in Texas and we shared pictures of our dogs and spouses. Now Samir and I happen to be on the same flight to India. We exchange pleasantries and talk briefly about the trip. We have to stop and change planes in Dubai. I remember this airport well and I direct Samir to a lounge with an open internet connection where I need to Skype Brandi. Did I just leave my iPAD at security? No way! I went back to get it. We have just flown about 15 hrs and I am so tired but our next flight to India is ready to depart so we are off again. I am not sure what to expect once we land. In 2009 I visited Southeast India but now I am headed to the West. I am not naïve to the fact that different areas of the country will present unique experiences.
Finally we land and getting through security is a trip. My cameras and lenses do not pass through without suspicion. Its still dark outside so I cannot really see anything and that's frustrating so I leave my camera in the bag for now. Samir’s uncle, Hitesh, is in the car with us and he does not speak much English so Samir manages to translate for me. We drive past some of the tobacco fields and I am told all about the family business here. I’ve been thinking about how much I miss Brandi and Bauer already. I am very hungry but my overwhelming exhaustion wins the battle and I’m sleep before I realize it. I awaken to my own excitement of the car stopping. We arrive at a large white home and I am welcomed by what appears to be three different families. I'm already working on remembering names and figuring out the relationships. I am offered breakfast and tea but quickly fall asleep again.
That evening we left to meet the bride and visit some jewelry stores. She is shopping for the wedding. I meet her mother and father whom I've only communicated with by email. I feel there is an immediate connection! They take me to get my first taste of ice cream in India. The ice cream is cut on a leaf and then served on a plate. One can select individual flavors or a combination of all of them.
During dinner I gave my new apprentice, Akshar - cousin of Samir, a lesson on depth of field. I taught him using a guitar and other items near our table. After eating I know I've got to go running in the morning to burn some serious calories.