I wanted to write this love story for you about the 3rd leg of my trip, a 4-city journey through the beautiful state of RAJASTHAN (Pushkar –> Osian –> Jaisalmer –> Bikaner), but I just can’t seem to do it…my heart is broken. I’ve tried a few times in the past couple of weeks since I’ve been home, but the words don’t come [past a single paragraph]. You see, what I wrote in India about this part of my trip, felt exclusively narrative, void of emotion. I never shared it because it felt disconnected. I wrote it after coming back to Delhi from a 15-day journey through RAJASTHAN and PUNJAB. It might’ve been the highlight of my trip, but the words didn’t seem to convey that message one bit. I couldn’t figure out why; I always write from the heart, unfiltered. There was no connectivity for the reader. It didn’t make sense. And here I am now, back home in the States, struggling for words, again, but this time because of a broken heart, thus a lack of focus, not emotion…

I’m suffering from reverse culture shock, for probably the 1st time in my adult life (which is reaching the 1/2-way point, so I got miles logged). I’ve been home for about a month, doing everything that is humanly possible to avoid the insanely massive workload that awaits me from the mountain of content I accumulated in India. So, I’m just going to hit you with the free flow of thoughts that swirled through my head as we traveled through Rajasthan:

We rode on tanks. Yes, TANKS. Lots of dust & exhaust, felt like a beast, wanted to take on the world. AWESOME. Rode camels too. Mine was quite gassy, even dropped a bomb when we started our ride. Perfect. Quite different from the tanks. Much more peaceful. Quiet. Serene.

Music everywhere. So much so, in our rooms they provided earplugs to sleep with. We nearly hit a rogue peacock with the mafia truck my Jeejah drives. Wow, look at all the colors! I had to yell at a taxi-wala to move his rickshaw in a tunnel…like crazy-man-yell yell. 5 mins later I stepped into a fresh, hot, steamy mound of cow turd and slid into a standing-partial-split, as my niece saw the whole event & could’ve prevented it (instead she chose to pull on her mom’s shirt & warn-whisper to her that I was about to step in dookey…at the exact moment that I did indeed, step in dookey). That dude’s mustache is sick. Do you have anymore aloo-parathas left in the car?

Did we really just stay in 4 palaces? Damn. One was a fort built in the 10th century. Whoa, that’s a MASSIVE turban. I had the best food of my entire trip to India in Pushkar. Had my first decent coffee anything, a double-espresso, which was brought as 2 separate espressos…they’re still learning about coffee  Damn, that’s a dope mustache. We ran into a Vespa scooter gang…twice. Achaar on everything. The women of Rajasthan are no joke. Yo man, don’t go near no fuckin’ monkeys…for real.

Man, is that another palace? This sucks staying in lavish palaces, solo…OK, I’ll make do  The dogs & cows in India have a symbiotic relationship, its cute. Top 10 sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life happened on the road in Rajasthan. Got to scale a fortress wall & lookout tower.

Heard some of the best folk singers of my life. The lead singer was a 13yr old boy that literally brought me to tears with his voice. Truth. I was so moved, I asked him and the 2 other vocalists to record 3 songs on my iPhone. Kid was straight out of a village in Bikaner. I feel so lucky. High tea in the desert. High beer too  Got offered “Magic Lassi”. Visited the cancer hospital where my sister works. Enjoyed a bottle of “Takes You to Sunny Places” single malt on the rooftop of a fort; only 279 bottles made.

Early morning, on the same rooftop, made a pair of beats as I watched the sunrise. Cold Kingfishers, all around, etc., etc.  Look, I left that country on a high. And now I’m coming down. I’m having withdrawals, so instead of waiting for the perfect editorial piece to accompany my images, I’m just going to let the images speak for Rajasthanand leave you with one last thought as I come back down to reality (scroll down, you’ll see)…

Simply put, India fucked me up – good & bad, take your pick. It just has its way with you and when you leave that environment and come back to your own controlled space, its a literal mind-fuck. Travel people. If there’s one thing you can do, TRAVEL. Go. See the world. Take a personal day. Vacation time. Sick days (don’t pretend like everyone on this PLANET doesn’t already take time off with sick days). Do what you need to do to make the time in your life to travel the world. Not down the street, not to the next state or across country. Leave this continent. Take your loved ones with you. Go solo. Just go. It will change you. It will ground you. It will remind you that life is about just that, LIFE. It goes on, with or without you. It is both beautiful and unforgiving. Here or anywhere else. It will remind you that you have it good…so, so good and you also got it bad. It will wake you up. It will make you realize the world is both a huge and tiny place, that we all have similarities, but our differences is what makes us who we are. It will teach you to hug people more. Reach out to family. Connect. It will remind you that value in life is measured in relationships, family, love. Not wealth and network. It will teach you humility. It will flip your entire perspective on life on its axis and force you to adopt various schools of thought you never thought you’d embrace. Do whatever you can to leave wherever you are from and see the world. A small portion at a time, just make the effort if you have the means & will to do so…travel.

Yash Dhillon