The longer I’m in India, the more I’m being redirected. My original idea was to travel a lot and follow some programs on ancient Indian practices from time to time. However, COVID-19 forced me to reconsider my plans and go for nomadic slow living instead, which I am actually starting to like.
Nomadic slow living is a mindful way of travelling in which the journey is more important than the destination. It’s about staying in one place for a longer time, soaking in your environments, living a local life, meeting various people and having all kinds of typical native experiences along the way. Instead of seeing all touristic and beautiful places, booking many activities and travelling a lot, slow living encourages you to indulge in the local culture or local daily life. So basically you live in the moment and honour the connection of all people, places and whatever is there. Actually it’s a quite holistic lifestyle in which you structure your life around meaning and fulfillment, focussing on the quality of your life.
What I do most, is work (necessary to cover my expenses), household chores, get groceries, cook, arrange local documents, walk around and have conversations with various people. From the pani puri woman to the Xerox man to grocery people, driving instructors, bank people, drivers, security guards, my therapist and just about every single person I meet on a day. It’s very interesting to know about their life, experiences and the way they think about things. Most people have a very simple lifestyle and are happy with that. They believe in pacing rather than rushing; enjoying the quality of a few minutes rather than counting them. That inspires me a lot and made me work towards a more conscious and reflecting way of life.
Talking with them I realize even more how everything I built up in my life actually means nothing. What are a higher education, growing up in a foreign country, having a beneficial currency etc. if you can’t even have this simple mindset of being happy in this very moment? These people are so much richer than me, in each and every way of what life is truly about. I learn a lot from our conversations and the local experiences. Mostly I learn to appreciate life more, see more positivity in everything that crosses my path and be happy more. Also, I’m starting to understand the Indian systems, like these complex government ways, North-South conflicts, the obsession with light skin, sex hungry guys, the rosy images of western countries… I agree many things are far from ideal, but I choose to keep seeing and appreciating the good efforts too.
We don’t have to agree with each other, but sharing different perspectives definitely gives a better understanding and makes us connect more. Talking about connection, I must say it’s a privilige to be Indian, have the Indian looks, knowing Hindi and be considered as a true Indian while slow living. Sometimes it feels like being a mystery guest haha.. People won’t know that I’m from abroad; most people just think I’m from Delhi and that makes things easier. Some people even expressed to me that they like the way I meet them with respect and have genuine conversations with them. Most people are really happy when I greet them respectfully with namaste, treat them as equal, ask them how they are doing and say thank you. Some people even express this and seeing their gratitude and them giving me good wishes & blessings often leaves me teary-eyed. I mean: it’s so sad that mutual respect isn’t just normal!
I know that for many people it’s difficult to understand my mindset and lifestyle. Many people online label me as weak, naive, having a romanticized view of India, being “too hindu” and also in daily life many travellers I meet ridicule me for being a practising hindu, being vegan, not smoking, not doing drugs, not drinking alcohol, not being a party person, wearing ethnic Indian clothes etc. They have all kinds of opinions on how a traveller should be “outgoing”, social, interact with other travellers more, travel all kinds of awesome places, posting amazing pictures etc. I guess I’m not the standard or typical traveller heheh.. I don’t know about that. I just know that I’m happy the way I am and nomadic slow living appears to be my travel style, at least for now. I like to find the right balance in life and live a meaningful one, travelling inward more than outward, living holistically and being a student of life.
Let’s see what the future will bring for me…..