Three more of my favorites from the trip…

I love the picture above, because it captures something about the puzzle that is India. A beautiful woman laughs with her friends in the sunshine. What isn’t so easy to see is that the pile of straw she leans against is strapped to her back for carrying. That must be heavy!

By western standards, the lives of so many Indians should be miserable. But are they? Can we know? So often there’s visible joy, color, ornamentation, and dignity existing alongside toil, squalor and extreme poverty. How does it happen? Is there something fundamentally upside-down about our western view of happiness?

One question that several people have asked me since I’ve been back is, “Was the trip life-changing?” I honestly don’t know how to answer that. I’ve only been back a short time. My suitcase is still not quite unpacked. It will take much longer to unpack all the visual memories, emotions, conversations, and experiences to see what, if anything, they mean.

One thing is true: each time I travel, more of the world becomes “real” to me. It’s one thing to see images on tv or in magazines, but when I’ve been to a place, talked to people, and eaten their food, something changes.

Now, when I read about flooding in Thailand or the latest sectarian violence in India, it feels like this has something to do with me. I feel a concern, as I would if I had relatives there. Because in a sense, I do.

If you’d like to see my full album of pictures from India, click here.