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Gaining Confidence on my Gap Year

Today marks one month abroad on my WorldStamp gap year and it has been an incredible ride: the things I've seen, the friendships I've made, the challenges I've faced, and most importantly, the growth I have acquired. The feeling of fear is slowly coming back because I know in just a few weeks I will be in a new country, Vietnam, with new people! But this time, it will be with confidence and is outweighed by excitement; I am ready to dive in dauntlessly.
India is a country I have fallen in love with, which makes it ten times harder to leave this place in a few weeks! This week has consisted of many emotions as I experienced new things with my volunteer work and a trip to Varanasi! The best way to describe is bitter-sweet.

On the way to Varanasi, I was going through some old pictures and I came across some from the day I departed for India. It has been exactly one month since I arrived in India. I thought to myself "Wow, I have changed quite a bit in so little time." At times, I still catch a glimpse of the fear I had to travel on my own, but I am gradually turning it into confidence. For example, I got a little nostalgic when we stopped in Delhi, because I remembered all of my feelings of insecurity. At the same time, I was feeling accomplished that I had overcome that fear. The journey to Varanasi was long but an overall invaluable odyssey. I got a different taste of India and it's beautiful culture. I experienced a great culture shock but at the same time never felt so peaceful. The traffic is way busier than in Jaipur, but the ironic thing is that Varanasi is known to be one of the holiest and most peaceful places of India. As I rode through the narrow streets in a tuk-tuk, all I could hear were endless honking noises. It was interesting that the village life was so hectic and intense, but, when you reach the Ganges River, the mood suddenly changes. It is as if daily life disappears and you are one with the external world.

Earlier this week I also had the opportunity to teach the children at the Elephant Village. It was a completely different experience from teaching my women's group. They have so much energy and it was amazing to see their desire to learn and their overall passion for life. They are very happy children and are so happy to be there. They live in the elephant village, which is still in development; however, they do not have the best living conditions. Despite that, just by the way they immerse themselves in a lesson or interact in the classroom, it's no question that this school is their happy place and where they are free to express themselves. At the end of the day, they sang a special song, "Goodbye Song" and I was almost in tears! Hearing them sing brought me so much joy.
All- embracing, I have had to said goodbye to many fellow volunteers and it just reminds me how hard it's going to be for me to say goodbye to the small portion of a life I have formed here in India. However, it also serves as a reminder to keep my mind open, cherish every moment, and immerse myself in all that travel has to offer! Part of the beauty of traveling is meeting new people and sharing small portions of an entire juncture with them! It's a particular feeling of joy and gratitude to cherish forever! Exactly one month ago I was so fearful of the unknown and that "unknown" has evolved into a peculiar and special journey! And I'm only halfway!