And now, the road trip is over. We covered twenty states, three provinces, and nearly nine thousand kilometres. We’re currently in my hometown, where I’ll stay for a few months. Although I’m now in the coldest city in Canada at the very beginning of winter, I think it will be beneficial for me to stay in one place for longer than a few weeks; since last September I have been steadily moving, visiting eighteen countries and countless cities. I can’t even imagine how many different hotel beds and friends’ guest rooms I’ve slept in, how many restaurants I’ve tried, how many hours I spent looking out the windows of a train or bus or airplane. It’s been an exhilarating thirteen months, but it’s time to slow down, time to study, work, and settle. I will also be able to spend much more time on this blog, which I haven’t had time to do recently.
While I was in India, I made the decision to purchase a small house in my hometown – it was a great deal and I know that it will be an important asset down the line. It also means that I have this house to live in for the next few months, so we’ve spent the last week building furniture, raking leaves, cooking, and decorating, trying to make this place a home. It finally feels like one, one filled with Indian tapestries, Burmese Buddhas, Indonesian masks, and oodles of books. Opening all the boxes I sent home over the past year has been so much fun, and it reminds me of all the amazing times I had, all the markets I shopped in and the shopkeepers I bartered with. When I think of markets, I immediately think of India, of streets filled with shops selling anything and everything you would want: bangles, spices, saris, tapestries, paintings, silver, cameras, books, and more. I miss those markets, and I can’t wait for the day when I can return to India, ready once again with an open mind (and an open wallet).