Nicole Guzzo: Traveling to India
Travelling with my Momma as an adult is such a unique and incredible experience. To anyone who has the opportunity to travel solo with a parent, go for it !
This wasn't a holiday where we would shower after a good day out, sip wine and giggle... India consumes you and at the end of the day we would fall into our beds, and pass out with earplugs in hoping to drown out the noise of dogs, horns and 4am prayers to maybe sleep through the night.
We travelled through 7 amazing cities together and had wonderful experiences with eachother and the locals. She welcomes (and attracts) all the young boys. They all call her momma and she treats them all like her own, buying chai, dinners, beers. Whatever is going on she jumps right in. She is so wonderful, kind, funny, loving and her face when she is overwhelmed is reallllly funny.
Before leaving to India I saw the quote "If you want a vacation, go to Belize. If you want to be transformed, go to India" and after three weeks nothing else makes as much sense as this quote does. You don’t visit India, you experience it. While staying at hostels, homestays and with locals we were able to experience such an authentic India. We had to tattoo the words "accept it and move on” on our brains because if we didn't, we would have constantly been in a state of confusion and sadness.
We experienced the crazy, colourful, chaotic Delhi with our first experience to all the noises, smells, cows, dogs and constant questions. We were shown every travel bureau and train station nearest us, even though we never asked. We ate street food, hostel food and local restaurants and after 3 days we had both picked our favourites and begun eating a ton of Aloo Gobee and Paneer Butter Masala. Oh and if you were curious how long a dog can bark for, its all fucking night.
We ticked off another wonder of the world together and our mouths dropped as we entered the stunning and indescribable Taj Mahal in Agra. It looks like it does in photos, exactly like a painting. We experienced the first of many long photo sessions with locals who loved our eyes. We had dessert and masala chai at Sheroes Cafe, an inspiring cafe started by and run by victims of the acid attacks in India. These women have transformed their lives and now live as inspiration to women around the world.
We saw a LION (kiddingggg, a Tiger) in Ranthambore eating his kill just 40 feet from us, because in India, anything is possible!! I played soccer and cricket with the kids near us after jumping a brick wall to hang and talk with them in a dirt yard.
A creative genius who spoke no English taught me hand embroidery and how to tie dye in wood burning vates in Jaipur and Momma and I both bought beautiful hand made, hand knotted, silk carpets in Jaipur because, why not? We met a local who taught himself 7 languages without schooling and we began to feel just a little privileged and lazy that as English speakers we never had the need to speak another language.
In Pushkar, Momma spent most of her time at the lake experiencing all the beauty it has to offer and was able to continue her healing and find some peace. I can't explain the shift in her aura and spirit but it was miraculous seeing the lines on her face disappear in front of me! I saw laugh lines form and sad eyes brighten. I mainly spent time with locals and jumped into an exciting ethical business opportunity that will support many people in villages without jobs.
In Jodhpur we explored the breathtakingly beautiful blue city, met an inspiring store owning feminist, and had some fun with two other tourists. We met the cuttest little baby man who walked to the song "im coming out" as he asked for money. We gave him everything we had and he took our hearts with him. He was a pantless baby on a mission!!
Varanasi was our last adventure together and it was absolutely staggering, I've never seen anything like it. The city, prayers and bodies just spill into the Ganga. We stayed with a local, hung by the Ganga, witnessed bodies burning in the public cremation site and we surrounded ourselves with people bathing and praying in the river. We saw and heard more about death in a few days then I've been shown my whole life. "Boat? Boat?"... let's talk business after you finish soaping up you're entire body!!
In a country where there is a populate of 1.3 billion people, people run the county. People work in fancy jewelry stores while babies starve on the street, this is a country of carelessness and compassion. It is the coldest yet the kindest. It's hard to describe to anyone unless they have experienced it themselves. Everyone is willing to jump out of their cars to help you and walk with you and even drive you two blocks for the best tea, yet groups of men will walk past you while your puking on the side of the street. Some people will let you stay with them for free, some will take you out for meals, some will complain when you tip them only 40%.
So many of my friends and family were scared for me to travel to India , and some were even confused on why I would even want to go there. People warned me about rape, theft and crimes against women. And when I told people I would be travelling solo after my mom left me 3 weeks in, they were straight petrified. But three weeks in India and I've already extended my trip and know I will be traveling indefinitely . This country stole my heart and I can't wait to continue this adventure!
Sending so much love to my Momma and our amazing journey we experienced together. Everyday with you was a blessing and I'll never forget the memories we shared!! And sending love and well wishes to the world for safe travels ahead.
Watching "the creative genius" & Nicole on the embroidery machine was like musicians improvising together, and a joy to witness. They deviated from the established course using this art form as a medium to connect with each other.
You can find this talented costume designer on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/nicoleguzzodesigns/