Preparing for travel is one thing. Preparing for 2 very different trips almost back to back takes a different approach. My basic packing list is in my computer, so I have a running start. But my mind starts fibrillating with fleeting thoughts about what to take, what to buy, what to set up. An example of each: take an extra memory card, buy packets of dried fruit for the room, set up Skype for this netbook I’ve borrowed from Donna and Jon. (Thank you!)
Meditation helps me stay centered, but sometimes it also requires a pen and notepad. Normally I would let those thoughts float by and disappear like clouds. This time I feel an urge to remember them. The monkey mind is insistent. So for 20 minutes that’s how the meditation went this morning. Then I was able to sit in stillness, knowing that the latest notes could do the thinking for me.
Now back in Austin after several days on the road, including a Jim Scott concert and a rain-drenched walk on the beach in Galveston, I am more fully detached from my normal routine. Wet clothes are in the laundry and I feel relaxed and ready for the next round of packing, first for Santa Barbara and Pacific Grove, California. I continue to look ahead to the trip to India. Weekly malaria pills start today.
Far more interesting than packing is the perusal of Lonely Planet: India and National Geographic’s The Geography of Religion. I’m reading the sections on Hinduism and Buddhism. Also watching a series of videos called Phantom India. Though the documentary is dated, the traditions it describes have not changed in centuries.
I appreciate the tips by Sateesh and Carrie, who live in Austin and who both know from Indian and American perspectives about what to expect. Tips are appropriate; usually a dollar is plenty. Women are not always allowed to enter temples. Statues of Kali will likely be available and of course, Ganesha will be everywhere!