What I have missed – returning to my home of the heart, India – Danielle Harvey

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In March 2020, as I was touring Dharamsala, local tourist attractions were literally starting to close around me. While I had an inkling things were getting serious, it wasn’t until I got the official text from DFAT telling everyone it was time to get home, that I realised the seriousness of the situation. And as I stood in Delhi Airport, with more people than you can begin to fathom, never would I have imagined that 19 months later we would still not be able to travel.

I will never again take for granted the hustle, bustle and madness of the streets of an Indian city. The incessant tooting of horns, the endless stream of traffic. The sensory overload of so many smells and colours. The people going about their business here, there and everywhere, winding between vehicles, animals and other people.

I will never again take for granted the peace and tranquility of an Indian village, with its open space and smells of earth, nature and smoky fires. I will even welcome the discreet stares, and the sometimes not so discreet stares, of the locals.

I will never again take for granted the opportunity to spend time with the people I have come to know and care about during my Indian travels over the past few years. Yes, technology is great! And we can Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp but NOTHING will ever replace sitting down to a meal of dahl, rice and roti or a steaming hot chai with your friends, chatting about what’s going on, how the kids are going and having a laugh together.

I have booked a return ticket for the end of June. I’ll be there, savouring every sound, sight, smell and whatever else India throws my way.

Danielle has two tours planned for 2022:

Supporters of Samadhan Delhi Tour: 15-21 October 2022,
Jaipur add-on tour: 23-25 October 2022
Dharamshala immersion tour: 27 October-4 November 2022



About Author

Sharon Thrupp
Sharon is passionate about India and the Himalayan region. She believes that while her Australia is her country by birth, India is the country of her heart. She first went to India in 1996 and later returned to volunteer helping Tibetans in Dharamsala in 2001, fell in love with the Himalayas and stayed. She is currently involved in a NGO in India helping underprivileged girls continue their education and spends her spare time walking in the foothills of the Himalayas and doing yoga.