July 21, 2008 LA to London
I love airports and I love to travel, especially international travel. The moment I walk into a international airport I get a rush, a rush of possibilities; places I could go, people I could meet, things I could see, and tastes I could enjoy. I live a busy and stressful life, one with a lot of discipline, and so a chance to travel is a chance to let go, break the routine and retire the disciple. When I travel, it is an adventure.
Sitting in the airport I hear voices from all over the world, German, Russian, French, Korean, Japanese, and who knows what else. An airport is a window into the world. Growing up in Toronto I had an advantage. I grew up amidst every possible culture. Toronto is a melting pot like New York, so from my earliest age I acquired a taste for the foreign. Even now working with my temple, I live more in India than in America. I have learned to swim in exotic cultures, and I am never cease to be amazed how varied the world is and how the human mind can think in such diverse ways.
One of the things I enjoyed the most as I grew up was going to all night Italian vegetable stands at 5 in the morning after morning services at the Toronto Krishna temple. I would buy just enough fresh fruits and vegetable to last the day so that I would have to return the next day. Even now I enjoy vegetable shopping, though I can no longer find those Italian shops. Orange and Riverside counties just do not have the diversity of Toronto. I also enjoyed visiting the Greek and French cheese shops in the ethnic markets of Toronto. I learned to enjoy cheese from these shops. I would also visit the huge Chinatown that is part of life in Toronto. International travel is in my blood. And now I am off to Europe again. This will be my fifth trip in as many years.
This time I am going to England, France and Greece. You might expect that England would have been my destination on the first trip, but no, I had to do it the hard way! I purposely took my first to a non English speaking country. I wanted to start in a daring way, jump in feet first and test myself. I remember crawling out of the Metro in downtown Paris at rush hour on a cold rainy October evening. What a shock, coming from the heat and sun baked deserts of Southern California and onto the cold dreary streets of Paris! But I survived and even did well, and little by little, I have been learning how to travel. It is true I still “freak out” at the beginning of each trip, but in the end I always pull it together and charge ahead. So here I am now, on a plane to London.