I turned in my notice at work right before Christmas, bought my plane ticket at the beginning of January and set to work selling my condo, car and anything else I could let loose. And yet it didn't seem real until I got on the plane in Nashville. I told people I bought a one-way ticket to India. I told people I was getting a 10-year visa, and it still didn't seem real. I could still back out at any time. I could still just resume life the way "normal" people did it. People thought I was crazy to go to India, told me they would never have the courage to do something like that. Don't get me wrong. I was scared shitless most of the time when I actually thought about what I was doing. Those moments when I stopped long enough to breathe and those thoughts would creep in that I was selling everything I owned to go to a country I knew absolutely nothing about and had no clue how long I would be there or when I was coming home. How do you even pack for a trip like that??
I kept myself busy as much as possible. I told as few people as possible so that I would have fewer people asking me for details about my trip, or asking me to go to lunch or dinner with them to talk about my decision to go or worse yet, to say goodbye to me. That just made it seem too real to me. Besides, I would see everyone again when I came back, even if it was just to visit my family and friends in Nashville. I love everyone, and I would have loved to have visited with everyone before I left. There was just too much chaos, though.
Speaking of chaos, apparently that's one of India's specialties. When I decided that I wanted to go to India, I asked the Universe to show me a sign that I was meant to go. If I was meant to go, I needed enough money to buy my plane ticket and pay for the retreat and have some extra spending cash. The next day, I looked at Zillow to check on the price of my condo in Hendersonville. There hadn't ever been a value on it, and I never could figure out why. I just felt like it was time to let it go, though, even if I had to take a hit on it. You see, I spent way more on it than it was worth when I bought it back in 2013. That day, though, when I got on Zillow, I got quite a surprise. The zestimate for the condo was well over what I paid for it. Enough, in fact, that I could go to India. I decided then and there to put it on the market and set about finding a realtor through Dave Ramsey's Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) list. Through that program, I found Darlene Hastings and set about getting the condo under contract. Darlene is a sweet little blond spitfire who has the same positivity about her that I do my best to keep at the top of my demeanor.
She came over to the condo and loved the same things about the place that I loved. We set a price, signed the listing agreement and she spread the word to her investors about what a great place it was. Two days after the listing went live, she called to let me know that she had an offer. Actually, not just one offer, and they were both full price offers. I took one, and started to figure out what I would need to do to get myself over to India. I had been living frugally enough that I forewent paying extra on my car in December so that I could pay cash for my plane ticket. I sold my condo just before Christmas and bought my plane ticket at the beginning of January. The day after I bought my ticket, the deal fell through on my condo.
I had several panic moments about what I would need to do to get my money back on the ticket I had just bought. At the same time that was going on, I was living in a camper, and the temperatures were dropping. I was spending $25 every day on propane to heat the camper, and there were so many other little insignificant things that happened that I went into full blown freak out mode. Oh, and I had the flu. I started texting Corrine that I wasn't sure I could go and that things were just all going wrong and nothing was going right. I told her that God hated me and that I just needed one thing to go right. Her response: "That's just India." Apparently, India has the natural instinct to reach into your soul, pull out all of your deepest fears and put them up on display for the world to see while cramming them down your throat.
I made it through that one, though, and felt a little calmer afterward. I meditated and started meditating longer in my twice daily sessions. I started to feel normal again the next day, and things started flowing again. My "one thing" went right, and I was able to start to see the light again. I made a list of things I needed to get done before I left and started plugging through them. The next day, a friend reached out and asked if I was still considering selling my condo. It's under contract with her now, set to close next week. I put one foot in front of the other and step by beautiful step, everything I needed for the trip came together. My visa was the finally piece in the puzzle. I had to send the application in at least 15 days before I left for my trip, but every time I sat down to work on it, something would go wrong that I couldn't get past. Corrine had told me that if something wasn't working to walk away from it and come back later. I took her advice, every time looking at my calendar to make sure I still had time to get it in before I left. I gave myself a deadline of Friday, January 13 to send it in. That was the last day I could send it and still have 15 days. I sent it in that Wednesday and prayed and prayed that I got it back before I left. Then I convinced myself that even if it didn't come back in time, I could delay the trip and go over later.
I got a Facebook message from a man on January 25 that he had my passport and that I had his mom's passport by mistake. I thought it was some sort of elaborate ploy to get money from me or some sort of information that would allow him to steal my identity. This message was everything that everyone had warned me about. Except it had a picture of my passport, and it was my legit passport. How had this man gotten my passport? Was the embassy that sloppy about the handling of such important documents? Apparently, the answer to that question is yes...I sent the man a message back and asked him several questions. I had decided to live in faith and trust that this was real. The next day, I had purchased a Next Day Air delivery ticket and emailed it to him. I received my passport with my visa stamped inside the Thursday before my Sunday departure. Now, that was cutting it close! I have reflected several times since then about how lucky it was that my passport had ended up in the hands of someone so honest and helpful. He took the time to find me on Facebook and send me my passport. Not everyone would have done that!
My last day in the US, I got to spend with my family. I got to hug my niece and nephew with tears in my eyes even though they had no clue what was happening. I got to hug my brother and his beautiful wife and my grandma before I set off on this adventure. I spent the day packing and stressing and asking my family for some quiet moments, instead of finding the beauty in the chaos. And then I got in a car and rode to the airport where I said goodbye to my parents for who knows how long. I said goodbye to my sister and then Beck helped me carry my bags in to the ticket counter. I have no idea how long I'll be gone, but I know I will be a different person when I go back. I am blessed that I got to spend that time with them, and my only regret is that I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts and fears that I didn't love them enough.