Do you remember in the first Matrix movie when Neo plugged himself back into the dream world after being red-pilled and woken up? It was kinda like that when I returned to the U.S. after being in India for several months.
Like Neo, I came back to a familiar world with fresh eyes, eyes that have experienced another reality. It was almost like I could view the matrix — all the 0’s and 1’s creating the existence that I grew up in.
This may sound like an exaggeration because many people travel to other countries and return to their homes with a little more perceptive. However, for me, it felt like more than that.
It would help if I explained how and why I left the U.S. in the first place.
I fell in love with a guy I was working with online and decided to leave everything behind for an adventurous love affair in the Himalayas of India. Quitting my job, leaving my dogs and ex-husband behind, and giving away most of my possessions, I left with just two backpacks and blind hope for anything to happen.
I had to ignore all of the people in my life who told me I was crazy or who honestly feared for my future. It didn’t matter to me. I hated my cookie-cutter life in America and I needed to see what else life had to offer me.
Arriving in Delhi, alone and anxious, was the biggest red pill I had to swallow. I was Neo waking up in Zion and it felt amazingly free.
This sense of freedom followed me as we (my current husband and I) took a 15-hour bus ride to Himachal and hiked up to a quint village surrounded by snow-capped mountains. We stayed in a small wooden room reached only by a hand-made, rickety old latter. It had one piece of art, a tiny window, displaying like a painting of pointed glacier peaks and Bob-Rose-like tall, skinny pine trees.
The sun would wake me for morning yoga and the pitch-black night would slowly drift me off to sleep.
In between, I did laundry in a bucket and hanged clothes in the fresh breeze and gleaming sun. I heated our water in an Indian bath stove (using the same bucket to wash myself,) and I drank fresh glacier water from a hose that ran throughout the village.
We spent our nights starring at falling stars and our days hiking to pick up…