if you ever ride a camel, be prepared for your ass to hurt. a lot. (especially if you are the lucky one to fall off of the camel like me.)
it is an incredible experience, no doubt. you get to see a great deal of how desert life works, understand the isolation and, at times, ultimate peace of the desert – disturbed only by the bells of your camel, and my favorite part – getting to hang out with some of the coolest people from around the world you will ever meet.
we started out from Bikaner, the sixteen of us traveling twelve hours by dusty train from Chandigarh, not knowing what to expect. other than the sore ass of course. we traveled into the desert, listening to the wind, the bells on the camels, and each other. especially each other. this trip, though mostly painful, sandy, and exhausting, really showed me my favorite part of being on a traineeship – the people you meet. these people that share the frustration, the excitement, the discovery, the experience that a traineeship can offer you. you cannot imagine the bonding that occurs when you find yourselves halfway around the world – lost and trying to find your way. i know, for sure, that these people will be friends of mine for the rest of my life. already – we are planning trips to visit each other’s countries, reunions in Las Vegas, and how much we will miss each other when this experience ends.
how can i define a traineeship and this experience i have had? i’m not sure, it is hard to define. it isn’t about some heroic feat, some incredible change we are making in the world – it is about our lives running parallel for awhile, and getting to experience it with each other. it is not only about the stories we share while we sit around a fire in the desert, or on a train braving the winds blowing sand off the dunes, or about the changes we have found in ourselves, but also the stories we will keep forever when we leave this place and when we leave each other.
the traineeship is all about the story, the impact, and the experience. and in the years to come, i will look back on this summer in India, this summer i spent on the other side of the world, and know for sure that it will have been one of the greatest of my life, and that every person i have met has changed my life in some way.
and i think that this trip to the desert, on the back of a camel, was when i truly realized it.