Today is our last day in India. We’re back in Mumbai, spending the day eating with some of Steven’s friends, touring the market one last time and packing it all in and up before we fly home. Our departure after nearly a month in India has me thinking about how an extended trip with three other people is a serious commitment. Involving more people and lasting for a shorter period of time than (most) marriage vows, it’s a test of one’s stamina, patience, willingness to compromise and good humor.

For better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, until the end of this trip you do part.

I’ve had a wonderful time. It’s been terrific traveling with my Spatilloman family! I’ve learned a lot about myself and my family. I’ve also learned a lot from each of them. I’ve really appreciated their companionship, friendship, support and unique perspectives.

Steven makes friends everywhere he goes. Perhaps a little shy at first, it’s no time before he’s collected a crew of academics, jugglers, yogis and other friends. He’s also really hilarious. Don’t let his more serious, reserved academic persona fool you; this guy has had me rolling in laughter on numerous occasions across India. He’s been a generous, accommodating host, travel companion, Hindi tutor and juggling coach. Oh yeah, he’s also a really great poet!

Courtney has inspired me to be more willing to share myself with the world, even the more creative and vulnerable parts of myself. She’s a great writer and poet and, unlike myself, she’s eager and confident sharing her creativity. It’s been inspiring and enlightening to hear her descriptions and interpretations of our travels and experiences. I admire that she’s true to herself in every situation. We’ve had a lot of fun traveling together and getting to know one another, and I’m looking forward to reliving this adventure and embarking on future fun with her when we get back to Oklahoma.

Stacy and I have traveled together before, so I think I know her pretty well. Nonetheless, she never ceases to amaze me. She has more energy than anyone I know, and it’s contagious! With Stacy I’ve gotten over a lot of fears and had a rocking good time in Asia. She has an eternally young spirit and she’s always up (early!) for the next adventure. Her take charge, decisive attitude gets things done and it’s a valuable asset. She was responsible for getting us from one destination to the next in an efficient and economic manner. Also, if you’re feeling lousy, there’s really no one better to have around. She’s the right combination of caretaker and whip-cracker.

Below are a few photos from our trip to Rishikesh. It seems like so long ago! I’ll post pictures from Arambol after I get home. Cheers!

The Ganga from the banks of Laxman Jhula.

There's a person under all that green!

Bathing in healing waters

Nani selling flowering offerings

Our offering to the river.

Ear cleaner

Looking so stern for being so young.

Red on the river

Standing in the Ganga

Spatillomans in the Ganga

Keran and Mungal

Wahoe Travel, Mehar and Hari

Consider yourself warned

Ganga and foothills of the Himalayas

Hitching a ride

3/4 of the Spatilloman family in Rishikesh