Wanderlust

“Don’t you ever wanna just roll down that highway wherever it goes?”

“In my experience, wanderlust is vastly overrated.  Every time I’ve ever taken to the road it’s carried to someplace worse than I was before.”

The above quote is from Steve Earle’s novel, I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive which I finished on my recent trip to New Delhi.  While my experience with wanderlust has been much more fortunate, I can completely understand the sentiment.  In the case of my trip to India, I think it applies.

Don’t get me wrong.  India was fascinating.  The food was good; the people were warm and really pleasant.  But India itself is a land of contradiction.  Gut-wrenchingly so.   The sheer fact that it is the largest democracy in the world with such staggering poverty is something I can’t reconcile in my head.

Of course, I would be wrong to judge the whole of India based on a week-long conference even with several trips outside of the hotel with folks who know the city.  And I must say, even in the traffic-choked, smog shrouded capital, the city hints of the treasures held in the rest of country.  The brilliance of color in the local dress and the intensely delicious flavors of Indian cuisine were enough to make this traveler curious about what lies outside of the dusty streets of the capital.

That said, I get the feeling I may never get the chance to experience the rest of this country.  Maybe I’m too old.  Maybe all the truffles and foie gras have made me timid, weak and flabby.  Or maybe, sometimes, wanderlust is indeed overrated.