Two years ago on this day I went on my first solo trip to USA, not for a vacation of few days but to settle for a few months and create my own world in this other side of the world…….
This was the longest and the most tiring travel of my life, total 30 hours of journey with two layovers of five hours each and three flights one of which was 14.5 hours long, this was my first experience of jet lag also which made first week worse…
In past I had rejected few good job offers because I could not muster the courage to relocate to another city which was 3-4 hours drive from my home and now I had come to a place from where going back was not an option.
Spent all my life in crowded city of Mumbai, seeing deserted roads with nobody walking around, from overflowing public transport to being only passenger getting into the bus at 7 am in the morning, finding my own way to reach a place using Google maps because there was no one to ask for directions on the road slowly got used to new way of life.
My long cherished dream of living in a Duplex house which would have always remained a dream in Mumbai was fulfilled in this city. Living with strangers in a shared two bedroom apartment , not used to much of household work had to spend my Sundays in cleaning, laundry, ironing of clothes, grocery shopping etc. Learnt to cook a few dishes like Rice paratha from my roommate and also made a few experimental dishes on my own.
Being junk and oily food lover ate a ton of spicy french fries from the FIU campus, also tasted different cuisines like Taco and Nachos from Taco Bell and Chipotle, Veg Burger and Onion Rings from Burger king, Yuca fries from Pollo Tropical, Falafel and many other vegetarian options available. Also had a taste of Margarita after which for about half an hour even walking few steps was difficult for me.
Initially even a small thing worth $2 seemed expensive to me as I used to multiply each amount by 65 to calculate the approx price in Indian rupees, slowly this calculation stopped and I started shopping on almost every weekend created my own collection of brands like Calvin Klein, Steve Madden, Kenneth Cole, Forever 21 etc.
Being a travel lover brought last minute flight tickets on weekends to see some of the major attractions like Niagara falls, New York city, Washington DC monuments, Las Vegas strip, Grand Canyon and Hollywood.
I also had some low points in this short stay of six months experienced dirty politics, humiliation, betrayal, shocking moment of seeing a bill for credit card which I never had, knowing that a big fraud had been done against me by someone I trusted considered a friend, twice about to become homeless and had to stay in hotel. Inspite of all these negative experiences this trip has given me some beautiful memories and most importantly courage and confidence to live alone.
I would like to conclude this with below quote I had read somewhere…….
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.“