This is the very last entry about my 2015 India trip. Thank you to anyone who read any of the entries about this adventure. It was a great ride!
People are always talking about how small the world is these days, but these people must never have flown around it. It takes a really, really long time. Our trip home involved 4 flights and about 40 hours of travel time from door to door. I mean, I suppose that in the grand scheme of things that I short time. Years ago it wouldn't have even been possible. But try telling that to your own jet-lagged body. When I got home my body was so confused about where I was, what time it was, and what on earth I had done to myself. For two days I would randomly fall asleep at the oddest times. The joys of jet lag!
On our last night in India, we were at a party and the skies just opened up and the rains hammered down. Everyone around me was thrilled and the man I was talking to said that it was the rain that would kick off the Monsoon. It was a the beginning of a new stage for them and as my trip wound down I felt the same. Before visiting India I wasn't certain what I was doing with tea. I was standing with one foot in my old job (television) and one foot in the industry I wanted to make my new job, very unsure of how to make that transition. But as India taught us "Anything is possible!" It was the catalyst I needed to make that change in my life official.
I spent years in the entertainment industry and while it had its moments of joy and allowed me to do some cool things and visit places I never would have gone otherwise, I was burned out on it. I was looking for a change. Seeing the passion that the people I met have for the tea industry was inspiring. Everyone is dedicated to making delicious tea and to make a difference in the lives of the people around them.
It wasn't just the people in India who inspired me. The people I travelled with were just as amazing. They put up with my grumpy sleep deprived self all over India. So special thanks to:
Shabnam Weber, owner of The Tea Emporium in Toronto, Canada and my instructor for the awesome Tea Sommelier program. She's completely brilliant and without her I wouldn't be where I am today.
Louise Roberge, President of the Tea Association of Canada. Our tireless leader whose enthusiasm, intelligence and organization were immensely appreciated.
Gabriella Lombardi, owner of Cha Tea Atelier in Milan, Italy. My roommate for most of the trip, she put up with my grumpiness more than anyone else. She is wonderful and deserves a medal.
Wanda McCumber, owner of Enchanted Creations Tea in Kingston, Canada and my car neighbour for most of Assam. Wanda's thirst for knowledge and experience and her ability to find joy in anything is amazing.
Katherine Burnett, owner of Lady Baker's Tea Trolley in Charlottetown, Canada and the happiest, most positive woman I have ever met.
Debbie and Peter Burnett who don't own a tea company but who were awesome to have along for the ride. Their enthusiasm and humour were a bright spot for me.
Of course, India was now over 6 months ago and things have changed even more since then. Life is wild like that sometimes. In India I didn't have my own company yet. I had no idea what I was doing. I was fully planning to end up back in television. And that was all only 6 months ago! Where are the next 6 months going to take me? There are already new and exciting things taking shape for this year and it's barely started.
So thank you, beautiful, magical, indescribable India. Thank you for opening my eyes to new and interesting ways of life. Thank you for putting me on a happier path. One that I hope to continue down for as long as it'll lead me.