My favorite personal tradition is traveling. I wouldn’t say I counted by the years, but when I was about 26, I began to travel. Give up a job or do something like that. It was mine tradition. It was my own personal tradition. I sometimes traveled in a group, sometimes with a road scholar, and some of it was by myself. In India, I traveled by myself, although I was picked up at several stops in Northern India. It’s very different from Southern India. Everything is very different there. A very different kind of experience.
In Jumpar, the cows are holy. They’re allowed to go on the streets and the cars had to stop for them. But not in the other cities. We went as far as Nepal, which was so poor, but if you sat up on the rooftops you had company. You had chimps. And they just loved to sit up on your head. And you got familiar with them. That was another experience.
I think when I was on the plane, and I’d have a car picking me up to bring me to the hotel, if there was another woman, I might ask her to come with me. Usually an older woman. I was younger then. It was just a thing to do. Older British women traveled a great deal. They didn’t have the money to do very much, so they’d be in hostels and all that. This was a very different experience. I didn’t go to the most expensive hotels, the more business-like. We went to the same place with different backgrounds. It was very interesting.
When you’re traveling in India, you’re afraid to try new things sometimes because you’re afraid to get sick. You don’t have time to get sick. It was the same thing in China, in Shanghai, we had to be very careful. We were eating tourist-style, but you could get sick on that too. It was kind of embarrassing to leave the table every three minutes. My husband had no idea why I was leaving and I was just leaving to go to the kitchen which was closed off.