What can I say…they’re a good bunch. All with their own unique, wonderful stories…there’s that sonder again. It was so nice getting to know them, even for a short while. As most of you know, I’m a chatty person and love a good banter…and to some it may look like that’s the depth to me. But things aren’t always as they seem. Although I chat a lot, I also listen and observe, intently. And our group was a fabulous mix of age, culture, nationality and personality.
On the first day, after two hours sleep, we walked around the streets of Delhi with an ex street kid. This was where I first met the group. The previous night was the welcome dinner but I had to miss it because of my flight from Goa was a late one. It wasn’t long before a little sub-group formed which we named – The Back of the Bus gang (super cool or what?!) which consisted of Maxime, Tim and myself.
On first site Maxime looked like a well presented, unapproachable, super cool dude. He smelt like heaven and looked like he’d never worked a hard day in his life. Maxime’s beard was perfect and his hair was volumeous and shiny. Side thought, I must ask him how he achieves that…
Maxime is from France but lives in New York. After some time his true personality shone through and he’s a lovely, interesting, open guy. He listens intently and shares his thoughts and insights – a true diamond. I think that when someone truly listens, hears you out and gives empathy it immediately creates a beautiful connection. Maxime’s in sales and marketing and sometimes has business in Melbourne – really hope I see him again.
I first noticed Tim when we were leaving the hotel – he looked cute but quiet and reserved. He had these crazy loud traveller pants on and a big cowboy hat…polar opposite to Maxime. He was so quiet I assumed he wasn’t British. Turns out Tim is from Guernsey…a perfect teasing point for me and Maxime. Another gift from the gods in terms of banter was Tim’s middle name…Ronald. Utter gold.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
The morning was pretty quiet and there wasn’t much chatter. However as the day unfolded people started to dip their toe into showing a bit of themselves.
It wasn’t long before I found out that Maxime had a broken heart…the day after I learned Tim had the same ailment too. It later unfolded that there were a total of four broken hearts on the bus. Made me think of this quote:
Shiv was our tour group leader – officially called Chief Experience Officer…what G Adventures call their tour leaders. He’s from near Jaipur, he did tell me the place but I’ve forgotten it. Shiv is super cute and has a cheeky energy to him. He’s also very professional and by far the best CEO I’ve come across on my travels. There was a perfect mix of organised things to do and free time. And Shiv was so helpful – he could make anything happen and did so effortlessly.
BACK OF THE BUS GANG
Maxime, Tim and I had a grand old time. We connected quickly and bantered like we’d known each other for years. Travelling does that, it speeds up connection and creates bonds quickly. We’d sit at the back of the bus, tease each other, nap, laugh, take photos…was a super fun dynamic.
THE TOUR ENDS
By the end of the tour Maxime had transformed. His perfect pressed clothes were no where to be seen, his hair was still luscious but not as preened and now with a hair slide holding his fringe back. Maxime looked so relaxed and happy – felt way more authentic and true. Hope his heart is healing. He said he was ok in India but things like this hit home the most in the normal everyday routine that once was.
Tim and I spent a day in Delhi together at the end of the trip. We basically slept and ate. Tours take it out of you, lots of early mornings and jam packed days. I had some organising to do for the following morning…had to book the train to Rishikesh and find an ashram to stay at. My train was an early one – I had to get to at 4am! Once all the tasks had been completed Tim and I napped together and then said our goodbyes. Must say I shed a tear.
Great Britain really is great.
Manchester I 💛 you.
Home is where the banter is.