Lee Iwan has written a couple of blogs lately about the importance of changing your routine and how moving to another country is a great way to do it. I firmly agree with Lee on both of these counts and I would like to add my advice that for a westerner, India would be a great place to try something new.
Here in India, I’ve been exposed to people, places, ideas and ways of living that I just would never do in any country in the West. While this culture seems in many ways to be trying mightily to emulate the west, especially America, the fact remains that its social and religious history and core values are very different. So the patina of Westernism, which one sees notably in the form of consumerism, covers a very different underlying way of living life. This vast difference is what makes spending time here so challenging, informative and valuable for a westerner like me. And the opportunity to learn goes so much further than overcoming ones preconceptions about India and Indians, it’s an opportunity to learn about and test one’s self in new and unfamiliar territory.
“This is indeed India; the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of a thousand nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the mouldering antiquities of the rest of the nations—the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined.”
—Mark Twain, Following the Equator, 1897