A reluctant passage to India
It hit me like a ton of bricks. As I watched my daughter cling to her grandfather, I wondered if this time I had had bitten off more than I could chew.
We were at Sydney airport ready to catch our flight to India and the teen was having a major meltdown . She didn’t want to go, it was as simple as that. And that’s when it hit me. In all my years of travelling and sometimes taking absurd risks, I had never been responsible for someone else. And here I was taking a 14 year-old girl to a country I had never visited but predicted would be challenging and confronting, a sensory overload for both of us. Was I mad?
Grandpa’s face was torn as he looked over the sobbing teen straight at me. He wasn’t reproachful, just powerless to help her. I hugged my friend Susan who’d been with me on some of my previous adventures and whispered in her ear.
“Is this the stupidest thing I’ve ever done?”
“Possibly, but it’s a very Wendy thing to do. And there’s no turning back now, just go do it.”
The teen cried her way through the queue to immigration and it was while I was putting our documents back in my bag that I realised I’d left our Delhi hotel vouchers behind. I couldn’t believe it. I’d been obsessive about sorting the paperwork the day before, but I’d also been distracted by a weeping, sullen teen who’d terrified herself with research about terrorist attacks, poverty and crime. She was convinced we would never come home. As for the vouchers I had planted copies of my vouchers and passport pages everywhere throughout our luggage, it was no major setback, just a reminder to be more focused.
Travelling through duty free to our boarding gate the teen perked up considerably. Mainly because her friends were there every step of the way to Gate 61 encoursging her and supporting her. A constant stream of messages of poured onto her iPod. Anyone would think she was going into battle. i guess in her eyes she was.
Her friends joined us again in Singapore during our one-hour stopover, the teen’s face a picture of delight as soon as she connected with the free wifi. One by one there they popped up on the social network like meerkats on patrol, the teen joining in their conversation thousands of miles away with gusto.
Clearly her goofy mates weren’t missing out on their passage to India .. they were coming with us.
Next stop Delhi.