Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Bus Tour Dive

In the sultry Dallas night, a crew of people craned their necks up to a figure standing upon a ledge. She was staring out into the abyss.

"You can do it!" someone shouted out.

"We're all looking for an experience, aren't we?" I murmured to my friend Vrinda. "We don't want someone to tell us how it feels to jump off a cliff. We want to experience it for ourselves."

"True, true," she murmured back.

"It's all about the fall, man, that insane feeling in your gut when you're falling into nothingness."

With that, the girl leaned forward and fell head-first to the ground; the bungee cord pulled her back with a violent bounce. Cheers flew into the night like little victory flags.

"What about you, Bhakti? You gonna jump?" Gopal asked me.

"Nah. I have no desire."


"It's too short. It's all about the fall, and this fall is too short. But I'm totally down for skydiving!"

I remember that night so clearly on the Bus Tour, maybe because the Tour itself was reaching its final days, and I was reflecting upon our travels. We had traversed from the majestic beaches of Mexico to the freezing snows of Mount Rainier; a chilly Rathaytra in San Francisco to the sunswept parade down Venice Beach; whitewater rafting in Colorado to bungee-jumping in Texas...

And yet although every day we would wake up to a new destination and a new festival, somehow the ultimate adventure lay amongst us 45 people.

One night we would all lay awake and make up "ghetto" names for each other, and another night we'd tell blonde jokes over homemade pizza.  Some days we would play dadhi banda on the beach from sunup to sundown, and other days we would chant japa together all morning in silence. Some days we would sew marigold garlands until our fingers were dyed orange, and other days we would dance the night away in downtown Vancouver to the beat of the mridanga.

The Bus Tour is all about the people, the people, the people.

I have traveled around the world on my own and also with thousands of people, and I must say that there is nothing quite like the Bus Tour. Nobody can really tell you about the Bus Tour. You just have to experience it for yourself.

You just have to jump.

Trust me, the Bus Tour is not a bungee jump. It's a sky dive.

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