COUNT DOWN TO INDIA!
In 2005, I was hired by an advertising agency in New York as a Global Program Manager for a big tech client. Essentially, it was my job (and the job of my small team) to make sure that all the creative work, which was being developed up in the US, was socially acceptable for the countries and markets it was destined for.
9 times out of 10, it wasn’t, so I would have to break the news to the creative team that things like hand gestures, although considered “cool” in the US, generally had a different (and rather offensive) connotation in other countries.
Part of my frustration was that I was always brought into the process way too late, and I would have to coordinate with my teams all around the globe to calmly explain why certain concepts were ill advised. Sometimes, it meant that I would have to hop on a plane to Sao Paulo, London or Hong Kong to smooth out some seriously ruffled cultural feathers.
Between 2005-2009, I traveled to many global locations for work with ease.
I always had my passport up to date, had the expedited visa agency on speed dial and had a bag packed and ready to go. I was a pro at easing through security, as I headed to the Presidents lounge, and never worried about checking my luggage.
But here I am, January 2013, and I’m packing for my first trip to India, and I have absolutely NO idea what to bring with me. I partially blame all it on all the anti-viral medications and vaccines I was ordered to have prior to my trip, but the simple fact is that I’m going or a two-week Ayurveda and Yoga immersion in Madurai, and have no idea what to pack, other than anti malarial medication, a gallon of DEET and even more sun block!
Naturally, I called a couple of friends who have traveled the county extensively, both luxuriously and on a shoestring, and the message was the same: pack light! Apparently, both told me that even though there is laundry service where we are staying, clothes might come back less clean than when they were sent out!
“Bring high-performance clothes which can be washed in sink or shower. Think wicking fabric”. I think that a few high performance pieces are an ideal recommendation. They do wick, barely wrinkle, are much lighter than natural fabrics and have a low-maintenance program. The only problem with some of these man-made fabrics is that I sometimes feel like I can’t breathe. And in temperatures upwards of 93 Fahrenheit, I’ll be packing some cotton and linen.
“I wear pajamas on the plane, and buy all the clothes I need when I get there”. This was initially quite appealing to me. Wearing PJ’s for 24 hours of travel may actually be quite soothing to Vata, and counter all that travel stress. I mean, how can you get stressed out in PJ’s?
I’m not going to be checking a bag, because I’m flying from San Francisco to Frankfurt to Bangalore to Chennai to Madurai, and I feel that the chances of my checked luggage arriving the same time I do are slim to none.
I am bringing a combination of performance clothing and natural fibers with me. I recently discovered the brand prAna. Thy have organic, sustainable and technical fabrics, and their clothes are not only comfortable but fit well and perform beautifully.
Of course, I’ll be purchasing some of the local clothes whilst I’m there!