I must admit that one of the single most memorable events in my life was the opportunity I had journey to the magnificent city of Jaipur, within the northern province of Rajasthan in India. Prior to making the trip, I had only been hired by the Jewelry Channel for less than a week. I was so overwhelmed with excitement for the opportunity to host on a national television broadcast, I was sure nothing else could surprise me. Little did I know that my being hired would only be the beginning of monumental experiences for me. Within a matter of two weeks, I went from a full time graduate student, to sitting on a plane by myself on my way to New Delhi to shoot a documentary.
I must say, just before the trip, I was petrified!!! I went to the doctor and got more shots in one sitting than I think I had my entire life. I scoured the internet to find the absolute worst facts I could about traveling to India, so I could be prepared for anything. I read stories of people becoming deathly ill from drinking the water, or being bitten by people sized mosquitoes, even being scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars by con-artists. Needless to say, I stuffed my suit case with tons of bottled waters, granola bars, and the strongest bug repellent on the shelves. As I heard the flight attendant say the words, "Welcome to Delhi" I felt my stomach drop and I asked myself what in the world I was thinking!
Surprisingly, every negative idea I read about India quickly became null and void when I experienced the culture first hand. Seeing the beautiful and meticulous architecture of the city demonstrated the amount of heritage and pride the people of Jaipur experience. Experiencing the genuine warmth and hospitality of the people gave me a true sense of humility. Most importantly... the Food!!! Lets’ just say I did not eat one granola bar. I realized that I cannot make judgments from other people's experiences, as valid as they may seem. I had to experience my own reality.
The most educational and rewarding part of my trip was touring our jewelry making facilities. I noticed the fact that those crafting the pieces were not just hired hands, but skilled artisans. Many of those who work for our company come from families in the jewelry making business and pass those traditions down from one generation to the next. Although they produce thousands of pieces, each piece is meticulously inspected and cared for, just like a painter would putting the final touches on a masterpiece. I was honored to know that I work for an organization alongside people of such great pride.
Overall I had an excellent trip. My only regret is not sampling more of the food. If you're considering an exotic vacation spot, I highly recommend the city of Jaipur. You'll gain a greater appreciation for Indian culture as well as gain access to wonderful crafts and history