Two and a half trips to India. My first visit to India was a photography assignment with RZIM to document a homecoming trip for the founder, as well as a few speaking engagements he was a part of while there. We started in the north in Delhi where he grew up, stopping at his childhood home, then moving on to touch each point of the compass as our two week tour progressed. I’ll never forget this first journey through India. The weight of it still hits me at times, even now years later. The smells, the flavors, the warm welcoming people, and the incredible contrast between the vibrant colors and the heartbreaking economics. This bittersweet beauty is hard to put to words so I’ll let the pictures speak.
I spent my second visit in Chennai airport customs. Three hours after arriving they sent me back to the States on the same plane I flew in on. A travel tip from a now slightly more experienced ‘professional tourist’: When double-checking your visa before a trip, try to keep in mind that the country issuing said visa may use a different date format than you are used to. In my case, I thought my India visa was expiring June 2 (month/day/year) when in reality it had expired February 6 (day/month/year)... my trip was in April. Still not sure how the airline missed this too.
My third trip was a photography assignment for Wellspring International to document multiple humanitarian projects they were supporting in Chennai. This trip turned out to be far more personal than I had expected. To be honest, after my previous half-trip I was still a tad burnt. I had done plenty of globetrotting in-between, but somehow the sting of the 48 straight hours I spent on planes, and in airports and customs made me a bit reluctant to go back. However, this time I was prepared with a 10 year visa, so I figured it was safe to try again. Returning to India some three years after my first trip immediately erased any tensions and forever etched its permanent place in my heart. I hope to return again someday.