One of the compelling reasons for my traveling to India was that Christina traveled there in 2007 while attending college at Samford University. Reflecting on how much she enjoyed exploring India’s culture and experiencing it’s people inspired me to travel there as well. Christina sent me this email while in India and it reminds me of her enthusiasm for travel and her quest for adventure; I held it close during my own journey there a couple of weeks ago.
“hey daddy! its so good to hear from you. we are at a missionary’s house now so i have access. i am so glad that y’all are doing well and i am about to check the website. i am doing well here. the family just made us mexican food and i did a lot of shopping today. i can’t wait to exchange pictures. i am still on the search for an elephant ride. everyone thinks i am funny here, i am always saying something silly. we are meeting with students the rest of this week and then its off to agra and the taj mahal. how is matthew doing? I love you guys! Christina”
As events unfolded, the closest Christina came to her elephant ride was to hop on a brass one at the airport at the end of her trip. So, armed with Christina’s letter I had in my mind to complete her mission. Try as I did, I did not fully achieve my purpose but I did find an elephant and was amazed at it’s massive size and beauty as I stood next to it in the wild. My host Matthew did a wonderful job of seeking out this this opportunity and I am grateful to him for that. Next time I will ride one Christina, I promise.
As i sift through photo’s from Christina’s trip I enjoyed being reminded once again that we have a very similar style of travel, flat out, loving on people, being amazed by and endeared to other cultures. Not to mention the ridiculous Texas smile that seems to get us out of the “silly” unknowing things that we inevitably get ourselves into.
Christina and I loved to photograph together, we both have different eyes for composition and if you put our work together the total picture was somehow much more complete. What one of us missed, the other would capture. Even now, as I return from my trip, I found a video clip from her photos 8 years ago that helps tell the story of my adventure in India, it was a capture I did not get, but she did, peering out a upstairs window she took a little video that depicts the essence of Indian traffic. We loved keeping our cameras close by our beds so that we could snap a waking shot.
I love this quote from one of my favorite authors, Bob Goff, from his book “Love Does”. I think it echoes the way Christina lived life and still inspires me to live mine.
“Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about – full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.”
― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World