I have been offline for several weeks. As noted in my last blog I set out on behalf of the Foundation in mid-January for Thailand, India and Ghana to visit five enterprises, conduct due diligence and assess their fit for funding and ongoing support. I am back home now trying to gather my thoughts and trying to assess just what happened while gone; recouping from a general weariness resulting from 58 plus hours of flight time, not including layovers, covering almost 28,000 miles, two Indian train rides, one overnight, totaling 33 hours, travel by car, often on unpaved roads, about 60 hours overall, over 25 intense days. What did I learn? Too much for one blog that is for sure.
Unquestionably, travel like this always affects me personally. The intensity of the experience not only has a compounding physical impact, but also demands that one abandon all preconceived mindsets and open oneself up to, well, to whatever is about to happen, and that simple act has a profound impact on the psyche, forcing one to reconcile one’s self in the context of the real world, the one beyond my daily reach, but very real indeed. The weariness of intense travel condensed over a finite period is physically draining. That, combined with the onslaught on my senses and sensibility it is exhausting. Exhilarating, but definitely exhausting. I am a seasoned traveler on and off the grid, but it does not matter. Every time I set out it changes me, especially when I have the opportunity to meet incredible people ranging from the entrepreneurs working in the social impact space and those people, some unbelievably graceful, struggling in incredibly difficult conditions to find a pathway out of poverty.
Over the next few weeks, as I complete my assessment of those organizations visited, Yellow Leafs Hammock, Essmart, RangSutra, Drishtee and MoringaConnect, it will take me back through the four-week experience in detail. Not just the places and the people, but also the impromptu things that happened. Turn left and there is a funeral parade headed your way down the street. Turn right somewhere else and it is a nighttime Indian wedding parade. Anyone that thinks they can prepare completely to working on the road, especially in India, is foolhardy. I believe in preparation, but that always includes being prepared to not be prepared. India foremost, but likely elsewhere as well.