It is crazy how things changed here in India within a few days. We arrived in Mysore in the state of Karnataka, the most beautiful Indian city we have seen so far, a bit more than two weeks ago. We booked a great hostel with a roof top yoga area. It was busy, people were coming and going and we were expecting Mia´s friend Lisa to arrive a week later. But with each passing day people increasingly talked about the global crisis we are all in, until Corona was the only topic that was being discussed. Most travelers booked flights back home as most of them were going to go back in a few weeks or a couple of months anyway. When people asked us what our plans are, we confidently said that we´re planning on sitting it out. Meanwhile our hostel closed down and they courageously let us stay for the time being. So the hostel is all ours. A weird feeling. The last few days we discussed all options and put all facts and feelings on the table, including the option of flying home. A scary thought. One important factor was if our insurance policy would stay intact if we stayed as many other travelers were forced to fly back as there insurance would no longer cover them. So we contacted our insurance company and luckily we are covered. But apart from this formality, there are a few other factors to consider. In the worst-case scenario, are we willing to stay put at one place without knowing for how long? As of today India has not yet been hit hard by the virus, at least that is the overall impression, but what if it suddenly changes? Will we be safe? Is it selfish to stay and not fly back? Will we be able to deal with the potential hostility or even racism from locals, which we can already feel to some degree? Are we mentally strong enough to face all the unpredictable circumstances? What if we need access to healthcare (for whatever cause) while the entire country is trying to cope with all the infected patients? And when will it be possible and safe to move again freely within the country. For now even the borders between the states are closed. It´s definitely not an easy decision. There´s also no right or wrong as some people try to claim. The thought of flying back to Germany after this strenuous overland journey is not appealing at all. Everyday we reevaluated the situation anew and we always came to the conclusion that we would stay put and go into hiding in a beautiful Ashram not too far from here were Manu made friends with the owner. But can we cope with being locked-in for several months to come? And the most important decision: What does our heart say? After all we left on our journey with the promise to always listen to our heart. In the last couple of days our feeling shifted towards going back. The German government is sending plains to critical countries right now flying back Germans who are stuck and can´t get out anymore. India is on the list. Once again we feel how privileged we are to be in possession of a passport of a country who´s government takes money in their hands to bring their citizens back home (FYI: the flight is not free of charge). So we registered for the return-program this morning and a few hours later we received a call that we should prepare to fly out on Friday or Saturday. Things are happening so fast. Our mind and heart can hardly keep track. We are keeping our spirits up though and we are slowly trying to accept the fact that we seem to be back in Germany in a few days. A difficult task and quite a strange thought still. We had many plans and ideas for this year; going back to Germany was not one of them. But the changing circumstances that no one can escape right now will open new doors, not just for us, but for everyone who´s willing to recognize a door when it presents itself.
Crisis is Greek and literally means ‘decisive point’ or ‘turning point’. I think that´s a beautiful way of looking at a crisis, despite all the suffering and hardship that many people have to go through. After all, we really do need a lot of things to change in this world. So lets make the right decisions and turn things around for the better!