Where Does Your Wanderlust Take You? Elle: Part 3
The number was 8.
That’s how many days of motorcycle riding I had under my belt between Wanderlust California and India. Now, it was time to go…up. Every piece of me wanted to prove that I too could hug the curves of the Himalayan Mountains. But as I walked up to the guys next to all the bikes, with my helmet in hand, I had say to our leader, Anand, “Not today, I’m not ready.”
He always said this journey was not about ego or skill. Either of those two elements could get us hurt, or even killed. Something inside that first day of the journey told me to surrender.
“Don’t worry, one of the mechanics will drive your bike and you’ll ride with him until you know its time,” Anand said.
As we zig-zagged through the streets of Rishikesh, I wondered how. How would I know? As Americans we need to know. We crave facts and tangible timelines. But if ever I had found myself in a place devoted to the “unseen,” it was here: zooming amidst that unknowable energy. My ego was bruised, I confess, but in my heart, I knew I was being guided.
About 6 hours into the ride, monsoon rains plowed against us, slowing our pace and erasing any visibility. Suddenly, I deeply appreciated the presence of the mechanic, and felt grateful that I heeded the voice that morning that knew I would need guidance.
As the darkness grew deeper, Anand found emergency shelter for the group. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, The New York Times covered that very storm the next day, with the headline:
Floods and Landslides Kill Dozens in North East India.
Luckily, none of us were among those hurt in this storm.
The rooms he had found for shelter seemed colder than the outdoors and there was no hot water. My shivering roommate Alexis, whom I had just met the day before, looked me in the eye and channeled the unseen.
“Your grandmother on your mother’s side, who died when you were four, wants you to know tomorrow is the day.”
Heat from my fear coursed through my frozen body and I knew she could see the terror in my eyes.
Without hesitation, Alexis continued. “Your grandmother says she’s been here all along and she will help you with the how.”
Well, if you think this is the point in the story where I tell you how much of a renegade my grandma was, you’re going to have to think again. See, my grandma was the quintessential lady, with a striking resemblance to Lena Horne. She wore belted dresses, pearl necklaces and beautiful red lipstick, even while preparing breakfast in the morning. And on top of that she never even drove a car!
Clearly, I was shocked that my new roommate was channeling grandma’s spirit, but I was even more flabbergasted to find out that the most glamorous woman in my family would be guiding me up 17,500 ft. to survive some of the most dangerous paths in the world!
But, just as I sat with her holding me the way we’d watch Donahue together so many times before she died, I could feel her holding me in that frigid room that night as I closed my eyes.
The next morning, I strutted between the few remaining raindrops toward all the guys standing by the bikes. I went right passed the mechanic and swung my leg across my Royal Enfield. Fearlessly, I revved up the engine and grandma led me through 60 nonstop kilometers of Himalayan cliffs.
In the beginning of the journey Anand predicted that I before it was over I would fearlessly ride with a passenger on my bike. Watch to see how his prediction comes true…
Find out what happens next in the fourth and final part of Elle's "Where Does Your Wanderlust Take You" blog series next Friday, Apr 26. Missed the beginning of Elle's journey? Check it out Part One and Part Two here.
~ Elle Swan is a yogi just like you, who came to Wanderlust and had a transformational experience that set her on a whole new journey. When she is not getting outside of her comfort zone by traveling to foriegn lands to ride motorcycles on epic adventures, she is a life coach and speaks all over the world teaching the benefits of rising above mediocre living. Her story and strategies have been featured on ABC, FOX, NBC, and PBS and in The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of several books including “Elle-evate: Change Your Life in 60 seconds or Less!” Learn more about her on her website and follow her adventures on Facebook, here.
~ 'The Highest Pass' has won several awards, including Best Documentary at the Naples Film Festival, and is available to view on iTunes here. The sequel, 'The Four Peaks of Freedom' (featuring our guest blogger) is 5-part TV mini-series coming in late 2013. For updates on this program, please sign up for their mailing list on their website and follow the Facebook page here.
If you'd like to go on a journey with "The Highest Pass" guide, Anand Mehrotra, you can now do it without leaving your house! Starting April 9, you can sign up for a 7 week on-line course "Himalayan Wisdom for a Life Beyond Fear" by Anand Mehrotra: Featuring Seven Teachings from The Highest Pass. The online course features over 70 minutes of footage, including unseen footage from The Highest Pass and Four Peaks. The teachings are not-to-be-missed, so be sure to sign up for this incredibly valuable online offering.