Cover photo courtesy of McKay Savage from London, UK [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.
In March 2004 I was 25 years old. With not a care in the world, no particular place to be and zero commitments to speak of, I packed up a rucksack and headed off to India. The future lay sparkling and I thought it would last forever.
The plane journey to Delhi was horrible. There was a god-awful Adam Sandler movie, the usual unappealing sludge masquerading as food and a colossal middle-aged man next to me who coughed, snored, scratched and farted his way through the entire flight. Even worse than all that though, was the ice-cold moment it suddenly struck me what a huge mistake I was making. What the hell was I doing flying to India? This unexpected moment of clarity exposed all my previous talk of ‘‘character-building’’ as little more than naivety. Who exactly had I been kidding?