A note from James Willcox, Founder
Why travel? For adventure, new experiences, fun? OK, but why pick a certain place to visit? I find this harder to answer. Maybe it's an image, a story or simply an idea of a place. I try not to think too hard about this as the reasons to travel somewhere you've never been will always be ephemeral.
A case in point when I visited India recently. I had been meaning to visit Chhattisgarh for nearly 8 years, after hearing from a passing traveller about a small sect of the untouchable Dalit cast that tattooed their whole bodies with the word Ram. “Ram, Ram, Ram. Everywhere, the whole body, eyelids, ears, even, you know, down below.”
That was an image I could never forget. So this summer I headed to Chhattisgarh to see what remained of what I had since learnt was the Ramnami community. 3 hours drive from the capital Raipur on a muggy day late in the monsoon season I drove into a small village where I knew one man from the community lived. Whilst the Ramnami community is quite large, they are spread out and only 5 members still have the full body tattoos.
As we rolled up to a small wooden house, working in the small paddy field opposite was Meheta Ram. Every inch of his body covered with the word Ram, in homage to Lord Rama. Happy to chat he said “I died when I was twenty years old”. He was reborn with that first tattoo and became Meheta Ram.
Meheta Ram told me that each human body has 30 million pores. Every second of every day, each pore calls out the name Ram. That even if we do not know it, we can hear Ram calling. He said he could prove it, that his body was calling out Ram and that I could hear it and his evidence was standing in front of him. Me. I had heard Ram calling me for many years and here I was. It was hard to argue.
So, added to the long list of reasons of why we travel is the voice of various gods calling to us from across the world.
All the best for the rest of 2015.