Stoked to be a guest writer for my friends over at Late Sunday Afternoon, who create insanely gorgeous scarves that accompany me on all of my global adventures. Check out this post about how I met my friend Arushi, Founder of The Initiative...
Megan Harrod is a Late Sunday Afternoon ambassador on a journey around the world. This is one of her stories from the road.
Some of the best relationships I’ve encountered have been the ones that occur when I’ve least expected it. Lives are woven together purposefully and beautifully, like the threads woven into this very scarf draped around my neck. While traveling in a faraway dreamland, we connect and intertwine and we’re consumed by each other for that moment…a moment solidified in time with memories, giggles, dancing, exploration, and maybe even tears. I live for these moments. I live for this kind of human connection. It fuels my travels. It fuels my spirit.
I spend a lot of time on the road. In the last year alone I have traveled to four new countries and 12 countries total, and thousands and thousands of miles across the United States, Europe and beyond. I’ve been the owner of five addresses. I’ve packed my life and moved across the country, and then a month later, moved across the country again. I lived out of a duffel bag and a couple of backpacks for six months traveling in an Audi named “Gita Jan” across Europe this past winter. I’ve lived in the back of a Uhaul moving truck, on couches, and in a former polygamist compound. I shaved my head, and traveled solo to India for a month. And through it all, I’ve met some of the best people in my life while on the road. Arushi is no exception.
I “met” Arushi virtually a few years back when I co-owned a bag company with a focus on sustainability that sourced textiles from villages around the world. Arushi, now owner of The Initiative, was then a product designer, visionary and powerful woman with a love for culture and handcraft, and a desire to create something special and sustainable. She had visited our master weaver, Vankar Shamji, in India. I still remember that initial Skype call with Aru, who is now a great friend of mine.
The passion emanated from Arushi's pours. She was inspired by this initial journey to Bhuj in Gujarat, India and claims learning from Shamji's wisdom as one of her life-defining moments. On that call, Arushi told me that she learned more than she could ever imagine and left with a shifted perspective. Going to the village, she told me, she felt a bit of pity for the villagers...almost feeling as if they were "stuck" there. But she left enlightened. When I took my maiden voyage to India this past June, everything came full circle and I met both Arushi—a virtual friend for three years now—and Master Weaver Vankar Shamji, whose story united us in the first place. This Universe. Seriously. Threads purposely and beautifully woven together.
This image captures a moment that I will never forget. Journeying to Bhuj together, Arushi and I traveled to Shamji's home and witnessed his craft in action. And when we were about to leave, we asked if we could get a picture with Shamji and his father and uncle. I sat down next to Shamji's father, and he started to pray. He and uncle said a prayer throughout the process of picture-taking and I sat there with tears of gratitude welling up in my eyes and a warmth in my heart that was unlike anything I've ever experienced. It took everything in my soul to not turn to my left and give his father—and Shamji as well—the most massive bear hug I could ever give, but in their culture this action would have been seriously frowned upon, so instead I turned with tears in my eyes and said, "Namaste" as I bowed my head. And we left, imprinted by his prayer forever. Blessed by his blessing.
I’m on a mission to share my love of travel, adventure, happiness and mystery with everyone whose path I’m knotted and blessed to cross. No two individuals are alike, much like the scarves draped around our necks. Everyone has a unique and beautiful story that deserves to be heard, and shared. For me, travel unites individuals and their stories, and cultivates magic through human connection. I will continue to approach life like this, exploring with wide eyes and a big, open heart and mind, cultivating positivity and creating connections that weave us together purposefully and beautifully.
As I sit here and reflect, gratitude spills out of me…thank you for inspiring me, Arushi. And thank you, Late Sunday Afternoon, for allowing me to share these stories. More to come. Together, we are knotted and blessed.