If my life were any resemblance of normal, I would be on campus in Halifax, having just finished my Friday afternoon class. It would be a day unlike any other. But instead, I sit in a seat, looking out the window at the cold -30 degree Celsius weather. But no, I am not in Winnipeg or Northern Ontario. I sit in the back of a 747, descending from 20,000 feet down into the darkness of a warm Indian night. Soon I will be in Mumbai, and after a couple hours of rest at an airport hotel, I will put on my running shoes and get a little taste of as much Mumbai as I can discover on my own two feet. Then it will be back to the airport, domestic this time, for the ‘SpiceJet’ flight to Hubli, India.
Typing blog posts from the skies over India in the middle of January was not something I could have ever imagined myself doing, but here I am, not in Halifax going to class, going to work, going about my normal life. What I will learn over the next week will be quite ‘normal’ in a sense: innovation in development, public-private relationships across the world, the power social entrepreneurship has to change the world. It differs though because instead of having a conversation about these topics in class, or reading intriguing online articles, as fast as I can type this blog post, I will be in India. The ‘Development Dialogue’ hosted by the Deshpande Foundation is my specific purpose, and the conversations and experiences I will participate in are things no university lecture can substitute for.
I live my life by the quote, “Opportunity isn’t a chance; it’s a choice. And it’s the choices we make that define the paths our lives will take.” I may be missing over a week of classes, meetings, work, and my ‘normal’ life, but who qualifies what is normal and what is some hopeful whim of unrealistic thinking? I could not have planned to go to India in the middle of January, but when the opportunity came from Dalhousie University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, I knew it was the right thing to do.
In life, you can never really know what is ahead, what the payoff of hard work may look like 1, 2, 5 years down the road. I apply for scholarships and opportunities, but most usually receive that friendly yet deflating “thanks for your application, but you weren’t what we were looking for.” Then when I am least expecting it, someone like the wonderful professor Ed Leach will randomly ask me, “Hey Taylor, would you be interested in going to India in January?” To Ed I said yes, and now, here I am.
I am being informed to put away my computer, as we are about to land in Mumbai. Only time will tell what adventures will come in the next few days, so watch for updates!
With love from the skies over Mumbai, India,