I am spending 5 months in India and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Four years ago, I spent one month in the southern state of Kerala and it was the best trip I have ever taken in my life. The people, the food, the landscapes – I loved it and I think about it all the time. And, well, here I am in India again! But this time, I’m not just hopping around from place to place on a jolly – I’m here for a more specific reason. I have enrolled in pottery school in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. For three months, I will be doing six hours of pottery a day, six days a week. So why exactly am I doing this?

The village where I am living in Himachal Pradesh.

I recently became interested in ceramics. When I was living in Oaxaca, Mexico, I became interested in the traditional art forms of the city and the state, and I really fell in love with the ceramics. There is an awesome pottery town just outside of the main city called San Bartolo Coyotopec, which specialises in Barro Negro, a traditional form of black pottery from Oaxaca. I did ask about learning pottery there, but they are quite protective about it as a traditional art form and wouldn’t teach a foreigner – boo!

I want to do more things with my hands. I work as a writer, and that means I spend a lot of time looking at a screen. I mostly enjoy my job, and I really appreciate the freedom that it affords me, but I have recently had a desire to make things. By working with clay each day, I hope to foster a much more grounded connection with the earth, and fingers crossed I will be able to make some beautiful objects as well.

Learning new things is always fun. Picking up a new skill is simply a fun and rewarding thing, and when you learn a new skill, you invariably learn a lot of lessons along the way. Because I have absolutely no prior experience with pottery, I am hoping that I will develop patience to develop this skill.

I prefer to travel with purpose. I no longer enjoy the act of flitting from country to country, city to city, as much as I once did. I prefer to stay in one place for a longer period of time. So, for example, I stayed in Oaxaca for a year and really learned about the place I was living in, I stayed in a small town in Guatemala for two months and focused completely on Spanish learning. This time around, I will be in a tiny village in northern India, developing pottery skills for three months. To many people it would seem really boring, but I increasingly want a simpler and simpler life, and I think that it will suit me perfectly well.

A selfie from earlier today – my first day of pottery school!

Other than hoping to learn a skill and have a nice time, I really have no expectations about what the next few months are going to hold, and I love that. Perhaps I will fall in love with pottery so hard that it will be a new career direction for me or perhaps I will be so sick of it after three months that I’ll never want to go near a potter’s wheel again. You can’t plan life, and you have to take chances on the things you want to do and just see where it takes you. So that’s what I’m doing – wish me luck!

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