Our trip of a lifetime really started 5 years before we left home. Our son, then age 6, became very interested in animals of the world. In addition to his favorite, the Sulawesi Macaque, he studied every type of rhinoceros, learning their status on the IUCN list and planning to save them. He printed out pictures of the Asiatic one-horned rhino, complete with fact sheet, and taped it all over his bedroom door.
Little did we know that a few years later we'd be walking through Chitwan National Park in Nepal, watching four large rhinos relax and splash after a long day in the forest.
But let me back up a bit.
Once we decided to go to India, we intended to book a standard tour, but our son was too young to join an organized group. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the tailor-made journey we ended up taking couldn’t have been more perfect for us.
Our son has had his heart and mind set on traveling to India since he was about 7 years old. He's born in the U.S. but of Indian and Pakistani heritage. Every night he fairly badgered us until, after months of nonstop pushing, I faltered. "Fine," I told him, "we'll go to India." "When?" he demanded. "In 2015. Now go to sleep." That was in 2010.
Fast-forward to New Year's Day 2014. "We better start planning now," he said with a big smile. "The trip is only a year away!" Soon afterward, he asked to study Hindi so he'd know the language when we went. My husband and I knew we better start focusing on this trip. But we also realized that, for medical reasons, I’d be taking our son alone.