Evan Corkrean was looking for adventure when he traveled to India for a month this summer. He found it.
The sophomore marketing and finance major from Des Moines, Iowa, spent half of May and June exploring India and learning more about himself and the world in the process.
“It was an exploration,” Corkrean says, back in Omaha and attending classes. “I wanted to get to know the world better, and I wanted to challenge myself a little bit. It was a very amazing experience.”
The trip to New Delhi alone took more than 24 hours, with a bus from Des Moines to Chicago, a flight to Toronto and finally the flight into New Delhi. He remembers arriving feeling “completely overwhelmed.” A Dutchman helped him find a cab, and they shared a ride to the hostel where Corkrean was staying.
The next morning and in the days to come, he explored with no particular itinerary — just opening himself up to meeting people and letting life unfold.
That first morning, he had breakfast with a German couple and later joined a group for dinner that included the son of an Indian military general, with bodyguards in tow.
“The people I met were the real highlight of the trip,” he says.
In the beautiful Himalayan city of Dharamsala, Corkrean says that he and five or six other tourists “staked out” the Dalai Lama’s home, hoping to catch a glimpse of the renowned spiritual leader. Corkrean didn’t see the Dalai Lama, but he did see a guy wearing a shirt with a Hy-Vee grocery store logo on it. He introduced himself.
“Turns out the guy was from Des Moines. He’s going to school at Drake University, and he worked at Hy-Vee,” Corkrean says. “We even had a mutual friend on Facebook.”
Corkrean joined his fellow Des Moines native and another tourist from Ontario on a hike to a local waterfall and then on to the popular Triund Hill — supposedly just another mile away. “Four hours later, we come across these three drunk shepherds,” Corkrean says. “There is no trail, but they tell us to follow the shining rocks.”
They continued on — dubiously following the shining rocks as instructed — and crested a ridge at about 10,000 feet. “They were dead on,” he says. “It just hits you; it was amazing.” In front of them was a breathtaking view of the Dhauladhar mountains. (Apparently, the trio had taken a back route, missing the well-worn trail with vendors and food along the way. “Our way was a lot more adventurous,” he says with a laugh.)
Those awe-inspiring moments also were juxtaposed with experiences of helplessness and sadness, seeing areas of abject poverty, with children on the streets begging for money. “That will stay with me, too,” Corkrean says.
Back at Creighton, Corkrean had an opportunity to discuss his experience with another world traveler — Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ. Fr. Hendrickson had learned of Corkrean’s trip after meeting his mom and great-aunt at a Creighton event in Des Moines over the summer.
Corkrean says the trip was a perfect complement to his Creighton education.
“It puts a face on what you are learning,” he says. “It helps you get outside your norm. You learn that people are people.
“I feel more connected to the world. I am more confident. I feel I can conquer a little bit more, take on more risks.”
Let the adventure continue.