IIn this issue, Sarah takes us alongside her journey of India, captured in her beautiful photography and personal account. We asked her to recap the experience for you here, and to offer some tips on making the most of travelling this remarkable country.
Did India meet your expectations?
Absolutely! India met and exceeded my expectations in so many ways
What are the must-see recommendations you have?
Every part of India that I visited was unique, that’s the beauty of a country so big and diverse; however, Varanasi is an absolute must! It takes you back in time and shows you the best and worst India has to offer in the sense that it is so raw. It’s the oldest and holiest city in India where Hindu devotees and pilgrims flock from afar to the ghats of the Holy River Ganges every day to bathe in the sacred river. The morning rituals at sunset, which include washing, praying, mediation and even cremation ceremonies are such a beautiful and incredible experience to observe and gives a lot of insight into local way of life.
How did India change you?
Like every country I have the pleasure of exploring, a little piece of my heart stays behind when it’s time to leave. India was no exception, making its way into my heart where it will forever stay. It opened my eyes to a new culture and new ways of living. It took me back in time and helped me develop a deeper, more personal connection to a culture and country I’ve been fascinated by since I was younger. I will always feel a special connection to India that I will continue to foster in years to come.
Can you share a funny travel woe from the trip?
Just one? Okay, we’ll go with “Delhi belly” – it DOES exist! So be prepared, stock up on TUMS and stomach meds prior to travel. If you think you have an “iron stomach” – think again! India will definitely challenge this view!
Sarah’s Tips on Travels in India:
- If you don’t look local, be prepared for stares and photo ops: Embrace it! This may be your “15 minutes of fame” and your opportunity to feel like a celebrity (unless you’re traveling to China, where you’ll get another 15 minutes of fame…but that’s a whole other story for a whole other post!)
- Make a point to try all the amazing food: Be adventurous, BUT be prepared…fill your backpack with TUMS (like I said, “Delhi Belly”…NOT a myth!)
- Invest in the local: Use local companies and local drivers – this is your best way to really experience the country and learn about the deeply rooted history from someone who lives and experiences is first hand. It also puts money back into communities and cuts out the middle man. You will spend hours stuck in traffic with your driver, these precious moments were some of the highlights of my trip!
- Respect the culture: Do your research before you go. Learn about the local customs and appropriate way to dress and behave. It’s important to remember that you are a visitor in the country and you don’t want to offend anyone.
- Go with the flow: This is part of the beauty of traveling and some of the charm of India. Don’t stress the small things or you may miss out on the bigger picture. Things WILL go wrong, but worrying will never change the outcome – so go with the flow! It makes for good stories in the end!
To travel along with Sarah for her entire India experience, explore Issue 01.