I have always wanted to travel. And for many years my past time would be looking at maps and imagining the best route for a long trip.
Theres so much to consider…. where is going to be Summer? Rain seasons? Where is the cheapest routes to move around? What kind of Visas I might need for the following country, and will I be able to get them on the country I am currently in?
So much to think and to plan, and a mistake can cost you quite a lot…. so you better plan it properly…
And for years I would look at my maps and would mentally construct mental routes… then I started putting it in to paper…
It changed so many times, but there was one thing that was pretty much always the same:
I have always imagined starting my trip in India!
One of the most obvious reasons was the fact it was the closest country (from the main ones in my list) – so geography paid a big part, but there was also an hidden reason. I though India would probably be one of the biggest cultural shocks and one of the biggest challenges of the trip if not the biggest, so therefore I should start first, so I would be “vaccinated” and ready for the rest of the world and would have the hardest part out of the way.
Being honest, India has never been a country I have been that fascinated about, curious – yes, but never had high or low expectations, which is great, as expectations are something dangerous when you travel. It can kinda ruin it for you if you go to a place thinking its the best thing you will ever see (I thought that about Egypt until I got there), while you can go to a place you don’t give much importance but then you fall in love, like it happen to me in Cambodia.
So I am quite curious myself about the posts I will write to you soon telling you how I am finding this country – which I have just arrived a couple of days ago – currently in Mumbai.
Even tho I am in India at the moment, unfortunately theres no much I can tell you at this stage because I basically been “locked” at my airb&b flat with a lovely European actress and dancer that has already told me much about her Indian experience. However, until now I have been resting for a big challenge that will start today. So basically just been sleeping and trying to clean my mind.
But so far there are a few things I can already share with you about what I have seen and felt in Mumbai:
- It REALLY is hot;
- Been eating take away Chinese (not gutsy enough to eat Indian just yet) and is still way too spicy for me;
- At this stage I am still a bit afraid to drink water – but I was “brave” (or stupid) to brush my teeth with tap water (I am fine still)
- It does not smell THAT bad (perhaps is just because I am in a good part of the town?!);
- Indians are crazy drivers and do NOT follow rules – on my away from the airport I felt horror on the taxi. “funnily” enough I had one of the most shaking flights coming from UK (a lot of turbulence really) and I wasn’t half scared as I was in that taxi;
- And also learned that going to the supermarket next door can be an adventure if you go with a Summer dress (was a bit short I admit but nothing disrespectful) – but it felt like I was Lady Gaga with the meat dress – at least I was having similar reaction by their looks;
- And unfortunately also learned that going to the swimming pool can be a challenge as at some point there was over 10 men in the street staring at me…
Well, I do hope this will all get better….. once I leave my cocoon, but for some reason I am not that positive……..
Anyway, but the reason I am really writing this post is to tell you that some things are meant to be, they are meant to happen, and to be here is definitely one of them!!! Don’t you believe me?
Let me prove it to you 🙂
Go ahead with this trip has been on the back of my mind for several years…. it has always been a dream. But for diverse and several reasons it made all sense to do it now. But the hardest part is always making THE decision and just go ahead and book that flight!
I knew I had to move fast and make a decision before something or someone would make me change my mind…
As I knew I wanted to start in India but didn’t know much about the country, decided to contact a friend I have met in Vietnam (one of those travel friends I have made around the world) which spent a long time traveling and I remember her speaking highly of India, as she spent some time traveling around.
So after several days I finally managed to reach her over the phone and I have asked her for advice as I particularly know that India is not the ideal place for a solo female traveler.
She gave me some ideas and suggestions, but the most important, she remind me of something. Intrepid Travel!!!!
Intrepid Travel is a small group adventure travel company that offers hundreds of scheduled itineraries around the world.
I have always kinda used them (to steal ideas and itineraries) as their tours are very “real & raw”, but I have never done a tour with them, even though had several of their catalogues in my travel box.
My friend advised me to use them, it could be a bit more expensive than doing it myself, but she had a blast and peace of mind.
So like a puzzle it all made sense. I didn’t even consider a tour before as it is much more expensive and I rather travel by myself, however, If I would do a tour, first I wouldn’t need to worry in spending days and even weeks researching for all sort of information, best itineraries, booking trains, accommodation etc. So that would be a lot of work out of my way. Than factor security. India is definitely not the ideal place for a solo female travel to be, so by being with a group and a local guide, I will be completely comfortable. Also would be easier to break the news to my mum. And even tho I do love traveling by myself, I think the beginning of the trip for me would be the hardest part, as I though I would be feeling “bruised” coming from a big family and a lot of friends and suddenly find myself completely alone. By traveling with these people I surely would make friends – and I can then gradually become solo. Now I just needed to find THE tour.
So that night I spent a couple of hours looking for the perfect tour with the little knowledge I had.
Sadly most of the tours were quite expensive for my budget and quite short, like 15/20 days, and honestly, you cannot see a country like India in 2 weeks… Then I started considering doing a part solo and the other with the tour, but that means I will still have a lot of work on a phase I knew I would be sooooo busy by leaving my life behind, and still would have to add solo travel and explain family I would take care of me bla bla bla. Before falling asleep, my decision was made. If I was going on a tour, it better cover the entire India.
End up dreaming all night about it. Woke up thinking about it… it was like it was stuck to my brain and couldn’t think about anything else. Went to work and during my quick reading session on the tube got extra inspired by the chapter I was reading on “4h work a week” and when I got to work, I did pretty much all the work of a day in a few hours!!! Then, at my lunch break I looked at “it” again. I went to Intrepid Travel and this time I saw something I didn’t see the previous night – a 50 days tour all around India and for a really exceptional price. Was just PERFECT!!!!
When I went to check the availability, I could not quite believe what I was seeing. There was 7 dates left, and 6 of them were fully booked!!!!! Just one date had availability for ONE person only. Now guess the date!!!!!!
Yep, the 19th of october (today) which is also the date I moved to London 7 years ago.
Now, I don’t know if you are into numerology or know much about body and mind cycles, but theres several theories by anthologists, scientists, philosophers, doctors etc, that say that every Seven years you change. They are physical cycles of the body and spiritual cycles if life – the human life divides into 7 year segments – the cycles of seven years! (google it, its very interesting).
This is something I have always believed in and it all made sense.
I was in such a shock and weird state of mind, that in the same moment, without reading, research or exploring more, I booked the trip because I just knew it was meant to be. It couldn’t be all coincidences.
I was shaking. I am known for being spontaneous but this was mental. There would be no turning back after this (unless I didn’t mind to loose a lot of money which I obviously did) and I just did it without telling to anyone, without consulting my best friends for advice, without “warning” my family… there was no time for it. Like in the science fiction movies, there was a very illuminated portal/window opened and I had to jump at it without being afraid and without hesitation or the portal could close any second.
So I did it. I book a 2 month tour to India. And that was the beginning!
To make it freakier, later on that day I added an app from Intrepid Travel called meet up which basically travellers that book their tours with Intrepid can check in and find out who’s the group or the people that will be traveling on the same tour you’re going.
So there was only one lady. She was Australian and she had a 3 or 4 month old post saying that she was excited and asking if anyone else was going.
She was the first person I told I was going, a stranger. So couldn’t quite believe when next morning she answered me saying that sadly she has just changed her tour a couple of days ago and was now doing it in November!!!!!!
That means the only reason I got MY spot on the trip was because she changed hers.
Can you see it now?
Its like the world positively conspired for it to happen. Fate, destiny? YES. YES.
It was like a puzzle fall into place:
- if I haven’t chat with my friend that day (and it was really by chance as we spent almost a month trying to call each other, she was finishing her thesis and I was really busy and our schedules were so different….)
- if I didn’t get the idea stuck into my mind and spending all night dreaming about it
- if I wasn’t reading “4h work a week” by Tim Ferriss that inspired me that morning to follow his suggestions and by lunch time I have done pretty much everything for the day allowing to actually not think about work, therefore research about the tour and book it on the spot
- if the lady didn’t changed the date… the only person I found in the meeting app (tour starting in a couple of hours and I still don’t know anyone going)
If, if if if… theres so many ifs but gladly everything went well, and today, my 7th anniversary as a Londoner, I am starting officially a new cycle in my life 🙂
Now lets hope this next 7 years will be even more special than the previous ones that were absolutely wonderful.
Excited with life, excited with myself.
It feels good and it feels right.
Lets the adventure begin =)