Someone once told me you either go to India to search for something or to get lost.
Without hesitation, my first reaction when I was asked why I decided to go, was that I’m searching for something, not even sure what exactly it was.
When looking back now, I still wonder what eventually happened to me. Have I found something or did I get lost during only one month in India? Somehow I feel like both occurred and to be honest, I’m not exactly sure if one necessarily always has to exclude the other.
Before I went to India I didn’t really know what to expect of my trip as I had heard so much of this country already, and surely not only good things. Most people said it would not be safe for a female to travel on her own and clearly advised me not to go there by myself. Hence, I must admit that I was slightly nervous in the beginning. But I also know that people usually tend to exaggerate and often base their opinion on things they have once heard rather than real first-hand experiences. So despite a queasy feeling I still felt a strong urge to go to India and see for myself what it is all about.
It’s the people I meet that usually make a place special to me.
To give myself an easy start, I chose to fly into Goa and from there to decide where I would go next. At this stage, all I knew was that I wanted to attend a wedding in Bangalore that I got invited to and fly out from Chennai four weeks later. Apart from that everything was still open. Obviously one month is nothing considering the size of India. This is why I decided not to rush from one place to another but instead take my time to soak in all the new impressions.
Already on arrival in Goa I knew that it was the right decision to come to India. The hostel I chose was one of the best I have ever stayed at and it seemed like I was surrounded only by like-minded and positive people. After only a few days, maybe even hours together, I already felt a very strong bond connecting us. In a way it is funny, how you sometimes meet people, where it directly feels like you have already known each other for ages and therefore can just be yourself. Far away from family and friends scattered all over the world, they are the ones who make you feel home no matter where you are.
My one-month itinerary – a glimpse of India.
From Goa I worked my way down South to the relaxed Om Beach in Gokarna, took my first Indian night train to Kochi, cruised in the backwaters of Allepey, visited the stunning Top Station near Munnar and eventually travelled up again to the hustle and bustle of Bangalore.
After attending a traditional wedding near the city to see two gorgeous people getting married, I ended up in the place that all travellers seem to have fallen in love with: Hampi. A town where time stands still; full of historical ruins, boulders, dirt roads, rice fields and gigantic view points. It’s a place where the magic happens and that one will always remember.
So many impressions…
As already mentioned before, I am well aware of the fact that one month can only give you a vague idea of India. However, it is enough time to decide whether it is the right travel destination for you or not. As for me, it has been the most fascinating country I have ever been to and I cannot wait to go back one day in the near future.
Through all the stories and photos by friends I made along the way I feel though that I have already seen much more of the country than I actually have. Not only through following their travels but also through reading “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts, a well-known novel especially among backpackers in India, I feel that I have received a better impression of India.
I would describe India as colourful, chaotic, spiritual, challenging, mystical, inspiring and much more. It is a country full of contrasts, with beauty and extreme poverty going hand in hand. It is bursting with life and most streets are crowded with people of all ages, cows and vehicles.
Different smells greet you around every corner, people curiously stare at you while you walk past, ask questions or try to sell you something. But as much as you meet the locals who only try to make profit out of you, you surely also meet the ones who greet you with a big welcoming smile and do everything in their power to help you.
From India to Australia.
After India it was very hard for me at first to settle down in Australia. I felt out of place. Everything was just so different. I missed the chaos, the vibrant life and the deep talks. Even now, about three months later, I am thinking about India almost every day and wish I would have stayed longer. The reason for this is probably that I know there is still so much for me to discover about this country, the people, myself and life in general.
Step out of your comfort zone – this is where the magic happens.
So coming back to the question from the beginning, I can say that on the one hand I have found so much more in India than I thought I would. It feels like the most life-changing trip so far. I met countless interesting people who truly inspired me, tried many new things for the first time, had valuable experiences and learned so much about myself.
But on the other hand I also got very disappointed at some point, had times when I felt completely lost and obviously had my ups and downs along the way. In the end, it’s all part of the experience though. It’s life. It’s India. And it’s exciting!