Why Every Traveler Must Visit INDIA

Derek India 101 Comments


I’m just going to come out and say it…I LOVE INDIA!

In fact, I’m so thoroughly addicted to the madness of the subcontinent that I’ve now spent over two and a half years exploring it.

What am I addicted to?

The GAME.

Traveling in India is like playing a game, one that both challenges and changes every player. In the Game of India, you are blindly thrown into an intense tornado of chaos and must then not only find your way, but you must uncover the magic and beauty that is veiled in the insanity.

Every second of every day in India, you encounter sights, sounds, tastes and smells that you have never faced before. The challenge is constant, as you are forced to observe, interpret and understand a way of life so different from your own. The world that is India is wildly enigmatic, a world that at times seems completely lawless and without even the most basic of rules, while at other times, it shimmers with the pride of being the world’s largest working democracy.

When you travel in India, you cannot have a plan. It simply doesn’t work that way. All you need to do is get there and then simply wake up each day and walk outside your room. The mysterious current will immediately embrace you and lead you on a unique and unforgettable adventure….every single time.


An adventure that will take you to…

– Nauseatingly massive cities, remote villages seemingly unchanged for centuries, isolated Tibetan settlements 16,000 feet high up in the Himalayas, entire towns floating on lakes, built around fortresses in the middle of the desert, hidden in the depths of the jungle and nestled under palm trees along incredible stretches of beach

–  Moments of such genuine hospitality followed by moments of such utter frustration, with both often taking place within the same minute and sometimes even caused by the same person (try introducing yourself to the man who just attempted to rip you off and you’ll soon find yourself sharing chai, talking politics and becoming friends with him moments later!)

– Camels roaming the deserts, tigers in the forests, elephants barreling down the streets of Delhi, and yaks hanging out in the mountains of Kashmir, not to mention holy cows and unruly monkeys inhabiting almost every corner of the country

– Constant encounters with the ‘unbelievable’ – whether it be the monuments of Hampi, the sunsets over Bundi and sunrises over the Ganges River, Mumbai’s sprawling Crawford market, bizarre rituals (such as throwing newborn babies to the ground from the top of a 50 foot wall in order to ensure their future strength – the babies land on sheets held by people below!), the enchanting backwaters of Kerala, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, a glimpse of the Dalai Lama in McLeod Ganj, the 2-day Himalayan bus journey from Manali to Leh, the burning ghats of Varanasi, the seemingly endless city slums and the sense of community of those living there and on and on and on…

– Religious diversity and the fascinating traditions that accompany it – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, Christians, B’hais and even a handful of Indian Jews all offering their own version of India

– A never-ending stream of magical palaces, forts, temples, mosques, monuments, ancient ruins and natural wonders, each leaving you more speechless and in awe than the previous one

– Cultural and religious festivals too numerous to count, ranging from those ancient and unaffected by time to the unfathomably wild and intense displays of devotion that you must see to believe

– Joyous feasts for the taste buds as you fill your stomach with endless helpings of vegetarian curries served on banana leafs, fresh samosas and pakoras, masala dosas, kathi kebabs, biryanis, momos, tandoori breads and some of the most divine (yet cavity-creating) sweets on earth

Traveling throughout India is rewarding, but it certainly is not easy. A simple stroll down the street is exhausting enough as you face off with suicidal truck drivers, taxis, rickshaws, bull-carts and cars, aggressive cows, hungry goats and wild dogs, endless beggars, con-men and vendors all screaming for your attention, exhaust pipes blowing thick black smoke into your face, men and women spitting everywhere without concern for whose feet are nearby, pot holes and downed wires, cow excrement and impromptu urinals, tissue-less nose blowing and piles of burning garbage in every direction.

But the truth is, before long, you’ll love every minute of it! Once you get comfortable with the game, you’ll find yourself hungry for the craziness and the unique and extraordinary experiences that each day brings.

However, only minimal and superficial rewards await the traveler who walks through the streets with constant suspicion, clenching tightly to their backpack and shouting at every Indian who tries to approach them. It is the traveler who is willing to dive right into the chaos and accept India with the most open of minds who will discover the infinite and life-changing rewards it offers.

If you’re the type of traveler who is not afraid to get out of your comfort zone and have your long-held views on life constantly challenged, India is a must.

After all, where else on this planet can you…

…ride in a human-pulled rickshaw, sip cappuccino in an upscale café, observe a holy man drink cow urine straight from a cow, visit a 500-year old Hindu temple, play a pick-up game of cricket, suddenly be invited to a traditional seven-day wedding by a stranger just because you’re a foreigner, walk through open sewage, feast on delicious, freshly cooked curries from a dilapidated food stall and have your ears cleaned by a half-naked man with dreadlocks on the sidewalk…all on the same street!

At the end of the day, the greatest benefit that India offers its visitors is to guarantee that the person you are when you arrive will little resemble the person you are when you leave.

Any questions about India? Just leave a comment below and I’ll help you out as best I can!

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Comments 101

  1. Kasi Tornese

    Hello Derek, Earl, and Dearl 🙂
    My name is Kasi and I have been traveling for about two years now. I started in the Caribbean islands and then spent some time in the Hawaiian islands. Lived out of car around the states and then did the gringo trail in Peru. It’s crazy to think that I have been living out of my back pack and bouncing around for two years and I’ve only done North America and one country in South America. Time flies, and as a dedicated traveler it seems it’s going to take me a lifetime if I want to travel the world.
    To start off with, India. I’ve been fascinated with Henna tattoos for about a year now and started doing them as a profession.i would love nothing more than to go to the place it all started. How do you feel about solo female travelers in India? I have heard so many different sides and stories.
    I started off with a little bit about my story because I wanted to emphasize that I crave those uncomfortable and life changing experiences. However I’m still nervous to go to some countries alone.

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Hey Kasi – Thanks for the comment and sharing some details about your journey! As for India, if you use the same common sense you would use anywhere, there’s no reason why it would be a difficult experience. With that said, it’s also the kind of place that is easier if you have a lot of travel experience in destinations that are very different from where you are from. While it’s not dangerous, it is definitely intense!

  2. Luis Garduno

    Hi Earl! Man, I really enjoying reading and learning from your stories. I started long traveling 4 months ago. Leaving EU after 3 months and planning to spend all October in India. I’ve been to Dheli, Agra & Jaipur bust this time I,m not sure where to start, hostels, etc … also would like to volunteer somewhere for a week. As such, would really appreciate any tips, insights and places you highly recommend.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Post
      Author
  3. Kiran

    Yes, Earl, this country is a blend of so many things from calm himalays to busy and crowded cities and so much more. India is indeed an amazing country to visit once in a lifetime. There are thousands places that attracts many tourists from every place of the world to it. We have dessert, himalayas, beautiful beaches, snow, and different seasons. I’m a traveler in love with the Himalayas. I wrote about unknown places and my treks. Visit my blog, I hope you enjoy reading it. 🙂

  4. Jimena Loreto

    Hey Earl! I’m honestly fascinated by your blog. I’m an 18 year old girl living in Mexico City and in just a few days I’m leaving by myself for New Delhi for a 3 month volunteering trip and adventure. I have been trying to read all about India, the food, how to transport myself, how to be safe, how to dress, etc. But after reading all of your posts on it I guess my best option is to learn as I go? It is all just too much to understand through a computer screen. Any essential tips you might want to give me?

  5. kai

    Hi Earl, I’m from Singapore and I just want to tell you that you are a legend. You are living a life most people would not dare pursue. You are a true ambassador of the world, an inspiration. Safe travels and may the gods look after you.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Kai – Thanks for that…perhaps we’ll have a chance to meet up the next time I’m in Singapore!

  6. Kieran

    Hey there, a flight to leave is not necessary when getting a visa in Melbourne, and i believe other states too. The easiest way to get a new visa however is to travel to nepal and either stay in nepal for 3 months, or return to india once you’ve got a new visa in kathmandu which takes a few days. 🙂 Alternatively Sri Lanka, Bangkok also are other ways for travellers to get a new visa!

    As you have returned, so I will be returning to India in a few weeks time for my fourth consecutive year! 🙂 I like to see a bit of South India while it’s not SUMMER by exploring tamil nadu and kerala briefly. and then go and stay in Varanasi which is my favourite indian city, it really is the quintessential indian spiritual and cultural centre-point i think, a real must. also quite cheap, rooms as low as 100rs a night or more! I like to sip chai on the banks of the ganga and generally relax and watch life go by.

    From there i will take a train trip and bus to Dharamasala, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamkot which are all part of the one location and my favourite place on earth. Himalayas, Dalai Lama’s, beautiful mountainous region where one can stay for months and enjoy every single day, meditation centres and cheap rooms, think 3000rs a month to slow down and cook your own food and take it easy 🙂 I Love India! 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Kieran – For the flight, it’s never necessary to show the return flight to get the visa but in some countries, the airline check-in staff won’t let you board the flight to India without proof of an onward ticket. So that’s where the problem can be.

      Glad you’ve enjoyed India so much…there are endless places to visit in that country for sure!

  7. Khushi

    Hi Earl!!

    Loving your blog! I’ve just spent 3 months in India and I did not want to leave!! Despite wanting to stay longer, I came home (a small town in rural Australia) because I had a commitment to travel with my partner. He has since backed out of our travel plans with preference for a ‘ comfortable’ lifestyle. So here I am in my home town, wishing that I wasn’t.
    This was my first overseas trip and I spent some time in Singapore on the way over to India, then explored Goa and Mumbai before settling to live and volunteer in Jaipur for 2 and a half months whilst also travelling to other areas, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Agra, Pushkar, Ranthambore, Udaipur and some villages.
    India was always highly on my heart and still is. It truly exceeded my expectations in every way and I certainly did not leave India the same person who arrived!!! I’ve been inspired in so many ways.
    I’d like your input on beginning my next journey! India is still hugely on my mind and I don’t know whether I should go back and spend as much time there as I can or if I should spend some time travelling other places first with the view to return to India later. Have I been bitten with the travel bug, or the India bug??
    Also, how do you get around visa restrictions? For example, India will issue you a 6 month tourist visa pretty easily but you need to have a flight booked to leave. How many flights do you book in advance to make sure you’ll be able to enter your next destination? That must make it difficult to be flexible with your plans or consider extending your visa in one country.
    I’m pretty confident I could travel for quite a while on little money but the cost of flights is a real bummer. Also wondering whether you have travel insurance?

    Thanks Earl 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Khushi – Glad you enjoyed India so much! As for the flights, I never really book a flight to leave before I arrive and I’ve never been asked for that information either. But when heading to countries where there is a higher chance of being asked for proof of a return ticket, I simply go online, book a fully refundable ticket and once I arrive in my destination, I just get the refund. So this allows me to stay flexible all the time. As for travel insurance, these days I have private insurance back in the US and depending on the destination I am visiting overseas, I sometimes take out extra travel insurance as well.

  8. Sukhi

    Hey Earl – don’t forget the communicative Indian head wobble, which could turn out to mean anything! I loved every second of India (as a British guy with Indian heritage). Great post.

  9. Gaurav Bhatnagar

    Hi Earl, I am born in India. However, it was via the words of one such traveller like you, that I actually started noticing my own country. I then went on to discover it and I agree with you that you just need to get up and walk out of the door to get a new experience 🙂

  10. Prakash

    I am Indian origin, not a big fan of the country (prefer Thailand much more), I have travelled around the world quite a bit, but I do have to admit that if there is one unique country in this planet, it must be India. The kind of stuff you see there, you can’t explain it with words, you won’t see it in other places. I guess India is a country you either love it or hate it.

  11. Geet

    Hey Earl,

    I was looking for something else when I stumbled across your harrowing experience of being kidnapped in Bangladesh during your journey towards Shillong, India. While it made me happy that you visited India, it was a bit disheartening to hear about an Indian losing his path to militancy, apart from taking your money.

    However, your spirited is worth a hats-off! It is this sheer confidence and faith that has kept you going so strong in your voyage. I wish you all the very best and certainly hope to catch you someday.

    India has a lot of variance related to cultures and at every corner, you’ll find a new dish, a different tradition, unique attires (in villages) and each of them having their own style of celebrating festivals. True that it is never enough to explore this country of mystical heritage.

    I would really like you to visit India again and try Bihu – a traditional dance form in the north east; watch Ghumar – the dance of Rajasthan and cutting it short, take part in Navratri celebrations in Gujarat. You may prefer Vadodara for it as that is the only place where Navratri is still played in true traditional style even as it holds the world record for the largest number of people dancing at a time. Phew!

    I don’t wanna end up writing a blog here so I’ll stop. Come over (again)! Food on me. 🙂 😀

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Geet – Thank you for your comment and an offer of Indian food is always tempting. I’ll be back in India in March so let’s see how it goes!

  12. Ash

    Hey Earl 🙂

    I am wondering if you just go with the flow and just walk where ever might you end up lost in a place you don’t know. Do you carry a map or something?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Ash – I don’t carry maps with me but usually will try to look at one for a few seconds before heading out just so that I have a general idea of how the destination is spread out. But usually that’s about it.

  13. Parimal Ajudiya

    I am so happy to read your post about india,
    there are many uncovered places for foreigner in india,
    if any budy want to view and experience life of farmer in gujarat state,
    i will happy to help. here many places are must visit.
    thank you everybody

  14. Shannon

    when you travel – do you get needles?
    A lot of people say it is wise to get needles before traveling to India, and honestly, that is the only thing stopping me. I have an innate fear of needles and blood.

  15. Shelley

    India is fabulous. So fabulous, that a 2 month journey lead me to find a job in Hyderabad, marry an Indian and live there for 5 years. BUT living in India and traveling through India are two completely different things. Honestly, one more day in India and I would have gone crazy. The power failures, the extreme tardiness, the inequality of women, and all the other small day to day things just wore me down.
    When I backpacked through India, it was insane in an awesome way. I loved the adventure and the “game” but when I needed life to be simple and easy, it just wasn’t.
    We have now moved to Canada, and I am awaiting my husband’s arrival (pending immigration paperwork), and I am glad that things are just a little easier. But every once in a while my heart aches for India, and a smell, or sight transports me back there.
    I hope that when my kids get a little older, and we can save a little money we can travel through parts of India I haven’t seen, and introduce my children to their wonderful heritage. I want them to see the beauty that is part of who they are.
    India is a gem. It will change you forever.

  16. Anders

    Next March cannot come soon enough! Some people have ‘warned me off’ saying it ‘wont be very nice’…They don’t know what they are missing.

    Keep up the good work, Earl (i realise this article is an old one!). Maybe catch you on the road sometime.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Anders – Your trip will be well worth it…if you ever have any India questions, just send me an email and I’ll help out as best I can.

  17. Kimberly

    Hi Earl!!

    It was a pleasure to read your article, next year from Jan to Feb I’ll go in an international exchange to India, New Delhi. I’m really excited because India has always been the place of my dreams, because of the chaos, food, culture, religion and monuments.
    But I have a slight doubt, I don’t know if I should choose to leave in the school, or to live with a host family. Which one do you think would be the best for me? I’m 16 years old and I love to travel to other countries without my parents but with any organization for young teenagers.

    thanks!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Kimberly – That’s hard for me to say since I don’t really know much about you at all. For me, I would prefer to stay with a host family for a more local experience as I believe that would result in some experiences and an entirely different kind of education than if you stayed at the school. But that’s just me…might not be for everyone.

  18. Ritika

    Hi Earl,

    Sucha beautiful article about our India. I really loved it. Its like, someone from outside understands her so well. First time I read all good things about India. Its true every aspect has good n the bad, but should always focus on good to be happy n yet improve your negatives.

    Am glad I read this … N i want more :-))
    Do visit Delhi and write an article about it too.

    Ardent Travleler Fan
    Ritika 🙂

  19. Sam

    I’ve been traveling China for four months and this is exactly how I feel every day.
    Looks like India could be next. Easy to get an English teaching gig there? But is it safe for a small, blonde Pennsylvanian? Curious.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Sam – It really depends. You can find work teaching English but you won’t make much money at all, if you make any money, as most of the opportunities are volunteer. The thing is that English is widely spoken in India so the market for teachers is smaller. As for being safe though, if you use the same common sense you would use at home or anywhere else in the world, India will be just as safe.

  20. desi Traveler

    You have captured the essence of India very well… the sights, the smells, warts and all. we have not one India but many India each separate yet united like pearls in a necklace…. we have a saying here in India….

    ” We are like that only 🙂 )

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  22. Rahul

    Namaste Earl …
    Wow !!! Never looked at my own country like that…. Your article has definitely given a new perspective …
    But i have a complain….
    Whenever any traveller comes to India.. his preferred location of visit will mostly be either crowded cities or Himalayas … Very few people come to North eastern states (Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim). You are welcome to our homes, our mountains, our rivers and waterfalls, and to our hearts.
    We believe in the mantra of “Atithi Devo Bhawa” (A guest is A God ).
    Hope you will visit us soon !!!

    1. Earl

      Thanks Rahul – I’ve actually been to Assam and Meghalaya and had a wonderful time there. It was several years ago when I went but I loved it out there…such a different India. Hopefully more people will start traveling to that region as well as it has so much to offer!

  23. Helen

    WOW that’s a great piece of writing and pretty much sums up the experience of India! I never actually saw a holy man drinking cow pee hahahahahhahahah, that’s crazy. Also, I thought the ear cleaning thing was a scam? An Indian I met there told me once “anything is possible In Hindustan”, he taught me the hindi for it, but it’s so long ago now, but that always stuck in my mind cos it’s so true!

    1. Earl

      Hey Helen – From what I’ve learned, the ear thing is often a scam when it’s offered in touristy areas. But I do know locals who get their ears cleaned and I see it happening all the time on the sidewalks of Delhi. And I believe the words you were looking for are: Sab Kuch Milega, which approximately translates to anything is possible 🙂

      1. Jay

        Great essay.

        I read your reply to Helen:
        “And I believe the words you were looking for are: Sab Kuch Milega, which approximately translates to anything is possible”

        Well, it is not correct so I had to jump in and offer the correct translation.

        “Sab Kuch Milega” means “Everything is available”

        “Anything is possible” translates to “Kuch bhi ho sakta hai”

        “Chalta hai” is another phrase you hear often, meaning “It’s okay”

  24. Joel

    Earl –

    Kudos for your colorful description of India. We spent 3 months there in 2008 and had a miserable, wonderful, frustrating, enlightening, tiring, mind-blowing, death-defying, sensual-overloading time there. Only someone who has immersed themselves in India can understand why all of those adjectives can co-exist. Keep on truckin Earl. We (only) managed 18 months straight of backpacking, but it was from savings (and much later in life). And, I’m sure you would be shocked by this, first question from almost everyone : “How could you afford it? I could never do that.”

    Joel

    1. Earl

      Hey Joel – That’s about as good a description of India as there can be…in fact, I just arrived in India today for another visit so I’m looking forward to experiencing all of those adjectives at the same time once again!

  25. Swathi

    Hey EARL… Read all your posts, you are truly inspiring !! And I consider this post to be a honor, I am from India. Respect to you man 🙂 I am still studying, and do plan to complete my graduation in the USA within the next two years. After which really hope to travel for atleast a few years , obviously India is not on my list..have lived for 20 years here already 😉 Thank you for your help, inspiration and this post. Good luck to you ! 🙂

  26. Luisa Sousa

    Hi Earl,

    I’m starting to plan my RTW trip and for some reason I always thought of starting in India.
    However, I undersand it can be quite a challenging country, with a huge cultural shock… Although there’s not doubt you love it and you manage to transcribe the enthusiasm you felt, you also hint at the fact that it might not be the easiest place to be, specially if one has’t travel that much and isn’t used to be outside the confort zone.
    I also read that it’s a good idea not to jump to a completely different culture at the start of a trip like this for that same reason (cultural shock, the difficult of adjusting in the beginning, etc)

    So, my question is whether you have any opinion regarding the idea of someone starting a first-time RTW trip in India. Should I pick some other country and go to India after I’ve been on “the road” for a bit longer, and more familiarized with my boundaries?

    The reason I’m starting to ask this question is because I could imagine myself being a bit annoyed with the constant attempts to rip me off, the shady businesses, the schemes and the overall lack of rules… I don’t want to judge before I go, but I’m having a clue this is all part of the Indian experience… And I know one learns to accept and adjust, but as a starting country it does look like it can be offer some extra difficulties… I dunno, maybe it’s a silly question because it all comes down to each one, but if you feel like throwing your two cents I would love to hear! 🙂

    Cheers!

    1. Earl

      Hey Luisa – It all depends on the person in terms of whether or not India is a good place to start one’s travels. However, because you are already talking about possibly being annoyed with certain aspects of India, then maybe it’s not the best place for you to begin your trip. Once you travel for a while and are able to handle those aspects without being annoyed or frustrated, then it would be a good time to visit India.

  27. Richa

    Hi Earl,

    Such an amazing life you have been leading! Truly inspiring..

    And thanks for writing such beautiful stuff about India- I am an Indian (living in the US currently) and reading such good things about my country from foreigners strengthens the pride I have for my country. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    Keep up the good work!
    -Richa
    (www.ourtravelpics.wordpress.com)

  28. Tyrhone

    Great post, definitely indicative of my own feelings towards India. I spent a month there a year or so ago and loved it! The sights, sounds smells, and incredible people, most inviting and friendly I have ever met. My girlfriend is doing a charity thing there, where her and a couple pals will be given a rickshaw to ride from north to south, unguided! She is nervous but really looking forward to it. I think we will end up spending a good few months (or years!) there soon. Magical place.

  29. Lina

    Dear Earl,
    I am currently in Kathmandu and after spending more than 2 weeks all over Nepal I can truly see what awaits for me in India…but in a much bigger scale! I am traveling alone since China chose to intefere with my plans (I was about to go to Tibet with my fellow Americans but as a Greek, I cannot travel with them. Thank you China for this unique opportunity!).
    I’m leaving for Delhi this coming Tuesday and I cannot wait! I sadly have only 7 days and I can’t seem to be able to choose where to go. But as you’re saying, and as life has proven to me, I’ll just go with the flow and I’m sure I will find my way.

    Once again, I love your blog! Keep up the great job!

    Lina

    1. Earl

      Hey Lina – Have a safe trip to India tomorrow! Delhi is a great city in my opinion and you can easily reach a few other great destinations during the 7 days you have in that country. Of course, you might end up staying longer and changing your plans as India tends to have that effect on people 🙂

  30. hsiaoshuang

    I’ve been to India only once — a stopover for an hour between Singapore and London. Read a post by an Indian expat working in the US who said that when he returned to India, the first thing that greeted him when the plane door opened was the smell. After years in the US, he had forgotten that India smells!

    How did you stand the smell of India?

    1. Earl

      Hsiahshuang – The smell of India never bothered me and I never found it to be as bad as some people say. I think there’s a little exaggeration going on most of the time 🙂

  31. Marg

    Wow! This really gave me a good laugh! You are such a good writer. I would love to do India someday, but I’m afraid to go it alone. (especially after the kidnapping story!) Glad you were ok. Your life is amazing!

    1. Earl

      Hey Marg – Don’t worry the kidnapping story was in Bangladesh, which is infinitely more intense than India!

  32. Emiel

    I loved your post! Straight from the heart.
    We traveled to India back in 1998 for about 3 weeks. Now we have two small children aged 8 and 10 and we are dying to return someday. And this year it will happen. Only for a short period, we don’t want to travel that long in India with our kids, not now. 10 days in North India before we move on to Thailand. It will be great, cannot wait…

    1. Earl

      Hey Emiel – That should be a great trip with your kids and I think they will also benefit from such an experience. There is no place like India and even children seem sense that when they’re there. Perhaps we’ll be in India at the same time as I’m planning to get there again this year as well!

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  35. Jeremy

    Since I have felt the undeniable yurning to travel, India has been the place that just wont let go, like those vendors know I’m coming, and they are yelling to me to hurry up and come over. When I finish getting my AA and have a nice little savings that’s the place I’m going, the one that starts it all. It’s just the kick in the pants I’ve always needed to stop being so uninvigoratingly nervous and dull. Thanks once again for being a nomad.

    1. Earl

      Hey Jeremy – In that case, you better make sure you do get to India at some point! It will indeed change your life forever.

  36. Vishal

    Hi Earl,

    I will be traveling to North India, Mumbai and Goa this March and April. Really excited. 🙂 And hopefully, I’m going to use some of your writings as a reference.

    1. Earl

      Hey Vishal – Thanks for commenting and your trip sounds excellent to me! I’m a huge fan of North India, especially places such as Amritsar, McLeod Ganj, the Spiti and Kinnaur Valleys, Rishikesh and my favorite town of all, Bundi, located in far eastern Rajasthan. Enjoy your adventure!

  37. Steve Kovach

    Earl! I’m nearing the end of the European segment of my journey, and, to be honest, I’ve found myself rather jaded and disenchanted with travel Europe. It’s become a bit predictable and uninspiring (been here too long I think). Reading this post, I think I’ve finally decided where I’m going next…

    1. Earl

      Hey Steve – Well, I won’t argue with that decision! Let me know if you have any questions about India and I’d be more than happy to help you out….

  38. WearItOut

    Luv your article. I’m Indian married to a Pakistani man – sadly he cannot visit India with me due to political rivalries between the two countries. We’re hoping things will improve by the time we both retire so we can explore this lovely diverse continent as both our ancestors come from there. We especially wish to visit the ancient historical sites like Mohanjodaro and Harrapa. Have you been there yet?

    1. Earl

      @WearitOut – I have not been to those two places and I’ve actually never heard of them before 🙂 But that’s what I love about India, you can spend a lifetime there and still not see all it has to offer!

  39. Madeleine

    Hi Earl,
    Admittedly, I’m arriving at your blog well post-India, but your passion for travel and obvious knack for writing inspired me to take a dip back into my own travel blog. I too was fortuante enough to visit India (this past March), though my trip was only 3 weeks in length.

    Safe to say that after those 3 weeks, though, the travel bug has bitten, and I’m anxious to revisit some other side of the world. My hope is to perhaps teach in South Korea, and I see from your posts that you have some teaching experience, so I’ll certianly be digging through your old posts for some tips.

    Anyway, thanks for the nudge to revisit some travel plans that have temporarily been put on the back burner! Suddenly I feel the need to consume large quantities of garlic naan and ghobi manchurian …

    Happy travels!

    1. Earl

      Namaste Madeline! India tends to have that effect on people 🙂 It forces the traveler to want to explore new places, new lands and cultures. I understand that feeling all too well. Your plan to teach in S. Korea is a good one as that’s an excellent way to be overseas while earning decent money as well. And then from there, you’ll have plenty of other countries you can visit.

      And you have no idea how I feel about Indian food. Even here in Mexico I make the one hour trip a few times a month just to eat at the only Indian restaurant in the area!

      1. Madeleine

        Earl,

        I meant to ask you in my last comment, but did you ever get a chance to visit any Tibetan refuge communities while in India? I was fortunate enough to have my co-worker’s brother show me around one in the New Delhi area called Majnu Ka Tilla, or MT for short.

        If you haven’t and you find yourself back in northern India, I can’t recommend MT enough! It was (perhaps a little ironically) one of my favorite parts of the trip. Stepping off the streets of Delhi and into the winding stone alleyways that make up MT is like exiting India and walking straight into Tibet. Life there is calmer, more relaxed. Plus, the food is fantastic to boot! 🙂

        1. Earl

          Hey Madeline – I have actually spent time in some of the Tibetan communities in India, including Majnu Ka Tilla. At one point I stayed in McLeod Ganj for a few months (and have visited this village several times over the years) and I also went to one of the refugee communities in the south, located near the town of “Ooty” (Udhagamandalam). These areas always offer a fascinating and welcome break from the rest of India and I do agree that the food is fantastic as well. Nothing like a bowl of thukpa and a plate of spinach and cheese momos!

  40. Terry

    Thank you Earl for this blog! I’m going to India at the end of August. After wading through all of the ”scary” stuff online I am now officially over the unnecessary fear and am ABSOLUTELY excited to fulfill this dream of mine =)

    1. Earl

      Thank you for reading Terry! And I’m honestly very glad that you are excited about your trip to India. Forget about what you read online. Just know that yes, it will be a challenge, it will be overwhelming at first, but if you take it slow, give yourself some time to adjust and make sure you spend time in smaller, laid back places instead of the huge cities, the chances of you loving India as well will be quite high.

      If you have any other India questions before you head off on your trip please feel free to send me an email!

    1. Earl

      Thanks Leif! I go through the very same stages. After going to the north, I can’t wait to return and visit the south and vice versa! There’s just too much country to explore in India and I always feel as if there is more to see.

    1. Earl

      Hey Leif – That’s quite a good point. Every traveler will step in a pile of it at least once! And if they’re lucky, they won’t slip and fall into it. That is the worst.

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        1. Earl

          I’m trying to work in a trip over there soon as well! The pull of India is more powerful than that of any other country and it’s been way too long. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up so let me know when your plans are all set…

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  43. Rose

    I love my India! I especially miss watching a beautiful sunset on the Ganga in Rishikesh, with the bells and chanting of a nearby puja in the background, as well as walking along the narrow craziness of the little alleys of Varanasi, down where the Ganga has turned brown… It astounds me how much contrast there is to be found in this country, and how much peace in the middle of extreme chaos. Thank you for putting it down in writing for me!

  44. Dave and Deb

    Now I am just completely excited about going. Only two weeks until we leave for India. I want to explore everywhere that you mentioned. And we are definitely going to go there with an open mind to take everything in. Luckily we have all the time in the world so we can really enjoy it, and give us time to become comfortable there. I am sure that by the time we leave the country we are going to love it just like you! Thanks

    1. Earl

      Hello Dave & Deb! India is so large and diverse that you could literally end up spending all the time in the world over there! I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts once you’re there…

  45. Jonny | thelifething.com

    Excellent post and very well written.

    I am currently Living in Bangkok but am returning to the UK for Christmas. I was thinking of my next destination early next year between India, American and Argentina. I think you have just swung it for me.

    I will be subscribing just because of that. Look forward to following your adventures.

    1. Earl

      I’m happy to hear you’re leaning towards India! Early in the year is a great time to visit most of the country and if you stick around long enough (until about April or so) the roads throughout the Himalayas will open up and an entirely different kind of India suddenly becomes available for exploring. I’ll be back next year as well as I can never stay away for too long!

      Just wandered over to your blog and particularly enjoyed the article “5 Whopping Lies that Society Screams at You…” You have spoken the truth indeed.

  46. Monica O'Brien

    Earl,

    This is one of the countries I’ve never been to but really want to go to. I’m mostly excited about the food, the energy, and the colors. Definitely going to have to plan a trip in the next couple years. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Earl

      Thank you Monica for commenting! You’re right to be excited about the energy of India…I’m not sure if there is anywhere else on the planet where you can just walk outside and feel such an intense and magical energy. I miss it, especially whenever I’m at home where life seems to be a bit too energy-less!

  47. Casey

    This might have sealed the deal for me traveling to India. I have wanted to go ever since I went to Nepal. As you called it the game, I love how each day is different and presents such a variety of challenges to overcome. Look forward to future posts.

    1. Earl

      Glad to hear it Casey! If you enjoyed Nepal, you’ll definitely be a fan of India. And I’m excited to have found your blog as well…great stuff you’ve written, keep it coming…

  48. Elizabeth A.

    I must agree, India has been by far the most extreme country I have visited… The chaos, their food, their attitude towards foreign people (they are so nice, they will treat you like a rockstar!)… but you forgot to mention something: HOW UNPUNTCUAL THEY CAN BE! I took a train that was suppose to last between 10 to 14 hrs (nobody was able to tell me how long it was suppose to last), at the end it lasted not 10hrs, neither 14hrs, it lasted 19 hrs!! hahaha My flight from Bangalore to Mumbai was delayed for 3 hrs (apparently quite common in India), but it wasn’t as fun when I lost my international flight because of this tinny inconvenience hahaha… just for future referece: keep this in mind and you will be ready to enjoy your wonderful adventure in that amazing country!

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