Saturday, December 10

Travel to India: get started … or not?

India was the country that left the most impression on us during our long-distance trip. From afar. Far far away. We expected to be hit hard by this culture and this country so opposed to ours, and although we have been travelling for several months already, we were not spared. India left us knocked out, we came out haggard, dazed. We left her screaming, shouting that never, never again, she would see us again.

And yet. 2 years later, she is the one who left the biggest marks in us. Other countries have marked us of course, for their landscapes, the welcome of their inhabitants. But India is something entirely different, a different kind of memory. Of those who remain alive and on whom we still wonder for years.

We have only raised a tiny part of this vast country. Going back today would necessarily be different from our first trip, although we do not pretend to know all the habits and customs. Who could claim to feel completely at ease in this country? A western mind, however, opens it may be, will be struck, astonished, astonished, surprised by everyday scenes in India anyway.

So what can we say to those who do not know “if they will one day be able to travel to India”?

To find out, get started!

This is a little how we reasoned ourselves. We didn’t exactly have a passion for this country. We were rather impressed by those he was able to provoke, whether violent or not, unleashed or not. India leaves no one indifferent. Many travellers have told us that they wanted to flee the first days of their trip to India. Then then, no longer want to leave it.

And … this is also what happened to us. Finally, for the first part at least. From our second day in India, I wanted to run away. At that time I found myself in an astonishing, but painful, painful emotional state. While we were visiting a Sikh temple in Delhi (Gurudwara Sisganj), I started to cry, cry, without being able to stop. I can’t say what made me cry like that! Everything that was going on around me was “wrong” with my usual conception of things. I felt like I was in another dimension, another universe, with decorations that were familiar to me, but people who acted in a completely unusual way for me. What I saw “was wrong”.

Although this was not the case during the following months, today I have absolutely no regrets for having dared to take the plunge and for having travelled to India.

There, I started to cry, not to stop for several hours … Why? The noise, the smell, the world may be … yet the place was superb.

Well, don’t worry, I didn’t spend 3 weeks crying. Though. lol. No, however, I was very upset, and on edge most of the time.

I did not know how to step back or keep calm during this trip to India. Everything I saw touched me enormously, jostling me in an often violent and devastating way. I was shocked by the extreme poverty, the condition of the women, the cruel lack of hygiene, the attitude of the men towards me. I took everything in the face, head-on. Without any filters and protection

Keep a cool head and step back

It’s easy to say, huh! How annoyed it was to read this kind of advice while I suffered excruciatingly from all the torments that this country was already inflicting on me! Am I doing too much? I reassure you: there are days when I felt very good too, huh! Except that when we seek advice on the internet or in books, it is precisely when we doubt.

Staying calm, taking a step back is what we recommend most of the time to live a good trip to India. And indeed, this is advice that I should have applied. Could it be the long months of travel that we already had in our paws that blurred my senses? Or was I simply not able at that time to live this type of trip properly? Are there travellers made for India and others not?

I do not know how to answer this question. I think there are nevertheless circumstances that make a trip (whatever it is) great for some, and horrible for others. There are no rules concerning the appreciation or not of a country, of a journey, because we are all different, quite simply.

Personally, India has completely deconstructed me. Strangely enough, I couldn’t explain how, but she questioned, she turned upside down a lot of things that I took for granted. And I know that there are on the other hand people approaching whom the effect is less strong or people who know better how to protect themselves so as not to be so disturbed. But also people who like this feeling of losing ground, and who like to be justly turned upside down during a trip.

Don’t feel guilty

On-site, I was annoyed by my daily life, but also by my inability to feel what some travellers described in India, the country they found so great. I was wondering ”  but what’s wrong with me?” Why am I not fascinated, but disgusted by their mode of operation? Why can’t I “become one” with this country, let myself be carried away by this extraordinary experience? ” 

You may feel the same when you get there. You will have been turned down so and so ears about India, ”  a country that you should not miss for anything in the world “, that you will not understand why your feelings, your feelings go completely to the against this concept. You may be crying, blaming yourself. To think that you are not strong enough, or not open enough. Perhaps too western, obtuse, or insensitive. That you are not a ”  good  ” traveller, and that you just have to go home.

This is another point that made me suffer enormously during this trip. While I was already completely overwhelmed by what I was going through, I read in addition to messages or articles from people who accused me basically (and with contempt!) Of “having understood nothing” …

Yes, well, it’s a bit of a mess, on the streets, in India

I just want to tell you that coming to India is already courageous. It is already accepting to see his senses turned upside down, his references exploded, his daily life dramatically disturbed. You knew it, before leaving, you read it. ”  India leaves no one indifferent “. And yet you are there. It’s a good start.

Then, (and there I shoot myself in the foot) turn off your computer, cut your internet connection, don’t read anything anymore, don’t listen to anyone anymore. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should experience this journey. Quite simply, experience it your way.

Do not be afraid or ashamed to travel in an organized manner, either by choosing a local agency as we did or by preparing a tour with a private driver. If that can reassure you, do so. You won’t be a bad traveller either. You also won’t have missed your trip to India. You will simply have followed your needs and put all the odds on your side so that everything goes well.

Some people can travel alone all over the planet, and others who feel better by being a little supported when it comes to approaching certain destinations, that’s all. It was our case. However gone for a long trip in a backpack, organizing our trip through a local agency reassured us. We no longer had this permanent concern of having to find a hotel or plan a bus trip, for us, it was a way of travelling a little more “quiet”  (er, it’s possible to travel “quiet” in India ??)

The important thing is to always listen to yourself and do according to your abilities. And your desires. 

Walking barefoot in the Temple of Rats in Deshnoke: I did it, you can do it too, lol!

And if you don’t want to go, it doesn’t matter either!

Some ( many, like everyone even) work hard all year round to give themselves a nice trip, once on vacation. And everyone does not necessarily want to return from this trip by being upset ( because we are certainly returning from a trip to India), sick (that too, it is common) and morale in the socks (it happens!). So, no, don’t feel guilty if you don’t feel able to go to India. I said above that it was already courageous to go to India. But the opposite is not true, you just have other priorities, other desires for the moment. Maybe in 10 years?… Or not!

A trip to India is almost double or double: we like it or not … (although it is not in my opinion not as clear cut)

You have to accept before leaving that it will not necessarily be a pleasure, much less a vacation. It’s another type of trip, difficult, but where you learn a lot, a lot. On the country, on the Indians, and above all, on ourselves. Finally, it is a journey that makes you think, long, long after. And because there are aspects that are both repulsive and attractive, this is a country that can make you addicted!

Are you ready for this type of trip?

But… India does not “make” a traveller either. There are not, as we sometimes read, ”  those who made India  ” and the others. All these are just sales pitch from people who just need to tell it to themselves while boasting of being better travellers than others. By doing so elsewhere, they are going against even what they advocate, that is to say, tolerance and open-mindedness.

Everyone travels where and as they see fit, there is no single way to travel. Still happy.

Good, however, however you plan your trip to India, be sure that it will leave you with a memory powerfully anchored in you for life!

Indians are little pranksters, but they are always smiling.

And do I need to tell you that Rajasthan is rich in a magnificent historical heritage?

Travel to India: practical advice

  • We can never say it enough: women absolutely must favour loose and sufficiently covering outfits. The shoulders, armpits or even the ankles are considered there as erotic parts of the female body! The simplest and the funniest is to buy your outfits directly on site. Forget the jeans, often too tight, and prefer the wide pants in cotton or linen which will be more comfortable anyway to face the often hot temperatures. In short, don’t do like me!
  • Prepare your trip, but only the practical aspects. Do not let yourself be impressed or influenced by each other’s testimonies: each feeling is unique once again. Your trip will be unique. On the other hand, do not neglect the practical aspect when preparing your itinerary and your wishes for visits. The distances between cities are sometimes not very long in km, and yet it will take you several hours to cover them if the roads are in bad condition for example.
  • To put in your toiletry bag: doliprane, smectic and Imodium. They will be your best allies during the trip! Have you used up all your stock? Do not panic, we also find it all in India. As there are also local mosquito repellent lotions (suitable for local mosquitoes!) Such as Odomos cream for example.
  • You should never drink tap water, however, no need to take your boxes of purifying tablets: there is bottled water everywhere. A little advice, however: always check that the bottle has a plastic cap on the cap, this is the norm there. Little smart guys sometimes have fun selling bottles filled with tap water and on which they stick a plasticized and taped capsule a little “to the tear” … are pranksters the Indians!