“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most constructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” ~Mark Twain
India is unlike any other place you will ever visit and it certainly is not for everyone. However, everyone should visit it at least once. It will change your perspective on life. After a trip to India it’s hard to complain about things like how slow the internet is, or how long you have to wait in line for your latte. It is a place so intense with sights, sounds, tastes and smells. To quote Rudyard Kipling, “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” I believe he was referring to India. I literally have smelled things that have haunted me to this day. It’s full of pollution and poverty, so exhausting and hot, there is nothing you can really do to prepare yourself.
I say India is ‘infectious’ not only as a warning that your body may not be able to handle all the germs you encounter, but also because it’s a place that will infect you in a mysterious way. It will creep into your system and once you have returned home you may find yourself wanting to go back, despite the craziness that is India.
I first visited India when I was 19 and when I left I said to myself, “I’m so glad I had that experience, but I never need to go again.” But yet somehow many years later, India was on my mind. I knew I would go back and this time I went alone. My experience being alone in India was one I will never forget and it gave me the strength to feel empowered to travel more on my own. It was an exhilarating feeling. That second trip I left India and crossed the border into Nepal and remember the same exact emotion. “That was fascinating… I’m done with that country though.”
I now have another scheduled trip to India. My third trip… and something tells me it won’t be my last.
Read more about my time in India (here).