This beautiful Chalo! Travels Newsletter was written this month by Gracy, our new intern, and I thought I’d post it on our blog right away. Have fun reading, Sarah
A cheerful hello to the round of India enthusiasts,
my name is Gacy, I come from lively Berlin and now live in India for half a year and I support Sarah with Chalo! Travels. Why am I doing this? My profession allows me to be a digital nomad worldwide. After more than ten years in Berlin, I need a change of wallpaper. I wanted something completely different; a foreign culture, a new environment and at the same time a difficult and great challenge. Since I am a passionate trekker and a nature fanatic and I always like it a little more special, India offered itself spontaneously. I also visited the country two years ago during my first visit to India with Sarah. So now I am here and can tell you about my thoughts in this newsletter.
Sarah asked me to write about how I prepared for India. I am not writing here about packing lists, vaccinations needed and the processing of the visa. This can be found on all pages on the Internet and travel guides and the procedure is pretty much the same for each country when travelling. I think it is very important to prepare mentally for the country, because India is probably one of the most intense countries of all. 1.4 billion people populate this country. Forty percent of them live below the poverty line. Uff, what a number.
This means that it can be a great culture shock when you enter the country for the first time and without preparation. There is so much to see at once. At every corner, countless scenes take place at unusual volume. There is not enough time to process them. A ride in the tuk tuk is like a movie, a bus ride like a documentary. And in order to understand all these things in the beginning, I think it is necessary to deal with this country and culture in advance. Informing yourself about caste systems is very helpful in understanding the structure of this culture. Here the different regions differ too much in culture, politics and language. Not even an Indian knows about everything. But it’s incredibly fun to learn more about it, because it’s unique in this world.
Indian clocks tick completely differently from the Central European ones. As Sarah mentioned in her blog, it may be that you need long for an order or payment process. It is part of the good tone to keep a chat for customer loyalty in between. Patience is a must in India. Not patient? Come to India, here you will learn it.
There are many small mistakes which van be made. Dontt eat with your left hand, keep shoes out of the temple, cover your shoulders, shake your head left and right if you agree… If you don’t want to be thrown completely into the cold water, inform yourself beforehand.
These two books helped me a lot. Both are very informative and really cover everything important about general knowledge:
“Culture Shock India” by Travel Know How
“Be happy or the problem problem” by Karin Kaiser
They are honest guides who openly say what is going on in this country of overcrowded possibilities. Have fun reading!
I have rarely felt as much life as in India’s vibrant streets. It’s incredibly fun to walk through the bazaars and capture the oversupply of everything with your eye. Hardly any country is as hospitable as this one. There are interested and helpful people everywhere. Just have a tea at the side of the road and watch the hustle and bustle – wonderful!
I am very happy to be back in this spiritual country and I am curious to see what the future holds. Definitely some trips to the Himalayas, a yoga teacher course and a backpacker trip with you.
Do you want to be a spectator of the unique film yourself? Then register for the three-week backpacker group trip in September. It goes once across India (Himalaya Trek, Yoga Ashram, Camel Safari, Spice and Tea Plantation Hike, Houseboat Tour and Beach) .Look forward to many adventures and experiences through the magical land.
If you like it quieter and want to immerse yourself in the everyday life of a yoga asham, this two-week yoga ashram retreat in October and December will be great for you.
For those who are interested in a yoga trip to India, but a trip in 2018 is too short notice, we have already set the dates for 2019. This includes brand new travel combos, such as a yoga tour followed by a Ayurveda Resort stay or retreats in the Himalayas or Rishikesh combined with yoga trekking.
Chalo! Travels has something in the repertoire for every travel wish. Just browse through the homepage.
For those who are into Yoga our are endurance athletes and need a supplement to their bike or running training, we have prepared something here: A yoga video with Sarah, shot in the park of Manali, right on the rushing Beas River.
Have fun practicing.