India is one of those countries where your memories of experiences will stay more vivid than most countries. I travelled there 4 years ago, and the impact it’s had on my life has been more exciting, fulfilling, motivating, and culturally inspiring than anywhere I’ve travelled since. India was the first country I travelled to on my own (just the flight), and the one that ignited a recurring desire to explore foreign places and subsequently never settle for routine.
When I look back, arriving in India and adjusting to the culture/people was a true testament to my adaptability and open mindedness. A lot of people I knew at the time expressed a reluctance to travel to India – it’s too hot, too intense, not safe for women, there’s always riots, it’s dangerous, the food is hard to adapt to. Yes this is true for the most part, but what’s travelling to a place if not different? I describe India as a ‘raw’ country. Raw because everything you see, touch, smell and experience feels honest – and by that I mean un-influenced by modern societal ways. I’ve never been to a country with a stronger cultural presence than India. You barely see another tourist in sight. When you try food it tastes like something that’s been perfected over centuries and won’t ever be changed. When you visit sacred sites and temples it’s like stepping into a religion with values set in stone and cannot be shifted. When you try speaking to locals, they can only speak their only language. When you ride an elephant, you can feel there’s a loyal bond between the elephant and his master – they’re cherished and happy. And when you think of all of this holistically, you would agree that India is a truly beautiful country.
I did do some travelling before India, but it was mostly with family on road trips up and down the coast, going back to Vietnam to visit family, going to Queensland, Tasmania, and Singapore. But touring India has created this urge to go to more countries and see more things.
The great thing about travel is that you’ll never run out of places you haven’t been before. You can be travelling 24/7 and still have not seen or experienced everything the world has to offer. You’re constantly learning about new places, things, and people, including yourself. Travel will challenge and pull you in every direction physically, emotionally, and intellectually. And every time you come back home (just to visit before you’re off again), you’ll discover you have tougher skin than most and feel like you’re living a much more fulfilling life. You’ll feel unique for the person you’ve grown to be since your last visit and you just can’t wait to jet off again because nothing is holding you to the ground.