For most part of my life, I have traveled. I have traveled at times with friends, at times with family and quite a number of times, traveled alone.Despite being an avid traveler, there are times when I get tired of traveling or don’t feel up to it at all and there are times when I am very enthusiastic about it.
|Image subject to copyright (Me in Perth, WA)|
Before I begin sharing certain travel insights, let me tell you in brief about my travels- I have traveled to Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, some parts of Andhra Pradesh( I don’t even remember the names), some rural parts of Tamil Nadu and villages like Kumbakonam, Papanasanam and certain parts of Maharashtra like Nasik, Satara, Tuljapur, Yamai, Mahabelshwar, Matheran, Aurangabad, Raigad, and of course parts near home cities of Pune and Mumbai like Karjat and Lonavala.
|Marine Drive, Mumbai, India|
Pune and Mumbai being my home cities, I travel to and fro very frequently between them,
I have traveled alone to Perth, the capital of Western Australia and lived there for more than a month, explored the wonderful city and of course had a stopgap at Singapore while traveling to Perth and coming back to India.
Now that have shared a bit of background about some of the places I have traveled, I would like to share a few insights and tips on traveling, especially in India.
Since our country is a very vast and rich land, with diverse cultures and traditions, every travel experience proves to be different. Although these insights apply even when you are traveling abroad to foreign countries, they are applicable especially if you travel to India and in and around India.
So here I am, sharing a few things I learnt while traveling:
1. No two cities are same
Each city has it’s own set of rules. regulations, attitude, language and cultures.
2. Research is important.
Do an online research of the places you are going to visit, study the routes, get to know how far or near is the public transport, railway station and airport. Know what forms of public transport are popular in the city, or else keep your options open for traveling in cabs and taxis.
|Ganesh Chaturthi festival, Maharashtra, India|
3. Don’t judge.
No matter how well you research, there is always something you are going to miss out or not know.
Not everyone you meet in a new place is going to be helpful, but again not everyone you meet is going to be rude.
Don’t make assumptions and judge people based on other people’s opinion of that place. Take guidance from others who have visited the place, no doubt they will be right at many points, but do not make an opinion about a place before you have seen for yourself or had any experience of the place.
4. Local language
|South Indian culture|
Since you may not all the time be able to speak the local language of a place, learn a few words like”hello” “thank you” “yes/no” “where” “how” just to gel in with the local people. If you have difficulty in moving around the place, especially in South India, it’s always better to have a person with you who understands and speaks the local language so that you face less of difficulties while moving around.
5. Food and Water
No matter which city you travel in India, you will find there are a lot of variations in the cuisine and local food and customs of that place. Variety in food is a trademark of Indian culture and tradition. Make sure you know a few names of the local food available at that place and have little idea of how each food may taste like. Depending upon whether you are a vegetarian or a non vegetarian, make sure you check whether the food you prefer to have is available for you.
I’m a vegetarian so I always look out for options where I can get vegetarian food. If you are a meat eater, make sure the places you eat meat from are hygienic and well maintained. Contaminated and unhygienic meat can make you ill very soon!
And yes. just because you are afraid to fall sick, do not hesitate to try out local cuisines since they enrich your traveling experience. Just be cautious, that’s all.
|Indian Tea (Chai)|
When it comes to water, avoid drinking tap water and go for bottled or packaged water. Water which doesn’t suit your system is the quickest way to make you fall ill. So keep in mind to drink fresh bottled packaged water like’ Bisleri ‘or boil local water before drinking to ensure you keep sickness miles away from you.
In case there is unavailability of bottled water, tea (chai) or coffee from local ‘thelas’ (street shops) is safer than tap water, since the milk and water are freshly boiled. So opt for a cup of hot steaming chai in curcumstances where good quality water is not available.
6. Climate & weather
Know which season is going on and what kind of climate & weather are you likely to face when you reach your destination.
India being a tropical country overall, it’s best to opt for comfortable clothing. Depending upon the area you are visiting and the climate of that place, you can choose your clothes accordingly. Also, keep in mind the culture of the place. If you are visiting cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune etc then you can opt for westernized and clothes and add zing to your outfits by wearing, shorts, skirts and whatever else you wish, since the people in such cities tend to be open minded and more easy going than the rural counterparts of India. However, if you are a woman, do keep in mind your own personal safety. If you feel that the place you are visiting has conservative and old fashioned views, it is best to opt for clothes which don’t draw too much attention. I know everyone has the freedom to wear whatever they want, but since certain sections of India, especially rural India are still orthodox and uneducated, it’s best to wear something which doesn’t seem inappropriate or vulgar. Better be safe than sorry.
Having said that, no matter wherever you go, whether a city in India, or a village, you will always find people who will judge you or criticize you. But that shouldn’t stop you from interacting with the local people around. On many occasions, you will find that most of the local people of that place are helpful and willing to interact and be friends with you. Knowing about different cultures, different values and the different lifestyles of people of the place you have visited, makes you grow.
The best thing you can take back home after visiting a place are your experiences and memories of that place. Make sure that you are not just a tourist, visiting a few well known places and then that’s about it. If you want to grow, to know, to learn and to expand your views and thinking, then be a ‘traveler’ who thinks, learns, grasps, adapts and who is fearless enough to get out of his or her comfort zone and is willing to welcome change!!!!
So I hope you enjoyed these insights about traveling.. will be back soon with more!
Dream. Imagine. Be Crazy. Be You!!