Touring a 67 year old nation
A few weeks ago, India turned 67 years old. I thought it seemed really young, for a country, until I did a quick Google search and learned that there are roughly 115 countries that are even younger than India. Nearly 60% of the world’s current countries were formed after August 15th, 1947. I hadn’t really thought about it before.
Anyway, during that time, India has organized itself into 29 states and 7 union territories. It’s grown into the 2nd most populated country in the world with over 1.2 BILLION people and is currently the 3rd largest economy, in terms of purchasing power. The primary method of inter-city transportation is by rail and their train network is so mammoth that Indian Railways is the largest employer on the planet!!!
Translation –> intimidating.
And so, I’ve done what to me was the unthinkable. I booked a tour. Gasp.
I know India can be a tough place to travel, especially by oneself. I read a lot of blogs of other like-minded independent travelers and nearly everyone who has visited India has made the comment that the biggest stressor for the indie traveler is simply getting from point A to point B. I want to set myself up so that I can fall in love with India, if she’ll have me. Also, I couldn’t make up my dang mind on where to go and how to structure my itinerary. Taking all of that into consideration, a tour started to seem logical. Let someone else navigate the bus schedules and train tickets and guesthouse rates and I’ll just focus on what I want to see and do each day and where to eat. That’s the plan anyway….at least for the first few weeks.
I decided to go with Intrepid Travel because I like the style of travel they do (small group adventure travel). They limit their tour groups to 10-12 people, allowing for off the beaten track destinations and use local accommodation and transport. They also place a big emphasis on contributing to the local economy and promise a local guide. Also important is that they do not charge an additional fee for a single traveler. Instead, I can share a room with another single female traveler, and keep costs down. Most important, they don’t control your days. Some walking tours and activities are included, but for the most, do and see what you want.
So, for the first 3 weeks of my visit to India, I’ll be following this route:
Stay tuned…..and keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that I don’t end up bunking with someone who snores…..