It’s Not That Scary
Wow, this is exciting. Our first blog post! Firstly, I wanted to introduce myself. I am Reena Tory, Founder of Mantra Wild Adventures. This company is my passion into reality. My aim is to provide you with the most up to date information about India and help you see India in a way that no one else can do.
I get a lot of questions from my client’s about India, and my client base tend to be first time traveller’s to India. We can only answer so much. The rest is to be experienced. However, I can provide you with the best advice before you leave, so you are prepared for the unexpected.
So here are my top 5 MUST KNOW before you travel to India….
1. Expect The Unexpected…
There is only so much we can tell you, or your friends and family can tell you about their experience. My first trip to India was in 2007, and what I heard was everything from “you will get sick, and it’s expected”, “don’t trust anyone!”, “don’t travel on your own”, “beware of people trying to rip you off”, “the poverty is so depressed and sad”. You WILL hear all of this and more!
What I have found is that everyone will have their own experience. No two experiences can ever be the same. What I can promise you, is that India will show you exactly what you need to see, hear, feel and experience. My advice is to go with a open heart and mind and let the journey unfold.
2. Everything you hear is true and isn’t true
Every experience is real. As per my first point, everyone will give you their opinions and what you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT do. As a travel operator, I give my own advice too, based on my experience.
BUT, what I suggest is to listen again with an open mind. Realise that everyone’s perceptions are different and are filtered based on their own experience to this point in their life. And for heaven’s sake, don’t listen to those that have their own opinion and have NEVER travelled to India! I have heard it many times ” I would never travel to India, I just couldn’t bare the poverty”, “I hear it smells when you get off the plane”. Smile and nod!
3. Leave your western expectations at home….
There is this thing called IST in India. It means Indian Standard Time. It means that our western way of being on time goes out the window. As a rule “I’ll be there in 5 minutes” means 30 minutes, “I’m just at the lights, I’m coming now” means I’ll be another 30 mins – 1 hour, especially with traffic in Delhi or Mumbai.
I lived in India for 5 months from 2009-2010, and I became dear friends with people I met and lived with. It was a common theme. Everyone’s intention to be on time is with a genuine heart. Just go with the flow, take your watch off. If you have booked an experience with Mantra Wild Adventures, timing is important and will be adhered to, however as a general rule when visiting restaurants, spending time with locals, remember IST!
There is good and bad in every country. We won’t hide that you will see poverty. We won’t hide that you will see things that you would never expect at home. I can guarantee you will probably get ripped off, AND it’s all part of the experience. There is good and bad in every country. In many ways, our own society hides its “stuff” under the carpet, behind close doors. In India, its out in the open for all to see, so enjoy it!
Everything that goes in the western world does not matter in India.You are in a new country, with new cultures, enjoy the ride..
4. You will be challenged in a way you have never been before, so much, that you will want to come home
There is a great travel quote that expresses this well…
“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman
This sums up India perfectly. It will be different for everyone. Expect to be challenged in every way, and when you are in it, be in that moment and ask yourself ” Why am I feeling like this?, what’s going on for me”. As woo woo as it sounds, you will understand that it’s your “stuff” and you are not going with the flow. You will feel frustrated, you will get angry, you will lose it, you will start calling your travel agent or their airline to change your flight or think to yourself ” what the $%@$% am I doing here?” It will pass. When it does, you are ready for India.
5. India will change you forever
You must know that before you leave for India, that you will not be the same person when you return home. There is one thing and one thing only that will change you. It won’t be the beauty of the landscape, or the chaos of life happening before your eyes. It will not be the ashram you stayed at and gotten closer to know who you are, although that is also pretty amazing. It is not going to be the fantastic shopping, arts, clothing and things you will buy, and the shopping is excellent. It won’t be the Taj Mahal. OK, yes and no, the Taj will bring tears to your eyes.
If you ask anyone that has travelled to India, they will tell you the same thing. The one thing that they will hold close to their hearts. The REAL India, are it’s people. The people of India is the hidden gem. You will be touched by their kindness, openness, willingness to help, genuineness. When you leave, you will not forget the way it’s people treated you.
Mark Twain described India in the following way…
The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions, whose yesterday’s bear date with the modering antiquities for the rest of nations-the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the world combined.
This is India!
If you liked this article, please like and share it with your friends. 🙂 Leave a comment below about your own experience to India or if you are planning on going in the near future. Would love to hear your thoughts!
Looking forward to more giving you more fantastic tips and information about India.
Travel on Purpose,