It has been a few years since I’ve been travelling full-time and all this time I’ve come across this question ‘why did I quit the job to travel if I wanted to travel to my own country when there is so much more to see in the world. “What is the reason behind this abiding fascination,” I remember someone once asking.
I give people different reasons – right from the obvious mentions of India’s cultural diversity to the warmth I get from the people. At times, I also justify the fascination by explaining all the beauty we can get by travelling our own backyard.
When you’re in India, not only do you feel more alive, but you also learn a lot – about yourself, and about the world around you. Not to mention all the ways it familiarises you with the many imperative spiritual truths. And speaking of the truths, here are some…
Important Life-Lessons Travelling In India Taught Me
People Are Not Bad, After All
Before I started travelling, I often heard people saying that India is not very safe. But during my travels, I’ve come across uncountable acts of random kindness – whether it was about someone offering me food on a long train ride when I forgot to pack my lunch or walking me to places I couldn’t find myself.
Sure there are exceptions, and bad people are anywhere if you put yourself in a vulnerable position and seek help, you will be amazed to see unusual, powerful accounts of overwhelming kindness in India. I think when you travel, you open yourself up in a new way and give people the opportunity to help you, which you otherwise don’t in day-to-day life in a city.
“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions” Peter Hoeg
Though India, throughout recent years, has gone notoriously famous for ripping people off, particularly when it comes to dealing with people from abroad, it’s the same people who can also be found helping others if the need be. After all, there is no good or bad, but circumstances make us so.
And if you are still not persuaded, and are worried about your safety as a solo female traveller, read these Safest Indian Cities For Solo Female Travelers.
Also read: These useful solo travel tips
Money Does Not Buy Happiness
Every time I find a quick escape from the selfish and materialistic neighbourhoods in New Delhi and lose myself in the simplified beauty of a small Indian town, I realise a simple fact that ‘winning the lottery isn’t a ticket to true happiness, however enticing it might seem.
I have seen travellers going crazy to buy souvenirs. Eg when tourists from abroad come to India, they want to buy the best things in India as souvenirs to take back them – whereas most Indians just live their life owning no more than a few essentials.
Life in small towns in India is streamlined to the very basic necessities where everyone seems content.
Unlike in cities, kids in small towns do not have a Disneyland Playground, with a fancy curved metal slide vomiting excited preschoolers. All they have is the sky ready to swallow them, yet their smile is a thousand time more powerful.
“There are people who have money, and there are people who are rich” Coco Chanel
India teaches us about sharing our things for the greater good and seeing the universe as our own family. There are more than a few dozen personal accounts when I was invited by families in places like Lamayuru and Darma Valley in the Himalayas to spend a few nights with them without expecting anything in return, and that is the beauty of India. I haven’t found it happening anywhere else in the world but here!
Everything Eventually Falls Into Place
If there is one thing that India has constantly reminded me, it is – there’s always a happy ending. And if you’re not happy, it is perhaps not the ending.
When you’re travelling in India, there is no escaping from an amalgamation of bad experiences. Crowd, chaos, delays, unhygienic conditions, illness, bewilderment, and confusion, all play their part. But what they teach you is that everything works out in the end. Of course, there are things I hate about travelling in India, but they shouldn’t stop me from travelling.
Letting things happen, instead of trying to control them, is sometimes the best way to move ahead in your life, and India teaches us that every day. Don’t worry if you’ve missed your bus or have gotten into the wrong one because you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side of the road.
“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey” Babs Hoffman
So don’t let the momentary angst take a toll on you. Rather than complaining, see it as a burgeoning opportunity towards the greater good.
Also, read this 2 week in India itinerary for some suggestions on what to see and do in India. You may also be interested in seeing this list of cultural places to visit in India list (I totally loved the pictures in the blog). Additionally, here’s another blog of mine for the top 10 travel destinations in India.