A Love/Hate Relationship – Traveling to India

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Oh India…. you make me feel uncomfortable, give me severe diarrhea, make me take 30 hour train rides but in the end you utterly amaze me. You are that really bad relationship that I keep wanting to go back to. But what is it about traveling to India which is so addictive?

So what is it about traveling to India more than any other country that makes travelers have that mind altering, life changing experience? Many of those inspirational ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ type movies are based in India rather than say France or Brazil. Is it because you see extreme poverty in India? Is it because it is the cradle of so many religions?  It’s that and so much more.


In India you will get scammed, be stared at, pop anti-diarrhea meds as if it were candy, get groped, pose in an endless parade of pictures with babies and 20 year old men who will tell their friends they slept with you and for half the trip you are conscious of where a bathroom is in case you need to make a run for it…oh, and that dirty hippie look that you have never been wanting to try out, give it three weeks in India and you will become one. These things don’t sound fun, right? I mean India even has its own acronym.

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India is a country that you either love or despise; there is no middle way. Each day is different, too. One moment you are awe inspired to the extent you can’t even explain it in words and other days you just want to give up completely. Even the most veteran of travelers will be lost at some point.


The simplest of tasks needs an internal pep talk before embarking. “Alright Jodie, let’s find that bus stop that has no sign or indicator that it is a bus stop and the only explanation you have is it is by a tea shop in the middle of the road.” It was constantly an Amazing Race competition. It usually took asking at least 5-7 people to find out where I was supposed to go.

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In India you have this extreme presence. You are not necessarily thinking about the future or the past but you are “in the now.”

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So should you travel to India? Absolutely! India is an amazing country that everyone should experience once in his or her life. If you go in with a good attitude and can take things with a ‘grain of salt’ then you will do fine.   Of course not all of India is intense and in the South and North you can find many areas that are very tranquil but at some point you will have that “I have no idea what I am doing moment” and as the Indians say Shanti Shanti…just relax!

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This is the best and most honest summary of what a visit to India is like. I consider myself a veteran traveler and think I can put up with a lot but this is how I summed up my first visit to India (3 weeks): India won, I lost! But having said that, would I go back? Yes!!

Jianping Huang

Love your candid comment. It is very helpful!

Jianping Huang

I enjoyed reading the blog about the hate-love relationship on India. I have always wanted to visit India, especially to see the Taj Mahal. I love Indian foods, and to see ancient temples and architectures. BUT I don’t think I can make it on my own. I need to find a trusty travel group coupled with experienced local tour guide. Even though I didn’t see such a trip available on GD site, I am confident that GD can pull it off. Is this something on GD’s development plan? Thanks!

Jianping Huang

Wow! I will take notes!

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