Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Been staring at computer screens for three days straight. Wikitravel.org, Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree and other random India travel blogs. Anything I can find. I've highlighted cities of interest (see photo). I don't think my eyes will last much longer. I will travel to India blind by the time I have a plan. A plan is just a plan.
"You have to have a plan," says my brother's friend Zach. Zach proposed to his girlfriend in India, at 5-star resort. He tells me a story about narrowly avoiding capture, ransom and perhaps worse from the Kashmir mafia. He also saw a two-year old child brushing his teeth with gutter water. He says, "You can have a plan for India, but India will take you on a path of its own. You have to adapt and follow it."
My dad, mom and brother have all independently told me I have to watch "Taken" before I leave. They think I am crazy for doing this alone. And yes, it would be safer if I had two muscle-bound men, one for each arm, testing the drinking water and swatting mosquitoes. But I've always felt that this trip would be accomplished alone. Many women have traveled India alone before, and many women will travel India alone again. They have seen blondes. It's okay.
Convincing your family you'll be safe is impossible. You must communicate frequently and make friends to travel with. Thankfully I am starting this trip with my best friend Sarah. We'll be together for about a week and a half, hopefully long enough to shed my upper-middle class American standards and get comfortable with whatever we're dealing with. Then she'll be gone..
Stupid Things to Do as a Woman Alone:
- drink at a bar
- flirt with strangers
- go out alone at night
- dress like a hoochy-mama
- believe non-verified tourist info
- trust most men, or any person that is making a too-good-to-be-true claim
Smart Things to Do as a Woman Alone:
- use your guidebook
- meet up with other backpackers like yourself
- when in doubt, ask a woman or a group of women for directions
- be on guard for "groping", which apparently occurs on crowded Indian trains/buses
- you have permission to publicly humiliate a groper... make it fun. He's an a-hole.
- keep updated with our government's travel warnings