Saturday, November 24, 2012

NEVER GET OUT OF THE BOAT! India 2012 Part 1

My India trip happened, thanks to my wife. 

My mom had wanted to visit the Taj Mahal to fulfill her dream of seeing all of the New7Wonders of the World ever since coming back from a trip to Egypt. My step-father got seriously sick on that trip and vowed never to take on such adventurous traveling. Undeterred, the seed in my mom's plans to visit India kept growing and she was well on her way to go solo. I jokingly told my wife that I would go with my mother and act as her chaperon and to my surprise, my wife gave me the green light. She graciously stated that this could be a once in a lifetime experience. I wasn't surprised that my wife would be so accepting in my proposal, I was surprised that the possibility of an actual trip to India could be a reality. I pondered the idea for a few days (rolling around the logistics of leaving my wife and three year old son for three weeks) and finally sheepishly asked my mom if she would like some company on the trip. She gladly accepted (after reminding me that I would be leaving my wife and three year old son for three weeks) and we were on our way that day researching trip options. 

There were many options. We could fly into India and make our own arrangements for tours and hotels or we could arrange a trip through a travel group and they would cover everything. My mom emailed me a few links to some of the more known tour companies. Some were very high class affairs that came with high class price tags. A few of the links included medium range alternatives that fit well within my budget. One of them was an Australian company called Intrepid Travel. Intrepid Travel had a refreshing take on the tour business. They offered what they called "Organized backpacking" plus they had many different tours that spanned across the Indian continent (among more than 800 across the world). I was originally interested in a tour called Mountains & Mystics. The Intrepid Travel site described the tour as "A journey of the body and spirit as we travel through the foothills of the world's highest mountains. Discover the complex diversity of India and be enchanted by a land balanced between physical and spiritual worlds." Wow! Now that sounded great. I knew little about India and what I did know revolved around mysterious holy men and the sacred Ganges or Ganja River. The trip sounded perfect for me but I had to remind myself that this trip was not about me, but also about my mom. The physical rating on this tour was higher than usual so I went back to the list of tours and carefully viewed my options that would fit us both. 

A friend of my mom's had recently visited the Indian state of Rajasthan and had nothing but great things to say about it; the scenic rolling Indian hills, the grand palaces, the amazing people. Rajasthan had a mighty tumultuous past that intrigued me. I did some research on the Intrepid Travel website and found a trip called Classic Rajasthan. It received favorable reviews and the tour sounded amazing (camel rides, tiger spotting, tent stays, castles!) The physical rating on this trip was 2 out of 5 stars. This could be the perfect trip! After confirming the dates with my mom, (Yikes, we would be returning home one day before Thanksgiving) I purchased the tour! It was a reality! We're going to India!

Thumbs up! 

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