Backpacking Through India

DONE BY: Hannah Nigro | Milton Academy '16, College TBD | Easton, MA, USA

HOW OPPORTUNITY WAS FOUND: 

A friend from high school, who was also taking a gap year at the same time, was planning to go to India (her family is from there). I was thinking about visiting Nepal--but I was pretty bad about planning my gap year. So when my friend invited me to go with her, I thought, why not

LENGTH: 8 weeks 

LOCATIONS: Ahmedabad, Calcutta, friend's grandmother's village in Bihar (there was no cell service, not much electricity, etc), Delhi (celebrated Diwali while there), Agra, Jaipur

FUN: ★★★☆☆

PERSONAL GROWTH: ★☆☆☆☆

DAY-TO-DAY LIFE (NON-FESTIVAL DAYS): 

  • 11:00am-5/6:00pm: go out to sight see, with some breaks and lunch in between. Much of the time spent on trains because Indian train system is often late/ often slow moving. 
  • 5/6:00pm~: return home/sleep 

DAY-TO-DAY LIFE (FESTIVAL DAYS):

  • Gather with friend's extended family, who would come over
  • Decorate dishes for candles
  • Go into the temple and pray (in the villages, there was usually just one small temple that you can pray at)

TYPES OF WORK/ACTIVITIES DONE: 

Sight see, participate in rituals involved in different festivals, and attend weddings of the friend's family (weddings in India usually take place over five days. My friend and I went to them for a couple days; they're really fun, and involve lots of dancing)

TOP TIPS: 

1.      Traveling with someone is good, especially if you’re a girl. As a white girl, I felt a lot of focus on me, so I felt uncomfortable at times. 

2.      There’s a lot of natural beauty in India that I did not get to see. I would have tried to mix my activities up a bit by doing less of the usual sight seeing stuff (visiting temples, etc) and hiking more. 

3.      Would suggest going in November/December, when it’s relatively cooler.

MOST MEANINGFUL LESSON TAKEN AWAY: 

I’m a pretty picky eater--and when I was there, I missed home from back home, and I was upset that I wasn’t getting the food I was used to. I would suggest not holding onto your culture/food from back home. Your experience in a new environment can be wasted if you go to a new place with this mindset.

 

 

Jiyoung Jeong