Why India? Choosing the First Destination for my Nomadic Journey

When the news began spreading that I would be making a huge lifestyle transition and traveling the world, everybody I met drilled me with questions about where I was going. My answer was always the same: I told them that I hadn't yet decided but that I was open to going almost anywhere.

To my surprise, a large number of people began inviting me to stay with their relatives or friends in various countries around the world. When I realized how valuable such invitations would be on my journey, I began making a list. This list now includes places like India, Nepal, Taiwan, Australia, Ireland, Portugal, and South Africa!

The news reached a good friend of the family, Harish Hande, who was born in Bangalore, India and who travels there frequently for work. When he heard of my plans to become a nomadic world traveler, he offered to help me begin my journey by introducing me to some of his friends in Bangalore and giving me a place to stay for a few weeks.

I had originally planned to begin my journey by picking a random destination and finding places to stay using CouchSurfing.org. However, having a guaranteed place to stay and being introduced to trusted friends is a hard opportunity to pass up. Besides, India appealed to me for several reasons.

Nearly 25 years ago, as a 3 year old boy, I visited northern India with my parents. Since then, I haven't been to any other country (besides Canada, which all natural born citizens of the United States know doesn't count). Returning to the place that I visited as a child feels somewhat like a rebirth; like Iā€™m continuing where I left off; like I'm getting off a detour and returning to the original path.

Even my name, Raam Dev, is of Indian origin and, despite the fact that my blood is almost as white as it could get, I grew up with traditions very similar to those of the Indian culture: We ate and slept on the floor, our home had no furniture and no television, we were strict vegetarian (no meat, fish, or poultry), and we meditated and chanted mantras daily.

So, of all the different cultures around the world, the Indian culture will probably be the easiest for me adjust to. I certainly plan to submerge myself in other, less familiar cultures, but India seems like a great place to begin my journey.

I'm sure much of what I think I know about India is wrong or misconstrued, but that's why I'm going there with an open mind. I'm not going there with a know-it-all mentality but rather with the expectation that I will learn and experience more than I am even capable of comprehending at this moment.

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  1. There’s always a flipside of the coin on Earth, I heard some people are dissapointed not to find green riverbanks with swings hanging from mango boughs šŸ˜‰

    Having said that, Indian generousity is simply famous, they’ll give you the clothes of their back if you need it. Some people call it ‘noble quality.’

    • Disappointment only occurs if we begin with expectations. If we live our life without expectations, we’ll never be disappointed! At least that’s how I try to live and it’s been working well for me. šŸ™‚

      I’m sure there are plenty of beautiful places, and plenty of not so beautiful places. You can expect to see me posting photographs of both!

  2. One thing Ramm – did you get a netbook for your travels? My wife has a BENQ joybook lite, a model from around 6 months ago – it’s incredibly power efficient and so so light. This particular one feels sturdy and the screen is nice, but I’m sure any will reduce your load by a kg or more.

    • I will be taking my 13″ MacBook Pro with me. It’s the newer Unibody version, so it’s very sturdy. My only worry is theft. If I was carrying a cheap $300 netbook, I wouldn’t be so worried about it being stolen. A $1300 MacBook Pro is another story. I’ll just have to be extra careful.

      I’m more concerned about rain, dirt, heat, and humidity than anything else. Nature can be very tough on electronics!

  3. Sounds like an interesting background Raam…I think you’ve made a great decision to start off in India! I’m looking forward to your adventures…and perhaps meeting up in India some time as I’m hoping to head over there again relatively soon…

    • Thanks Earl! I’d love to meet up with you! Shoot me an email when you’re headed to India and we’ll see if we can work something out.

  4. Hey Raam,

    Hehe, this is the first time I have ever heard someone talk about the indian culture being easy to adjust to =P. I think you may be in for some culture shock still, but who knows – you might adjust really quickly!

    I have friends and family in Bangalore as well, so once you’ve pseudo-settled down a bit I can give you their contact info if you’re just looking to meet some more people out there. Great city, it’s changed so much over the past few years

    • Hey Sid!

      Yeah, I’ve been around other cultures most of my life. I only had one “white” friend growing up, and even in my teens all my friends were Cambodian or from Southeast Asia.

      I’ve been to Asian weddings, funerals, and stayed with various Asian families. Earlier this year (at the age of 27!) I went to my first real all-American wedding and went to a Christmas party at their house… THEY felt foreign to me! It was so weird.

      Thanks so much for offering to connect me with your friends and family over there! Have you ever been to Bangalore (or India for that matter)?