In the past six months I have lived in four countries and called more than twenty-six places home. I've traveled more than twenty-five thousand miles using cars, buses, jeeps, trains, airplanes, rickshaws, taxis, motorcycles, and my own two feet.
I've gotten lost walking at night in Bombay. I've watched thousands of giant bats descend on the great city of Udaipur. I've walked through clouds, surrounded by fields of corn and I've climbed ten-thousand feet into the Himalayan mountains, covered in sweat, sand, and sunburns.
Sitting down to write a summary of the most incredible six months of my life, I found myself faced with the task of telling a story of epic proportions, one that felt on par with the Lord of the Rings and The Odyssey. I considered limiting it to the story of my inner journey, but then I realized that was even more grand than the physical one.
As I reminisced and pondered what to write, my journey reminded me of these words by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, written almost exactly one-hundred years ago: Continue reading
This past week marks three months since I left the place I called home for the first twenty-eight years of my life. I spent the past three months in India, a world away from my familiar home in the Northeast United States and I'm currently staying in Vietnam for two weeks before going to Nepal for two months.
Part of the reason for leaving home, changing my lifestyle, becoming a nomad was to rediscover myself; to strip my life of everything that might distract me from the process of inner discovery.
I was beginning to feel as though my life had gone down the wrong road; as if I had accidentally walked down the wrong path and I was watching the correct path disappear through a thick forest. I had to cut across. Whatever it took, I had to get to the other side. I felt an uncontrollable urge to follow my inner compass.
So I quit my job, sold all my stuff, and planned to live abroad for six months on a tiny budget of $3,000. What happened after that wasn't important to me. With the entire world knocking at my door and absolutely no experience traveling abroad, my new lifestyle started in India. I had no idea what to expect of the following six months -- I only knew that my life would never be the same again. Continue reading
This is the third in a series of reports detailing my travel expenses during a six-month sustainable travel trip through India, Vietnam, and Nepal, as outlined in The Plan: 6 Months, 3 Countries, and $3,000.
Frugal Travel Reports
March 2010 (includes Pre-Travel expenses)
In my recent reader survey, several of you mentioned that you really enjoy these Frugal Travel Reports. This month, I have been even more meticulous with tracking my expenses and I have discovered that it really helps me see exactly where my money is going. I've been keeping a single page in my notebook dedicated to all the expenses for the current month.
The month of May has seen me travel the most since I arrived here in India more than 80 days ago. In fact, I moved around a lot more than I would have preferred. However, I was invited to a wedding in New Delhi and decided to take advantage of the journey and stop in several places along the way, including Gokarna, Mumbai, and Udaipur. Continue reading
The beauty and energy of Udaipur left me at a loss for words. The morning I arrived, I could feel there was something different about the place. It was very subtle, but clearly a deep and calming energy. It was as if I could feel a culmination of all the life and royalty that had once lived or visited there.
I spent the first two days walking around the old city and exploring the three lakes from various points. All three lakes were far more dry than I expected and I was later told that there had been very little rain in the past five years and that the lakes were getting drier and drier each year.
For the first two days, I roamed for hours on foot, through small, unmarked streets that were not even on the map, passing tiny nooks that looked as if they had been transported directly from Venice itself. Incredible artwork of royal elephants, horses, kings, and princes graced the entrances to each house. The colors were usually faded, but you could always see how vibrant and striking the original paintings were. Continue reading
The four-hour train ride from Mumbai to Surat was cool and comfortable. It was my first ride in an AC2-class car, one of the best classes you can take on a train in India. The first thing I noticed were the passengers: they were much different than those on the lower class cars. Many of them spoke English, even to each other, and they spoke more quietly.
Several passengers used their laptops during the journey and listened to music on their smart phones. Each seat came with a complementary bottle of water, a blanket, a pillow, and even dinner! Talk about luxury.
As we left Mumbai, the man sitting next to me asked me where I was going.
"Surat.", I replied.
"Surat? I am also going to Surat. Be prepared for hell getting off!" Continue reading
A few nights ago I discovered bed bugs in my mattress. It was my first experience with bed bugs so my first stop was, of course, the Wikipedia page on Bed Bugs. Thankfully, they aren't known to transmit any diseases.
Only a few weeks ago I joked about being happy there were no bed bugs in the cheap cockroach-ridden hotel I was staying at in Ujire. It looks like I spoke too soon.
I requested clean sheets and switched from sleeping on the mattress to sleeping on the floor. Some of them still find me, but it's a whole lot better than the mattress.
Starting this nomadic lifestyle of cheap travel, I knew it was bound to happen sometime. As I've said before, they're just bugs! Continue reading