(reproduced with permission, Thank you Ted & Betty) I have to confess, after all this talk of travel and adventure, we’re not exactly backpacking. The idea of traveling in India independently is somewhat daunting. In all of our previous trips I’ve spent months on the Internet making preparations. I’ve arranged for all of the transportation and lodging. We have stayed at hotels and B&Bs. We have traveled by rental car and train. The trips were totally constructed by me with no travel agents involved.
But I was less brave on this trip. I have bought the package complete from Spirit of India/Original World, an agent with a lot of experience and connections in India. We were directed to them by the Flying Dutchmen Travel Agency in Santa Rosa and they had good reviews in ITN (International Travel News.) They offer small group tours.
We will be well cared for. We will travel with another couple and will have an escort throughout. They have arranged all of the hotels with an emphasis on Heritage properties. All of the hotels are first rate. They have arranged all of the intra-India flights, personal drivers for the land trips, and even one train (the Taj Express) for one leg where the roads are so bad they would take hours to drive. They have arranged all of the local tours, even handling the guide’s tips. They will provide all breakfasts and dinners and a few lunches.
Enlightenment: a new found understanding of another culture, another way of life, art, architecture, religion and food
Community: a connection to new cultures through authentic and meaningful interaction with local people
Wonder: the awe inspired by uncommon beauty, sights, sounds, smells and tastes; ancient traditions still practiced today, so different from our own modern lives
Accomplishment: the satisfaction from having pushed your comfort zone to experience a part of the world that is both fascinating and challenging
Uniqueness: the knowledge that you have had an incredible cultural experience that few others on the outside will ever share
So, with a package like this, we could probably take this trip in our eighties too.