Traveling Without Big Al!

Back in October my best friend and his partner invited me to travel with them to India. I was uncertain I would be able to get the time off from school. I had just completed my graduate schoolwork. I was working with a new principal. Many obstacles! With some negotiations and some serious planning, I was able to secure my airfare in late October. Jason and I would be departing on March 18th, a day after his birthday. And his partner, Diego, would be arriving four days before us for an educational conference.

It seemed like ages ago when we planned the excursion, but March 18th is THIS FRIDAY! My bag (that right singular, I am only taking ONE bag) is pre-packed with some small details to add, like a shirt my mom is mending and bug spray. It is hard to believe that many years ago Jason and I sat on his back porch drinking coffee fantasizing about traveling to foreign countries, India being our top pick, and I am less than three days from making the dream a reality.

I am looking at this adventure to India as a preview of my backpacking trip with my mom this summer, so no Big Al to India. My mom’s name is Alice and she is maybe 5 feet two inches tall, if she stretches, so my brothers and I call her Big Al! We invested in a suitcase style book bags from eBags. I researcher a variety of bags, read several blogs, and watched reviews on YouTube. The eBags Mother Load TLS Weekend, seems durable, was reasonably priced, and perfect for our trip. India will be the first time traveling with my bag, so I can’t wait to see how it holds halfway across the globe. My mom traveled with her’s on a school related trip for three days, so our European haul this summer will really test the Mother Load!

I wanted to share some of my preparation materials for my India trip. A dear friend supplied me with a copy of Lonely Planet’s India travel book. It is great resources with fast facts and easy colored access to subdivisions of India’s vast country. My friends and I are traveling mainly in the North central areas near New Delhi, but the Lonely Planet provides great tips and scheduled itineraries for various days of travel.

My grandmother has a home library beyond impressive, so over the holidays I raided her books and found two must-reads for any trip to India. The first is “A Passage to India” by E.M. Forster . The book is a tale of friendship between a British woman and Indian man during the Indian independence movement in the 1920’s. The second book is “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri. The book is a collection of nine short stories that highlight the culture of Indians in various life situations.

In addition to books, I have watched a handful of movies and documentaries. PBS has several series focused about India now and its history. My grandmother also encouraged me to watch The Jewel in the Crown. Not only does my grandma have an impressive library, but her weekly strolls to Barnes and Noble keeps her DVD collection growing, too! Another tale about British colonization in India and the racial tensions of the 1920’s. I binge watched the 14-episode series in a weekend. Amazing stories of heartache, love, family, and friendship.

Just last night for my final Indian fusion, I watch Mystic India. A short feature film, only 45-minutes long about the journey of India’s youngest Yogi, Neelkanth. Beautiful imagery, narrated by Peter O’Toole, and cool story about finding unity amount the diversity of a country.

Can’t wait to share more tales from my India travels. I have no clue if my accommodations will have Wifi, but I will post as much as possible!



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