42. India

India: A full month of extreme highs and lows, it was exhausting. We’re going to try a little “hers and his” thing on this one.

Hers: It wasn’t until we landed in Malaysia that I finally comprehended how insane India was and how thrilled I am that we took the chance and went there. India is a beautifully complicated country. There are billboards that proclaim that Indians are the happiest people in the world. Blissed out with dharma and what not. I’m not so sure about that but I certainly had some of my happiest and most blissful moments there as well as some of my most frustrating and sad. Some highlights include a week of nightly, extravagant wedding processions past our hotel room window, the easiest and most delicious vegetarian experience I’ll probably ever have, the beautiful blue serenity of Jodhpur and the daily run-ins with Hindu cows living the calmest life amongst all the madness.

His: Thank God we had a soft place to land in Delhi, because India was a wacky choice as first stop on this trip. For two people who’ve never been anywhere in Asia, not even the easy places, India was about as difficult to navigate as we could ever expect. I have never felt so challenged, so completely out of my element, as I have in India. Sometimes simple tasks, like getting a ride to the train station or finding a place that could print a one-page email, became half-day dramas that made me want to retreat to the isolation of our hotel rooftop and drink a bag full of beers. Predatory rickshaw and taxi drivers, poor air quality, unbelievably dirty streets, men urinating everywhere in public and the constant harassment of touts and beggars were lowlights for me. Lower than all these combined was witnessing the disrespect and sexual harassment that Amy endured. It’s been a very long time since I have felt so enraged, so certain that I was seconds away from actually punching someone. And still, the depth and variety of India will be difficult to top. Life there blends into a kind of functional chaos that is as beautiful as it is baffling and waking up every day in an environment that foreign is one of the purest sensations you can have.


  1. Anonymous says:

    im proud of you two
    for whatever that’s worth

  2. S says:

    I’d say that’s worth a lot of rupees.

  3. Lizzy Caston says:

    I thought y’all were a bit crazy when I heard your virgin entrance into Asia would be India. Why, that’s like diving into the deep end of the pool before you learn how to swim!

    Regardless, now that you’ve been “baptized” into the amazing, sometimes tear inducing frustration, but no doubt life changing experience of world travel, the rest of the trip will seem so much easier. Especially for Amy in the SE Asian Buddhist countries where sexual harassment of the kind found on the streets of India just doesn’t happen. I’ve never felt safer in my life than when in Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, and even Vietnam.

    And speaking of, I was surprised that you didn’t include Vietnam or Laos on your route. If you feel like deviating, I have to really push these two countries. Absolutely my best travel experiences in Asia there. Mind blowing.

    Alas, no matter what you do, I am living my ever present wander lust vicariously through you. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of the trip.


  4. Anonymous says:

    you two are awesome

  5. marie says:

    i agree with the above anonymous person.