The Love Vitamin at the Taj MahalHey Love Vitamins, I’m back!

Yes my three month India / Nepal adventure has come to a close and I’ve spent the last couple weeks settling back into life in Canada. I’m so happy to be home!

This is just a quick update to share a few pics, as well as my thoughts and impressions. We had an amazing time, but India is a crazy country and it gets exhausting!

Most people who travel India seem to describe it as a “love hate” relationship. One minute you’re in love with India, and the next you hate it!Β And, well, some people just plain hate it, period. They say it’s hot, dirty, crowded, and full of hassle. It’s all those things but it’s also the most colourful, eclectic place I’ve ever been.

In reality, these horror stories can scare you, but we didn’t have a bad time at all. A little exhausted by the end and happy to leave, but overall we loved it.

Traveling in India is just one big fat lesson in letting things flow, not pushing back against being uncomfortable, and welcoming change.

If you stress about the things that are inconvenient or different than what you’re used to, instead of just accepting them and going with it, you’re not going to have a good time (a good lesson for life in general, I’d say?)

The Goods:

  • Indians are incredibly friendly and just love to chat. Makes you feel very welcome
  • I was expecting terrible hassle and scams; it wasn’t as bad as I thought. And we felt very safe everywhere.
  • The history, culture, religion, and architecture are incredible. We saw and experienced some beautiful stuff. I felt like we really came away with a deep understanding of the culture.
  • I loved that there were animals everywhere. There really are billions of cows, just hanging out in the streets of major cities. Along with a whole slew of dogs, goats (often found wearing sweaters), cheeky monkeys, pigs and the occasional cat.
  • Well I must admit that Indian food is indeed delicious, and we got to try all sorts of interesting Indian dishes that are very different from what you get in Indian restaurants back home

The Bads:

  • It really is incredibly dirty. There is garbage everywhere; I’ve never seen anything like it. And although I liked that there were animals everywhere, it also means there a lot of shit everywhere too! hah (luckily I only had only one incidence of stepping in a big heaping pile of you-know-what). Oh yeah and the animals eat all the plastic garbage and get sick πŸ™
  • The poverty, and of course the guilt that goes along with that (although Indians will be quick to remind you that not everyone in India is poor! There is indeed a huge and growing middle class). In actuality, the poverty wasn’t nearly as visible as I thought it would be; often you can’t know the realities of someone’s life just by looking at them. I learned a lot about the true situation from reading books.
  • For the vast majority of Indians, men are first class, women are very second class, and especially for India’s poor this equals many a tragic situation for women in lives that are far harder than any of us westerners could imagine. If you’re poor in India, your life is hard, but if you’re a poor woman in India, your life is twice as hard as that. I don’t like it.
  • Overall, food choices were pretty limited so the food got very boring and it wasn’t that easy to eat healthy; more on this in my next blog post.
  • We each got sick a few times (mild food poisoning, traveler’s diarrhea, the common cold), but nothing overly horrendous.

Here’s some photo highlights:

The Love Vitamin at the Taj Mahal
Classic Taj Mahal shot

India

Agra
We traveled with my friend Jesse for a while

Cows

Cheeky Monkeys
Hey! That’s my hat!

By the Yamuna

Rickshaw Lessons
Getting driving lessons in an autorickshaw! (PS – driving is INSANE in India!)
Snake charmed
Getting snake charmed
Amber Fort in Jaipur
Amber Fort in Jaipur
Indian Market
Indian markets selling colourful saris
Goats in Sweaters
Goats in sweaters… one of my favourite things about India haha
Oh, silly bat boy
Oh, silly bat boy
Rishikesh
Rishikesh, head of the Ganges river (yoga crazy town where the Beatles got spiritual in the 60s)
Making offerings to the Mother Ganga
Making offerings to the Mother Ganga
Busy Delhi
Busy Delhi
Sandcastles in the sky
Sandcastles in the sky
Desert Raftls
Desert Raftls

Tracy & Luke

Foot racing desert children! (I lost)
Foot racing desert children! (I lost)
The Blue City - Jodhpur
The Blue City – Jodhpur
Oh hello
Oh hello
Khujaraho carvings
Khujaraho carvings
Varanasi
India’s holiest city, Varanasi
My family has been sponsoring a child for a couple of years and we got to spend a day with her in Kolkata!
My family has been sponsoring a child for a couple of years and we got to spend a day with her in Kolkata!

Elephants in the South

We seemed to be quite the tourist attraction to many Indians... everyone was always asking to take their photos with us ;)
We seemed to be quite the tourist attraction to many Indians… everyone was always asking to take their photos with us πŸ˜‰
Cruising on the backwaters of south India
Cruising on the backwaters of south India
Beach relaxing for our official honeymoon in Kerala
Beach relaxing for our official honeymoon in Kerala

After India, we headed to Nepal for three weeks where we went trekking in the Himalayas and white water rafting. Nepal is naturally beautiful, and super chill compared to India – just what we needed after 2 months of crazy India.

You might have already seen that Luke and I kept up a travel blog while we were away, which you can check out here for more detailed stories. We totally fell off the wagon with it when we got to Nepal though; the internet was really bad there!

From Nepal:

Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal

Celebrating Holi Festival - the festival of colours! Everyone throws coloured powder and water at each other ... lot of fun
Celebrating Holi Festival – the festival of colours! Everyone throws coloured powder and water at each other … lot of fun
Three day white water rafting trip... unfortunately not many pics from it as it was too wet for cameras!
Three day white water rafting trip… unfortunately not many pics from it as it was too wet for cameras!
The start of our trek into the Himalayas.. beautiful Nepali villages all along the way
The start of our trek into the Himalayas.. beautiful Nepali villages all along the way
The summit! The mountains looked twice as big as this in real life! Amazing
The summit! The mountains looked twice as big as this in real life! Amazing

Himalayas

Hiking along

Gorgeous

Buddhist temple back in Kathmandu
Buddhist temple back in Kathmandu

Bhaktipur

Chicken in the window

At this point, you might be wondering – how did my skin go!?!? Did I break out? I was a little nervous about what would happen with my skin while I was there…. tune in next week to hear what actually happened.