The Challenges and Rewards
Travelling in India can be challenging for some people, especially if you’re not accustomed to the heat, humidity, pace of life… and what seems like a chaotic and noisy environment. It’s important to be prepared for these challenges and to approach your journey with patience, flexibility, and an open mind.
Additionally, sometimes the language barrier can be a significant challenge. While English (the second official language, with Hindi) is widely spoken in many parts of the country, especially in tourist areas, it’s not uncommon to encounter people who don’t speak it or speak only a little.
In my experience, most Indias will try to make themselves understood using signs, body language and any means.
And those who speak a bit of English will approach you to ask ‘where are you from?’ and practice their language skills. Or to sell you something. ‘Where are you from?’ Is possibly the most used sentence when approaching foreigners in India!
They are naturally curious and will sometimes approach you to ask you questions, but they are also quite shy so mostly you’ll feel their gaze in the distance.
Being stared at can feel uncomfortable, exasperating or even scary at times, but remember that it’s a different culture and whilst in Europe as children were told over and over the phrase ‘do not stare, it’s rude!’, in India things are different.
Staring is normal, so don’t take it personally or as an attack. As I mentioned, could be a sign of curiosity or perhaps has something with the fact that there is no concept of privacy in India.
Another challenge is adjusting to the pace of life. Things can move much slower than what you’re used to, and it can be frustrating if you’re used to getting things done quickly. It’s important to be patient and understand that things may take longer than expected. Throw your schedule out of the window and aim at perhaps one task or activity a day!
Getting information or arranging a train ticket may involve having a chai with the person doing it, so embrace that.
A friend I met whilst travelling needed to post a parcel to Europe and although the post office was open…he was told: ‘the person who does this task is gone for today, come back tomorrow’.
The next day he ended up helping them fill in the forms and spending a couple of good hours, even though he went at the allocated time.
Having said that, one of my biggest surprises was the pace at the local restaurants, not the tourist restaurants or where many westerners eat, but in what they call ‘hotel’ (I know, that was confusing).
They can be really fast at bringing your dosas and equally fast at bringing you the bill (even if you haven’t asked for it) and get you out of the seat!
Once, as I got up to wash my hands, a lady sat on my seat, moving my things out of the way! My companion didn’t even have time to say, ‘This seat is taken’, and that was it. She didn’t even blink when I came back. We had to leave since we had already eaten.
The weather and living conditions can also be challenging for some people, especially if you’re not accustomed to the heat and humidity. It’s important to stay hydrated and take care of your body, especially if you’re doing a lot of physical activity like practising yoga.
Despite these challenges, travelling in India can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in a new culture, try new foods, and meet new people.
By being prepared for the challenges and approaching your journey with an open mind and a sense of adventure, you can have a truly transformative experience.
Montse has been working for the last 30 years in the world of theatre and performance as a director, mentor and performer. Her passion for sharing her knowledge and her desire to help others realise their true potential has led her onto the path of yoga teaching.
Her classes are relaxed, friendly and with elements of yin, hatha, vinyasa and humour where everyone feels welcome, regardless of their skill. Montse’s motto is ‘be your own template’, both in life and in yoga.
Your shape is unique and so is your life so don’t follow the ‘should be like this’ crowd and don’t try to fit into anyone else’s path, find your own… on and off the mat.
visit www.montsegili.com for more information
If you have any questions or comments, I’d be happy to hear from you, so do not hesitate in leaving a comment below..
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