It’s official – I left home 6 months ago! I thought at this point I would say it feels like yesterday, but actually it feels like I have been gone for much longer. I have taken a slower travel approach this time around, and I feel like it’s really saved me from burning out too quickly.
A few years ago, I couldn’t have imagined traveling for this long. Actually I met someone two years ago who told me they were on a six month trip around the states, and I told them I couldn’t do six months, it actually sounded like hell living out of a bag for so long.
But now, it’s been six months with no end in sight. I am taking my time visiting places, visiting friends, and learning about the food and culture of each region.
I am living with only a few outfits, and the basic necessities, and when it comes time to move on, even this feels like too much.
Sometimes I miss my bed, sometimes I miss my ridiculous wardrobe at home, sometimes I miss not having to keep my stuff neat and tidy and packed away, or having to constantly wash clothes because I am out of underwear again, but I can survive a little discomfort here and there for the sake of adventure!
Overall, it’s been a good lesson to live with less for so long. I don’t need more things, I actually need less! I think of all the junk I have at home, and honestly I want to sell it. The more you have, the more you want. The less you have, the less you need. I am happy living with less, and I hope these lessons stick with me for life.
I have also gotten much better at remaining calm in rough situations. When traveling, sometimes, things don’t go your way. They can literally seem like a disaster.
I have learned that things sometimes don’t go your way as planned and in the end things work out anyway. Even if you lose a bit of money, a bit of time, or the opportunity to do something you really wanted to do, it doesn’t really matter. This is a part of travel, and this is a part of life.
Plus, most of the time, when my plan A doesn’t work out, plan B, or C, or maybe F has worked out better anyway. It’s these crazy misadventures that make for the best travel stories in the long run.
Staying optimistic and not dwelling on things that I cannot control are key in these situations. Practice makes perfect, the more I have to deal with disappointment, the easier it becomes.
So anyway, here’s a quick recap of where I have been and what I have been doing over the past 6 months!
I spent January at the Sivananada Yoga Teacher Training Course, in Kerala, India. This was an ideal way to start my travels, because I was able to meet many lovely people who were continuing on in their travels, or who I will meet again this summer in Europe.
I met my yoga teacher from home and took a two week tour with her. We visited Kolkata and did some service work, then we went to Om Kareshwar on the Narmada River to a lovely little ashram. After this, I went to Delhi for the first time, and reunited with some friends from yoga school.
My parents and sister came to Delhi and we went on an organized touristy tour. We visited the “Golden Triangle” – the cities of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
We were supposed to go to Nepal but due to a plane crash on the runway, our trip got canceled, and we went to Ranthambore National Park instead to try and spot a tiger. Sadly, we didn’t see one, but the park was lovely anyway.
After saying goodbye to my family in Delhi, I met yet another friend from yoga school and we headed off to Rishikesh together.
I spent about a month between mid March and April in Rishikesh. I liked this city very much. It is situated on the Ganges River (Ganga) in the mountains, and the Ganga is so clean there that you can actually swim in it.
Rishikesh is India’s yoga hub, with all kinds of courses on yoga, meditation, healing, cooking, and anything yoga related really. So of course I was there mostly for yoga and meditation, and to finally eat some salads and vegan food!
After Rishikesh I went to Varanasi. Varanasi is a very holy city in India; it is the city where Hindu bodies are cremated. I spent just a few days here and I enjoyed waking up early and taking a boat ride down the Ganga. But, since this city is more East than Rishikesh, the water is not so clean and swimming is not recommended, even though you will see Indian people doing it!
After Varanaasi, I went to Bodhgaya, home of Buddha’s enlightenment, and attended a 10 day silent meditation course.
Bye bye India, Hello Europe! I headed back to Delhi for a few days and was supposed to go to Nepal, but due to the earthquake, I canceled these plans and headed directly to Athens.
I spent a lovely week in Athens, trying to readjust to Western lifestyle. At first, everything seemed too clean and orderly, it seemed fake, like Disney World or something. Also, I tried walking in front of a car assuming it would stop, I forgot about crosswalks totally. Crazy what four months in a place with very different customs and culture will do to someone!
After Athens, I headed off to Crete, to visit a friend from University. When I got there, she realized I had no concrete travel plans and invited me to stay longer. I loved Crete so much, 6 days of travel there turned into 6 weeks!
In late June, my friend’s brother came to Crete and we took a road trip around Chania, one of the most beautiful regions in Crete.
After finally saying good-bye to Crete, my roomate and I moved out (yes I was at that point her “roommate”) and came back to her hometown of Trikala. Trikala is in Central Greece, and it’s next to the beautiful cliffs of Meteora.
I spent the first few days of July in Trikala, getting pampered by my very own adopted Greek mother. But currently, Greece is in a tough financial situation and things have been interesting here.
Many work places are closed, the ATM’s have a withdrawal limit for Greek accounts causing major lines. However, people seem to be in good spirits despite the situation, and there is absolutely no violence or problems for tourists here. The best thing to do is come to Greece now, they need tourism – it’s their biggest industry.
Anyway, I just got to Thessaloniki and will stay a few days. I was supposed to visit some friends but sadly, with the upcoming referendum and political situation, all my friends have gone back to their hometowns to vote.
So what’s next? And the biggest question, when am I going home?
Next I go to Berlin, Germany to attend Berlin’s yoga festival with some friends from my yoga school in India.
Then, I go to the Czech Republic for my cousin’s wedding.
After this, to Vienna, Austria to try and find some work! I will spend most of the summer and fall in Austria and maybe I will travel around a little to visit some friends in other cities.
In November I am headed back to India! I was feeling spontaneous and bought a round trip ticket from Delhi, so not I must return! I will finish out 2016 in India, and from then who knows!
I don’t plan on going back to USA, for awhile, at least until 2016, because it’s kind of out of the way, and I I don’t miss it at all. Yes miss my friend’s and family but ok I will see them later, or they will visit me, and other than that, I have nothing in Washington, D.C. May as well continue on until I change my mind or can’t travel anymore.
I never thought I would travel for a year, but after 6 months a whole year is very much in reach!
Where have you traveled since January? Do you have an exciting upcoming travel plans?