Now accepting last-minute advice on traveling in India

This weekend it’s chaos time in the Confluence Countdown household.

On Thursday, we’re wheels up and on our way to Chennai, via Dubai. And then our yatra begins, although not before we get a day on the beach to decompress first.

And so all the stuff we haven’t yet gotten together, right down to the minimal number of yoga clothes we need, is now getting got together. Bags are being packed; travel info printed and copied; books both on and off the iPad being picked.

Almost inevitably, we’ll forget something. (I’m guessing I won’t find an old pair of glasses to take as a backup.) But that’s the way it goes.

Before it really is too late, though, we’ll accept any last-minute advice any of you old pros have for us. We’ve got “don’t drink the water” and “don’t eat raw food.”

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

18 thoughts on “Now accepting last-minute advice on traveling in India”

  1. I’m assuming that you’ve checked out the malaria situation where you will be. I’m not a fan of anti-malarials, but bug repellant is a must. Veg food is not a problem, however anything vibrant and green is hard to come by… you may want to bring some spirulna (sp?) tablets or powder. Although you can find them here if you look hard, but you may want to pack some face wipes/ hand wipes with antibacterial in them (Nivea are good, purell is a good idea) as the dirt that floats in the air is impossible to escape. Have a good trip.

      1. you can buy them there and that way they are not considered a liquid. Also I cleaned my hands with the small alcohol wipes they use before drawing blood. they are cheap, get them anywhere, and I always felt safe. It can set off the metal detector as they have foil around them. With that said you have to take everything out of your pockets anyway…but sometimes i forgot.
        I have seen people bring baggies to walk across the floor in the airport line for security. I don/;t know how you feel about that.

  2. You’ll need less than you think 🙂 India destroys my clothing, so a disposable denim is a great idea. You can buy shirts here, no problem. No need to over do the yoga clothes, either. One bucket laundering is a lot nicer than a big batch every week. My lulu products survived 3 months of regular wear last go-round, so there’s that.

    So excited to hear about your yantra. *swoon*

    “All who wander are not lost.”

  3. If you are like me – you started making lists, preplanning, preparing, practice packing and check listing a month ago. I have found that I always overpack and once in country always gravitate towards the 3 articles of clothing that are the most comfortable. Especially on yoga adventures. As you are a blogger – I don’t have to remind you to take a journal. As you are a yogi – I don’t have to remind you to take your kind, compassionate outlook. As you are a human being – I do have to remind you (and myself very often) to BE HERE NOW! Take your awareness of the moment and in the whirlwind that is exotic and hectic travel – don’t forget to breathe in each individual second as you flow upon it. A picture is great, but it will never replace the memory of capturing every detail from colors, to smells, to the feel of the dirt beneath your feet consciously as it occurs.
    Don’t DO India – BE India!
    I can’t wait to read your travel journal on your blogsite.
    Travel well. Godspeed!

  4. Taking things in is a better use of time than writing things down, and there is ALWAYS something to take in. Forget about packing books (see above). Pack minimally and then dump half of it. Leave behind any self-imposed dietary restrictions or “requirements” and enjoy the amazing south indian veg cuisine that comes to you. Don’t worry about what’s on the agenda for tomorrow (or five minutes from now). Trust Robert. Pay attention. Have fun.

    I thought I’d be on this yatra with you, but I had an opportunity to spend 6 weeks in India this fall…and took it! I hope you have a wonderful experience.

  5. My cab driver gave me the best advice when I was there last year. He said not to give money to beggers. If they have two arms and two legs they could be working. His advice helped me relax and really look at each person to see if I wanted to give them money. The women begging in the markets and carrying babies on their hips looked healthy and the babies they carried were clean and chubby, seemed haopy and taken care of. I did give some people money but it was a much more comfortable interaction because I really wanted to give and wasn’t just giving out of being worn down by requests.
    My next best advice is to totally surrender to India.

  6. Take some chapstick. It has alot of uses and if you just by chance get the revenge take a chunk off the top of the stick and heal the burning area with a little ointment. I have to say I have been there and was so thankful I had a stick. I also filled a contact case with vicks in case the smells took me down a wrong path. Sometimes, the mix of train rides, changing time zones your body gets ultra sensitive. I found vicks to be a centering for my system. You might try a strong mint liquid or something else that you like. Having had someone throw up on the bus i was in I was thrilled to sniff my vicks and focus on the smell right in front of my nose. I always travel with ear plugs, zip ties that are reusable, and a bar of soap.Bring a few packets of something to add to water for electrolytes in case you get dehydrated. I could get an anti nausea pill from the pharmacy and found gatorade very easily….but you do want to stay out of a hospital.
    The begging can be very tough, persistent and often relentless. I just sang as I walked in order to keep peace with myself. At the end of the trip, I leave everything I brought, even my toothbrush and suitcase. When you get home you will look at all you have, choices you have, and you will feel like an American Pig. The second time i went I learned from the first and I cleaned out my extras and gave to the poor so i did not have to come home to that feeling again. It helped and i have never stop giving to the other side of the world since my days in India, Morocco, Egypt etc. To this day I always say ‘everyone should go to India once’
    I also would never take jeans. They take so long to dry in a moist environment, I always travel with cargo pants…:)
    The first time i went some wise person told me to look for the similarities rather than the differences….I found it to be great advice. I also wrote short stories rather than a blog. Have you ever read an interesting blog. I haven’t.

    My expertise coming from traveling as a mom with a 13 year old daughter around the world with a backpack for 90 days. Having two daughters, I did it twice but with different stops and changing my India trip from the first time doing the bottom and the second time the top.

    I also can still chuckle about the airports. Not delhi…but the small ones. They try so hard to be official and professional…but something always has a way of reminding you that you are in India.
    I made it through with a smile. The world is so kind. enjoy!

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