I am at the midpoint of this epic journey, so I think it will be a good time to reflect and see what I have done in India. This post is more geared towards people who want to travel to India
1. If you do not know the state or national language make an effort to learn some phrases. If you just try you will make instant friends.
2. The transportation system here can be confusing at first but if you know where you are going, and just tell the name of the village or town to the official he/she will direct you in the right place.
3. If you like spicy, this place is a Mecca.
4. Do not drink the water. Trust me, I got sick.
5. There are places in the city that are closer to western culture if you feel homesick. Cities like Pune and Mumbai have many nightclubs. If you are familiar with the transportation system, you can hop on a train for about 6 dollars American to the state of Goa. That is if you are living in the state of Maharashtra.
6. If you like history or just the countryside there are many historical places in the countryside. For example, Loghad fort in Malavali and Shivineri fort in Juner. I have been to these forts and it was a pretty good trek.
7. I want to place a warning for two things.First thing is that If you like meat, well you can still get it here, but not cow. A little bit over half of India is pure vegetarian. Second thing is that there are no traffic laws which means that the road is a death trap. Do not let that scare you because if you have your eyes and ears open you will be safe.
9. As for work I am doing in the NGO, I can say that I am enjoying it. I have learned so much from admin work to fieldwork. I do like fieldwork a little bit more just because you actually get to see your work in practice. Admin work is more of you just sitting in a office drawing up logistics and researching information that could help you strengthen your program. I do like learning the work because I know it will become handy in the future.
10. Embrace the ambivalence of India.This country has 1.2 billion people in a space that is smaller than the US. You can learn a lot just by listening to these people and understanding where they come from, and you will realize that they are not so much different from you.
To end this post, I want to point out these are my ideas and not someone elses. I like to experience traveling by hanging out with the locals and hearing what they have to say. Some other do it by going to museums. and others go out drinking. I have done these things but I just prefer to have my own experience.