Tomorrow I will be flying from New Delhi to Kathmandu, Nepal thus marking the end of the India portion of my trip. The six or so weeks that I allotted for India struck me as slightly daunting before arrived, and was definitely the portion of my trip that I had the most concerns about.
I found India to be surprisingly manageable. There were often issues of language, but in the end I could generally figure out how to negotiate the trains and buses to get virtually anywhere I wanted. Even the infamous train booking proved simple thanks to the introduction of online booking (http://www.irctc.co.in/). There were parts that were difficult, and some places where it was hard to meet other people but overall I didn’t have many problems traveling around alone.
What I failed to take into account with my India plan was the power of sheer exhaustion. By the end of my time in India I found it hard to convince myself that I actually wanted to get anywhere enough to deal with being jammed into another bus, inhaling diesel fumes. I think six weeks was an awkward amount of time to spend in India. It was enough time that I convinced myself that I could see everything, but it wasn’t enough time to see everything and relax. In retrospect it might have made sense to either see fewer places, but spend more time at them, or spend longer in India, but take a few weeks off in the middle to just hang out a beach or in a mountain town. Balancing the desire to see and do everything with the reality of constantly being on the move is one of the hardest parts about traveling. I definitely don’t regret my time in India, and there are lots of places I would love to come back to and spend more time in and several places I wish I had gotten to go to, but at this point I find myself ready to move on from India.