Trip Reflection

After returning home, it was interesting to be back in my own house for the first time in a month, since I was used to staying in places drastically different than what I’m used to. It was nice to be able to relax, play with my dogs, and drink the tap water again. Even though I didn’t get to relax immediately because I first had to deal with cleaning off everything I took with me due to a possible bed-bug situation… once I finally did get to go lay in my own bed and look over pictures from the trip, it was nice to think and reflect on everything I learned during my trip.

One of the best parts of my trip was all of the people that I met along the way. My fellow participants and our two trip leaders were both amazing, but the kids from the school SECMOL in the Himalayas from the first part of our trip were definitely the highlight of my trip. Being able to meet kids my own age in a culture that was so different from mine and being able to compare similarities and differences in our lives was such a great thing to experience.

That relates to the other best part of my trip, which was being able to gain a more well rounded idea of Indian geography and culture, and therefore being able to see through all of the stereotypes that people often mention about the country. It was great to be able to visit a country such as India that definitely is much much different than America, especially since it is nearly completely un-westernized in many parts, and to gain a realistic view of what the country is actually like. Especially, since the National Geographic trip was set up to give students a view of India more through the eyes of someone who lives there rather than just a tourist, which is how I likely would have seen the country if I went by myself or with another program. Furthermore, it was great to be able to experience religions that I do not often see or learn about in America, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam. It was amazing to be able to visit these religions’ places of worship and learn more about their customs and values was extremely unique. I think it is very important for people to understand others’ religions, even if they do not believe the same thing as them, so that people can better understand one another and how each other think.

Overall, I had an amazing time on my India expedition and I am so glad that I took part in it and grateful that I was given the opportunity to do so. I would greatly recommend to everyone to go out and explore somewhere new, especially somewhere with a vastly different culture than in the United States. It will help you grow as a person, teach you lots of new things, and you will also make many new friends along the way.

Since this is my last post I just wanted to say thank you for reading this semester, and I will leave you with some of my favorite pictures from my trip!!

Travelling Home

Finally, after this whole trip, it was time for our actual last day together. We started off with breakfast at our hotel the Mantra, then left to go downtown to shop for a little more. Instead of going right down town though, our bus driver dropped us off at the wrong place so we got a little bit lost and had to walk around until we found our way. Since it was the end of the trip, I had almost no money left. Despite this, I managed to use my bartering skills to buy a pair of earrings and some strange candies with everything I had left. Then, after shopping for a bit, we stopped for lunch. It was so nice, because our trip leaders got birthday cake for me and another participant Chloe, since it was both of our birthdays on this day.

Me and Chloe taking a picture for our birthdays

Once we were done lunch, we went back to the hotel. I napped for a bit and then finished packing, then we all left for the airport around 5:30. We should have left earlier though, because our bus got stuck in a huge traffic jam. The drive that was supposed to take 30 minutes ended up taking us 2 hours. Then, once we arrived at the airport, the security was so strict that two girls from our group almost weren’t allowed into the airport because they weren’t on the airport’s list for our group. After that, it took forever to check our bags, and one girl even had to pay $100 extra to check another bag because one of hers was too large. Once we were ready to go after that, one of our trip leaders got into a fight with the man at the currency exchange desk which took up even more time.

Passing the time on a longer than expected bus ride

Once we were finally ready for security, we got into the long line and waited. The time that we began to go through was at 10:30- the same time as our flight started boarding! We were done by 10:45, and our leader gave us all 500 rupees and told us to split the money and get food super quick, then race back to the plane. We all went to McDonald’s, and let me tell you- McDonald’s in an airport in India is maybe one of the worst places in the world. Despite this, we all ate our food quick because we were starving by that point.

The different menu at an Indian McDonalds

We then raced to the gate and had to go through security a second time, then ran down to our flight which we almost missed. Once I got on the plane, I went to my seat but there was a lady sitting in it. I asked her to move but she didn’t speak English and wouldn’t communicate with me. Eventually I called over someone from the plane to talk to her, and it turned out that she spoke English the whole time but was pretending she didn’t so she wouldn’t have to move! After that was over, I got comfortable and sat down to watch a movie. Too bad that the calibration was off on my tv screen, because this meant I wasn’t able to select English as my language to watch the movies in. I watched movies in Hindu, Portuguese, and German, but overall they were pretty interesting.

Eventually we made it home to America and even though the day of travel was the most stressful day ever, we were finally back safe. It was so sad to have to say goodbye to all of the friends I had met while on the trip, but we all each other’s contact info so we planned to stay in touch. Though it was sad to say goodbye, I was also exhausted and ready to go home. The whole drive home, I talked about the amazing experiences and the fantastic time I had on my expedition to India.