I LEAVE FOR INDIA ONE WEEK FROM TODAY.
Well, I leave for Chicago one week from today. Then I leave for India from Chicago a week from Saturday. So, let me correct myself:
MY JOURNEY TO INDIA BEGINS ONE WEEK FROM TODAY.
I feel like everyone is asking me Are you excited for India?? right now, so let me answer this (and some other FAQs) for y’all in this post.
I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.
The second most common question I’m asked is How are you going? For those who don’t know, I am travelling to India with a volunteer organization based in New Zealand called International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ). IVHQ is an amazing organization that offers volunteer programs in a LOT of countries, from one week to over a year long. I’m doing a teaching program in New Delhi for three weeks!
What will I be doing? While I’m there, I’m going to be staying in a homestay (aka with an Indian family) in New Dehli, with 1-5 other volunteers. I’ll be teaching in a slum school, and I’m not sure what I’ll be teaching until I get there. On the weekends, I’m going to do a little travelling inside of India: I am going to visit the Taj Mahal, Varanasi, and whatever my fellow volunteers are doing!
How much did it cost? Surprisingly, it was not that expensive. Like at all. I’m paying $400 for three weeks, which covers most of my trip. I’m bringing $200 for souvenirs/water/food/etc, but I’ll also have access to my Visa and Discover cards. I paid for my visa into India ($75), a new passport because I lost mine moving ($160), skirts/shirts (maybe $30 total? They’re all from thrift stores!), and I bought a travel sleeping bag that I consider to be a future investment ($59 from REI). Finally, I had a flight voucher for $975 from United because I was supposed to go to Nicaragua in March 2016 but I got whooping cough so I had to cancel the trip (and then I had to move this India trip from last December because I had mono….. pray for health, please!!), so my flight was about $400 ($1400 without the voucher).
What am I packing? I won’t be checking a bag, for a couple reasons. One: because I don’t have that much to bring, and two: it’s expensive and I don’t want to have to worry about it. I’m not tryna impress anyone in India, so I’m hardly bringing any makeup or hair product. I’m packing my Chacos and hiking shoes, my sleeping bag, my clothing, some small toiletries, and a camping backpack with activities for the plane. I’m using an app to read books on my phone, so I’ll save space there. I’ll be doing a post on how I pack light!
I’m considering this to be the ultimate minimalist challenge, lol. Can I pack for three weeks in a carry-on and a backpack? 😉
Did I have to get any vaccines? I am already protected against typhoid, Hep A/B, and I have all my required vaccines. I will be taking malaria pills while in India, and I purchased a mosquito spray from REI that keeps mosquitos away from your clothing for six washes. I did, however, opt to get rabies shots. Only about 19,000 people get this set of vaccines per year, but I chose to get it because the protection lasts over ten years, and I know this will not be my last trip (considering it’s not my first) to a developing country. India is full of unvaccinated dogs, and you just can’t be too careful! The rabies shot doesn’t completely protect you against rabies, but it gives you a few days to get to a hospital for treatment (as opposed to 24 hours), and you don’t need a hemoglobin transfusion.
Other than rabies (of which I need three shots on three separate days), I’m completely vaccinated!
Will I have Wi-Fi? Will you be blogging? Posting photos/videos? Updates? YES, I will have access to Wi-Fi while I’m there. My homestay has it, and there are Internet cafes all around! I have no idea how reliable it is, though. I will be bringing my camera and computer, so *hopefully* I’ll be able to upload some photos while I’m away! I’m going to do my very, very best to keep in touch, because I want everyone at home to see what I’m up to, and to thank those of you who’ve supported me in whatever way! I also want to ensure I’m soaking up as much of this trip as possible, though, so I won’t be on my phone all the time 😉
Where can you read more in-depth about what I’m doing in India? This is the link to my Fund and Seek page, a fundraising page I’ve arranged for those of you who’d like to either support me financially or otherwise.
How else can you support me, if not financially? I LOVE this question!!! Y’all, there are so many ways. The number one way is to be praying/vibing/saying affirmations/etc for me. Tbh, I’m terrified of flying, so that’s honestly the biggest thing I’m scared for on this adventure, lol. Give me your tips and tricks for surviving an overnight, solo, 14-hour, over-deep-bodies-of-water fights, PLEASE!
In addition, I’d love to stay in good health while I’m traveling. Please be thinking of me while I’m away!
Thirdly, learn about India! It’s an incredible country rich in culture, religion, and history. Come on this journey with me! I’d love to talk to you about it, now or when I return.
If you have any other questions for me, I’d love to talk with you! Write a comment below, or connect with my on any of my social media outlets (linked over on the right side of your computer!). I could not be more excited to start travelling–what’s truly at the center of my heart.