It all started a little bit more than a year before my second departure to India. A friend inviting me to her wedding that would be the next year. By grace, things lined up perfectly that I was able to go though no plans started getting set in stone until October.
Being the planner that I am, I spent quite a bit of time researching what I wanted to do and see. At first, I was positive I would fly from Delhi to Darjeeling, then to Kolkata for the wedding. Then I thought Kochi and the backwaters of Kerala. Then I started looking at pictures of camels in the desert. Finally, I decided on Delhi (got to see the Taj Mahal, I figured), and the recommended city of Jaipur (which I would 100% recommend). The deserts and backwaters and tea fields can wait until my next trip.
I did have to be careful with getting my e-TV visa. If you know nothing about this visa, it’s basically a document that you print from online that allows you to travel anywhere in India for 30 days, although you can only enter from specific airports. You need to have it a few days before you leave and can’t apply for it more than a month before your arrival date.
I thought that maybe someone would find it helpful to see how long it took me to plan for this trip in case they, too, are worried that they are an over-planner.
I hope this chart is helpful for you in planning your own trip to India! I’m a major budgeting/planner and I love to have an idea of how much money I could possibly spend in a country. This budget is on the higher end with me not wanting to spend more than $1,500. We really weren’t concerned with how much we were spending and were free to shop and go to as many attractions as we wanted (which really isn’t hard in India). We also traveled more for the specific purpose of going to a wedding. As guests, our housing was covered for the days we were there and we spent our free day just relaxing with a movie at a mall.
Exhaustion leadened my weary bones on the seemingly endless drive my first hour in Korea. Outside, only the towering of lights from skyscraper apartment buildings indicated life in the dark.
“In the day, you can see hills,” my boss told me as she zoomed past other cars.
I murmured something and attempted more conversation with a woman I barely knew—a long blur of vague flight details, the experience of my cousin’s wedding, what my family was like—until we arrived.
“Suwon,” she said as she turned down a side street, then another.
We ended up crawling down a bright street hardly two lanes wide with multi-colored awnings set up with a range of wares beneath: silvery fish set on ice, hills of cabbage, pots and pans, hair dye.
Another turn and we ended up on a barely lit street and parking. Without fully comprehending, I was jostled out along with my two suitcases that held my entire life and tattered Kipling backpack.
A woman with blonde hair came out to greet us. She helped me lug my suitcases into my small studio apartment. It was far smaller than I expected.
I looked around the glaringly white space and wondered if it could possibly really be that bright, that small, that empty.
“Are you exhausted?” both she and my boss questioned. “Want to grab dinner?”
“Sure,” I said as I followed them blindly out beyond my apartment and through the market. They sat us down in a chimaek restaurant—a fried chicken and beer place.
After constant badgering, I finally got my mom to come out and visit me for a short week at the end of July. At the moment, it’s difficult to believe that it’s already been four months since the last time I saw her in person. So much has happened since then. I’ve experienced election woes, decided to sign another contract to stay in Korea, started making plans to go to a wedding in India and to go to Europe next summer.