Thank you, come again!

Thank you, come again!

Guess what?

I’m going to India and Nepal!

That means I’ve also ticked off list item number 8: Book a trip to India and Nepal!

My Aunty Wendy and I have officially locked ourselves in to a 15 day tour of India and Nepal in March/April next year. The tour includes a trip to see the Taj Mahal, which I am VERY excited about, and an optional Everest scenic flight, which I am VERY, VERY excited about.

I’ve wanted to get to India for some time now. A couple of years ago I made a failed attempt to get there for a friend’s wedding (the Indian outfit I’m wearing in the photo was a gift from his wife). I was very disappointed I couldn’t make it and, since then, I’ve had no real excuse to go. Boo.

The book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ made me want to go there even more (possibly because I read the book at the time when I should have been in India). I don’t know why I am so drawn to the place, although I’m sure it has more than a little to do with our shared love of everything colourful…

I know very little about India that I haven’t learned through cultural stereotypes and travel brochures. My reference points are basically elephants, the Taj Mahal… and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. I’m looking forward to finding out a whole lot more about the place.

As for Nepal, my reference points are Mount Everest, orange monks… and those little coloured flags. I clearly have a lot to learn!

Probably more important than any of that, is the fact that this trip will catapult me ahead in the family “Been There” competition with 4 new countries (if you include transit through Dubai and Kuala Lumpur).

The “Been There” competition is this obnoxious thing my family does where we compete to see who has been to the most countries. There are really only 2 contenders, and some of us take it more seriously than others, but I enjoy it (in spite of its ability to instantly turn a pleasant conversation into a heated debate). I’m sure I’ve mentioned my family’s competitive streak before, and if you’ve met them, or are one of them, you’ll know that this competition gets the most heated of all. What “counts” as going to a country? Many refuse to count airport transit, although my uncle’s strategy has always been to ask the question “If you weren’t there, then where were you?” Either way, I’m somewhere around the middle of the pack with 23 countries, but that will become 27 next year (and possibly 28 if we head somewhere exotic for our honeymoon!) That’s almost as many countries as years I’ve been on the planet! I think that’s pretty cool 🙂

I don’t know why I care about ticking off countries as if they were items on a shopping list. I suppose, to me at least, it’s just a fun way of racking up new experiences. When it comes to travel I’m always on the lookout for the next new thing, so returning each year to the same holiday destination is not really my style. That first step in a new country is so exciting to me and, obnoxious or not, I love tallying them up and taking stock of all the amazing experiences I’ve had.

12 months ago, if a psychic had said to me “In a year you will be booking a trip to India and Nepal” I would have laughed it off. It was certainly not on my agenda and, had it not been for this challenge, I’m not sure I ever would have made it there. After all, give me a couple of years and I’m sure I’ll be barefoot and pregnant and too busy praying for an uneventful trip to the shops to be thinking about a trip to Asia. If I’m going to do these things, the time is definitely now.

I’m very grateful to my aunty for hitting me with this challenge and I’m very excited to help her tick off a lifelong bucket list item of her own.

Bring it on!

Friday is the perfect day to dream of exotic destinations… Where have you always wanted to travel to and why?


15 responses »

  1. Deposits sent ….. yeah! Does that mean I knock off Aunty Cher as the favourite aunty (or is that the genetic competitive streak coming out!)

  2. It is a definition & it does not apply to any places that I have been, so how is it a ‘strategy’? As for two contenders, who is the other one? There are 24 countries differences between the top two but only 9 countries difference between 2 & 3? I am offended by your use of the term obnoxious. If you are going to speak like this, please do not use my name in your posts.

  3. Sigh. Wonderful post. Beautifully positive and uplifting. I hope when you see Everest, you take a moment to engage yourself in the absolute bloody wonder of it all and soak up the ‘I can’t believe I am here’ vibes. Nobody in the family has seen Everest first hand and I’m so glad you’ll be first or equal first anyways. Go girl!

    • There have only been a couple of times in my life where I’ve been able to experience those vibes in the moment. The first time was definitely setting foot on foreign soil for the first time and our trip to Disneyland. Another was sitting in the ‘Maid of the Mist’ at Niagara, silently pondering where all that water could possibly come from. The most recent was probably the NYE fireworks in Paris. What was your favourite “I can’t believe I am here” moment Dad?

  4. By the way, just so you know, the whole “Been There!” thing started when my father was once watching television footage of some radio tower in Korea or the USSR. He mistook it for the Eiffel Tower & excitedly declared “I’ve been there!”. This was before most of the family had travelled anywhere. Many of us have been saying it fondly ever since. This is the tribute to your late grandfather that you have described in this entry — twice — as obnoxious.

  5. I want to go everywhere!

    “Been there” started when your grandfather, after thier first trip to Europe, saw what he thought was the Eiffel Tower, on TV. It was actually a radio mast in Korea. I didn´t let him forget it and anytime a something vaguely similar cam on TV I asked him if he had been there. He then never missed an opportunity to point out places he had actually been.

    In my not so humble opinion India is the hardest place in the world to travel, and I do have some experience in this. It can be an extremely confronting place and you may be constantly harassed. However, it is a fascinating place.

    • Why have I not heard this story before?! Hilarious!

      As for India, I’m sure we won’t be “roughing it” like you did so it might be a bit easier for us than it was for you (thank God!)

      Where are you going on this trip that you haven’t been before?

  6. Fantastic news! And I love the Been There game too – I generally always win with 35 countries ticked off. I have never been to Nepal or India so I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Very exciting indeed!

    • Ooh, you’re definitely beating me with 35! I will definitely blog about my adventures, although I’m sure they won’t be the intrepid kind people imagine when they think of India and Nepal!

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