India is unique. There is nowhere like it that I’ve seen!! Each day is an adventure and you have no idea what awaits you when you wake up and walk outside of your hotel. It opens your mind and changes you a little, if you let it. The population is dense, the pollution thick, the honking loud, scams are plentiful yet there is an intoxicating beauty that is hard to ignore.

I’ve been to India twice.  And, both trips were an incredible experience. India is eye opening to say the least.  

My first time was in 1998. I was on a 6-month trip that started in Europe. I then met up with friends from home in Nepal and trekked the Annapurna Circuit. From there, I went onto India by local bus with British travelers I met in Katmandu. I eventually “went on my own”, but was rarely alone. I met so many wonderful people on that trip and we would travel around together for weeks at a time. It was the adventure of a lifetime and India had a tremendous hold on me. It is a feeling that is hard to describe, like I was in a movie, living in a different time. Driving in rickshaws, zooming through crowded streets, horns blaring to avoid hitting cows, dogs, street vendors. It’s a symphony of smells, sounds, and chaos but it somehow all works. I was obsessed with the architecture; mosaic glass and mirrored ceilings, and all of the ornate, scalloped windows and arches.  Then there’s the vivid colors of women’s saris & men’s turbans, mixed in with the camels & elephants, all set against the crumbling architecture. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Picturesque is an understatement. The novelty of being there did not wear off for me, unlike other places I had been to. And it challenged me and kept me on my toes. I was in love. 

I returned to India in 2010. I came from Laos and Cambodia where I was traveling solo for two months. I flew into Delhi and met a friend from the USA. We were traveling together for 5 weeks. Wow, culture shock!   I had changed a lot since my first visit there. I was a different person than I was 1998-- older, and I liked my creature comforts a lot more. In other words, the honeymoon had worn off a bit. India now seemed so dirty and polluted (I remember blowing my nose and it would be black)!  I was blown amazed that I had been there solo 13 years prior. That really took some guts on my part! However, once we got into the groove of things I found myself really enjoying our trip.  We did end up getting scammed a couple of times and took a couple of unnecessary detours to cities we didn’t want to go to, but the beauty of India blew my mind, as it had done in 1998. India is definitely not easy traveling (and no place for the prissy!), but when you loosen your grip a bit, have the ability to laugh at the things that you can’t control and slow down, something magical happens. 



This is a 16" x 24"collage. It's made out of wallpaper, airline ticket stubs, Lonely Planet pages, tissue paper, post cards, saris, and Indian Rupees. 


Check out my pics:


 This is me in 1998. I was in the Thar Desert on a camel safari for one week.  We came upon this village, I saw these guys and their colorful turbans, and got off my camel to have my photo with them.

This is me in Udaipur, Rajasthan on my second trip!  I have been to Udaipur twice and love it. 

February 02, 2018 — Jennifer Clifford