I’m leaving for India today, via a brief few inescapably cold, wet and stressful hours in London. I’m refraining from using the word ‘vacation’ because that would imply that there will be rest and rejuvenation taking place on this trip; which there won’t be. This is not because I’m not completely exhausted, rundown and in need of some downtime- it’s because I’m going on holiday with my sister. One Helm family member plus another Helm equals a ‘vacation’ resembling that of a person training for an Iron Man. Despite the fact that I’m not even five weeks clear of knee surgery, I’ve found myself packing my hiking boots, running shoes, swimsuit and goggles when I should probably be more concerned about filling my suitcase with Imodium and rehydration sachets. That’s what insurance is for right?
As I’ve frantically been organising this week, I’ve started wondering why I enjoy travelling so much. The chaos of preparing, the long flights, jet lag, carrying luggage, visa applications, camera trouble, immunisations and the stomach aches after drinking water that I wasn’t supposed to. Oh, and then there’s the fact that nearly everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve been robbed (though blissfully unaware at the time). In Russia it was a camera, Italy my luggage, Barcelona a wallet, Australia my passport, Thailand- a boyfriend, Turkey my clothes. And those are just the ones’ off the top of my head. But here I go again, fighting my way through the chaos, packing my liquids in Ziploc bags and most importantly, purchasing the inevitably useful travel insurance.
Like all ‘vacations’ though, it’s the lure of the food that keeps me packing up and jetting off for more. Well, okay not just the food- but it definitely plays a prominent role. I have already booked up cooking courses in India and researched the main cuisines of Rajasthan (where I will spend most of my time). Going away is no different from being at home for me- food consuming, preparing and buying take precedent from all other seemingly unimportant matters, like paying bills or watching out for thieves eyeing up your valuables. Most people choose to spend hours visiting cultural sights when they travel but I’m just as happy roaming the isles of supermarkets and markets seeking out exciting new things to try. No meal goes unmissed, no food item untried; except in China and Russia- but I had my reasons.
Our trip to India starts in Delhi, from there we head of to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, then to Ranthambhore to see the Tiger reserve, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur for yoga and cooking, Jaisalmer to trek in the dessert and then back to Delhi. Did I mention that I’m only going for two weeks? Now you’re beginning to see why I stray from the word ‘vacation’. In any case expect to hear more from India- if not about food then about flight delays, stomach-aches and muggings. I’ve certainly worked up a craving for curry.