This past two weeks in India was not a holiday. It was an experience.
I have vowed that next time I want to go somewhere, I am going to take a holiday. I am going to go somewhere where relaxing will be part of my day. Where my bikini will be required, and hot showers expected (I might even take with me a tall, handsome man to fan me with peacock feathers and feed me olives, and I am not even joking for one second...).
But, in retrospect, this experience has been incredible. And it couldn't have happened without the help of some incredible and amazing people.
For starters, India was brought to us by the letters 'L' and 'P'. Without our Lonely Planet guidebook, our tour in India would have truly been a failure.
Special thanks also go to the following:
To Mike (the peacemaker), Greg (the navigator), and Michele (the Italian), my awesome travel partners. It could have been a lot harder, but it wasn't. The mix of personalities really went together in a way that worked. It wasn't always flowers and roses, but we did an amazing job with what we had.
To Leila, Brian, Greg and Amy: thank you for getting us to and from the airports with all of our bags. You were absolutely necessary, and are in our debt.
To Rachel: For your promise to bring me Lysol from America. Without it, my apartment, and my belongings, would be ruined for life. I am anticipating the moment of delousing already.
For Patrick: One of my number one pals, who was also indefinitely responsible for keeping me sane. His bi-weekly Facebook chats kept my mind free and easy, and my connection to the real world strong. My deepest gratitude to you, friend.
and lastly, to Jono, whose gifts kept me organized (with the very useful friendship-bracelet backpack) and warm (with your knitted hat and socks). I apologize in advance for the delousing that will have to occur in order for your belongings to be usable again, but am grateful nonetheless.
After two weeks to think about it and reflect, I have added to the list of things that would be invaluable for future trips to (third-world) countries like India. If you are thinking of traveling that way, please feel free to look me, or my travel partenrs up, and accept my suggestion of the following items to make your holiday just a little more comfortable: earplugs (for trains and hotels, planes and taxis, these are a must!), a first aid kit (yes, we really did travel without one of these), antibiotics (and without these. too), a sleeping bag cover (this would have been very useful in all of the dirty places we had to sleep or sit), more than one sports bra (for day two of the camel safari when the camels gallop, rather than walk), a flashlight, and a mobile phone (with a Ricco-style, attached safety cord so that your lame-ass doesn't lose it on the first day, Greg).
And to anyone who is going, I wish you gambatte, good luck, and God speed. It will be an experience that you will not forget.