India solo

Traveljournal October 2001 - April 2002

by Pia Hartvigsen

This is the diary from my journey across parts of India. It was the first time I travelled alone for such a long time. I flew into Delhi and used it as a base to explore some of the northern areas like Agra, Dharamshala, Pushkar and Rishikesh. I then travelled all the way across to Chennai. A 32 hour trainjourney. From there I went to Kodaikanal and Madurai before heading back to Pondecherry, Auroville and Mamallapuram.Then I took a train from Chennai straight across to the tip of the Indian continent, Cape Comorin. After that followed Trivandrum, Cochin, Ernakulam, Mangalore, Coorg, Gokarna, Goa and back to Delhi. (Photo: Sonal, me and a Swedish guy, driving in a jeep on a dusty road)

Me pretending to ride an Enfield :)

I was there during a pretty tense period. I left not long after September 11th and the US had started there war on terrorism, Taliban and Al Qaida. Afghanistan was under bombardment. During my time in India the conflict with Pakistan also tensed up until a point where both nations had armed the borders to its teeth. It made the travel experience pretty different. There was less tourists and at times it could could be pretty hard trying to decide if I should flee the country or not. Hysterical family did not make it any easier. However I stayed on and did not regret it. I had a fantastic time.

The diary might give a different impression, but for me the diary was a place to get out my frustrations, and yes, there are many frustrations, especially when travelling alone, but it does not outweigh all the great things about travelling in India. I hope it does not scare off anyone.

In retrospect I wish I had been able to describe the landscape, people, smells, colours and chaos better, but there are so many impressions every minute and I was not able to put it into words. All I can say is that it is a place Im sure you will never forget if you go. It is a place where all thing are turned upside down, there is no logic. It is challenging, but very interesting and absolutely facinating.