Spirit of India, 2015
The Northern Explorer India Tour offered by Let Live Travel is an all-encompassing, passionate, whirlwind adventure through a land and culture truly its own. An attempt at describing all of the numerous emotions felt during the twenty-six day journey would be a near impossibility. I can, however, tell you that it started with a sense of overwhelming awe at being dropped off amidst the ant-hill-on-fire that is New Delhi. From the street vendors crying their wares, to the tuk-tuk drivers darting in and out of traffic without remorse, it was all new. It was all exhilarating. And terrifying. Tossed far out of my comfort zone, I landed hard in the grips of culture shock. In other words, it was exactly the type of trip I was looking for. From there on, whether it be in the crowded, eight-foot wide streets of Varanasi, the laid-back, hippy paths of Rishikesh, or the peaceful steps of the holy town Pushkar, there was always something new awaiting me. My two guides, Shawna and Eland, were knowledgeable, friendly, and always energetic. Having spent years building relationships with numerous locals and in-town organizations, they provided me a much more intimate and humbling experience than I would have had going by myself. The itinerary for the trip had a good pace. Hectic, adventurous days were followed by relaxing ones, which kept me engaged but not burned out.
What I enjoyed most about this trip was its unique combination of tourism and volunteer work. Hours spent taking in the famous sights (Taj Mahal, Burning Ghats, and Golden Temple) were contrasted by those spent volunteering and working with local NGOs. One day in particular, I remember us waking up and meeting up with a local NGO to clean litter from the roads. After that, we were whisked away to enjoy a day of white-water rafting down the Ganges, and spent the night conversing around a campfire and sleeping in tents. Another had us start with building a shelter for a family whose old one had recently burned down, and ended with a camel ride across the Pushkar desert.
I would highly recommend this trip. Its group setting, and excellent tour guides, made seeing India’s intense sights and sounds (which are relentless) a little easier for the first time. On top of that, Let Live Travel’s personal relationships with the various NGO’s and locals provided me with a perspective I feel as if I wouldn’t have achieved travelling alone. It’s a good fit for new and experienced travellers alike. If you are looking for an adventure coupled with the chance to give a little back, then this could very well be the trip for you.
-Brock | Tour Member, 2015