“Do you have an Itinerary?” This is the most asked question about my upcoming trip to India. My answer, “I have a loose itinerary”. Currently my India itinerary includes a round trip flight from Miami to Rome and then a roundtrip flight from Rome to Mumbai. When I land in Mumbai, AKA Bombay, I fly directly to Kochi or Cochin and that is where I begin, in the state of Kerala in the south of India.
As a first-time solo female traveler I’ve put an emphasis on smart travel. This is why I chose to fly in and out of Rome. With this being my first time traveling like this alone I wanted to begin somewhere I’m familiar with and comfortable being solo. So Italy was a simple choice. I’m staying in Rome for $21/night, in my favorite neighborhood of Trastevere! Whoa, that’s right, $21/night. I’ll be sleeping on a roll out sofa bed of sorts in a small flat with a nice lady named Ali. I found it on Airbnb. I’m very much looking forward to staying with a local, it should make for a more “travel-like-a-local” feeling which I love.
Once I arrive in Kochi I plan on traveling around Kerala for about three weeks. In my research I came across a backpacking bus through a company called GoMowgli. You purchase a pass for the bus and guide then hop on and off as you desire within a 60 day period. You can stay in the places it stops for as long as you wish and hop back on to the next location. They are very knowledgable about the area and also assist with arranging your accommodations within your budget! I’m really interested in the cities of Munnar, Varkala, Alleppey and Kochi. There is also an Ashram near Alleppey called Amritapuri, the birthplace of Amma, the Hugging Mother. It’s nestled between the Kerala backwaters and Arabian Sea and I’m very much looking forward to visiting and staying for several days.
From Kerala I plan to travel to the state of Karnataka for about a week. Mysore, Madikeri, Hampi and Bangalore are cities I wish to visit here. GoMowgli has a Bespoke tour in this region I’m very interested in. It includes trekking Coorg’s highest peak – Tadiandamol, jumping into Iruppu Falls and visiting Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary in hopes of spotting wild elephants!
Recently I’ve been in contact with a friend’s brother-in-law who lives in Tamil Nadu, the west side of southern India. I wasn’t originally planning on heading that way, though Pondicherry is there and has been on my travel-to list. Anyway, he and his wife have lived there since 1998 and run a travel agency and have suggested I come see them and the area. Well, ok then! I do really enjoy staying with locals in foreign places when I can, it’s a much more personal experience, one of the reasons as a family we stay in apartments and guest homes over hotels! I prefer not to be a tourist.
Finally I’ll fly north to Udaipur where I want to volunteer at Animal Aid Unlimited for at least 5-7 days. I’ve found a wonderful working ranch, Krishna Ranch, in Badi Village where the shelter is. It’s only 7km outside of Udaipur so I can also go into town. At the ranch they have a working farm where they procure organic produce for the meals they cook there. Right up my alley!
I’m hoping within this itinerary I find the time and a way to feel comfortable traveling alone in Northern India I’d love to also see Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, and Varanasi. Why do I want to see Varanasi? Well, there’s this:
“Brace yourself. You’re about to enter one of the most blindingly colourful, unrelentingly chaotic and unapologetically indiscreet places on earth. Varanasi takes no prisoners. But if you’re ready for it, this may just turn out to be your favourite stop of all”. -Lonely Planet
I’m sure this itinerary will wiggle a bit, I do plan to return as seven weeks is nothing in India. Please check back and if you’ve been to India I would love to hear your story and tips!
Peace and Namaste!