If truth be told, if someone had mentioned a trip to India, I would have been the first in the line. I could go on for hours about why I love the country so much. That said, it would take me just as long to list the things I hate about the country. India will forever be the country that so many non-Indians hold in their heart and yet equally as many fail to see the attraction.
The magical lands of India
On my first visit to India back in 2004, I met a fellow backpacker who described India so perfectly - “a beautiful shithole”. Whilst conflicting, I got it straight away. For India is like no other. A land of contradictions and opposites. Extreme wealth yet such incredible poverty. Scorching heat in parts, yet subzero temperatures in others. Picture perfect photo opportunities that appear like something straight out of National Geographic magazine and yet unbeknown to most, in order for one to take such a photo, one could potentially tread in cow shit, get spat on, run over by a rickshaw, and harassed for Rupees all in the space of time it takes to press click on your camera. There really is no other place like the magical land of India.
The reality is I would have been at the front of the queue if someone had suggested travelling across India whilst doing a handstand. It’s not uncommon for me to act before fully thinking things through, although it happens less as I get older. Apart from when India is thrown into the mix so it would seem.
I’m in, where do I sign up?
I’d be lying if I said that the thought of revisiting some of my old haunts wasn’t an attraction. Catching up with friends in Delhi, drinking an ice cold beer at Leopold's in Mumbai and maybe just maybe, I might be able to swing a night or two in my home away from home Palolem. Oh, what a lovely thought.
The reality is walking over 2,500 miles (3,000km) is going to require me to walk in excess of a marathon a day approx 25/30 miles. If that wasn’t enough I’ll be carrying in excess of 30/40kg in my backpack. There will simply be no room or time for me to pack my dancing shoes let alone a pair of swimming trunks, or anything remotely suitable for any type of social meet up. Nor will I be trekking anywhere near any of the more touristy places of Rajasthan, Goa or Mumbai.
I will be trekking through parts of India that rarely see tourists. Forget the Taj hotel, the Oberoi, or the luxurious delights of the Lake Palace Hotel. Such detours would add weeks if not months to my trip. Not to mention many additional miles. No, this my friends is strictly business. I’ll be walking the most direct route down through central India as possible. But it’s that exact reason why this trip is going to pose some serious challenges, which is why this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. This really is going to be my opportunity to challenge myself in every possible way, mentally, physically and emotionally. This my friends is going to be an opportunity to...