I have always been fascinated by the sheer beauty and diversity in Indian culture. “Sensory overload in a glance” is an apt description of a country that is always in movement. To be able to stand still in the middle of all that movement allows me to really “see” her people and absorb the flow of life from birth to death.
From learning how to make yellow ink from cow urine to watching funeral pyres burn in Varanasi, I realized that I would have to spend a lifetime here to grasp the immense value of her art, stunning architecture, fascinating food and love of all that is beautiful.
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Advice for Someone Who Wants to Travel to Another Country
By Debra Schoenberger
Plan at least a year ahead and do your research. Be prepared for last minute problems and don’t panic. Buy good travel & medical insurance. I once had two important flights on a 14 flight itinerary cancel at the last minute but because I had good travel insurance I was able to re-book with another airline (which happened to be way better) and the insurance company paid for the difference.
Enjoy the culture you are getting to know. Things won’t be the same back home and that’s OK. Be patient and smile! Try to get to know a few words in your host country – people really appreciate it when you try to speak to them in their own language.
Google maps is an excellent way to get to know the neighbourhood you will be staying in. I often “walk” around the neighbourhood on google maps looking for nearby restaurants just in case I arrive really jet lagged and want to grab something to eat and already know where to go.
Sometimes my backpack gets covered in dirt and grease so I use the baby wipes to clean it off. Baby wipes are also good for those times when it’s raining or you step in mud and your shoes are really mucked up. It’s also good for other things. (like bathrooms with no toilet paper) 😀
Pack light. Do a trial walk with your backback, put it on and walk around your home or outside for 15 minutes. If it’s too heavy, pack lighter. If you’re miserable because you’re tired, you won’t feel like taking pictures plus you could pull a muscle! I usually find that, even though I pack quite lightly, I don’t always wear everything I pack.
I find it much easier to fly around the world in one direction than back and forth across the Pacific ocean as I don’t feel as jet-lagged. Do your research – sometimes booking a flight in the country of origin will give you a better rate. If you are comfortable with booking your own flights over the internet, try different days of the week and different times of day to look for deals. I usually begin with 3 different airlines and hotels and work my way down from there. You will get all sorts of quotes but be patient, eventually a quote will come up that you will be happy with. Read the travel section of your local newspaper or sign up to receive specials from your favourite airlines.
Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera
“My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.
I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor’s favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC. I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I’m always looking for the unusual.
Win one $25 Amazon gift card (international) – 5 other winners will receive one copy of INDIA (choice ePUB or PDF) (ends April 1, 2017).