My girlfriend Kelly and I feel there are places that claim to be lived, cities that that have a special vibe that makes you want to stay a bit longer, that makes you want to have a place in those streets and above all, in between its people. We decided a 9 to 5 job was not a life we wanted for us, we decided there is so much world to see and so little time that it made no sense to spend our youth doing a thing different than travelling.
So many cities I have passed where a few days wanted to become months, where the 12 hours nights were not enough, where walking on the roads fell as walking in a new reality. So many people I’ve met in these cities who I wish could be in my life for a while longer, so many little alleys, cozy hidden pubs and unsuspected picnic places to get familiar with, a whole new outlook on life to take on.
We decided to take a year in one country at a time, travelling it, living it and more importantly, understanding it. So we made a list of things we looked for in these countries: A radically different culture, a distant place from home, a different language, low living expenses, near the coast, with a bit of Buddhism, where a visa wouldn't be so hard to get, and where there was something special about it for us. The list we thought of came with a lot of dissimilar options: South Africa, Thailand, New Zealand, Estonia, Russia, Iceland, Portugal, and India. It was the last one where we thought we could have the greatest shock, where we could put ourselves to the test the hardest. After all we had a lot of preconceptions and ideas about before visiting, so it was worth to see if they were true.
The visa was not too helpful, we were given 6 months from the date of issue, which left us with around 3 months to go all around India together before having to exit the country to get a new visa. So researching on the internet and reading from various sources we came up with an itinerary that could fit in that time and then leave a bit more for the visa extension making it a 4 month trip.
We knew this was a long trip, and it could be a long time before we could start working on something remotely that allowed us to work while we travel, so we saved what we thought we could stretch for 9 months or a year, but to make sure we will be on the road for as long as possible in case nothing came, we decided we would save every penny we had. So we travel on the cheapest transport, sleep on the most basic places we can get our hands on and avoid the pricy restaurants and arranged tours if possible.
A fantastic way to help our budget, and even cooler, meeting local people, is to use Couchsurfing, a platform on which locals who have a spare bed or couch in their place offer you somewhere to stay for the night, creating a cultural exchange that would be very hard to attain otherwise. Most of the times the memories you make out of a place are because of the people you meet there, and I can say much of my fondest memories of places come from people I met through Couchsurfing.
Since we decided to spend a year per country, we thought the best way would be to go all around the country first to find a city we feel comfortable in, and then settling that in that city. In this case we came across 2 options: Lucknow and Puducherry. The first one is a city with good socioeconomic indicators, cost of living, earning, safety for women and foreigners, etc. The second one has a charm in the way it portrays itself on ads and travel guides. We though giving it a chance to take a Yoga course in Puducherry and see if it is as good as it sounds.
Having said that, here is our itinerary for these 3 months. As soon as I finish going over the photos and writing a review for each place, the corresponding link will be added to the list. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the new articles every week!
Ps. In case you are following a similar itinerary (or this one), at the end of each entry is written how we got from the preceding place on the list.