Pre departure (5/1/23)
It’s a few days before I traverse seven thousand KMs across the planet, and I surprisingly don’t feel anxious at all. I’m quietly confident in conforming to the Indian norms, and the fact that we go as a large group puts a lot of my stress to ease. There are obviously still some nerves with travel preparations, whether I have the correct E-Visa and what vaccinations I’m gonna need, but overall, I’m excited to own that sense of unfamiliarity.
In relation to the pre departure prep, Indogenius, who is the facilitator for the program, has been great by providing us with an online course, as well as organising weekly zooms twice a week. I truly do appreciate them utilising all the tools we have to interact virtually.
I guess my queasy nerves were warranted because our flight from Melbourne to Delhi ended up being delayed by 6 hours. It’s a lot less stressful since we still have a flight to catch; and getting to know everyone on the trip has been lovely. My only complaint is that I would’ve loved to have had it delayed in Delhi rather than Aussie.
After 12 hours stuck in a confined space, it feels great to smell the air, even if I can’t differentiate the fog from smog. It’s currently 7 am NZT, and 12 pm IST, and to say I’m sleep deprived is an understatement. Our next flight is to Chennai at 6 am, so we have a lot of time to kill, and to keep awake; But sleep is second to my mind right now. I’m so ecstatic to explore the airport, let alone the country, MAMA I MADE IT! Instantly I notice that the strangest things are the biggest eye-openers to my NZ mindset, my western mindset. Simply seeing security openly brandish assault rifles just blows me away. It’s mostly been a shock to be casually strolling through the airport at these absurd hours and to see so many people catching flights. Nor have I ever seen as many jewellery, electronic, and clothing stores trading vigorously at these hours.
The flight from Delhi to Chennai was a breeze, and then onto Pondicherry (Pondi, as the locals say) was easier. I mostly soaked in the freedom of being away from the airport, but I’ll go into more detail for how I’m feeling in my next blog.
My personal tip for travelling is that I noticed a lot of other people packed a lot of unnecessary items, a lot of novelties. I’d recommend for people to take a minimalist approach, and to pack the bare necessities, but the most important ones. Medication, documents, and adapters. And to leave the neck pillows, snacks, and five pairs of shoes at home.