It’s becoming a common trend for young high school graduates to take some time off before continuing their academic career. Many choose to use this time to see the world and experience different cultures. India is the perfect place to travel to if you want to wow your senses, and potentially make a difference too.
Visas and Other Paperwork
For many gap year travelers, this may be their first solo traveling experience, and the learning begins well before takeoff. Since this is probably the first experience the young adult has with securing his or her own visa India makes a great starter destination that doesn’t ask its visitors to jump through too many hoops. The process for securing a tourist visa for India is simple, and in many cases the application can be processed online. You can easily find all info on the Indian Visa application form.
A Sensory Experience
When I first traveled to India as a seventeen year old, what struck me the most was that India was just so different, and my senses almost couldn’t keep up with all that there was to see, smell, taste and hear. The country has a smell of its own that for me was really hard to ignore or forget, and the cities are just flooded with bright colors, market stalls, fast moving tuk-tuks, rickshaws, motorcycles, cars, busses and even cows. There are people everywhere!
Food in India is just as striking and different as everything else. From teas to curries, flavors are strong and warm and spiced. Each region will have its own delicacies and flavors, but each dish is sure to tingle your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
As a tourist, your ears are wide open, constantly listening to voices of passerby’s, beggars, and stallholders hoping to sell their goods. Horns are honking, cowbells are rattling, music is playing… and through your ears your heart and brain are being filled by this priceless experience.
Even after a train ride into the countryside, your senses are still going wild with all there is to see, smell, hear and taste. The smallest villages are no exception to India’s spirituality, and they feature temples adorned with colorful plants and paint. Communities burn their trash just outside of their villages so a smokey smell seems to linger in most all areas, and the people will approach tourists openly and kindly.
Making a Difference
During my coming of age trip to India, I had the opportunity to work with a local United World College to help build schools in small rural villages, and I also helped collect and dispose of trash. These are just two examples, but there are countless charity programs that are looking for young volunteers to help with tasks big and small.
For young fresh minds hoping to see more of the world, India is an ideal travel destination. Straightforward visa processes, and the potential to make a difference in the lives of the locals are great incentives. And more importantly, I believe that the way in which India explodes the senses and opens the mind is something truly valuable.
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