India Part I of ∞ – Books

I am one of those girls that over-think and over-plan my trips, not itineraries as such but I want to know exactly I walk out of the train station. Growing up with the internet becoming mainstream; I used to street view my journey between places in London so I know I wouldn’t get lost. Not fool-proof. With the thousands of books published on all topics India- the new social-networked generation relies on the fast facts of the internet instead of the text-filed books at the local library. I know I’m guilty!

But it was a funny thing the other night, discovering that one of my baby sisters travels exactly the same way. We like spontaneity, but while still being relatively familiar with what’s going on. We have not yet travelled together, but I think it would be a wicked time. A rookie backpacker, and a wannabe nomad- what could India do?

And yet, we both agreed that India should be a life-changing experience for both of us, but how can you plan for India? I get the impression that it is a country that pulls and pushes you which ever way it wants, not always down the road you were expecting, literally.

My first inspiration for India was in Aaron Smith’s Shanti Bloody Shanti. I had, to that point, not read anything travelogue-y about India and it was certainly a wicked choice to start with. After travelling through Southeast Asia a few years ago however, it tore my emotions for Asia. I enjoyed the experience but it was a quick highlights-of trip. We said for most of the trip, we’d be back…we’ll see it next time. We were on a tight time frame and had to keep ourselves motivated. I feel with India, being much much larger, we would need to settle on not seeing all of it. But what we do see, enjoy. And appreciate. In Smith’s book, he talks about going to India to discover himself again. I got the impression that this wasn’t an isolated case- India always leaves its impression on travellers and usually for the good.

The only other book that I have looked at for India, is the LP guide. And although they are all formatted to be super easy to use (which they are!), all of them also read like a mirrored, backwards map until you actually have first hand experience in that country. I find that has happened with all the guides I have so far read- once I’m there it makes sense 🙂 Ironically the two Rough Guides that I have (Switzerland, Scotland) read like a story book (As you walk through the main square…) and I found are rather uninspiring to read on the road. It could just be the format, but the Wheelers definitely found a niche.

Does anyone have any suggestions for good travel books for India? I love a good read, and truly appreciate an exciting travelogue 🙂