I had the good fortune of attending the North India Highlights trip with G Adventures from Sept. 28-Oct 5 2014. Two of my desires were offered to me in one package:
1. To visit India
2. To experience a G Adventure tripI was joined by Sahara Abu-Ulbeh, G Adventure GPS (Global Purpose Specialist), our CEO (Chief Experience Officer),
Manu and 8 other Travel Agents from across Canada. This was a G – Comfort tour. Let me tell you all about it!
I arrived in Delhi at 5:30 a.m. on my own and to my great relief; my transfer was happily waiting for me with my name boldly displayed. It’s so important to have that first step happen without any glitches. I felt a bit nervous about arriving in Delhi on my own and my concerns melted away. The airport is brand new from 2010, when Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games and it’s clean and modern.
The trip itinerary included: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Sawarda. Our hotels were independent, family owned properties in the big cities and in Sawarda, a rural village, we stayed a night in a heritage home. You will be amazed at how much ground we covered in a relatively short time period! We certainly touched all the key Monuments, Mosques, Temples and cities. It was simply thrilling to walk through Old Delhi, the Jama Masjid Mosque, Gurduwara Sikh Temple, Taj Mahal, Baby Taj, Agra Fort, the ancient Abhaneri stepwells, the pink city of Jaipur, including the Amber Fort and City Palace and finally spending a night in a rural village Heritage home to take you back in time!
The hotels were lovely, clean, with good buffet breakfast included and friendly staff. Our 1 night stay in the rural village of Sawarda was a highlight. We watched Grandmother make the millet bread in the courtyard of their house, strolled the village with children laughing and smiling at us; eager to have their photos taken. Sat at a lakeside to watch the sunset while sipping a Kingfisher beer and had a tracker pulled wagon take us back to our heritage home for the night!
The G bus was manned by the driver and assistant and they were great! In the crazy driving patterns of all forms of vehicle: car, tuk tuk, rickshaws, motorcycles, bull carts, camel carts, big trucks and the world famous meandering cows… we felt safe and comfortable at all times. The air conditioning was heavenly and we had cold water onboard to keep us hydrated.
One of the best assets of G Adventures is their people, in the case of our local CEO, Manu; his leadership style was firmly planted in compassion. No request was too much and his desire to provide us with not only what we wanted but also needed was executed promptly. An example was, stopping the bus to buy a bunch of bananas for us from a street vendor or stopping at a roadside pharmacy for those that needed a little medicinal help! He was informative, caring, kind and funny too.
Speaking of funny; try attending the opening night of a Bollywood movie called “Bang Bang”! Laughing, cheering, crying babies are all part of the audience scene in the approximate 500 seat theatre. Manu coached us prior to the start to suspend all logic of how the movie flows! It was fantastic entertainment and provided many “belly laughs” out loud, of course!
Our GPS, Sahara asked us one question per day that we could answer out loud or internally. One of them was: What one adjective would you use to describe your experience in India on this trip? My answer leapt into my mind; it was….CONNECTION. Here’s why: INDIA CHANGES YOU. You witness humanity in all forms; joy in spite of what more privileged people like us “tourists” might see as hardship. Is joy, in the same room as poverty on oxymoron – NO – because poverty and joy are a perspective.
The “family structure” in Indian IS the social system, this could be viewed as both joyful and a hardship. As Manu stated, together we are stronger and “it just works”. G Adventures built the tour and found the incredible people to introduce us to the land, the people, temples, mosques, forts, cities and villages. More profoundly, they created a connection between people from opposite sides of the world. A connection through smiles, waving hands, thank yous and namastes!
Jaipur, the pink city
The social enterprise structure of G Adventures is displayed in their core values of: we LOVE changing people’s lives, LEAD with Service, EMBRACE the bizarre, CREATE happiness & community and DO the right thing!Here’s my personal G Adventure take away: I feel a stronger connection on a human level. I am grateful to the G Adventure promise of creating that opportunity. G Adventures is true to their core values; it was a remarkable, inspiring journey that will stay with me always! This is a truly unique adventure travel company. Have Walnut Grove introduce you to the G Adventure world and you’ll love them for it!
Me playing dress up!
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