2 weeks of planning + 2 days of packing = 1 impromptu trip to India.
Folks think I’m crazy when I tell them about the time I flew to India for a wedding and returned to the U.S. four days later. In fact, their reaction to my trip left me feeling a bit self-conscious and a little ashamed of my impulsiveness. Sure, I am reaping the financial ramifications of the amount of money dished out for the airfare and other miscellaneous expenses, but it was worth it. So, no more shying away from discussing my trip. Here’s how I planned an Impromptu trip to India.
It all started in February 2011 when a friend and former classmate from graduate school informed me that she just got engaged to a wonderful man and was a planning to have the wedding in May 2011 in her hometown of Chennai, India. She invited me and two of our mutual friends as well and thought it would be nice if we had a mini-reunion. I was excited for her and wanted to go, but realistically speaking, I didn’t think it would be feasible for the following reasons (a) I had only been working at my job at the time for seven and had not accrued enough vacation days (b) My bank account was nowhere ready for a big trip to India (c) My immediate family was not in the most ideal situation and my parents were already on pins and needles with my brother traveling the world with a program called Semester at Sea.bubb
But on the other hand, this was a lifetime event. My dear friend was holding an Indian wedding in her home country and that would never happen again. I had to be there.
My two friends who were also invited decided to go and immediately started arranging details, purchasing flights, and choosing articles of clothing that were appropriate for Chennai’s humidity in May. They were ready to go by late March, but I was still undecided.
My favorite saying is “Where there is a will, there is a way.” And nothing is is more representative of this statement than what it took for me to get to India.
From late February to mid-April, I cut back on my expenses by bringing my lunch to work, turning off lights in rooms I was not using, doing my hair at home instead of paying beautician to style it. These were little changes to my daily routine, but it made a HUGE impact on my bank account.
For six weeks I struggled with my decision. Some days I’d say, “Yes! I’m going.” while other days I’d say no I can’t because of my brother… my job… my family…
I made my final decision to go one week before my departure. I completed my visa application 10 days before my departure and purchased my flight ticket five days before my departure. In my excitement (and nervousness), I purchased the wrong ticket and had to undergo a refund process, delaying the purchase of my flight. I re-purchased the ticket three days before my date of departure. I told only a select group of people of my pending travel plans. I didn’t want ANYONE to deter me from going (and given the fact that there was a lot going on in my life at the time, I knew it was bound to happen).
I arrived in Chennai on Friday night, attended pre-wedding activities on Saturday, enjoyed the ceremony on Sunday, rested on Monday, went to the beach on Tuesday and headed back to the airport for my 4am flight at 1am Wednesday morning.
It was the kind of trip that left my head spinning and my body exhausted, but all in all, it was a great trip. If I could do it all over again, I would: but this time, I would not make the following mistakes:
- Tell too many people about what I was doing. (People have the best intentions but they can often confuse you and distract you from hearing your own inner voice.)
- I would have purchased the ticket sooner so that I would have had more time in-country. Cause put simply, four days is not enough to explore an incredible country like India.
- I would not eat Delta’s flight food. Seriously, returning to the Stateside with a stomach infection was not fun.