I think I am addicted to travel; travel blogging is my hobby, passion and career. I run a website called 40before30.com about my desire to visit and blog about 40 countries before turning 30, which recently won me the title of Travel Blogger of the Year at the British Travel Press Awards 2011.
I hope to inspire others to discover more of the world by documenting my experiences and lessons learned, and sharing my impressions and advice for worldwide destinations. You can find out what I am currently up to on twitter @jayneytravels or on Facebook.
When did you visit India?
For a few short wonderful weeks in November 2010. I was lucky enough to win return flights for me and a friend in a contest on twitter. I had been obsessed with India for quite a while and would enter any competition I came across about it, until eventually one paid off and I won!
Which regions did you go to?
I flew into Mumbai and stayed for a few days but most places were closed due to President Obama being in town. After that I flew to Goa and stayed in a beach hut on Palolem Beach. Then I flew further south to Kerala and visited the backwaters and Varkala Beach.
What is your favorite part of this trip?
All of it! The food, the people, the whole experience -it was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I loved the low key party vibe in Palolem, the gentle pace of life in the backwaters and the way this contrasted with the craziness of the cities like Mumbai and Cochin.
Tell us about your best culinary experience?
The place we stayed at in Palolem served the most delicious Goan prawn curry on their rooftop terrace overlooking the beach. They also served sumptuous banana and oats for breakfast and free afternoon chai and cake. I am addicted to chai so made sure I had a cup of the sweet brew almost every day in India.
What was your favorite souvenir from the trip?
I’m not sure if it is my favourite souvenir from the trip but certainly the strangest is a monkey made from a coconut shell. I was so impressed with the carver on the beach I snapped it up, but when I got home I was not quite sure the monkey belonged in my modern apartment!
Did you meet any interesting folks on this trip?
Many! Almost every day we made friends with a brilliant character. The managers at all the places we stayed at went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and their wives tended to over feed us. We also made friends with a couple on a train one day. They worked in a call centre in Bangalore and were making their way to cousins wedding in Kerala. They were getting off the train before us and as it was dark and we appeared unsure about when our stop was they phoned a friend who read out the number and names of the places we would pass before we got off. They also estimated a time when we should be getting off. Then finally on their way off they told the guard we may need help identifying our stop. Such kindness from strangers was so touching. I also had some comical moments with the beach sellers in Goa. One told me she would pray for me to find a husband and that she knew I would be back in India with him soon – we shall have to see about that!
How has this trip changed you as a person?
It has not changed my obsession with India; if anything it has deepened and made me want to return even more!
Any advice for those planning their dream trip to India?
Just do it! Research as much as you can before you go but feel free to ask for help if you need it out there too.