Lauren

Co-founder of Globetrooper.com, traveller, adventurer, analyst, chocoholic, bookworm, girl guide leader, optimist & digital nomad wannabe.

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ali_bc
ali_bc I have a similar adventure planned, or at least in the planning. Hopefully we can cross paths! I'm currently in Ontario, heading slowly west, will cross into the US in October. Will you be keeping your current location updated?
Lauren
Lauren Hey Ali! That's great, we'd love to meetup along the way. We probably won't head down into the US until Nov or something, but I'll update on here where we are and hopefully we can coordinate somewhere to cross paths.
4 years ago
Stephanie
Stephanie Take a break when you're in Austin, and watch a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse. You can enjoy beer and food while watching a movie in a great, laid-back atmosphere! And don't forget to eat Rudy's BBQ too!
Lauren
Lauren Thanks for the tips Stephanie! Maybe you can come chill out at Alamo's over a movie with us?
4 years ago
Stephanie
Stephanie Definitely! What time frame of your trip will you be in Austin?
4 years ago
Lauren
Lauren We have no idea at the moment, sorry! Will let you know when we do.
4 years ago
Bufillas

Bufillas Hi guys!! I just discovered Globetrooper and I love it!

I've taken a look at the places you intend to visit and I'd just like to comment on some places you might want to see.

Yosemite and Colorado Canyon: amazing wildlife and some incredible views I definitely wouldn't miss.

Route 66: One of those trips I'd like to do in my life & I hope I have time

Alaska & Canada Mountains: Definitely a MUST! It's a shame it may be too cold/snowy for a Road trip around november..

On the "down" side, I wouldn't spend much time in Las Vegas (expensive and artificial), LA or Montreal. All are big cities, too expensive and really not worth much time, having so many other places to visit.. but hey, thats my opinion! (haviing already been there)

Good luck to you guys and I hope you have a great time!!

Lauren
Lauren Hi Bufillas, thanks for advice. We've actually been living in Montreal for the past few months so most of the time on the road will be from here west and then down south, and back to Toronto for xmas. But nothing is set in stone. We don't even have a hippy van yet!! We'll hopefully be able to get a cheaper one in Oct when we get back from Peru. We definitely plan on visiting Yosemite and will do a bit of research on what we can do at Colorado Canyon too. Tx!
4 years ago
Lauren
Lauren Hi everyone, tour operator Intrepid Travel have just offered this group a 5 for 5 or a 10 for 10 discount on one of their Inca trail tours. Meaning if you can get a group of 5 together for the same dates, they'll give 5% off their normal tour cost. And if you can get 10 people, they'll give a 10% discount (plus you can customise the WHOLE trip with 10). They have quite a range of tours that include the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, so check out their website for the full list: http://www.intrepidtravel.com Post a comment here if you're interested and what dates suit you.
Lauren
Lauren For those seriously thinking of joining - Put Steve Blethyn's blog into your favourites: http://blethyn.blogspot.com/ He's the Expedition Medic and is writing about the health & medical related issues you should be aware of before (and during) the adventure next year.
Mike
Mike Thanks for the link Lauren... Steve, awesome source of information; great work... I might even focus on getting used to your special drink before Gobi 2011 is just around the corner. Oh I'm esepcially interested in your research into drinking water purification and that UV light tool you mentioned... Personally, I don't really want 'Gobi Gut' to round out the complete experience. Cheers.
4 years ago
Todd
Todd Ripley has a blog too: http://www.ripleydavenport.com/journal.html.I've been to the Gobi2011 site many times, but only just found the blog. It's a good read; really like the writing style too.
4 years ago
ripleydavenport
ripleydavenport I also have another blog from the Mongolia 2010 Expedition: http://www.mongolia2010.com/blog.html There's plenty more to read, in my style!
4 years ago
Jebbert

Jebbert If you wanna see the Northern lights pretty much keep going North. Dawson City, Yukon is a good place to go. Very small like less then 1000 people but still a city.
Sunny covered some cool stops in Alberta. Didn't even know about the creationist museum and I have lived in Alberta all my life.
Checking out a Edmonton, Calgary hockey game would in my opinion be exciting. They are the only 2 teams in Alberta and get intense. The parties after the games are always fun no matter which team your rooting for.
Waterton national park in Alberta is very beautiful and doesn't have the crowds Banff national park has.
If you wanna see such things as the worlds biggest teepee, egg, dinosaur, beaver, golf tee, putter, dragonfly, and many others. Or the starship enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta.

Lauren
Lauren Hey Jebbert, thanks for your tips. It would be awesome to check out an Edmonton vs Calgary hockey game, so that's definitely on the list. Waterton sounds beautiful and fun and I wonder if we can get to Dawson city before it gets too cold... we'll be leaving Toronto in early Oct now.
4 years ago
Jebbert
Jebbert Well by time you get to Dawson city it will be late in the year. So the days will be very short up there. It also averages -20C in December. But the Northern lights would be amazing with the extended darkness. The Alaska Highway going through Northern British Columbia is a very good drive, same with down the Pacific coast. Allot of wildlife and bears around there.
4 years ago
Lauren
Lauren Would love to drive the Alaskan Highway, however not sure how an old VW bus will go in prob late Oct by the time we get there... I think it's best if we try to avoid snow - we're used to dry, left sided driving in Aust!
4 years ago
Lauren
Lauren Hey Palmer, Sounds like an impressive musical line up you have there. I think I know of a few people who would join for specific festivals.
Trip | FestivalLIFE 2011
Travel Forum
4 years ago
PALMER
PALMER By all means, pass on their info to me, or get them to view this trip plan...your travel sounds sound amazing.
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Hi, Jess -- I did a similar trip (although in reverse, starting in India, then visiting Nepal, Tibet, and back into Nepal and India again at the end) for three months in October-December 2000. Great time of year in that part of the world. Sounds like you may be open to suggestions on where to go in India. It depends on what interests you, but I could send you a short list of favorites if you like. Happy to help with advice on dealing with altitude (especially in Nepal & Tibet) or other questions. It was such a memorable trip and well worth the effort. Go for it!!
Todd
Todd Hey TripChick, I think we'd all love to hear those favourites. A bunch of us will also be there a little later than Jess for the GCIRC http://globetrooper.com/the-great-circular-indian-railway-challenge-2011.
4 years ago
Tripchick

Tripchick Ok, Todd/Jess -- Let's see... this list won't be as short as I thought now that I'm thinking about it -- there's so much worth seeing in India. At the time I was really interested in Buddhist and Hindu cultures/religions and historical sights. So, I visited the big Buddhist sites including Lumbini in Nepal where the Buddha is said to have been born, Sarnath (India) where he gave his earliest lectures, Bodhgaya (India) where he sat beneath the bodhi tree and attained enlightenment, Rajgir (near Bodhgaya) where he gave more lectures, and Kushinagar (India) where he is thought to have died. Of all these places, the most magical and lively was BODHGAYA because I was there around the time of the anniversary of the Dalai Lama's ascension in November and lots of pilgrims were in town. Fascinating little town with great "vibes". I stayed in a monastery’s guesthouse and also did a 9-day meditation retreat at the Root Institute there. If you are into sampling the Buddhist culture, Bodhgaya is a great place to do so. It was a very rural and relaxing environment in 2000 (hope it still is!).

Now, a lot of folks hate CALCUTTA. I loved it! I found it a very lively city -- always something going on there and a great place to learn about Mother Theresa's work. Excellent for photography too. The Kali Temple there is worth a look. Yes, Calcutta is filthy... just like almost every other city in India, but there is a warmth and friendliness that can't be beat. Not sure why I enjoyed it so, but perhaps the Salvation Army hostel where I stayed played a role in making me feel extremely welcome. You'll definitely get a taste of the Victorian era and what India was like as a British colony years ago.

DARJEELING is worth the effort of getting to... high up in the hills in eastern India. And if you enjoy tea, it's a great opportunity to sample and learn about all the varieties available. However, it does get cold in November/December, so pack extra layers. The views of Kangchenjunga (third highest mountain in the world) are brilliant at sunrise!

The temples at KHAJURAHO are gorgeously elaborate... although a bit X-rated as I recall. But you'll have fun wandering among them.

In Rajasthan, JAIPUR is a fabulous district to visit as is UDAIPUR where I treated myself to a couple unforgettable nights at the Lake Palace Hotel in the middle of the lake (the Bond movie, Octopussy, was filmed there) and toured the City Palace on shore. In Jaipur, the Amber Fort was wonderful and you can ride an elephant up the ramparts to the fortress entrance. But again beware of monkeys who will steal your possessions the moment you set them down and turn your back.

AJANTA and ELLORA have some amazing caves and Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain sculptures and paintings with great historic significance. I believe they are both UNESCO world heritage sites. Lots of fun to explore and photograph!

And if you visit Mumbai, you may be able to take a boat out to Elephanta Island which has some nice temples and LOTS of monkeys (watch your bag/lunch)!

It's true that they often call VARANASI "Very Nasty" due to the filth (even the butterflies are black!), but somehow you seem to forget about it once you are floating on the Ganges while people bathe and worship in the water at dawn. The Ganges at sunrise is an other-worldly experience. The colorful saris, meditating sadhus (holy men), and cremation sites along the shores make for some truly unique observations. On the same morning, I saw a rare river dolphin swimming and a dead body in the river.

Of course, the TAJ MAHAL (ACRA) is not to be missed... and you might hit it during Diwali (Indian holiday) so there may be some celebratory throngs of Indians... which makes for a fun cultural experience. Give yourself at least a couple hours to fully explore this site.

I stopped at many other towns en route through India, but never made it to the far north or south. So, if I can ever go back, I'll definitely visit Dharamsala in the north and Madras and Goa in the south.

I know this was supposed to be a "short list" of favorite spots to visit in India, but once I got started, the memories just came rushing back. It's hard to explain, but as difficult as India can be for Westerners to stomach at times, there is something addicting about the country. It gets in your blood and you cannot resist it. Sure, avoiding touts and beggars almost everywhere you go can be tiresome, and at the end of the day you may find yourself a bit exhausted from it all, but still you find yourself leaping out of bed the next morning ready to experience and explore all that India has to offer because it's just so unbelievably interesting. I think I lasted on pure adrenalin for the months I was there. It was a shot in the arm for me and the lessons in compassion are, well... endless.

4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Ouch... now I see how hard it is to read my last post without paragraphs (which I had inserted, but they did not show up). Ah, well. Sorry about that, everyone.
4 years ago
Todd
Todd Leave it with me Tripchick, we'll try to get those paragraphs working. I'll fix first then read :)
4 years ago
Lauren
Lauren Thanks for all the info Tripchick! I definitely want to go to Bodhgaya and Udaipur now. And everywhere else as well but we may be limited by time :(
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Cool -- thank you, Todd! That's MUCH better. : >
4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice Thanks so much for sharing that tripchick, will help ALOT as Im working out which route to take and how long it will take me and where the best places are to see....loving the sound of Lake Palace Hotel too :P I'm just going to google that, I think after weeks of rations that would be truely devine haha. Thanks heapps!!!
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick No problem, Jess. You are very welcome.
4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice Hey! Just one thing, I notice you didn't go to Dharamsala, I am thinking of going to a teaching by the Dali Lama there for the experience, can you suggest/reccomemned anything else near the region? thanks!
4 years ago
Tripchick

Tripchick Hi again, Jess. That's right -- I didn't go to northern India. So, I didn't investigate that area. But I heard from other travelers a little about Ladakh and Leh in that general northern region. That's near the Himalayan region, so the mountains there may be a draw for hiking, natural beauty, etc., but I don't know what other sights there are to see there. Sorry I can't be of more help on that.

The Dalai Lama was teaching in Bodhgaya when I was there because it was the 50th anniversary of his ascension to power as the 14th Dalai Lama. I've been to a few of his teachings and talks since then also. The teachings can be... how shall I say it... rather esoteric. But I'm not a very good student of Buddhism -- and although I have much appreciation and interest in that religion/philosophy, I struggle with understanding many aspects of it. However, just seeing/hearing His Holiness is a wonderful and memorable experience in and of itself I think, and worthwhile for its own sake.

I've stayed in contact with the guide I used in India over the years and she may be able to provide more ideas about what to see near Dharamsala. I remember her saying that she had spent some time in northern India. So, I'll send her an e-mail and I'll let you know what she recommends. She usually responds to e-mails pretty quickly, so it should not take long to hear back from her.

4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice Thanks for the response! For some of the joureny I will be travelling alone, you say you had a guide, how did you go bout that and was it pricey? Reason I ask is it would be good to have someone that speaks the language in some of the parts Im going to, but I kinda wanted to steer clear of the big touristy groups they have advertised. That would be great if you could email her aswell. Thank you :)
4 years ago
Tripchick

Tripchick Jess -- I only had a regular guide for the first 20 days of a tour I did with about 11 other travelers and that's the female guide, Parveen, I mentioned to you. The rest of my 3 months in India, Nepal, and Tibet I was on my own and just met other travelers along the way. The only exception was the small group (5 of us including guide) I organized in advance for the Tibet 10-day trip which had to be done through a tour company (entering Tibet from Kathmandu). We went through Tibet with a company based in Kathmandu. But it is totally possible to travel on your own in India and Nepal. I found it easy to find local "freelancing" guides when I showed up at some of the sites as well. In fact, some were working on higher university degrees and guiding tourists through the archeological/historical sites helped supplement their incomes.

Anyway, I e-mailed Parveen and she just replied: "For your friend depending upon her length of stay she could begin with the visit to Amritsar to see the Golden Temple and the holiest of Sikh shrines, proceed to Dharamsala to attend Dalai Lama's discourse and then the wealth of India Himalayas can be explored. Ladakh though quite spectacular in autumn with changing colors and first snows may be a little cold and some of the roads were badly damaged in this years floods. Dharamsala can be combined with a vist to the lesser explored parts of Himachal such as Thirtan Valley, colonial Shimla and remote Kinnaur. One factor to note is that Delhi is hosting the Common Wealth Games and a lot of domestic tourists will head to the hills in October, so for hotel accommodations, you need to decide fast."

Parveen offered to work out an itinerary of the off-beat Himalayan destinations for you, if you like, but no pressure there. She's a nice lady and gets lots of business from tour operators including SITA (the group I went with initially). And yes, SITA was rather pricey, but their tour covered a lot of ground and the sites I wanted to visit across central India including the Rajasthan so I went for it. But I think you have the answer to your main question about other sights to visit in northern India around Dharamsala. So, I hope this is useful.

4 years ago
Lauren
Lauren Hey, could you give a bit more detail? What you plan on doing in Miami, where you're coming from - do you want to split transport costs or accommodation costs? 2-4k is quite a bit of money for only 6 days... Tx!
Trip | Trip to Miami 2010
Travel Forum
4 years ago
ab25db
ab25db I mainly posted to get familiar with the website. We are going to miami in sept but it probably doesn't fall into the adventurous type of trip this site caters to. :)
4 years ago
Todd
Todd Hi ab, any trips are allowed if you're looking for travel partners. Also, we just posted on our blog about what we think the word 'adventurous' means. Check it out: http://globetrooper.com/notes/adventure-is-not-a-four-letter-word/
4 years ago
Bud
Bud Jess, Would you mind telling me how much is the tour w/ Snowlion? I'm planning to do the same trip around the same time: Tibet then Nepal. I can definitely join you for Tibet and Nepal, but not sure for India. I was thinking of going to Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam. -Bud
Lauren
Lauren Hey Bud, here's a link to some of the Snowlion pricing but it doesn't actually give you a final figure which is a bit irritating: http://snowliontours.com/index.php/tibet/ info/prices_booking
4 years ago
Bud
Bud Thanks, Lauren. It is irritating and it's king of hard to get in touch w/ them too sometimes.
4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice It depends on how many ppl are arranged to go on the same tour - but for say 5 ppl - its roughly $700 with train tickets to Lhasa and tibet permits.
4 years ago
Bud
Bud Jess, I may have another person going with me. Is your group already full or would you be interested in having 2 more ppl? I got in touch w/ SL and I'm trying to get at least 2 more ppl to bring down the cost.
4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice I will email SL and see what they think, I think we could hire a van instead of a 4WD to fit others in.
4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice additional ppl will be fine - up to 3 more ppl max though - let me know if your still interested :)
4 years ago
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Lauren

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