How does it feel to travel as a white woman in India
The question “How does it feel to travel as a white woman in India” is also a question I was asked quiet a lot in the past. Kind of an awkward question isn’t it? And as awkward as this question may sound, it is a legitimate question. Because it is different to traveling in Europe or in the US and even different like Thailand. Here is the answer to all of you asking me this.
Where ever I went
People in India are very friendly and mostly all are very talkative. Where ever I went to in India people are curious to know “who I am and where I am from”. I really love and adore this curiosity. Honestly this is something I ask myself a lot when I see tourists. I am too shy to ask them and probably also a part of my Swiss character/culture (we are a bit closed up and keep privacy) that does not let me ask. So I always leave wondering,…
And then Cat goes to India and I was asked so many questions everyday. I had so many interesting and fun conversations with strangers and also so many weird situations like I never experienced before. Something I learned pretty fast in India is: just go with the flow and with an open heart and mind. A question I ask myself often is: What comes next? With a bright smile of curiosity on my face.
So I would call my self a very down-to-earth person with a normal self-confidence and I don’t like too much attention on me very much. But there were places in India that people almost got crazy about me LOL. At the Mandore Garden in Jodhpur by example I could not move for more than 10 steps because they all wanted to take selfies or started to talk. I even was asked couple of times if I was a movie star. My answer was always the same: “No (with a laugh) I am just a simple girl traveling and in love with India.”
On my first trip to India I was in Dehradun for 1 week and took a day trip to Mussoorie and there I took a little break on a bench and just watched the people passing by and looked at a massive statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Suddenly someone put the arm around my shoulder, as you can imagine all of my alarm clocks went on and I was prepared to defend myself and hold my handbag. When I turned my head there was this lady telling me to look to her husband who was taking pictures of us. LOL. So some people just take pictures without even asking. Which was so very weird for me. So I asked her husband to take a picture of her and me as well. See the picture below 😉 She also got very shy.
When traveling to India there also will be a lot of people that are just staring at you. Which to me the staring was even weirder than people taking selfies (which always creates connections and conversations). Really there are people who just stop walking and just stare at you. In the beginning I thought there’s something wrong on me or I am inappropriately dressed or have food on me or whatever. As I already mentioned in India you should just go with the flow. So I decided to just let people stare and my Indian friends always make jokes when they realize how others stare.
The best is just to ignore the stares and move on and by the way it does not matter if men or women they stare equal.
Questions people ask
Also there are a lot of questions people ask and mainly the questions are the same and things everyone worldwide would ask a traveler. Like “Where are you from” “What’s your name” or “What is your job”.
In India you additional to these standard question will be asked: “Are you married” or “Where is your husband”. After people asked me this the 10th time I actually got a bit annoyed about this question, to be honest. But marrying is a very important part of the Indian culture, so I just accept it and sometimes I lied and told them he is working or something. I don’t like to explain everyone the same answer ;-).
Feeling safe in India
Something lots are scared of when it comes to traveling in India is safety. I was always feeling safe in India. No matter where I was going or what I was doing. There are certain rules you just have to follow and you will be safe. One of them is don’t show your cleavage and just dress appropriate and don’t look it to the eyes of men too long as this is considered as flirting. Be kind to all, but always be very clear of what you want or don’t want.
I will explain this in a following post because I think this chapter is just too big to be written in this post.
India is an amazing country and people are just as wonderful as the incredible culture is! I can’t wait to be there again.