Varanasi is the epitome of India many people think of before they touch the soil: it is dirty, crowded, loud, noisy and crazy. When I arrived from an overnight train from Khajuraho, the tuktuk drivers proceeded to harass my friends and I; when we finally got a good deal on a pair of tuktuks (it took a lot of haggling), we passed through narrow streets littered with trash, which was also where skinny cows seemed to loiter around.
It is long known that hostels are the best type of accommodation around to meet fellow travellers if you’re going solo. They’re inexpensive, located in the major backpacking spots in India, and you’re guaranteed a different experience in each location. Though not as cheap as guesthouses, the friendly atmosphere often created by social spaces and lounges, and probability of finding other solo travellers make it worth the extra rupee.
2015 has been a whirlwind of travel adventures. Dressed in clothes from the night before, I cried my way to London before my EuroStar journey to Paris; I tried my hand at veganism after my first solo travel to South Africa; I was mugged during a long weekend in London; I hiked the Black Forest; and I fell in love with the Florentine art scene.
I was very fortunate to be able to travel extensively this year.Despite having had to study full-time for the majority of the year, I was able to organise myself into a few trips in and out of the country.