Friends from Kathmandu to Delhi
We always know that our travels are going to leave us with lasting memories, but as journalist Brenda McCormick discovered, our adventures can also leave us with lifelong new friends…
“I was heading to Australia and wanted to travel a little on the way there. My brother had been to Kathmandu and always spoke highly of the experience, so my friend Leanne and I decided to join Intrepid’s Kathmandu to Delhi tour as it also offered us the opportunity to see the Taj Mahal, which remains one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
I’d never been on a small group tour before so it was a little daunting, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. From the first day, I got on well with most of the group and almost instantly friendships were formed. Leanne and I continued to travel for a few weeks after the trip and one of the Intrepid group joined us for a while.
The trip itself was exhilarating, tiring, challenging and amazing. I never thought I’d trek through Nepalese jungle, climb hundreds of steps to gaze at giant Buddha eyes, fly past the summit of Everest in a tiny plane, ride on the back of an elephant, sail down the Ganges on a raft or stand in awe under the marble pillars of the Taj Mahal. Undoubtedly, while the journey was fantastic, the group I travelled with made it the experience it was. We had so much fun, whether we were squished into Delhi tuk-tuks, on crowded sweaty trains or sending wishes afloat on the Ganges in a candle-lit flower ceremony at dusk.
It felt like we truly experienced the destinations, thanks to the unobtrusive and essential guidance and ‘protection’ of our Intrepid guide. We were out among the locals, right in the heart of things, but never had to worry about where we were going or how we’d get there. Small group travel is the perfect compromise – we were neither confused travellers trying to navigate an unfamiliar language and culture, nor cossetted tourists being swept on an air-conditioned bus from one generic hotel to another.
I stayed in touch with almost all of the group, and six years on I am still in contact with eight of the group and I’m happy to call them very good friends. There have been lots of reunions: in London, Sydney, the United States, the Netherlands – where seven of us met up a few years ago – and five of our group had a five-year reunion in Dublin.
I had a brilliant experience and I have always recommended this form of travel to people who ask. Yes, you might get lumbered with people you are not fussed about seeing again, but you might also get as lucky as I did!”
Photo: Intrepid group by Brenda McCormick.