"So just to make sure- you girls booked a $5,000 trip to the other side of the world based on a blog you sometimes read, right? ... okay, cool."
That's the question I lead with, addressing three stylish and sleep-deprived strangers, as we piled into the van that would take us to the hotel where five more girls from our group were settling in. After eight months of planning, thirty hours of travel, and only a few hours of sleep, we finally made it to India and were deliriously anxious to begin the trip of a lifetime. 13 women total, between the ages of 24 and 32, carved a huge, India-shaped piece out of our schedules, bank accounts, and lives, and made the journey from all over the world (technically 6 of us were from California, we just had to travel 12,000 miles to hang out) in hopes of satisfying our curiosity of a culture and country that had intrigued and inspired us, and maybe making a few new friends along the way.
The masterminds behind our dream trip were two inspirational ladies: Drea (vegan lifestyle blogger) and Lisa (adventurer, travel guide) who, like my best friend Erica and I, had over two decades of friendship under their belts. When Drea first announced the trip, I joined the throngs of roughly 700 followers who requested an itinerary that was emailed a few days later. Holi festival, Taj Mahal, cooking classes, yoga retreats, art workshops, shopping, marketplaces, mendhi, saris, colors, flavors, textiles... I poured over the details, my mind racing, excited for the possibilities, but after casually mentioning it to my husband (at that time it was potentially co-ed), he innocently shrugged and said there were simply other places he would rather see first. Fair enough. India was out... or so I thought. But a few weeks later, Erica came down to visit for a weekend. We walked to a nearby restaurant for breakfast and over omelettes, the topic of international travel came up.
"I think I am finally ready to take a trip this year", Erica stated, "I have my passport... I'm ready."
"Great! Where do you want to go?" I asked.
"Somewhere colorful, with a lot a culture... that speaks English."
"Um... I was thinking Switzerland, or Australia, Abu Dabbi... not India..."
"Let me just show you something..."
After heading back home and clicking through page after page of the colorful, curated details, Erica turns to me with the seriousness of a surgeon preparing to operate, "We have to go on this trip."
A few emails back and forth with Drea and Lisa, a couple of calls to our banks, and several hours searching airfare websites later... we were going to India. It was over eight long months away, practically an entire pregnancy, and in some ways just as nerve-wracking and exciting (at least as I imagine it to be), filled with paperwork, doctor appointments, to-do lists, and day dreams.
But we were going to India... and all our dreams were about to come true:
Thanks for Watching!
* I know the video goes by quickly... I wanted to cram 600 photos in 5 minutes, but more detailed posts and photos coming soon. Or you can find more details on Instagram: @hailsyeah