This is my monthly summary post with high points of the month, not-so-high-points and what’s next for Soul Travel Blog.
Ah India! You’re always so hard to leave. Even though each trip here is usually a bump when it comes to landing in chaotic Delhi – adjusting to the hustle and bustle, smells and sounds. This time, though it was pretty peaceful. Instead of staying in central Delhi, I found a great hostel in South Delhi: the leafy, green part of the city. It was just perfect for adjusting for a couple of days and catching up after limited wifi in Iran.
From Delhi I returned to disconnected mode and found beauty in the mountains, monasteries and valleys of Ladakh. Visiting the Indian Himalayas was a stark reminder of the contrasts in the sub-continent. From the Kashmiri influence in Leh, to the Tibetan prayer flags and Buddhist stupas, to the beautiful faces of the Ladakhi people, Ladakh really is a world apart from the rest of India. I trekked for 3 days in the Sham Valley after I’d acclimatised to the altitude (well, almost…) before going on to discover the beauty of Nubra and some of the responsible travel options on offer there.
From Ladakh I retreated down to the west of India through Punjab and to Gujarat, to visit Ahmedabad and the Kutch region of western Gujarat. Kutch is well known for its salt desert (the Rann of Kutch) along with its rich tribal traditions from villages in the Thar Desert. I spent days exploring with Responsible Travel Award-winning Kutch Adventures and discovering local life there.
Where I’ve been in August.
- Amritsar, Punjab, India – visiting the Golden Temple and experiencing the very strange and poignant border ceremony at Wagah
- Gujarat, India – Exploring the desert region of Kutch, it’s villages and handicraft traditions
- Mumbai, India – for an all too short pitstop in my favourite India before leaving India.
It’s hard to pick just one! Probably gazing over the twin mountain ranges of Ladakh and the Karakoram from Nubra Valley as the sun slipped behind them.
Travelling in India during monsoon season is not always the most enjoyable – there’s a reason why November – March is high season, and not many visitors come in July/August. Most of the time the temperatures and rains were bearable: except in Amritsar, Punjab. I can safely say I’ve never sweated so much in my life (humidity). Who knew you could sweat from your wrists?! 😀
August Sustainable Travel Rating.
Time for something new! I’ve decided to critically look at the sustainability / responsibility of my travel each month and share it with you. The point being two-fold: 1) it’s really hard to be perfect, but that matters less perhaps than making positive changes, trying and being aware 2) I feel a responsibility to do so, given that the focus of this blog is… Responsible Travel! If I can’t set some kind of example in my own efforts, what right do I have to write about it. So here goes…
Brownie Points: I travelled directly from Iran to India (albeit in a plane) thereby cutting down on miles to/from UK in between. For my travels throughout Iran and India I was testing different water purification products (such as a pocket sized UV Steripen – more on that to come) in combination with refillable bottles (love my Klean Canteen!) so I managed to avoid buying bottled water 95% of the time! Last but not least my travel was mainly local: supporting local restaurants and businesses vs chains. I stayed in locally owned guesthouses and homestays for most of my trip. And as usual I enjoyed a good few train journeys and buses around India!
Not so Great: This time, because of the distances to be covered within India and time allowed, I took 3 domestic flights (eek). There’s no train to Leh (Ladakh) so the only option is to fly or by road. Not ideal. Next time I’ll plan a day or two longer for travel so I can take the slower way and avoid flying. Our trip around Iran also involved quite a bit of time in a private bus – a bit less efficient than public transport.
In summary: My carbon footprint is likely higher than I would like it to be due to the flying. So I’m giving myself a 7/10 – room to improve. What do you think? 🙂
August Blog Posts.
Read all about Iran this month on the blog!
- Half the World: The other half of Isfahan, Iran
- Staying in a Silk Road Caravanserai
- How to Travel to Iran for Americans, Brits & Canadians
- Why Travel to Iran?!
Other July Posts.
You can read more in these posts on other sites from the last month:
- A Photo Tour of Iran’s Mosques (G Adventures Blog)
- How Travel Bloggers can create Positive Impact (The Mindful Mermaid Travel Blog)
Instagram Post of the Month.
Ah Isfahan… I guess it’s not only me that found you amazing!
In travel, there are moments we have to stop and pinch ourselves, to ask “is this real?” “Am i really here”? That’s exactly how I felt exploring the Shah Mosque in #isfahan Just as I thought it couldn’t get any better I’d turn a corner and see even more beautiful domes, mosaics and tiling. Where’s the last place you had to pinch yourself on your travels? With @gadventures #soultravelblog #gadv
After Iran and India I’m back in London, UK now for a few weeks, catching up on many blog posts – stay tuned for all my India posts to come! I’m not planning blog related travel in September, although since I will be in Amsterdam clearing out my dreaded storage unit, I may have to try my hand at fishing for plastic in Amsterdam’s canals! I’ll keep you posted… 🙂
Thank You for Reading!
As you know, without you I wouldn’t be here writing this. Every comment, like, share and piece of feedback matters to me and I appreciate it. Thank you!