The issues that go along with spending upwards of $75,000 on a vacation is not something most travelers ever have to consider. But for our 18 month trip around the world, we were faced with some new challenges for this same reason.
While the argument for how much a journey like this should cost is best served for other articles, one of the biggest struggles long-term travelers have to face are the bank fees that are associated with such a large amount of spending.
After many years of paying comically high fees without any other recourse, banks are finally starting to understand the fact that people do not want to pay foreign transaction fees to access their money. We thought we found a great policy with our bank, PNC, but the honeymoon was soon over just 6 months into our journey as the terms were recently changed back to the archaic fee structure we were trying to get away from.
Ah, India. The only country of this trip that Angie was visibly unsettled over visiting (but still excited at the same time).
Traveling to a country of over 1 billion people often brings these mixed emotions in many travelers. It is not shocking when you think about it, as with that many people there are so many stimuli to the senses that visiting can often be overwhelming until you get a detailed understanding of the place.
For our first city in the country after crossing from Nepal to India, Varanasi gave us a welcome we would never forget as it offered a sensory overload we haven't seen in a while. But while this change was incredibly different from our previous surroundings, the most shocking part was not entirely due to this new environment, but also that international tourism did not seem to be present when we were there.
To have your concept of a slow travel day be completely redefined, take a vacation to Nepal. Where traveling a 200 km distance at home would take a little under 2 hours, that same distance between Kathmandu and Pokhara will take around 7. No matter the route, a long and bumpy ride is in your future when traveling in the country, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
So when the time came for us to depart Nepal for neighboring India, we got very excited. Not so much for all the things worth seeing in India, those go without saying, but rather due to the fact that we can get back to using trains as our primary mode of transit. They are just as slow as anything else, but being able to walk around or stretch out on a bed can make a considerable difference during a travel day that seems like it will never end.
But before we could get back to our favorite mode of travel, we had one large hurdle to cross. One long day that I have always considered to be my most dreaded of this 18-month trip: traveling from Chitwan National Park, Nepal to Varanasi, India.
That day had arrived, and we were mentally prepared for a long and tiring journey going to a city that is, quite frankly, not that far away.