Blogs, Miami Globe Trotter

Miami Globe Trotter: ‘I went to India, but didn’t see the Taj Mahal’

Hiking trails in Munnar (Kerala, India) maze through lush green tea plantations.

Hiking trails in Munnar (Kerala, India) are like a maze through lush green tea plantations. Jamie Servidio // Contributing Photographer

I went to India, but didn’t see the Taj Mahal. Should I be upset?

At first, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be traveling to see the Taj Mahal during my time in India. People travel from all over the world to stand in awe before this particular manmade structure. To go or not to go – that, quite literally, was the question.

After weighing my options, I came to the conclusion that staying in southern India was the more practical. The MV Explorer (our ship) ported in Cochin, so if I wanted to see the Taj, I would have to take a flight to Agra. I spent so much time traveling in other ports that I decided it was time to stay put and save the money.

Most will argue that Semester at Sea is a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity, so seeing the Taj Mahal is an absolute must. I would argue a different method of travel.

Instead, I went to Munnar and spent three days hiking and camping through the tea plantations. Before Semester at Sea, I didn’t even know Munnar existed. It certainly does not attract the same crowd as the Taj Mahal, and for that, I was thankful.

For those three days, I retreated to nature, syncing my breath to the fresh, crisp air. Each morning I woke up around 5:30 a.m. to catch the sunrise. We hiked in the darkness to a higher altitude from our campground until we were above the clouds.

I sat silently, surrounded by only the sounds of nature.

We hiked all day through the lush greenery and ended the day by camping under a sky of seemingly endless stars. Each day was a rich 24 hours. I found myself eager to wake up and start the cycle all over again.

While admiring my surroundings, I truly realized where I was. I was in India surrounded by the most breathtaking natural environment I have ever experienced.

I was in India, but I was not at the Taj Mahal.

So often on this trip I’ve felt obligated to turn my travels into a checklist: the places I’ve gone, the sights I’ve seen, the Instagrams I’ve posted. When travel turns into a matter of fulfilling expectations, the culture gets lost. You saw a country, but did you really experience it?

I’ve learned it is nearly impossible to experience an entire country in six days, so why rush it? Taking time to really explore a small part of a country – in my case, India – is a much more fulfilling method of travel.

And then again, who says I’ll never be back in India? Until next time!

March 18, 2015

Reporters

Jamie Servidio


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami coach Mark Richt apparently is a fan of President Teddy Roosevelt’s — or at leas ...

If there was one freshman the Miami Hurricanes knew would have to help entering the season, Brevin J ...

Not only has Gerald Willis been one of the best stories of the Miami Hurricanes’ season, he has also ...

The Miami Hurricanes started the season No. 8 nationally in both major polls. Now, they’re nowhere t ...

With a bye week on the horizon, the meager University of Miami offense has nearly two weeks to attem ...

Fareed Zakaria, a CNN host, journalist and author, tells UM students that global pressures are makin ...

The program, in which UM students mentor high school students, aims to get first generation students ...

Dr. Ralph Sacco, a top neurologist and researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medici ...

U.S. Congresswoman and Chairman Emerita of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ileana Ros-Lehtine ...

Nearly 400 students participate in the National Gandhi Day of Service, the largest annual service da ...

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball team improved to 10-5, 6-2 in the ACC, with a 3-0 sweep of Boston Co ...

The Miami women's tennis team closed the Bedford Cup with a perfect day, winning each match in ...

"In The Pool" is a series highlighting the University of Miami swimming & diving stude ...

Playing in front of a boisterous home crowd, the University of Miami soccer team earned a, 1-1, draw ...

The Hurricanes fell in their ACC road opener to the Virginia Cavaliers. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.