Since this is my first backpacking trip, I'm learning as I go. This style of travel is actually much more condusive to my personality, as I hate to plan. I do not know from day to day, or hour to hour what I would like to be doing at any given moment. Some call me flakey. I prefer the term 'spontaneous'. At the very least, traveling alone makes me accountable to no one which is kind of nice. Case in point, my beautifully detailed itinerary is now in my waste bin and I am currently staying in a town I didn't know existed till last week. I find myself relying on word of mouth rather than my guidebook and it's turned out swimmingly so far.
It's easy to take it day to day india. Transportation reservaions generally require a day or two of notice, but hotels can easily be found on the fly. When I showed up in McLeod Ganj at 7am yesterday after a brain-jarring 15-hour bus ride, I was easy pickin's for the 'hotelier' who was stalking the bus depot looking for customers. His cottage was a bit of a walk, but the room is huge, the view is outstanding, there is a hot shower, and the price is right at $4 a night.
I made friends on the bus with a Dutch med student. We went to a small theatre last night to see Darjeeling Limited, which was a hoot to watch in India (and made me miss Lauren and John!). Tonight were going to see a film about the life of the dalai lama.
The Tibetan population in McLeod Ganj definitely gives it a different feeling than the rest of India. It feels like a village in the Swiss alps, with quanit shps and cafes and brisk mountain air. It would be great to have some family here with me as Christmas is around the corner!