What to eat and do in Jodhpur
Your mentors, Jenn and Elliot, share how they spent the pandemic stuck in India.
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Some of my favorite travel content
I read, watch, and listen to a lot of travel content. These are some of my favorites.
🏝 If you have transitioned to full-time remote work, like I have, you probably considered the fact that you can work almost anywhere with a good Internet connection. This post talks about some of the most affordable places to live in the Caribbean, so you can keep dreaming about a permanent “work-from-beach” scenario. This tweet thread is a guide for how to find long-term rentals when working remotely.
💰 I often travel for free thanks to the travel rewards I collect with my credit cards. Most of my friends and family listen to my stories, but then probably just blow it off as too-good-to-be-true. This guy doesn’t tell his friends the full truth about his free travel, because he thinks it’s the only way they’ll believe him.
🎤 I was interviewed for an episode of the We Travel There podcast this past week. I talked about hidden gems in Washington D.C. It’s not live yet, but there are a ton of other episodes to listen to in the meantime.
📺 And finally, a cool video from Yes Theory exploring old bunkers in Albania. Never knew these existed, and also kinda want to visit Albania now.
Your Travel Mentors: Jenn and Elliot
Jenn and Elliot spent 5 months in India, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, without a viable option to come home. This week’s post starts with a lockdown story.
Jenn and Elliot have a goal to travel for an entire year, and they head out to make that happen. First stop, Colombia.
At the midway point of their year of travel, they arrive in India. After seeing the Taj Mahal they head to Jodhpur, India, a city in the northwest of the country near the border with Pakistan.
Soon after arriving, India institutes a travel ban due to COVID-19. Jenn and Elliot have the option to immediately book a flight home, but decide that the price isn’t worth it. They realize they could live in India for an entire year for the cost of the tickets.
They decide to wait it out in their hotel.
The U.S. government is offering repatriation flights to its citizens stuck in foreign countries. Jenn and Elliot get on the list, but three days before they are scheduled to fly home, Elliot spikes a fever (he later tested negative for COVID) after routine testing by some Indian doctors (apparently doctors just go around doing random temperature checks in India?).
Boarding the flight is only allowed for those showing no symptoms of the virus, and the trip to the airport has many checkpoints where they could be tested and turned away.
They decide it’s too risky to get stuck en route to the airport, and skip their repatriation flight.
April - July 2020
They live in their hotel for the next four months, where they are welcomed into the family of the hotel owners.
They share meals with them and are offered help as they navigate everyday life during a pandemic in a foreign city where they are now the only remaining tourists.
Midway through this time, the city runs out of coffee and as daily coffee-drinkers, they are forced to quit cold turkey.
After 5 months in India, Jenn and Elliot finally book a flight home to the U.S.
They say goodbye to their adopted family in Jodhpur and head home, forever changed by the experience they had.
Lockdown in India was one of the best experiences of our entire lives, it changed us. We don’t look at life the same way.
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Today, Jenn and Elliot are back home in the United States, working on a different travel goal, America’s Great Loop.
America’s Great Loop is a water trail that winds its way around a large portion of the eastern United States. It’s a 6000+ mile journey that often takes an entire year and must be timed just right so the weather works in your favor.
When their year of travel was cut short, Jenn and Elliot decided to buy a boat, and head out on the loop. They did a practice run this year, and are headed back out in the spring to attempt the entire loop in one year.
Destination Spotlight: Jodhpur, India
After 5 months spent in Jodhpur during the pandemic, who better to spotlight a visit to the city. Its smaller than the “Big 3” of India (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore), and is close to the border with Pakistan. This results in a unique blend of Muslim and Hindu culture that is not seen in many other parts of the country.
There is a sense of hospitality that Indians provide. You are the ultimate person in the house when you are their guest.
What to do
Learn about the history of the city by visiting this massive fort. It’s located on one of the only hills in the area, so you get a great skyline view of the city of Jodhpur from above.
Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi
The Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi is an 18th century step well made from sandstone. Take some pictures of the intricate carvings on the well or just sit and watch the local kids jump off the well into the water.
What to eat
The process to cook this dish of lentils and baked wheat balls might make you sick to your stomach. But if you can ignore the cow dung coals that your meal is cooking over, you will have a mouth-watering feast of Jenn and Elliot’s favorite Indian cuisine. This spot in Jodhpur was their go-to.
This is the sweet to eat when visiting India. There’s a 90-year-old shop in Jodhpur where you have to go for these “Indian donuts”.
Chai comes from the Hindi word for tea, and some legends date the origin of this type of tea to 5000 years ago in India. No matter the accuracy of that story, if you want the best chai, served in clay cups that keep the drink at the perfect temperature, Bhati Tea Stall is the place to visit.
If you’re ordering street food, and you don’t see the food being cooked, don’t eat it. Elliot learned from experience that “Delhi belly” is nothing to mess around with.
When you travel to India, you’re probably going to want to see more than just Jodhpur. The country is HUGE. If you have the time, skip the flights and take a train from city to city. There’s so much to see as you zip through the Indian countryside. Also, the trains are cheap! Seat61, a site that provides THE BEST info on train travel in country’s all over the world, is a good place to start to learn about train travel in India.
Follow Jenn and Elliot
Jenn and Elliot are documenting their boat journey on Youtube. These two kill the video game, and you should subscribe, like I did. You won’t regret it, even if you aren’t really into the whole boat thing.
Life is not going to wait, but you should go. You can’t just wait for life to be right, because there’s no right moment. The best moment is now and you just have to go for it.
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