My husband and I have done quite a bit of foreign travel on our own. We have always enjoyed the spontaneity and freedom that come with arriving in a new country and going with the flow. To visit India, however, we felt a group tour with experienced travelers was the way to go and see this interesting place for the first time.
Since we recently sold our business and retired, we were up for anything. A trip that kept our interests in mind and was also pre-planned for us, seemed like a great fit. As it turned out, our experience in India was truly incredible. Not only was the fact that it was all planned out for us a great convenience (time-saver and stress-saver), but being a part of authentic experiences – cooking with families in their homes, being welcomed in to a small village home with minimal electricity, talking to children in a special community school for kids who would otherwise be on the streets, seeing the preparations and then celebrating multiple holidays there – was the best way to transition in to a new phase of our lives.
India in itself is very chaotic, but with the accommodations and knowledgeable guides we both felt very safe. We love the fact that we spent time with locals in their homes, learning about their culture by cooking and celebrating their festivals with them. Had we tried to plan the trip ourselves, I don’t think this would have been possible.
The itinerary kept us busy and it offered a variety of activities and experiences, also allowing downtime, something we all needed at different times in our travel. The trip was an awesome eye-opening experience, we would highly recommend it.Dana and Dino Giovis
If you want to travel to India, immerse yourself in the culture and marvel at the country, temples and religious diversity, Sandy Kingsley is your girl and Inspired Exploration Travel is your company. From the early planning stages, to travel arrangements, to guiding a large group through India, Sandy does it all. She has a consuming interest in the country and its history and has traveled India extensively as a tourist, trekker and guide. Her knowledge of India enables her to create and plan comprehensive travel itineraries. Sandy is a certified Yoga instructor andis in tune with the Indian Yoga community at large along with an interest in the Hindu religion.
Her Yoga background compliments the diverse spiritual aspects that are prevalent as one travels through India and she willingly provides needed insight for the traveler new to India. My partner and I traveled with a group of 14 guided by Sandy and her Indian counterpart, Ashish Kumar on my first trip to India. We flew in and out of New Delhi and explored the northern mountainous part of the country with an emphasis on the Indian Yoga experience. The travelers began receiving preliminary trip information via email seven months prior to departure and we had four scheduled group meetings. Sandy was very attentive to individual requirements including flight arrangements and personal concerns. We were updated weekly via email as the departure date neared. We found the trip itinerary very comprehensive with something for everybody. We visited Ashrams, monasteries, temples, important festivals and of course the Taj Mahal.
The planned daily schedule was quite full but optional… we could opt out and shop, raft the Ganges or hang in our hotel. We visited a high land farm for chai tea and biscuits in the foothills of the Himalaya, near Shimla which included a vigorous hike; we attended a cooking class in typical Indian city home in Rishikesh. Sandy proved to be a very flexible and caring leader. The group dynamics were fabulous… 14 individuals in a strange country for two weeks… think about it. We know Sandy’s leadership skills contributed to that. If we explore India again, it will be with Sandy Kingsley.Bill Talley
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to join you on this wonderful journey. You managed to bring together a diverse group of people, and keep us all motivated and moving in the same direction, while satisfying our individual needs and interests.
For me the journey was a bit of a spiritual quest, as I sought reflection on some of the turns my life has taken. Our time together included many visits to mandirs, temples, and other holy sites. These visits provided the perfect backdrop for my quest: to see oneself framed in the context of another culture.
Among the many highlights was a visit to Gandhi Smrti, where we walked in that humble giant’s final footsteps. My gratitude for this is immeasurable, beyond words. Then to perform kora around the Dalai Lama’s temple and residence was an unexpected treat. Finally, to experience the splendor of the Aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges capped off our exceptional time together. This was the perfect excursion, for which I thank you from the bottom of my heart.Stephan
Thank you for organizing, planning and executing such a beautiful trip. What a trip of a lifetime with memories and friends to match! Please know I am filled with gratitude of your work and vision. Truly amazing!
Namaste, Peace and Thanks!Ann
I really can’t express accurately what the trip meant for me and how it impacted me. Every time I try to sit down to write about it I end up getting teary and emotional. It felt like a long-needed spiritual stretch and awakening.
This being my first trip out of the country, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Admittedly, I was winging it. I packed lightly and headed to the airport. And that was all the planning I had to do! The next 12 days were blissfully free of decision-making and travel logistics. I was able to devote all of my time and energy on soaking up the culture and experience of India. My days were packed with the smiles and curious stares of local people, the ancient beauty of world heritage sites, the smells and sensations of regional cuisine, and the camaraderie and kindness of my traveling companions. What I experienced was so much more than a vacation – it was discovery of myself through exploration.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! The value of this trip was priceless for me. I feel like you gave me so much more than I paid for. It’s difficult to imagine a future trip measuring up to this one, but I’ll go with Inspired Exploration around the world to try.Rachel Hernandez
Thank you so much for everything. This journey was truly wonderful.
India has been on my list of places to visit for years. I find inspiration in the practice of yoga, and as a student, I developed a growing curiosity about the country of its origin. I joined the October 2016 Awaken the Spirit retreat offered by Sandy and Inspired Exploration Travel in order to immerse myself in the culture of India and continue my studying of yoga.
The conveniences of booking travel with Inspired Exploration allowed me to just show up and be fully present on the adventure. The depth and diversity of each place we visited, whether it was the bustling city of Delhi or the small, mountainside villages in Shimla, energized me on all levels.
Hiking at the foothills of the Himalayas and along meditation paths, practicing yoga in ashrams and learning about the communities and philosophies, drinking chai tea at the bottom of a waterfall, and observing holy rituals, all of these experiences challenged me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I never expected to be walking alongside Gandhi’s last footsteps or bouncing around in a rickshaw or sharing in langar, a free meal served to all who come to the Sikh temple.
It was a beautiful experience and truly one where the effects will continue to unfold for many years.Candice Schultheis