Nathan and Danica Reid, originally from Canada, have been living in Nepal for the last 3 years. They both have a case of the ‘wanderlust’ and they love to experience new cultures and meet new people. After living in Nepal for about a year, they started their blog ‘The Ticket to Travel’. Apart from posts, they also make videos. These videos are like short guides for travellers. The couple recently travelled all across the Northeast making interesting and fun videos of their experiences that are available for viewing on their Youtube channel.
‘We spent 72 days in the Northeast. I think maybe we enjoyed Aizawl the best. It was bamboo season and the bamboo shoot salad was so tasty. The Mizo language was so different to us, in fact everything felt very different to us. We loved that each state in the Northeast felt totally different, with its own languages, culture and cuisine. We just love that diversity.’
They use their YouTube channel to finance their trip. ‘Before going to India, we made a video asking for crowd funding to help with the costs of the trip.’ But they share that you don’t always need a lot of money to travel and have a good time. ‘ Just as there are different ways of spending money at home, so it is with travel. If we travel smart, we can enjoy ourselves without spending too much money. Money does not equal fun when it comes to travelling. The special experiences that stay in our minds and hearts usually didn’t cost a single paisa.’
Of course, like all travellers, they have had their share of funny experiences. ‘When we were travelling around Imphal with a couple friends, we tried the local fruit alcohol that was sold there. You can see it on our channel. We were talking in Russian accents as we taste tested the different flavours. We were having fun and enjoying ourselves. Some viewers had commented on our YouTube channel that it looked like we were drunk. In reality, there was almost no alcohol content in what we were drinking, it was in essence just fermented fruit juice. Tasty, like fruit kefir. Acting silly and enjoying ourselves is more fun with a clear head, no alcohol necessary.’
Now this doesn’t mean that everything was a cakewalk, they did have their share of challenges. ‘The road from Aizawl to Imphal during the monsoon season was pretty scary, not that we were going to die, but the sinking feeling that we were going to get stuck in the mud. The hardest journey was the sumo ride between Agartala and Aizawl. It was so long and very tight. It was about 20 hours. Brutal.’
They also learnt the hard way that not all hotels in Assam can accommodate foreign guests. ‘For foreigners travelling in Assam, I think it’s important to know that not all hotels allow foreigners to stay. Not knowing that beforehand proved very frustrating to us, as hotels were rejecting us when it was clear they had rooms. We didn’t understand that they didn’t have authorization to lodge foreigners until later.’ Nathan also urges foreigners to get a PAP (in Delhi, if possible as it is the most convenient) if they plan to travel to Arunachal Pradesh. ‘Indian citizens should also remember to get their permits to travel to Arunachal Pradesh. We really suggest to Indians who haven’t visited the Northeast to visit these exotic destinations before exploring abroad.’
Both Nathan and Danica loved the Northeast so much that they plan to move to Nagaland. ‘ We are in the process of moving to Nagaland this year. This will give us a chance to get to know the Northeast better, to go to the Hornbill Festival in Kohima in December, see Dzukou Valley in March with the flowers blooming, and get to know Assam when it’s not so crazy hot.
The duo also have plans to travel to Azerbaijan, Austria, Japan, Bangladesh and Mongolia in the near future.
Watch their videos here
Check out their blog here
By Meeta Borah