tom is travelling


The less rosy bits of rural India

There are many attractive aspects to life in rural India, the area itself is beautiful and colourful, the people here have a real sense of community and overall seem fairly happy with their lot, life here is a lot simpler. However, alongside these romantic notions there's some things here which also make life kind of tough.

Hanging out with the gems kids

From next week onwards I will be a teacher at GEMS. Therefore I have been making the most of hanging out with the children recently while they still don't hate me. A lot of my time outside of school is spent with the children, this post talks a bit about what I've been up to with them.

So Sainji is cool

Right, I managed to get to Sainji without screwing up too badly. Sainji is a great village and feels very different to Mussoorie. I've had a great week working at GEMS though for now I'll just be waffling on about life in Sainji and leave GEMS for another time.

My first impressions of India

Ok, I haven't made it to Sainji yet (thats today). I have never been to India before, or any other country that isn't in "the West" and I've only been here like 2 days so I can't tell you anything useful / informative, instead I'll just tell you a bit about my first impressions.

Stuff I'm taking with me

Basically a long list of everything I'm bringing with me, it is definitely not what I recommend anyone else brings with them as I've never done proper travelling before, this is more "what an English middle class idiot brings travelling" than actual advice.

Why I chose to volunteer at GEMS

So I'd trawled through a lot of posts on, there were so many places that looked great to go and visit, but when I found GEMS on helpx I knew it was the one for me, here are some of the reasons I've chosen to volunteer with GEMS.

Researching volunteer opportunities

With the intent to get pretty far away from London and do something completely different I started looking for places I could go to work in exchange for food and board. I found some really interesting opportunities and some really helpful work exchange directory websites.

Getting an Indian employment visa sucks

I'm going to attempt to attempt to describe how a UK national can apply for an Indian employment visa, however the application process filled me full of sadness, impotent rage and self pity so it's quite likely I'll end up moaning quite a lot as well.