• indian experience luck

Ask Me Anything: How much of your Indian Experience is just LUCK?

I sometimes share e-mails under the tag “ask me anything“. I get a lot of very similar e-mails which means there are a lot of people out there thinking the same questions. Why not address them to everyone? You can search more like these by clicking that link above.

I had the most amazing comment pop up on my blog after discussing how some people love or hate India.

“When it comes to having a good or bad experience in India- How much of it do you think is just LUCK?”

Is it possible that two people can come to India with an open mind, happy and positive personalities, and take the same route… then at the outcome one of them had a horrible experience, hates India and will never come back, while the other might have loved it, thought the locals were amazing, and wants to live in India!?

Um, YES!

indian experienceIndia is the land of luck. Your Indian experience can be made or broken by it.

Some will say the person who didn’t love India and had a rough time must not have prepared enough. He didn’t know enough about the scams, touts, bad water, spicy food, how to negotiate, or not to break up a stray dog fight…

Well, in my honest opinion- although I TRY to prepare people for India anyways- It’s all luck you guys!

You could be incredibly prepared: know a few key phrases, have a nice little medical kit, dress appropriately, have an itinerary set and understand how the trains work AND STILL HAVE A TERRIBLE TIME! Isn’t all travel about luck, really, deep down?

indian experience

I was unprepared I’ll admit, and I had a little harassment, dengue fever, issues with touts, major scams pulled in Delhi… Ben’s bit bitten by a stray, we’ve been sick countless times. I’ve been yelled at by aggressive men, ripped off massively about a hundred times by now, and even head butted by a bull. But because I’ve been here a couple years, the good for me outweighs the bad tenfold.

If you came here for two months and were unlucky enough to have a couple handfuls of bad things happen to you, you might leave with annoyance and hatred in your heart.

India can be a mess, let’s just be honest. Every expat I know has breakdowns here- even ones who came in the 70’s.

A friend said to me a couple months ago (after I told her about my massive “I hate India” breakdown at the movie theatre) that “foreigners who live here are allowed about 10 of those…. A MONTH!” We all laughed because it’s true.

indian experience luck

As an outsider, India does shock us and although some can handle it better than others and love the chaos more than others, LUCK plays a huge role in the outcome of a trip.

So, with that- I wish you ALL THE LUCK IN INDIA on your future trip here and am curious if YOU think luck plays a major role in travel & whether or not you end up enjoying a city.



About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Rebekah February 4, 2015 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    This makes me want to try travelling in India so much. I’m so curious to see if I would love it or hate it. I think a lot of travel experiences do come down to luck.

    • Rachel Jones February 5, 2015 at 11:40 am - Reply

      Yeah, I have always thought luck was a legit thing and could make or break your day!

  2. venus john February 4, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    india is difficult for Indians to live in..its a miracle if westerners manage to live here..

  3. Rachel February 4, 2015 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    I wholeheartedly agree! You really never can tell for sure what you’re experience will be like. There are only so many things you can try and prepare or control for. I definitely think you should still try and be as prepared as possible so that you increase your chances of having a positive experience, but after that…it’s up to luck! My fiance and I did a round the world year long back packing trip to 22 countries and I can honestly say I liked every single one. India was the very last one of our trip and I think because of that we enjoyed it more- had it been earlier on in the itinerary, maybe not. By the time we got there we had pretty much already experienced most of the “problems” of the developing world to some extent and nothing was too shocking. We rather enjoyed our month in India and the worst that happened to us was taxi scams which in the scheme of things is pretty minor. Pissed us off to no end, but still minor. We met many a traveler who recounted horrible experiences in India but when we went, we couldn’t relate at all. Many times we found ourselves saying to each other- I don’t know what so and so was talking about? I would happily go back to India in a heartbeat for a visit but no way in hell would I expatriate, that I can tell you for sure, haha!

    • Rachel Jones February 5, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

      It seems the small things in India (like taxi scams) that happen over and over is one of the biggest thigns that put a bad taste in people’s mouths about India. Even for me, it was what I remember hating from my first time here. I wish the government could find a good way to regulate taxis.

      And LOL about not coming as an expat, I FEEL YA! lol I never thought I’d be living here. but GOA isn’t the real “India” most days.

  4. Maddy February 4, 2015 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    (I loved Shantaram! What a book.)

  5. Jen V February 5, 2015 at 3:22 am - Reply

    Completely agree with you regarding luck. I hope I am lucky when I go to India in two months time – taking care of my visa at the moment and OMG what a pain.

    I don’t like London, ok I said it. I know it is an amazing place and all but I had a awful time, I was just unlucky. For 16 years hubs has been trying to make me go back and I just can’t. My friend and I were horrified at the treatment the English doled out to the Americans, it was not that were were clueless tourist. Friend lived in NYC at the time and I in LA, were knew what was up in regards to a big city. The funny thing is that most people would say that Paris is an awful place to go and Parisians are just snooty. I love Paris, I have been there at least 10 times and going back very soon but it is all about luck since we were just unlucky with the people we met.

    • Rachel Jones February 5, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

      You’re right the people you meet can really make or break your trip. I remember meeting one nice guy in Paris, but his girlfriends he hung with were very snooty and implied I was a fat american for having a jack n coke, as they drank theirs straight (no calories) lol, I was like a size 0 back then so after that completely thought all Parisans must be models.

  6. Sonja Riemenschneider February 5, 2015 at 6:54 am - Reply

    This is exactly what I have been trying to put into words after my trip to India! I had days that were easy, beautiful, and calm only to be followed by days from hell when everything went wrong. So many times I found myself thinking “This is India,” like your blog post titles!

    • Rachel Jones February 5, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

      hahah yes. Sometimes when i’m really mad I change that from “this is india” to “fuck you india” in my head lol but shhhh

  7. Annie Tong February 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    I really enjoy readying all your post’s about Indian! I never could see my self going to this part of the world, but Thanks to you Rachel that’s on my list of destinations to go now :)

    Annie ox

    • Rachel Jones February 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Wow that’s awesome! Let me know when you make it this way :D

  8. Soniya February 5, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    When we went to Munich ,Germany we found people very aggorant and very uncooperative ..After that Finland experience was so much good….from that experience I believe people define a place ….When you have good ones coming ur way u are lucky ..

    • Rachel Jones February 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      That’s a good way to look at it – people do define you’re experience

  9. Andrea February 5, 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I think luck does play a huge role in each individual experience. That’s why some people love certain destinations and hate others. I think its more about the social aspect or the experience surrounding it than the destination itself

  10. Justine February 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I’m glad I’m not the only expat who has breakdowns! I for one have had a few since moving to Jakarta six months ago. I have to agree that a huge part of travel (or living abroad) has to do with luck. You never know what’s going to happen when traveling, whether it’s getting sick or getting scammed. It’s seems like you’ve experienced pretty much everything while living in India and it’s great that you are still having a positive experience. Also, I noticed that you mentioned that it’s the little things that irk travelers (like the taxi scams). I have to say that that’s my number one complaint about living in Jakarta. I hate that every time I get into a taxi it’s like a 50-50 shot that I’ll get ripped off. It drives me crazy!

    • Rachel Jones February 11, 2015 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      Yeah it’s a bummer because the locals can’t tell the difference between expat and tourist so we’re all treated the same even though an expat knows the prices… so annoying

  11. De'Jav February 10, 2015 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    I haven’t been to India those that have went mentioned some of the same comments. It’s a love hate relationship.

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