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Michele Willems Luxury Travel Agent Boca Raton, Florida
Protravel International Boca Raton
Eastern Europe, Africa, East and Southeast Asia, Morocco, Japan, Spain, Europe, India, Portugal, United Kingdom, Hawaii, Worldwide
Arts & Culture, Executive Corporate and Luxury Travel, Adventure, Business Travel, Luxury Cruises, Family Vacations, International Business Travel Specialist, Corporate Incentives, Groups, Independent Travel, Honeymoons, Luxury Hotels, Private Escorted Tours

Michele Willems

Boca Raton, Florida Travel Agent
Exotic and Peaceful India

My two-week sojourn in India was a familiarization trip by India with Ajay. It was a fast-paced, packed itinerary designed to introduce travel agents like me to the wide array of special experiences the country offers. Our days were filled with exotic surprises, like drinking champagne while riding on an elephant.

Nevertheless, I felt an incredible sense of peace during this journey and came away like something inside me had changed. I’d just lost my brother and we’d been very close. This trip, my first to India, helped me come to terms with what had happened. Everywhere I went, I felt calmed by the strong, spiritual energy of the people, even in the most bustling cities. 

One of the places that most impressed me was Mumbai. It was much more beautiful than I’d imagined and much cleaner than New York City, despite being far more crowded. We stayed at the Four Seasons Mumbai, which was, of course, very posh, with a roof top bar and pool affording amazing views of the city. 

We were lucky enough to be there for the annual festival honoring Ganesh, the Hindu god of wisdom and good luck. Statues of this elephant-headed god are ceremoniously carried to the beach, where everyone gathers in groups to pray, celebrate and submerge the statues in the water. People come from all over India to participate and everyone paints themselves with color and lights incense and lanterns so it is a very colorful time.

We also went to Delhi, where it was pleasantly jarring to see cows walking in the streets. We went to a spice market with our guide. The colors of the spices were incredible. Our guide told us that, while violence wasn’t an issue, petty theft could be, so he advised us to hold onto our bags. But everyone we saw, from children to vendors to local shoppers was smiling and it felt very friendly and safe. 

The most moving place we went was Varanasi. It’s one of the most spiritual places in all of India for the Hindus. People bring their dead here, and even come to die, because they believe being cremated here can help the deceased break the cycle of death and rebirth. We went at sunrise. All along the Ganges River, families were gathered to pray, cremate their loved ones and send their remains into the river. It gave me a different feeling about death and I felt myself coming to terms with my brother’s death through this experience.

Since my trip, I’ve sent many clients to India. From the rich architectural beauty of the Taj Mahal to the spiritual wonder of Varanasi, India offers many mind-opening experiences. I’m sure I’ll go back.