15 Countries You Should Visit Before You Die

India

Why to go when you’re young: Budget travel (constant haggling, sniffing out scams, sleeping in shitholes) can be exhausting once you wave buh-bye to your 20s. Might as well go to mind-bending places where the price of one Manhattan cocktail can finance an entire night out.


Where to head first: Chaotic Old Delhi is a great place to start. Then enjoy the star attractions in neighboring Uttar Pradesh, the fourth-largest of India’s 29 states.

India’s ethnic, linguistic, and geographical diversity spans from the Himalayas to the tropics, and seeing it all takes years. But focus your first trip on the Ganges, at sunrise. There, your world will shrink to waterfront rituals: prayer, bathing, tooth-brushing, laundry, and outdoor wood-fired cremations.

The bodies inside the burning pyres are recycled into the Vedic elements of their origin (earth, ether, fire, water, wind), fueled by logs that arrive by boat stacked into towers; the fire-tending morticians later recover jewelry and gold tooth fillings. Witnessing a cremation makes you realize that your time is short, so find your passions and migrate toward them fearlessly. It’s valuable to get this dose of mortal reality when you’re still young. It also gives you time to return to India’s unforgettable wildness. Once bitten, you’ll be back.

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