What will my accommodations be like?

You will be staying at the Oberoi Grand, a luxury hotel in Calcutta. The rest of your stay will be in very comfortable rooms in a private bungalow at a 1600 acre tea plantation about two and a half hours drive from Darjeeling, India.

What type of food should I expect?

We will be providing you with health conscious, delicious local cuisine of India as well as intercontinental dishes. We aim to provide the freshest fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks, juices and mineral waters. We hope you will enjoy the delicious food we have planned for you. Please check our website towards the bottom of the itinerary on a sample of what we will serve. We provide vegetarian as well as non vegetarian food.

Are you offering any Yoga and Meditation at your Boot Camp?

Yes we are. Our Yoga instructor is DRS. Helena Klitsie who has over 25 years of experience studying, practicing and teaching Yoga. In addition to regular classes, she will be available on selected hikes and walks, where she will initiate impromptu meditation and breathing exercises providing for a really “holistic” experience for our guests.

She has been teaching Hatha Yoga in Amsterdam, India and in the meditation retreats of Wat Suan Mokh, a famous Buddhist monastery in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Helena is a doctorandus in Western Philosophy but has specialized in Eastern Philosophy. For many years she has been teaching Buddhist and Hindu Philosophy at the Open University of Amsterdam. Among others the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali.

Do you offer massages?

Yes we do. Our guests can enjoy daily massages from our male and a female masseuse trained in Ayurvedic massage.

How long are the hikes?

We offer daily guided hikes and walks through mountains and valleys of the region of our Boot Camp. Hikes can be according to individual needs and can range from 2 hours to 8 hour hikes. They can be easy or aggressive hikes over steeper mountain terrain.

You can also do a partial hike and be picked up by out jeeps midway back to your bungalow. It is up to your own pace.

What should I take on the trip?

Mandatory Items:

(As in all cases, check with your physician before you leave if you have any concerns for your health).

  • Passport and Visa to India are mandatory and must not expire for at least 6 months from your travel dates.
  • Carry one set of travel documents with you (passport, visa, itinerary, birth certificate, tickets, credit cards, traveler’s checks) and keep a copy in another safe place somewhere else among your travel items. We also recommend that you keep one copy of all documents you are taking in a safe place in the United States as well.
  • Bring at least one major credit card in case of emergency.
  • Take your driver’s license with you in the event you need additional identification.
  • A summary of your medical history needs to be with you at all times. This includes:
    • Any allergy information
    • Current medications and dosages
    • Medical history
    • Blood type
    • Name and address of emergency contact person
    • All your insurance company information and identification information
  • If you are diabetic, please ensure you have all your necessary snacks and medications within reach prior to leaving.
  • If you have prescription medicines you are taking, please ensure they are in your carry on bag, not in your luggage.
  • Spare medical items such as prescription or reading glasses and contact lenses.
  • Sturdy, good quality, well broken in walking shoes.
  • Earplugs in the event there are dogs in the vicinity that may bark at night.
  • Comfortable clothes for walking. Light jacket for breezy evenings. We recommend that you bring a heavier coat as well just in case the weather changes as this is the Himalayan foothills.

Recommended Items to Bring

  • A hat to protect you from the sun during the hikes and walks
  • Suntan lotion
  • Insect repellent
  • Personal products (your boot camp is in a remote area and you may not have access to items you normally need or use)
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal, cameras, anything that will preserve memories.
  • Some dressy clothes for any dining or cultural events that you may want to attend. Please note that we do not recommend shorts in town or any temples we may visit.
  • Waterproof jacket in the event of rain and/or an umbrella.
  • Fanny pack for camera, money, tissues etc.
  • Pack a hand sanitizer.
  • The drive from Darjeeling to the tea estate is beautiful as it traverses steep mountains, however the road will be windy and if you have a tendency to get carsick you might want to bring some Dramamine.
  • Please pack light & check with your airlines on baggage limitations. We have laundry facilities as part of your Boot Camp package and you can always have your clothes washed.
  • You may want to pack a tote bag in your suitcase in the event you need an extra bag for any purchases during your travels.
  • Your money, jewelry and prescription drugs should always travel on your person.
  • The temperature on airplanes can sometimes be chilly. We recommend you pack some extra socks and a light blanket in your carry on baggage.
  • Reading material for your trans-Atlantic flight.

Recommended Vaccines & Medications

India does not have specific requirements for travel vaccinations. However, please check with your doctor on the status of your current shots and his/her recommendations for your trip. For example your doctor might recommend Malaria pills or you may need to update your Flu shots etc. You can also check the following website:

CDC FAQS for travelers to India:

http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationIndia.aspx

Tips on Minimizing Jet Lag

India is approximately 7,800 miles from the United States. Although you will be stopping at some destinations in between, you will be travelling across multiple time zones in a rapid amount of time. Crossing these multiple time zones will disrupt your regular 24 hour sleep and wake patterns and rhythms that your body is used to, which is the reason why most people get jet lag.

Symptoms of jet lag are worse going from west to east as it appears the body finds it more difficult to adjust to losing time going towards the east and adapts better to the time gained when travelling west.

Keep in mind that meals that are high in protein are more likely to keep you awake. Foods high in carbohydrates promote sleep.

Symptoms of jet lag may include fatigue, insomnia, swollen hands and feet, headaches, digestive problems and dehydration. Most people will experience some jet lag on international travel, however we have provided some tips below to minimize your jet lag so when you arrive at your destination you can experience as few of the symptoms as possible.

Before You Leave

  1. A few days before your trip, start adjusting your clock and bedtime by an hour a day so your sleep schedule changes towards your destination time as much as possible.
  2. Get into the habit of drinking plenty of water before your trip to hydrate your body. The air in your aircraft can be very dry which dehydrates your body, and experts have indicated that dehydration is the main criteria for making jet lag worse.
  3. According to some research, eating light before and during your flights may benefit in reducing any gastrointestinal effects that may result from your new eating schedules.

During Your Flight

  1. Reset your watch to your final destination as soon as you board your flight in the US. This may help you adjust more quickly if you start behaving as if you are already there and sleep according to your destination schedule..
  2. Drink plenty of water during your flight and during your stopovers en route to your final destination. It you feel awkward asking the attendant for water multiple times, try asking for a few glasses at a time so it will last you a while.
  3. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks such as sodas, coffees and teas as both alcohol and caffeine are known to increase your dehydration. Stick with water and juices as much as possible.
  4. Stay awake during the flight while it is daytime at your destination. Try to read, watch a movie, or walk the aisles to stay awake.
  5. Try not to fall asleep on the plane unless it is night time at your destination.
  6. Block external noises with earplugs or headphone music, and eye masks to block out the light.
  7. When you do sleep try not to wake up until it is breakfast time at your destination.
  8. Avoid sleeping pills.
  9. Use moisturizer to keep your skin feeling nice as the air is very dry.

Upon Arrival

  1. Drink plenty of water upon arrival. Eat lots of fresh fruit to rehydrate your body.
  2. Try to be outside in the sunshine as much as possible. Studies have shown that the more time you spend outside, exposed to natural light, the better you will adjust to the time difference as the sunlight helps reset your internal clock.
  3. Try not to nap as soon as you get to your room. Engage yourself in some other activities or walk around and try to get fresh air and exercise.
  4. Although this is hard, try not to drink anything with caffeine that might keep you awake later, at the same time try to stay awake until night time on the day you arrive.
  5. Wake up at a normal hour the next morning so you can start on your new schedule and time zone.