While the Lassador (our Ambassador named Lassi) received some much needed love from the mechanics of Calcutta, we were left with the challenge of finding our own way through the seven Northeast States of India. We had to find one way or another to experience the mountains of Tripura, the forest of Assam, the tribal community of Nagaland and the rest of the Seven Sisters by public transportation.

It’s interesting how different you can perceive a land by the mode of transportation you experience it in.

9 seater airplane.  Breaking the cloud level overlooking the various grooves of the eastern Himalayan mountain as we were headed to Manipur.

Train. Wheezing through the remote, luscious jungles of Assam, passing by villages and tribal communities that simply stare out at the fading faces of the train riders.

Bus. Gnarley, bumpy rides that really churn and instigate your insides. Luckily, ours had a make shift removable window for emergency bladder/intestinal urges.

Rickshaw.  Drivers that provide a lens into the local people and culture. Even after pretty obvious failures on learning how to simply start the thing, this one amiable driver still allowed Campbell to give him a ride.

Sumo. Two months ago I could not tell you what a sumo was but now it’s a word that immediately triggers the image of windy, zig zaggy, rocky roads that fulfill any rollercoaster urges we were missing.

All these methods in addition to the 20+ other ones we’ve experienced throughout the past couple months makes me think of how much they’ve impacted and influenced our trip.  From the people it’s allowed us to encounter to the communities we’ve immersed into, they’ve all had a unique way of unveiling how we perceive the local culture.

People before me who have experienced these landscapes as we are, all in a similar state of mind. When you’re in transit, you’re able to recharge and reflect amist two places. You’re not quite where you started or where you’re headed but somewhere in the middle of it all.

Smriti “Smithers” Keshari


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