Ryan and his friend, John Booker flew out of Adelaide on 19 June 2005 for Kuala Lumpur. After they spent the night there with a friend they arrived in Chennai, India on the 20th, planning to spend 8 months in the country.
They both experienced culture shock, never having been in a place of so many people, with the traffic, noise and different way of living of the Indian people. While they had reservations at a nice hotel, a breakdown in communication (or by the driver's design) meant their taxi delivered them to a seedy, rundown hotel.
They didn't realise they were at the wrong hotel until a taxi delivered them back to the right one the following day after some sightseeing.
They decided to go to Pondicherry a couple of days later. They both loved it, and over the next 2 months travelled to Kochi, Coimbatore, Goa, Ooty, Managalore and Varanasi. Along the way, they met many interesting people, both Indian and foreign tourists or backpackers.
In Varanasi, Ryan purchased a sitar and case, something he had planned to do, and which he was prepared to lug around for the remainder of the trip. He also had a quick lesson or two. After a 20 hour train trip, Ryan and John arrived in Rishikesh about 20 August 2005.
John Booker (L) and Ryan (R) at Adelaide Airport, South Australia- 19 June 2005
Above L-R: Genevieve Booker, Stewart Booker, Naomi Booker, John, Ryan, Dianne Chambers & Jock Chambers at Adelaide Airport.
Ryan and John somewhere in India, believed to be Calangute, Goa-before Rishikesh